Since we’re a couple of hours away from the second episode of season 11, I thought I’d spend a little bit of time with some quick thoughts about each of the house guests and this season‘s format.
We’ve now seem them in action for almost three full days, but there are certainly still a lot of questions that may be answered with tonight’s show. Why are so many people against Braden, for example? How did Chima and Lydia end up on the block? And does the house really hate Jesse as much as the commercial indicates?
Let’s start with the “high school clique” format that divided everybody into “jocks”, “outcasts”, “populars”, and “brainiacs”. Barb said it best during the first episode when she said, “this completely justifies them choosing houseguests based on stereotypes”. It’s done every year, obviously, but now they don’t have to accept the criticism that shows of these types inevitably receive.
In my view, not only does it justify the casting it also seems to justify some of the attitudes and actions of some of the contestants. Every year, there are a handful of people who come into the house firmly believing that the game belongs to them and their views should rule the entire house. Generally, these are the would-be models and shirtless weight lifters who are just too beautiful to ever be nominated.
Even the setup of the first HOH competition was geared to give these people the initial advantage. There couldn’t be a single person watching who thought that anybody outside of Russell, Natalie, Jeff, or (maybe) Braden would win that “wedgie” contest.
Since that moment, though, these cliques have completely broken down. Yes, they’ll still have a place in the game since it’s tied to nominations, but everybody has formed their own personal bonds outside of their forced groupings.
As for the "green" theme, I have a feeling that outside of cheesy production pieces during the CBS broadcasts and some of the competitions, there's not a contestant who will give even a thought to this part of the game.
Now on to the individual contestants:
Braden. I don’t get the antagonism towards him. In the 65 hours or so the feeds have been live, I’ve seen him utter maybe ten sentences, and none of them have been substantial. His biggest digression appears to be that he’s close to Jeff and Jordan. Ok, he has creeped out Laura, but I don’t think that’s especially hard to do. I do believe that his “surf boy” personae is a bit of an act, and if he miraculously survives this week he could end up being one of the better players.
Casey. As much as I hate his phony “homeboy” routine, I’ve actually warmed up to him a bit. He had a nice conversation last night where he stated he didn’t believe in the “voting with the house” cliché of past seasons, and I applaud him for that. He does seem to float around from group to group, but it’s more of a “hang” thing than an attempt to gain and use information.
Chima. The best part about this woman being nominated is that it has quieted her constant cackling. I get the impression that she has a serious esteem problem, and constantly needs to be reminded how awesome/beautiful/smart/witty she is. I really don’t see her lasting long at all, especially if she continues to play the victim.
Jeff. For the first day or so, I thought he had the inside track to possibly win the competition. He appeared to be pretty laid-back, and seemed to be just having fun hanging out until it became time to actually play the game. Unfortunately, he offended Jesse and Natalie by not worshipping their “awesomeness”, and yesterday Russell showed how easy it can be to set him off. He’ll survive next week only if one of his “friends” or teammates wins HOH.
Jesse. Oh boy. I think I wasted way too many words last year on Jesse, so I’ll keep it short. He’s been less annoying so far this year, but as I noted last night this has more to do with his abrasive bedmate than his own personality. I predict that he’ll flame out rather quickly, just as he did during his season.
Jordan. Oh, how I love this girl. She’s beautiful and sweet. Did I add that she’s beautiful? Unfortunately, though, she’s a terrible player, and will only last as long as there are bigger fish to fry. Hopefully, we’re weeks away from that.
Kevin. The biggest surprise of the game. Judging from the pre-show hype, and the first episode, I thought he’d be way over-the-top. Instead, he’s been extremely low-key, and more than anybody he makes an effort to have off-game discussions with every single person.
Laura. Easily, the biggest disappointment of the game. All we heard before the season began was how she’s the life of the party who would live the entire season in her bikini. Alas, said bikini has not yet appeared, and she’s easily the most judgmental against the other women. She has warmed up a bit to Lydia and Jordan in the past couple of days, but the constant scowl on her face clearly shows that the situation is nothing like she originally planned.
Lydia. It hurts me to say anything negative against our little alt-rock princess, as she reminds me of my best friend in the world. But she has played the game way too hard, although in her defense some of this has to do with the fact that she’s on the block.
Michelle. Originally, I was not a fan of the self-described smartest person in the house. But those statements were all in the diary room, and while she’s primarily in the background on the feeds she appears to be doing her best to fit in. I don’t see her winning the game, but she has a good chance to make a nice run towards the end.
Natalie. An unmitigated disaster. On the very first day, she lied about her age and she just doesn’t have the intelligence to keep up the charade. Just this very day, she’s made a handful of comments that should alert anybody that she’s just not 18. But that’s just her smallest problem. She just can’t keep her mouth shut, and although her and Jesse claim that they hang out in the HOH room so they don’t have to constantly talk about the game, that’s actually all she does 24/7. She also has no capacity to keep any secrets, so anything that is discussed with Jesse immediately becomes common knowledge. Oh, and everything anybody says is somehow a directive aimed at her.
Ronnie. Supposedly, this ultimate computer geek is a real fan who subscribed to the feeds in earlier seasons. Well, you can never tell by his actions. As hard as he tries to fit in with those in power, they seem to just sort of ignore anything he has to tell them. Yesterday, he made a huge mistake in telling Jordan about the Braden situation, and has spent the last 24 hours trying to hide his error. He’ll last awhile for the simple reason that he’s not really much of a threat, but his paranoia and conspiracy theories (along with the lack of physical skills) will ultimately be his downfall.
Russell. While it’s nice that Jesse has somebody to flex with, Russell is a ticking bomb that is bound to go off at any time. If he can hold that anger in check, he could possibly make a serious run, but I predict a Jesse-ish meltdown if he’s even nominated.