Big Brother Gossip Search
Recent Posts
Subscribe to the Big Brother Live Feeds
Navigation
Subscribe to the Big Brother Live Feeds
Get The Live Feeds
Subscribe to the Big Brother Live Feeds
Click for FREE 2 Day Trial
Big Brother Gossip Show

I now have a website set up where you can go to hear current and old episodes of the Big Brother Gossip podcast.  Please go to BigBrotherPodcast.com!

 

The Season's Authors

Click for their posts.

Ash

IndyMike

Scott

Target John

Twitter Feeds

Syndication Links

Entries in Zach (15)

Thursday
Sep252014

Big Brother 16 Season Finale Results - The $450K Mistake

Cody makes an unconvincing argument to jurors as to why he, rather than Derrick, should win.By ignoring the "rules," Cody lost $450,000 in last night's Big Brother 16 season finale. Let's all turn to page 37 of the handbook, shall we? See right there in the middle of the page? It says "Be loyal to the alliance(s) you've made ... right up until loyalty is bad for your game. When that happens, be disloyal, deceitful, and/or duplicitous. Because this is a game, and you're here to win!"

The only scenario in which Derrick would not have won the grand prize would have been for Cody to become the final HOH and have chosen to evict Derrick. The jury would not have picked Victoria over Cody. Most house guests never especially liked her, and it was obvious to the jury that Victoria was allowed to stay in the game only because she was completely inept at competitions. A couple of jurors might have thrown a sympathy vote Victoria's way, but the majority would have awarded Cody the half-mil. It would have been an easy win.

Cody did beat Derrick in part 3 of the final HOH comp -- it even required the tie-breaker question. But for reasons which evade all logic and common sense, Cody evicted Victoria! And then the jury did exactly what we've predicted pretty much all season: They voted overwhelmingly (7-2) for Derrick over Cody. Derrick won the $500,000 grand prize (not to mention a thoroughly ridiculous Team America bonus prize of an additional $50K).

As the runner-up, Cody won a mere $50,000. Cody, Cody, Cody. What were you thinking?!

Left: Final HOH part 2 comp, a physical + memory test; Derrick needed only 15 minutes, Victoria took twice as long. Right: Final HOH part 3 comp, a mental test; Cody beat Derrick in tie-breaker.

Congratulations to Derrick. He was the master analyst, strategist, and manipulator from Day 1.

By the way, once again this is John writing, not Scott -- so this isn't one of Scott's play-by-play recaps but just a summary of the episode's results.

Julie prepares to announce who won America's Favorite Player. Notice that Media Mogul positioned himself exactly where he'd get the most camera time. Typical.Zach would have been my choice for favorite, deserving of some reward for all the Team American manipulation he unwittingly endured. But I'm not unhappy Donny got it. Good guy.After Julie announced that Derrick won, the only remaining drama was to find out which house guest won America's Favorite Player and its $25,000 prize. Over 10 million votes were cast, Julie said, the most in Big Brother history.

If Julie had one true surprise for us in the #BB16 90-minute live finale, it was this: The three house guests who received the most votes from fans were ... Donny, Nicole, and Zach!

FRANKIE WAS SHUT OUT! I was absolutely astonished! So much for being Ariana's brother! 

With more than 5 million votes, America's Favorite Player is ... Donny!

So that's it! Big Brother 16 is officially over. Not to worry -- CBS has already announced that Big Brother has been renewed for two more seasons.

Meanwhile, want to see how they do it overseas? Big Brother Australia's 2014 season just got started a couple weeks ago. I've been watching #BBAU for the first time and am finding it to be highly entertaining. It's very different from the CBS version -- actually, it's more accurate to say that the CBS version is the unusual one, as #BBAU's format is the one predominant around the world. I'll be writing more about #BBAU here soon, but check out IndyMike's #BBAU 2014 playlist right here.

A couple more #BB16 finale photos:

Newly declared #BB16's winner, Derrick exits the house.Media Mogul realizes that he's not even one of America's top three favorite house guests.Thanks, everybody, for reading Big Brother Gossip all season long! As usual, there will be occasional semi-relevant posts during the off-season. And of course we'll be back for #BB17.

I did appreciate Derrick's game skills. Unfortunately, there just wasn't anybody else in the house who could come close to playing like that! No competing alliances of substance formed. Julie repeatedly asked evicted house guests who was running the house, and time after time (until Donny) they had no clue it was Derrick. This made the live feeds rather boring week after week, and the TV episodes were wholly predictable. My hope for next season is for drama! Several strong, strategic game players to form multiple, competing alliances! NO STUNT CASTING!! Any and all comments about #BB16, #BBAU, and/or your hopes for #BB17 are welcome in the comments below or @uselesstraffic.

Wednesday
Sep242014

Guide to the #BB16 Season Finale

What Derrick has wanted in this game, Derrick has eventually gotten. Now he wants the grand prize. It's difficult to think of a scenario in which he wouldn't get the required five jury votes. The only apparent obstacle to a #BB16 win for Derrick is Cody, who would have to do two things:

  • Cody has to win part 3 of the final HOH comp, giving him the power to evict one of the two other remaining house guests.
  • And Cody would have to be disloyal to Derrick, recognizing that he (Cody) has a better chance of winning if he takes Victoria to the final two rather than Derrick. (The jury would reward Cody for his comp wins and for being a generally likable guy; they've never been enamoured with Victoria. But Cody versus Derrick? The jury has more reasons to vote for Derrick.)

Cody certainly has a great shot at becoming the season's final HOH. He hasn't shown any willingness this season to make big moves when he had the power -- but evicting Derrick would be the biggest move of all, and doing so would be absolutely essential to Cody's game. Will Cody do it? In a predictable season which revolved around Derrick, which produced no competing alliances (like #BB15's allies of Amanda vs. allies of Helen), and in which the producers' twists resulted in no significantly-changed outcomes, will Cody finally treat viewers to something unexpected in the #BB16 season finale?

We find out tonight (Wednesday, September 24, 2014) at 9:30p Eastern during a live broadcast (tape delayed on the west coast). Here's how the show might play out.

- Julie's brief show intro.

- A couple minutes of clips from the entire season.

- Julie talks about what's coming up during the 90-minute finale while they show the final three sitting in the living room. For at least the third year in a row (I didn’t research further back than #BB14), the finalists consist of two men and one woman.

- The conclusion of Part 1 of the three-part final Head of Household competition (recorded last Wednesday night live on the feeds, and a portion shown in last Friday’s TV episode), with related clips and Diary Rooms. As usual, it was an endurance comp. Victoria lost early on; Derrick and Cody discussed for a few minutes who would have the better chance of winning the next part, and then Derrick dropped off the wall. So Cody won part 1.

- Part 2 of the HOH comp (recorded last Friday), again with clips and DRs. Footage of part 2 has not been aired yet. You know from the Ticker graphic at right that Derrick won over Victoria, likely ending Victoria’s chance at winning any monetary prize. Part 2 is typically a combination physical / mental comp, e.g. hunt for objects representing each house guest, then place those objects in a specific order requiring accurate memory.

- 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. (Cody has a seemingly unbreakable alliance with Derrick. Victoria also believes she has an alliance with Derrick, but only an HOH win would have cemented any real power for her. My dream that Victoria had been throwing every competition all season long to surprise us in the three-part final HOH comp was ... Yeah, maybe in some other universe.)

- Dr. Will returns to host the jury's "round table" discussion. We'll see jury reactions to Frankie's and Caleb's evictions. (Or does the Dr. Will segment happen slightly earlier in the finale? At any rate, Dr. Will, winner of #BB2, makes an appearance with the #BB16 jury.)

- Part 3 of the final HOH competition between Derrick and Cody airs live -- everything is live from this point on. It will be a memory quiz of some sort, and the winner is guaranteed at least second place in #BB16 and a $50,000 prize.

- The HOH winner will evict one of the other two. Derrick and Cody have a “final two alliance” called the Hit Men, so the expectation here is that they will remain (blindly) loyal to it and evict Victoria, regardless of who becomes HOH.

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

- Julie introduces each of the jurors as they reenter the studio and talks with them a bit. Julie reveals that Victoria (unless something highly unexpected happens) is the last evictee.

- The jurors chat with the final two.

- The finalists each make one last “why I deserve this” speech.

- Each juror steps forward to say a word or three to the finalists ... and to cast his/her vote. In previous years, the juror inserted one of two keys (each key has a finalist's name on it) into slots in a box to vote; not sure whether they will have come up with a different way to vote this year since they had revamped the weekly nomination “mechanism.”

- We might have a visit from non-jury house guests (those evicted early in the season).

- Then the big moment arrives: Julie reveals each juror's vote ... and the #BB16 winner is announced! Five votes are needed to decide the $500,000 grand prize winner.

- 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. We are hoping Zach wins since he so often was the unwitting pawn who helped Team America score some dough. But it’s difficult to imagine that the producers’ stunt casting of Frankie, with his pop star sister’s millions of fans, won’t have caused the ballot box to be stuffed here.

That’s how tonight’s live season finale might go. Thanks very much for reading Big Brother Gossip again this year! We all appreciate that you’re here.

I’m working on at least one more post for this season, coming in the next few days, which compares Big Brother Australia 2014 to what I’ve seen in #BB15 and #BB16. Please stay tuned! Meanwhile, what are your overall impressions of Big Brother 16? What would had to have happened for somebody else to win? Did the season unfold as you expected? Comment below or @uselesstraffic.

Sunday
Sep212014

Another Shade of Reality: Utopia

What say we review Utopia from a disgruntled Big Brother viewer’s perspective? No? What, do you think #BB16 is providing worthwhile live feed viewing today? Okay, gotcha on that one.

This post is long, I admit. But if you’re reading this during business hours, stare at your screen and furrow your brow such that colleagues who wander by will assume you’re very busy with important things.

Consider the very basics: Why do we watch television?

Highly watchable characters, whether or not we like them as people, are what draw us to television. When we identify with characters, we just have to know what happens to them ... so we never miss an episode, whatever the show.

This show's format worked so remarkably well that its characters were interchangeable.TV has also given us formats which are so compelling that we tune in episode after episode even with only tenuous personal connections to the people.

It’s just a few days from the Big Brother 16 season finale ... and I honestly don’t care who wins. The people I especially wanted not to win (Devin, Frankie, and Caleb) got evicted, and the people I half-heartedly followed (Donny and Zach) are long gone as well. No house guest emerged as my favorite this season, and I’m wondering if watching amounted to wasted effort.

What makes any show worth watching? Likable characters and/or compelling formats. Or vice versa. Plenty of shows are highly watchable when central characters are well-written even if they’re people we’d avoid in real life.

It was easy to get invested in Walter White.Think of Breaking Bad's Walter White. This guy was an underpaid under-appreciated high school chemistry teacher with a wife, a kid, a junky car, an ordinary middle-class house in suburbia, and a life savings of only a few thousand dollars. Who among us can't identify with Walter? It made him likable and compelling from the very first episode -- enough so that we wanted to follow his (mis)adventures to the very end, even as his misanthropic selfishness vanquished his humanity.

Or think Tony Soprano. Despite being ruthless, evil, and utterly devoid of moral restraint in the running of his business affairs, Tony's struggle with mental health, his love for his children (misguided though his expressions of love sometimes were), and his intense desire to achieve and gain more (more wealth, more respect, more recognition, more validation) gave us a personal connection to his ... I'll call it his unique humanity. We laughed and cried with him. We rooted for him. We wanted him to win.

You didn't have to like Tony Soprano or his crew. But you couldn't not watch.Or how about compelling formats? Law and Order aired for 20 years and spawned numerous successful spinoffs despite having a revolving cast who played characters with little depth. The format itself proved compelling and long-lasting: Investigate a crime, catch the bad guy(s), take them to court, and reveal the winner (the cops & attorneys or the accused).

Popular daily game shows -- think Price Is Right and Jeopardy -- are similarly compelling because we understand the format and, by playing along, feel like we're part of it.

We have written much here at Big Brother Gossip about why #BB16 was disappointing. House guests who outright failed to play the game (including some who barely understood what was happening), predictable competitions, ridiculous twists which served only to make a tired format even less compelling, stunt casting, etc. #ExpectTheExpected week after week.

Could a new American reality show shake things up for CBS’s Big Brother? That’s exactly what we’re wondering about Fox’s new Utopia. Isolated from the outside world on several acres in the country, 14 people from wildly diverse backgrounds are trying to build a new society from scratch, starting with only a barn, plantable land, a $5000 start-up budget, and no modern amenities (at first, not even a toilet). There are 24/7 live feeds (some free, some paid) and televised recap episodes on Tuesdays and Fridays.

But there are no competitions. There is no grand prize. There will be no winner. That, to me, makes the format questionable. So are the people likable? Is there something which makes this program compelling? If you’ll pardon the Big Brother pun, the jury’s still out.

Utopia's five acre compound.The predominating feeling I had after watching Utopia’s first two episodes was that irrational anger does not make for good entertainment. It was anger loudly on display by unlikable people. It was puzzling, actually. When you find yourself amongst a group of strangers with whom you know you'll be spending some time, aren't you usually on your best behavior for a while? I found myself wondering if Utopia's producers engineered the conflict (a la Big Brother), misguidedly thinking it would make for better TV.

In your face! The majority of the men were arguing, sometimes violently, in the first day they were there.It didn’t. In fact, for me, the conflict had the opposite effect: I might not stick around to find out if anybody is likable / relatable (as Walter White was) or at least compelling (Tony Soprano). Absence of conflict would be off-putting too -- but until we find a reason to watch a show, its characters should avoid motivating us to change channels.

So if the people are (potentially) repelling, is Utopia’s format compelling? Not yet sure about that, either.

Utopia is somewhat like a "My Summer Camping Trip" home movie, albeit one obviously produced with professional-grade video cameras. But who wants to watch camping trips in slow motion on TV? They tried to create drama over the notion of running out of money, but viewers won't care. (Name for me, please, one viewer anywhere who thinks they will be allowed to starve on national television. They've already aired paramedics and doctors visiting on multiple occasions.)

Utopians celebrate newly-run electricity in the barn.Utopia had a beginning ... but there's no discernible middle or end on the way in a few weeks or months for viewers to look forward to. That's a huge problem. We are conditioned by Big Brother (not to mention scripted TV and another major televised competition thing which seems to be catching on -- I think they call it football) to earn the reward of a "winner" when we invest viewing time. And characters (or teams) to root for or bemoan along the way.

There are no Big Brother- or Survivor-style competitions on Utopia. Watching people plant gardens (or not), milk cows, raise chickens (or argue about dead ones), and sit around outside is dull. (Big Brother's annually-repeated predictable comps are dull for different reasons. But each has a beginning and end, loser and winner, enabling viewers to feel like they've accomplished something in the watching.)

It also occurs to me that there is a basic dichotomy between Utopia and the TV network on which it's airing. The Utopians, we are told, are there to build an ideal society from scratch. They must set aside their many differences ultimately to come together in harmony toward common goals.

Hanging around outside.But if there is a major television network (family of networks) whose brand image is the antithesis of societal harmony, which one immediately comes to mind? Right. Fox is entirely about dividing the country, not about bringing us together. Fox fosters the lack of basic civility in our national conversation and then they televise it and profit from it.

Why on earth is this show on Fox? Shouldn't it be on a channel like TLC, Discovery, Oprah Winfrey Network, PBS, or any channel known for documentaries? TLC was once known as "The Learning Channel" before it veered into quasi-reality faire such as Kate Plus 8, Extreme Couponing, Sister Wives, and LA Ink. If they could possibly clear time by canceling drivel like Toddlers & Tiaras and Honey Boo Boo, each of which destroys human dignity in its own unique way, TLC might have a theme-fitting show in Utopia -- one whose premise, at least, is worth consideration.

Indeed, I do find a few redeeming qualities to Utopia. There are people from all walks of life (city, country, presumed varying levels of education and access to money), and many ethnicities are represented. The conflict I've seen so far seems to have been based on their controversial behavior and differences in ideas or their implementation, not on personal backgrounds. That's an important silver lining to Utopia's odd drama.

I like that religion and faith are represented but also that secularism and atheism are there too -- and that while these Utopians are clearly welcome to discover new expressions of spirituality (there was a Christian baptism, for example), the disinterested seem to remain welcome members of the tribe.

It is refreshing that there is a greater (if less than total) acceptance of the human body. Many Utopians have found a European or dare we say aboriginal comfort with the notion that at times clothing is neither warranted nor practical, e.g. when swimming or when neither the climate nor the specific activity requires its protective qualities. American society is paradoxical and puritanical about nudity. We are completely desensitized to death and violence in media ... but simple non-sexual, non-lewd nudity makes people crazy.

Example: Do you remember that when Titanic arrived in movie theaters, Americans made far more of a fuss over their children seeing a momentary glimpse of Kate Winslet's breast than they did over their children seeing graphic depictions of the horrific deaths of a thousand people? I digress, but get your priorities straight, people.

Regardless of Utopia's harmless nudity, media pounced on it as controversial. Fox undoubtedly welcomed the publicity.And although I complain that Utopia is basically "televised camping," the outdoor environment is nice. The setting itself provides a welcome departure from the endless city streets / urban decay / guns / screaming sirens / death / destruction that usually fill primetime television.

I am not convinced that Utopia’s format is fundamentally flawed or that the show will not find a following if Fox sticks with it long enough. But neither the show’s first few episodes nor the network on which it’s being aired bode well for Utopia’s longevity, in my view. Although DVR viewership has helped, ratings haven't been kind so far. Repeats on other networks had more viewers than new Utopia episodes, and Fox could dump Utopia when its baseball coverage disrupts the schedule next month (if not sooner).

Reality fans who like the “isolate people outside of the real world” genre might be stuck only with a 2015 edition of Big Brother’s tired format.

More Utopia reading: A writer got to visit the Utopia compound before the cast arrived. Also, Slate.com’s Utopia review delves brilliantly into the initial cast and the conflicts of their first few days.

Big Brother Australia just started its 2014 season a couple weeks ago, and I’ve been enjoying it. What could CBS learn from #BBAU? I’m planning to write about that in a few days. Share your thoughts about Utopia in the comments below or @uselesstraffic.

Saturday
Aug232014

Big Brother Gossip Show #410: Pink Hat

Ok, Colette Lala was not with us this week, as she was on a special top secret mission for us tonight. We struggled to put on a quality broadcast, but I think we somehow managed. We discussed the Team America fiasco, Victoria's destruction of Zach's hat, Zach's eviction, and everything else that happened over the past week.

Grab this from the usual sources such as iTunes and Stitcher, or...

CLICK HERE TO DIRECTLY STREAM OR DOWNLOAD!!!

Thanks to Mike for helping us get to almost 2 1/2 hours, and also Ash for assisting us with the audio. Don't worry, folks. Colette will be back next week!!!