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Entries in newbie (19)

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!

Tuesday
Jul302013

Wash, Rinse, Repeat

The only thing which I didn't want to have happen last Thursday (July 25, 2013, during #BB15 episode 13) is exactly what happened: Aaryn won Head of Household. Again.

This newbie's preference would have been for either of the following:

- For Amanda, Andy, Candice, Elissa, GinaMarie, Howard, Jessie, or Spencer to win ... so that we could see how things would go in the house from an entirely different perspective, since they have not yet served as HOH. For example, I don't think I've heard Jessie say more than about ten words in the many hours I've watched the live feeds since starting around July 17. She doesn't seem to get much air time. McCrae gets air time ... but given how often he sleeps (usually not alone), his part in this show apparently isn't a speaking role.

- For Helen to get HOH again ... because she's my favorite house guest, and I hadn't bought in to #BB15 yet when she served in that role the first time.

The cameras give the most attention to whomever the HOH is and to the noisiest, most controversial, and/or most scheming of the house guests. When they're bothering to focus on talk, that is.

The feeds seem to devote hours to Amanda and McCrae sleeping (or ... not) under the covers during the day. Why don't they let us listen into more conversations? With 12 people there, isn't there pretty much somebody talking somewhere in the house? Their conversations don't have to be about the game to be more interesting than watching people nap (or ... not).

My first exposure to Big Brother -- not just during #BB15, but ever -- was when news of Aaryn's distasteful speech spilled over into mainstream media a few weeks ago, so I didn't exactly leap for joy when she was re-crowned. (Neither did most of the other house guests, if I read them right.) Just when I was getting into the show, it felt like we'd be in only for a summer rerun.

Even a newbie wonders if the producers conspire to give people like Aaryn more air time for spurious reasons. Being attractive can't hurt ratings.

All right, all right -- maybe not Helen again, even though my enthusiasm about her remains high. Not Helen or McCrae or Judd or Aaryn.

Why don't they disqualify previous Heads of Household from HOH competitions? As a newbie, it feels like the advantages to the show of an always-different-HOH would outweigh the disadvantages. Or if they're going to leave it open to everyone, should they make it extra difficult for previous HOHs to win?

How would you change HOH eligibility? Or should they leave it as-is? Comment below or hit me @uselesstraffic.

Next from the Newbie Desk: Responses to your comments and questions.

Saturday
Jul272013

Gamer, Winner, or Both?

Here at the BBG Newbie Desk, I endeavor always to come clean about how my biases affect my views. I prefer to live and work in uncluttered environments, for example, and I am more apt to open up to somebody who demonstrates similar mannerisms. I am inspired by those who naturally prioritize the people they care about before themselves. I tend to assume, perhaps naïvely, that each person is inherently good until she or he proves otherwise.

My earliest viewing of #BB15 was during a few evenings while Judd was Head of Household (HOH). The first time that I tuned into the live feeds during a morning, "The Helen Show" was on. It was Sunday, July 21 ... and for more than three hours starting at about 6:45a, Helen had the house to herself. Nobody else was awake. Apparently during a Power of Veto (POV) competition the day before, Helen caught a random "punishment" of an 8:00p curfew. She had to sequester herself from all other house guests; bathroom breaks were permitted but she couldn't talk with anybody. So Helen was well-rested and eager to start the next day.

It was Helen's activities that Sunday morning which I found to be both astonishing and endearing. Rather than adopting an attitude of "Big Brother punished me, so I'm gonna do whatever self-indulgent thing I want to right now, and I don't give a hoot about anybody else" -- and, be honest, who among us wouldn't consider doing exactly that -- Helen started cleaning up the messes everybody left around the place!

Exhibit one was the bathroom. Here's what Helen found (top photo) and then how she organized things (bottom):

The kitchen was exhibit two. Dirty dishes everywhere (top photo) and then dirty nothing anywhere (bottom):

Helen even bagged up the bathroom trash and windexed the kitchen mirrors:

Only after Helen had devoted two hours to cleaning did she take time for herself to make breakfast and go jogging:

I've also seen Helen cooking huge meals (spaghetti, something called "slop balls", etc.) for the entire house several times ... and only once did I see another house guest (Andy) actually thank her for it.

Even so, while catching up with some of what I missed during the first month of #BB15, I keep reading how people say Helen is too bossy and/or too much into delivering lectures even after her week as HOH was up.

But doesn't Helen's repeated selflessness earn the right to be fully engaged in conversations with other house guests, pushing whatever strategic agenda (whether of her design or someone else's) she wants? She takes care of her fellow house guests in ways they neither realize nor thank her for, so I don't see how her frequent cooking and cleaning could be interpreted as manipulative. We don't call Judd or Spencer or even Amanda "bossy" when they push their agendas.

Not, of course, that Helen has to "earn the right." It's a game, and she's playing it -- quite expertly, from my albeit not-yet-very-educated perspective. It's true that I might be biased for having not tuned into #BB15 until after Helen's HOH week. Perhaps you have more reasons to dislike her than to root for her. I can respect that, but I'm in a different place.

The true measure of a person is found in what she or he does when nobody is watching. (In this equation, Internet viewers don't count.) Whether Helen is enough of a gamer to last longer than everybody else in the #BB15 house remains to be seen. But in my book, Helen is already a winner.

Are you already on Team Helen? Or if not, why not? Comments welcome below or find me @uselesstraffic.

Next from the Newbie Desk: What do you do when the only thing you don't want to have happen happens?

Friday
Jul262013

Confessions of a Newbie

Short, shameful confession: I've gone bat sh!t crazy.

Just wanted to acknowledge that from the get-go ... because I'm completely new to everything Big Brother, and all of you are very not.

It has taken me 10 days just to learn what questions to ask. Jumping for the first time into BB about four weeks into the 15th season is about as easy as starting "The Sopranos" at season 6, episode 21, about 55 minutes in. I get it that the big, brooding guy must be Tony, so that's probably his wife and kid he's meeting at a diner. But who is the sophisticated young woman trying to park the Lexus outside? Why are those other guys looking at Tony kind of strangely? Is somebody about to get whacked? And then the camera cuts to ... fish. Er ... darkness. WTF?

Even if it took me a week and a half to start understanding the show, it really only took me about an hour and a half watching the live feeds to get hooked on #BB15. But that's where the crazy starts coming in. Who are all these people? This one seems very plain-spoken ... That guy is big but mostly quiet ... She seems funny ... That other woman is very conniving ... My goodness, these people are all beautiful ... Wait, did she just tell that guy exactly the opposite of what she told the woman in that other room?

The rooms! This house is absolutely astonishing. Mirrors everywhere -- ah, that's obviously so they can film from every angle. Different colors, patterns, and shapes in every last spot, almost to a visual overload level. Hmmm. It's going to take a while to learn everybody's names, I thought to myself, so why don't I try to just understand the house?

The Cockpit Room? Really?!So I loaded up the CBS web site's BB home page to learn about the house itself, and found ... nothing.

Then I tried a half-dozen different Google searches ... and I found numerous floor plans, all are which are generic or customized to previous seasons.

Crazy! The house guests talk about specific rooms and I was able to visually recognize some of them, but I still couldn't quite grok where some spaces actually exist in the building.

Time for expert help. I texted my friend Indy Mike (yes, that one), and the conversation went something like this:

Mike: here's a map of the main floor from BB12 - the "Cabanna" room is now the "Cockpit" and the "Taj" bedroom is the "Have Not" bedroom.

me: is the Cockpit room kind of divided into two, like maybe with the fuselage of a plane?  or maybe i get confused by the different camera angles.

Mike: it's a big room with the photo booth and a U shaped seating area

me: oh, so the photo booth is in the middle of the U, and it looks like an airplane?

Mike: middle of the U? No, there's nothing in the middle.

me: wait, what? so where's the room that has the airplane seats and the airplane overhead bins, with the walls decorated with the split-flap display boards reading "CANCELLED" and "DELAYED"?

Mike: That's the "have not" room - the "Taj" bedroom on the map

me: the room with the airplane stuff isn't called the Cockpit room?!

Mike: nope - they call that the "Have Not" room. Cockpit room has images of planes as well. The HGs make up the names themselves.

me: So the Cockpit Room does not, at least in the camera angle usually shown, look particularly aeronautical ... while the "Have Not" room has nothing but airplane parts and airport images? Go figure.

Will the real cockpit room please stand up?Definitely crazy! And then there's all this:

What's an HOH? POV? DR? Have-not? Twist? How does an HG become MVP and what does that involve? 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? How often do they have competitions, and for what? How and when do HGs get whacked -- er, evicted? When it gets down to two people, how do they decide who wins? Finally, how come the fish never gets called to the diary room?

That last one is a (bad) joke -- sorry. And at this point, closing in on two weeks since I started orbiting this crazy world, most of those questions are, for me, now rhetorical. 

HelenOh, one more wish: Captions! Please give me captions! During the thrice-weekly broadcasts on CBS, when host Julie Chen mentions a specific house guest by name, they very kindly cut to video of that person. Very helpful! But I wish they would occasionally caption the live feeds with the house guests' names, given that some of them only rarely look much like their photos. (I'd love to see captions on all the photos included in this blog, too -- but as the new guy, my suggestions will be kept mostly to myself.)

Ash, Scott, Mike, and the others here have forgotten more about BB than I'll ever learn. Their episode summaries and analyses are awesome; I won't be trying to do any of that. Instead, I hope simply to provide occasional thoughts and questions from a newbie's perspective ... starting next time with this: How come nobody here likes Helen?

Except me, it seems. And I really like Helen.

Which undoubtedly to you makes me ... wait for it! ... bat sh!t crazy.

 

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