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Entries in newbie (19)

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?

Thursday
Aug012013

Coming Soon: The BBG Ticker

While we're in the closing minutes of the weekly eviction show, I want to show you something we're working on bringing to the site: the Big Brother Gossip Ticker.

Here's what it would look like as of Wednesday, July 31, 2013:

The idea is to provide very detailed information throughout the week, hopefully updated within a few hours of nominations, competitions, evictions, etc. We'll see if this works out -- but please be patient because we have day jobs!