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Entries in newbie (19)

Thursday
Aug082013

Double Eviction Episode Guide

Here's the potential order of events for #BB15's first double eviction episode.

- Recaps.

- About 20 minutes into the episode, the eviction ceremony. GinaMarie put Candice on the block; viewers (as MVP) put Amanda up; and after Jessie saved herself with her POV, Spencer was nominated instead.

Monday, August 5, 11:03p: McCrae says if there's a double, either Amanda and himself or Helen and Elissa will go up. Spencer asks McCrae to find him to strategize together before that second vote.- Julie interviews the evicted house guest. And somewhere along the way, the house guests are officially informed that it's a double eviction day. (They've been speculating about it, and some have even been strategizing. But they don't yet officially know what CBS told viewers last Thursday -- except that producers made GinaMarie, the outgoing HOH, practice for an HOH competition, which is a pretty strong clue).

- New HOH competition, roughly 5 minutes plus a commercial break ... during which the HGs strategize.

- Nomination ceremony of two HGs by the new HOH.

- MVP selected, and MVP puts somebody on the block? We aren't sure if this will happen during the double elimination episode. #BB15 is the first year with MVP and three nominees every week. Or is MVP over?

- During a commercial break, extra players are picked to play for POV (along with the HOH and the nominees).

- POV competition, roughly 3 minutes plus a commercial break.

- POV ceremony: Somebody is removed from the block, and another HG is put up. Commercial.

- Eviction ceremony #2: About 10 minutes before the live episode ends.

- Julie interviews the double-evictee.

And that's the end. The next HOH competition will probably take place off the air, to be recapped on the Sunday broadcast. We will, of course, report results here just as soon as news hits the feeds. And check the BBG Ticker for at-a-glance HOH, MVP (if MVP still happens), and POV updates on Friday and Saturday.

That's the potential double eviction show format. Or will Big Brother have a new twist for us? And will Candice (often targeted by house guests), Amanda (often targeted by "America"), or Spencer go the jury house? Sound off below or @uselesstraffic.

Wednesday
Aug072013

A Week in the House

Here's a newbie's guide to Big Brother house guests' daily schedules. Their week really revolves around who becomes HOH, so let's start there.

- Head of Household (HOH) competition, Thursdays, live on CBS (in the second half of the broadcast).

If it's an endurance competition (which can take hours to complete), live feed subscribers get to find out the HOH winner immediately ... but CBS viewers don't find out until Sunday night.

These photos are all from #BB15's very first HOH competition. Some (like this one) test endurance, theoretically favoring those with higher physical strength.- Have-not competition, Friday.

- "Kiss the ring," Friday. This is Big Brother Gossip's term for the conversations that the new HOH has during the day Friday with every other house guest.

- Nomination ceremony, Friday evening. HOH puts two house guests on the block for eviction.

The above (from have-nots through first two nominations) provides the content for the Sunday night broadcast on CBS. And every broadcast includes replays from the 24/7 live feed recordings, of course.

Aaryn, in her first term as Head of Household, calls everybody to the kitchen for the nomination ceremony. The HOH draws the first of the keys she's inserted, announcing the name on the key, which indicates that player is safe. Each house guest takes a turn until no keys are left, leaving two people ... indicating they are nominated for eviction.- America votes a house guest in as Most Valuable Player -- or, sometimes, America is the MVP. The MVP nominates the third house guest for eviction. The nominee is announced to the house, but the MVP remains secret. This happens Saturday. (By the way, having an MVP and a third nominee are new twists for #BB15.)

- Power of Veto (POV) competition, Saturday.

Other competitions, like the one shown here when Helen won HOH, test smarts and memory.- POV ceremony, Monday. If the POV is a nominee, she or he virtually always saves herself or himself. If the nominee had been put up by the HOH, the HOH puts a new person on the chopping block. If the nominee had been put up by the MVP, then the MVP names a new third nominee (but the MVP's identity is kept secret).

The above (from MVP through third nomination) provides the content for the Wednesday night broadcast on CBS. (By the way, do you see the value of the Big Brother Gossip Ticker in the right column? At a glance, you can find updated info as early as Saturday which CBS doesn't broadcast or post until the following Wednesday!)

- Tuesday daytime: The HOH gets a camera for an hour, writes a blog, and can tweet. This content goes live on the CBS Big Brother web site later.

- Eviction vote, Thursdays, live on CBS (in the first half of the broadcast).

Left to right: House guests gather in the living room, and nominees get to plead why they should stay. Julie talks them through the process. Then each goes into the Dairy Room to vote.- And then ... the cycle begins again with the next live HOH competition.

That's the story! That's a #BB15 week.

Did I miss anything or get a detail wrong? Comment below or send corrections to @uselesstraffic.

Next from the Newbie Desk: How a live double eviction episode works -- just in time for #BB15's first double.

Wednesday
Aug072013

The Jury of 9

Breaking news from earlier today (Wednesday): Big Brother has announced that the two house guests evicted this Thursday night (August 8, 2013) will be the first two members of the jury. Assuming no additional twists come along, that means #BB15 will have a nine-member jury, up from the usual seven. The jury returns during the final episode to pick the winner from the two finalists.

Jury members are sequestered in a separate house for the remainder of the season. They have limited contact with the outside world. They have no access to the live feeds. They do see edited versions of the TV show which includes competitions and ceremonies but no diary room sessions or other game talk. But they talk with the other evicted house guests after each arrives at the jury house, hearing each person's scoop (biased as it is) on what happened in the house each week.

One more thing: There are no live feeds of the jury house. We only get to keep watching what happens in Big Brother house itself.

The house guests have been speculating about a double eviction this week and how it could affect the jury, but they've heard no official word yet. Share your thoughts here or hit me @uselesstraffic.

Next from the Newbie Desk: My post which details each day's unique scheduled activities was preempted for this news, but it's still coming. And on Thursday, I'll detail how a Double Eviction episode works.

Tuesday
Aug062013

50 Shades of Wrong

Big Brother just didn't feel right these last few days.

On the one hand, I assume that any of this week's Power of Veto competitors -- Amanda, Candice, Gina, Jessie, Judd, and Spencer -- had nearly equal chances of being stuck with the dog cone, the clown suit, or the repeated spray tans. As long as producers intended no specific "punishment" for any specific house guest, perhaps we should think that all is as it should be in a game show which is outrageous by design.

GinaMarie & Candice, neither looking especially happy.On the other hand, in a season already infamous for insensitive, incendiary house guest commentary, why would CBS allow producers to design competition outcomes which seek to produce humor and/or humiliation by changing participants' appearances into caricatures? Candice was targeted early on by racial comments ... which, whether spoken in malice or ignorance, were unquestionably inappropriate. Now Big Brother dresses Candice as a clown, practically inviting us to laugh at the character she was required to become? After days of this, it's no wonder she mostly stayed in seclusion on Monday. And what would everybody be saying if, instead of Amanda, Aaryn had been the one to have the color of her skin changed so drastically?

It's as if they're trying to morph #BB15 into a farcical reverse-psychology whacky after-school special on race relations.

Candice's clown outfit; Amanda after repeated spray tans.At best, this is uncomfortable. At worst, it's outright disrespectful. I'm not necessarily sayin' the producers shouldn't have gone ahead with plans which were probably in place before the season started. I'm just sayin' that it troubles me when factoring in the present context.

This is an honest reaction from a newbie's perspective, and my commitment to sharing the remaining #BB15 experience with you is unchanged. But CBS should recognize that events like these do not particularly inspire new viewers to come back next year.

CBS added a disclaimer to the feeds and broadcast this season for the first time in show history. Do I need my own disclaimer? These views are mine only, offered with zero offense-causing intent, in the hope of inspiring civil, respectful discourse even if we disagree. Comment here or chirp @uselesstraffic.

Back to normal (if there is such a thing) next time at the Newbie Desk: Making sense of the different daily activities, weekly competitions, and TV schedules.

Monday
Aug052013

Tactics 101

The welcome which you, both readers and fellow BBG contributors, have provided me here at the Newbie Desk has been warm. Thank you!

In my day job (which is in the information technology field), I achieve better understanding of complex technical processes by authoring our user documentation -- making things easy to understand for staffers who don't have IT backgrounds. Big Brother viewers who have been watching since the early years may not realize how complex this process is! There are deeply nuanced strategies at play which I'm only now starting to notice.

Tactical analysis is subjective, and best left to Ash, Scott, and Mike. But if there's an objective way I can contribute to our seasoned readers and not just to other newbies, it's with the new BBG Ticker which you see near the top of the right column. If Ash's daily "Night Owl" summaries, Scott's spot-on analyses, and Indy Mike's commentary help you fill in all the gaps, I hope the Ticker provides a useful at-a-glance outline. Creating it gave me a much better understanding of house guests' roles and goals.

By the way, if BBG's writers put #BB15 into high definition, then the Big Brother Podcast makes it pop in full 3D. You listen too, right?

Shall we move on to reader comments?

leopardgrrl1 writes, "HGs ... don't seem to find much irony or humor in their watched/controlled/scripted state. Where's the snark, the sarcasm, the cleverness?"

Thou -- Andy, Helen, Clownie (Candice), and Judd -- shalt NOT talk about production. Your comment came to mind two different times while watching the feeds -- Sunday, July 28, 11:49a, camera 3, and yesterday morning (Sunday, Aug 4), 11:39a, camera 4. On July 29, When Judd, Helen, and Elissa started talking about trying out for the show, we got fish for 15 seconds. Shortly after they were back, we heard Big Brother say "You may not talk about production." About 8 minutes later, conversation again strayed back to how they got into Big Brother. We got fish for a minute and then were treated to a four-camera view of Andy and Spencer sleeping.

And yesterday morning, Andy, Candice, Helen, and Judd were sitting outside talking about things of zero consequence when Andy said, "Can we just talk real quick? Let's keep it real. They do not need an hour and a half worth of shots of us being serious. They could get that in 5 minutes, and then we could f#ckin' hang out in the back yard." Helen agrees, "I know! Why does it take so long?" Andy: "Cuz they just want us to" -- and then immediate cut to fish.

Yes, indeed, I completely agree that it would be entertaining to see the house guests talk openly about the BB experience from a "meta, beyond-the-game" point of view ... but it's very likely we'll never see it. Why don't the producers like it? Is this a newbie's lack of understanding? I understand not talking about Dairy Room conversations. But, holy good gravy, we paid for the feeds and we know they're making a TV show! If what the HGs say doesn't somehow negatively affect game play, why can't we see it, unedited?

When I whined about Aaryn winning HOH for a second time, psychodrew wrote, "One reason you see a lot of repeat winners is that there are people who throw HOH competitions because they don't want the responsibility." Teagan, Zoe, and objkshn also helped open my eyes to the nuanced strategy in this game. I see now that it's more than just winning competitions, attempting to persuade others to vote your way, and forming voting blocs (i.e. alliances). For example, some don't want the target that comes with being HOH; some choose not to evict controversial players because they hope to be paired with a "weak" HG in the finale.

Helen invited Aaryn, Elissa, and Jessie to the BBQ. Did she make the right choices?Speaking of supposedly-weak HGs, controversial remarks aside, I'm starting to think that Aaryn has got some game. If true that she was a puppet to the Powers That Be during her most recent HOH stint, Aaryn appears to have some pull over HOH GinaMarie (unless things changed last night) ... and, when selecting people to invite to the barbecue, Helen was quick to continue a "you scratch my back"-and-forth arrangement with Aaryn. Does the perception of weakness equate to stealthy strength?

Or are there subtleties at play here which are totally going over my head?

Kelli wrote, "As a well seasoned BB fan, I absolutely cannot WAIT to read your perspective!" And ErinInTx wrote, "Love the questions you asked, they are the exact same questions I hear when I first introduce someone to the madness!" Thanks to you both! It's encouraging to know that you and others appreciate hearing a newbie's perspective.

If you too are a #BB15 newbie (or at least remember what it's like), strategize with me @uselesstraffic.

Next from the Newbie Desk: Has Big Brother gone too far?