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Wednesday
Sep032014

Double Eviction #2 Episode Guide - Expect the Expected

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.

Tuesday
Sep172013

Guide to the #BB15 Season Finale

Big Brother still drives me bat sh!t crazy.

When I joined all of you in this ridiculous obsession, it was Week 4, Judd was HOH, Aaryn was hated by everybody, Elissa had been MVP for weeks, America had been given new power, GinaMarie wasn't mean yet, a showmance had already started and ended (with David's eviction), and Helen was on her way to becoming my favorite house guest of all time.

Going to this screen has become automatic during free moments.See what I did there? "Of all time"?! That's just to poke fun at those of you who have turned Big Brother into something of a religion -- with all the nonsense which comes along with blind devotion. This is a game! Let's not forget that it is meant as entertainment. All the fighting and mud-slinging amongst fans who are active in social media drives me batty. Was it this way in BB's early years? Or is it more prevalent today because more people are active on the Internet and because divisiveness and incivility is the norm in our country these days?

Playing cards 24 hours before the season finale.That said, I'm pleased to report that there have been far more people posting respectful, thoughtful commentary here on BigBrotherGossip.com, even when in disagreement with me or other contributors or other commenters, than there were people who were simply inarguably crazy or idiotic. I applaud you for being fans without being fanatical.

I asked a lot of questions in my first post here. For example:

Can viewers influence what happens in the house? What's a lockdown? How and when do supplies (groceries, meds, booze, etc.) appear in the house? What are they allowed to ask producers for, and how often? When, how, and why do they get punished?

Although I didn't post answers to all those questions, you (and Ash, Scott, and Mike) helped me understand how Big Brother works. Mostly. As to remaining details for newbies like me ... we'll cover such things if/when they come up during #BB16.

GinaMarie, Andy, and Spencer, doing that ridiculous "exterminator" thing.So ... Andy, GinaMarie, and Spencer have made it to the final three. The #BB15 season finale airs in the east about 20 hours from when I'm posting this -- and don't forget that it's 90 minutes long and that it starts at a special time (9:30p Eastern on Wednesday, September 18, 2013). Here's the order of events we are expecting for tonight's show:

- Julie's brief show intro.

- A couple minutes of clips from the entire season.

Reading cereal boxes together. Yes, friends, this is the excitement live feeders get during these remaining few days.- Julie talks about what's coming up during the 90-minute finale while they show the final three sitting in the living room. Just like #BB14 (with Danielle, Ian, and Dan), #BB15's final three consist of one woman (GinaMarie) and two men (Andy and Spencer).

- The conclusion of Part 1 of the three-part final Head of Household competition (recorded last Thursday night, with portions shown to live feeders, and a bit shown on CBS this past Sunday night), with related clips and Diary Rooms. You know from our Ticker and from being a regular BigBrotherGossip.com reader that GinaMarie won part 1. This was an endurance comp.

Part 1 of the final HOH competition.- Part 2 of the HOH comp (recorded last Saturday), again with clips and DRs. We know that Andy won part 2, but we haven't seen any footage of this comp yet. The feeds were on trivia and CBS didn't show any of it during the final Sunday broadcast.

Spencer, please work on your level of control for endurance comps first if they ever ask you back for an All Stars season, k? Thanks.- Clips from the past few days of the three house guests posturing and/or scheming about who will be taking whom to the final two.

- Jury house footage showing McCrae's arrival ... and a few minutes of the jurors debating the merits of the final three -- how they betrayed various jury members, why they may or may not be worthy of their votes, etc.

- Live (everything is live from this point on), we will see part 3 of the HOH comp between GinaMarie and Andy. It will be a memory quiz of some sort, and the winner is guaranteed at least second place in #BB15 and a $50,000 prize.

- The HOH winner will evict one of the other two. The only thing we know right now is that Spencer has no control over his own destiny.

- The evictee leaves the house and is interviewed by Julie.

- Julie introduces each of the jurors as they reenter the studio. After a couple of questions to the jurors, Julie reveals the last evictee.

- The jurors interview the final two.

Danielle chats with finalists Ian and Dan a year ago in the #BB14 season finale. Right: The voting box.- The finalists each make one last speech about why s/he deserves to win.

- Each juror steps forward to say a word or three to the finalists ... and to cast his/her vote. To vote, the juror inserts one of two keys (each key has a finalist's name on it) into slots in a box (similar to the round gizmo that HOHs use for a nomination ceremony in all the previous weeks).

This has nothing to do with anything today. Except this: If the producers want to do stunt casting next year, I think they should make Zingbot a regular house guest.- House guests evicted early on, prior to jury selection, are welcomed to the studio by Julie and discuss their thoughts on the season. (Remember that HGs who left prior to jury got to watch the show, seeing everything we did; only the jury was sequestered.) And there may be a bit more back-and-forth between the jurors, the final two, and the early evictees.

- Then the big moment arrives: Julie pulls out each key, revealing each juror's vote ... and the #BB15 winner is announced! This year there are nine jurors, so the first finalist to receive five votes wins $500,000.

- The winner comes out of the house and is embraced by family, friends, and fellow house guests. (And the runner-up comes out, too.)

- Finally, Julie reveals America's favorite house guest, winner of $25,000. (Helen, if you ever read this, please know that I voted 10 times for you!) CBS will treat us to a few more seconds of celebration, and credits will roll. That will be it!

I have really enjoyed being part of the BigBrotherGossip team and getting to know many of you via comments and Twitter. Thanks! See you back here in 2014 for #BB16.

This also has nothing to do with anything today. Before signing off, just wanted to make sure you didn't miss this fine bit of Indy Mike's journalism. :-)Who do you think will be richer by 500 Large? If Andy wins HOH, who will he evict? Or who will GinaMarie evict if she gets HOH? What do you think has been the bat-sh!t-craziest thing this season? Tweet me all year long @uselesstraffic and/or comment below.

Friday
Aug302013

Countdown to Meltdown

Amanda and McCrae are going on the chopping block soon and they don't even know it's coming.

This afternoon (Friday), Spencer and Andy have been feigning annoyance to Amanda about GinaMarie not being willing to talk with them ... and talking down about Elissa to stay in Amanda's good graces.

Amanda & McCrae mope. GinaMarie preps for her second HOH nomination ceremony.GinaMarie and Elissa have been plotting what could or should happen if the surviving half of McCranda doesn't win the next HOH comp -- while Amanda worries from downstairs what they're talking about.

Of the remaining four players (not counting McCrae), I've been wondering who Amanda could turn to for comfort or potential allegiance in the aftermath of the nominations.

Andy tried to come in while Elissa was talking with GM -- and Elissa asked him to wait outside.Not Judd. Amanda arranged his first eviction and wasn't cheery about his return. And she wants GM to put him up with Elissa.

Not Elissa, who Amanda targetted with her yelling and horn-blowing only days ago and who holds onto remnants of last week's HOH power.

Not Spencer. I could be forgetting (it's still difficult for a newbie to remember who allied with whom over all these weeks) ... but I don't seem to remember Amanda and Spencer having any particular closeness.

Andy? As one of the members of their 3AM alliance, possibly. But Amanda doesn't know that he is conspiring with GinaMarie and the others to get her out.

Friday, 3:05p: "If you put up Elissa and Judd, I will voluntarily go up as a pawn," says Amanda to GM.One thing is certain: The live feeds are going to be very fun to watch after the nomination ceremony tonight!

How big of a meltdown will Amanda have? Is there anything she could say to sway votes her way? Share your thoughts here or @uselesstraffic.

Saturday
Aug242013

The Perfect Backdoor -- Or Not

Amanda on the block with no ability to save herself!

That's what I woke up this morning thinking about. #BB15 events had finally led to a scenario which helped this newbie better understand the concept of the "backdoor." Indy Mike helped me learn it in generic terms:

Elissa holds court in the HOH room.- Head of Household nominates two people for eviction.

- In the Power of Veto competition, players consist of the HOH, the two nominees, and three additional randomly-drawn house guests. (Sometimes one of the chips drawn says "house guest's choice," so one player is slightly less random.)

- Earlier in the #BB15 season when the MVP picked a third nominee, the POV players consisted of the HOH, the three nominees, and two additional randomly-drawn house guests.

- If the HOH wins POV, she or he might save one of the original nominees -- so that s/he can nominate somebody different, who would then have no opportunity to compete to pull her/himself off the block before the eviction vote. This new nominee (who, by the way, would be labelled on our Ticker graphic at right as "Nominated via POV"), if evicted, would be considered to have been "backdoored."

- If one of the nominees wins POV, s/he virtually always saves her/himself ... so whomever picked the saved nominee (HOH or, earlier in the season, MVP) picks a new nominee. This new nominee, if evicted, is considered to have been "backdoored."

Power of Veto.- If a non-nominee wins POV, s/he gets to choose to pull somebody off the block. And then ... yup ... a new nominee goes up. If the new nominee is evicted, is s/he also considered to have been backdoored?

- The POV winner may choose not to use his/her veto, leaving the original eviction nominees in place. (Andy did that last week.)

As the day started this morning, the situation was this: Elissa is HOH, Aaryn and McCrae are on the block, and the POV competition was coming up. Elissa was Helen's strongest ally and she's no fan of Amanda. I haven't myself been much of an Elissa fan (I certainly had nothing good to say about her in my last post), but there was reason to think Elissa had been scheming to backdoor Amanda. And this, to me, was indeed good news.

Oh, noooo! See what Amanda's wearing today?What I didn't realize until reading Ash's "Night Owl" post this morning is that the house guests selected to be the additional POV players today were Judd, GinaMarie, and ... Amanda. Uh oh!

Here's another thing newbie viewers need to learn: An unnominated house guest who wins POV also wins immunity for the week. She or he can't be nominated.

You get one guess who won POV early Saturday afternoon. So much for the perfect backdoor! It was exactly the right time for somebody who had previously won nothing to win a comp.

My dream scenario for this next week is ruined. Since my favorite house guest (Helen) was evicted, I was hoping to see Amanda go next -- thus eliminating the two most powerful players in consecutive weeks and necessitating an entirely new power structure to be formed in #BB15's remaining weeks. That would have been absolutely delicious to watch.

Let the next speculations begin. Current thinking is that Elissa will put up Andy, Spencer, or GinaMarie. Who do you think is most likely? Amanda will save McCrae, obviously. Will Aaryn go to jury or the new nominee? Comment below or hit me up @uselesstraffic.

Knowing they're potential replacement nominees, Andy and Spencer try to get on Elissa's good side.