It's not just that the show and feeds have been dull and predictable this season. It's that I still haven't found any house guests to root for. It would be easier to deal with a house so mind-numbingly controlled by one person all season (Derrick) if I simply could find a reason to call somebody my favorite and then cheer him or her on.
Hasn’t happened yet, and I don’t think it will. That, along with everything which fellow contributor Scott wrote in his brilliant piece on Wednesday (see “Big Brother 2014: What went wrong?”), makes me wonder if the best seasons of this show happened years before I began watching.
Thoughts on the remaining house guests and final-three predictions in a moment. First, a guide to #BB16’s second double eviction episode:
1. Recaps for 10-12 minutes.
2. Julie will chat with the house guests and we’ll see Nicole’s and Victoria’s repeat “save me” speeches. (Extra propz to either of them if they would simply stand up, say “Hi Mom & Dad!”, and sit right back down.) Julie will also mention, to feigned surprise, that it’s a double eviction night.
3. Unanimous eviction vote (yawn) and Julie’s interview with Nicole by about 25 minutes after the hour.
4. An HOH comp lasting three to six minutes. (If you Expect the Expected, as we all now do for #BB16, the winner will be Frankie, Cody, or Christine.)
5. Strategizing for a couple of minutes, and then nominations.
6. POV comp.
7. Strategizing again, veto meeting, and potential replacement nomination.
8. “Save me” speeches, the second elimination vote, and Julie’s second interview of the night. And then Julie signs off.
(Remember that the next HOH competition will take place off the air.)
Last year, mainstream news media coverage of #BB15 controversy led me to sample the show for the first time, and Helen quickly became my favorite. I’ve been trying to get on somebody’s team this year but I’m just not feelin’ it. Donny almost became my favorite but his game naïveté lasted too long. Here’s my take on everybody who’s left.
Caleb. Thank heaven that he’s (mostly) over Amber. (Maybe Zingbot ... er, Kathy Griffin helped on that count. “You think she’s drop dead gorgeous. She just wants you to drop dead! Zing!”) When he’s alone with the boys, though, too often he falls back into behavior which seems to indicate he thinks of women not as people (much less respect-worthy equals) but rather only as mindless objects for pleasure. After being everybody’s #1 target in the weeks after Devin’s departure (and pulling off a string of predictable comp wins which kept him safe), the house seems to have forgotten how much they once hated Caleb. That’s Big Brother, I guess, and I admit that he did become a savvier player after Amber’s departure. But I am astonished that he’s still here, and I’m honestly worried that some bad luck for Derrick (such as getting evicted during tonight’s double, unlikely as that is) could make Caleb an actual frontrunner. I can’t stomach the thought of Caleb winning.
Christine. Meh. As the strongest female player this year, I wanted to like her. But she’s done more to swing my feelings toward “nah!” than “yeah!” She played Nicole pretty well earlier -- not that I’m a big Nicole fan either, but I was hoping perhaps Christine would lead an alliance with the other women. But her loyalty to the Detonators will be her undoing.
Cody. He has mostly stayed out of trouble, game-wise (I’m leaving the Christine friendmance thing alone), and his decision early on to ally with Derrick has certainly proven smart. Why not root for Cody? Because he’s all talk. He whined on this week’s Wednesday episode in the DR about having wanted Frankie out for weeks. But as last week’s winner of both HOH and POV, he had multiple chances to make a big move. Did he? Obviously not. Oh, and remember back in week 4, the previous time Cody was HOH? He had the chance to get Caleb (much hated at the time by HGs and me as well) out of the house when Victoria saved herself via POV ... and Cody even said “If I put up Donny instead, my brother say I’m such a p#ssy.” Sure enough, he wimped out, and Brittany went home instead. If Cody had taken even one of these opportunities, my respect for him as a player would have increased exponentially.
Derrick. My opinion is unchanged. This guy remains an absolute master analyst, strategist and manipulator. He gets everybody to do what he wants, often without their realizing it. He sets eviction targets but ultimately bends to the will of the house. He avoids winning comps to keep from getting dirtied by nominations. (Except once when he won and remained HOH. But because Devin went home that week with much rejoicing, nobody had reason for lingering resentment toward Derrick.) He’s never been on the block. The only thing which could prevent Derrick making it to the finale would be lack of luck in some chance-based comp, which seems quite unlikely. I definitely appreciate Derrick’s game mastery. But his very expertise keeps me from actively cheering Derrick on because it’s his fault the season deserves an #ExpectTheExpected hashtag.
Frankie. Textbook case of stunt casting gone awry. Ridiculously self-centered and pompous. Although in the early weeks I couldn’t stand his on-camera persona beginning with the very first CBS show of the season, on the feeds Frankie seemed reasonably normal and likable -- enough so that I was willing for several weeks to ignore his “I’m live on camera, better amp up the flamboyancy” thing. And even for a newbie fan like me (at 13-14 months in, I’m definitely still learning game strategy), it seemed like Frankie was playing an unbeatable social game and would be guaranteed (by virtue of a deck stacked by his sister’s followers) to win fan favorite. But then the Big Ariana Reveal happened and his mean tendencies seemed to come out and stay out. So I’ve totally gone from feeling like I wouldn’t be unhappy for Frankie to win to actively wanting him out. (I also tweeted the other day my realization that Frankie is a lock to appear on All Stars. Ugh.)
Victoria. Oh, Victoria. Do you even realize that your own inability to do anything has become your strength? Although thankfully I’m no longer worried about Victoria’s mental health, I have found no reason to respect her game -- if one could even legitimately refer to what she’s doing there as “game.” On the other hand, wouldn’t it be delicious to discover during the finale (by acing the endurance and quiz comps) that Victoria has been faking her ineptitude all season? Won’t happen, obviously, but such an unexpected twist would almost redeem the season.
Tonight’s first evictee will be ... Nicole. After Monday’s POV meeting, when Caleb wimped out and put Victoria up as the replacement nom rather than Frankie, it sealed Nicole’s fate (again).
My hope for tonight’s second eviction: Caleb or Frankie.
What will probably happen instead (since we’ve all learned to Expect the Expected this season): Julie’s second interview tonight will be with Christine or Victoria.
My “final 3” predictions back in week 4 (see “Mid-July Newbie Perspectives”): Derrick, Christine, and Frankie.
My new “final 3” predictions: Derrick, Cody, and Victoria.
CBS has zero incentive to change anything now or for next year, by the way, because TV ratings remain solid. It's irrelevant to CBS what we live feeders slash hard-core fans think. As long as the country keeps providing time-slot winning viewership two or three times weekly, CBS will change nothing. Expect the Expected for again #BB17, even if it’s All Stars. Who do you really want to be evicted second tonight, and do you think it has a chance of happening? Who are you now predicting will make it to the finale? Share your thoughts in the comments or @uselesstraffic.