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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Big Brother 2014: What Went Wrong?

It’s pretty clear that the sixteenth season of Big Brother is a failure. In all of the years I’ve been watching, blogging, and/or podcasting the show, I’ve never found so much apathy in the fan base. My twitter feed used to overload during network broadcasts, and it would take an hour to catch up with the overnight posts in the morning. I now see more Utopia updates in my timeline than anything Big Brother-related.

What went wrong?

It’s easy to blame Frankie. He is in my opinion the worst person ever cast on the show, and even mainstream websites are starting to report on his diva ways. As I’ve stated before, since he outed his famous sister and his own supposed online celebrity status, he’s strutted around the house like it’s his personal stage. Everybody else is just an extra to the Frankie show.

It’s also easy to complain about the twists. We were promised the “most twisted season ever”, but there were really only two twists, and both the dual HOH’s and Team America were disasters. Otherwise, it’s been the same competitions and the same returning player gimmicks that we see every year. When the contestants whose only knowledge of the game is the DVD’s provided to them before the season starts know what’s going to happen every week there is a problem.

That still doesn’t fully explain why fans are leaving in droves.

The real answer is a bit more subtle. Like a high school boy mesmerized by his classmate’s short skirts, week after week we’re being teased mercilessly. Every Sunday or Monday, we have a glimmer of hope that the season will be saved. For a few hours, or a day or two, there’s a strong possibility of a big move.

Week after week feed watchers are played like fools.

Typically, it all begins with an idea that it’s time to blindside a so-called strong player. Hours of conversations are held; scenarios are played out. Quite often, the decision is made to make the big move.

Just as quickly as the idea is sprung, it’s deflated. A “voice of reason”, aka Derrick, decides it’s not the right time to make this move, and some combination of Victoria, Nicole, Donny, and Jocasta have remained on the block. From Monday afternoon to Thursday’s eviction, there’s been little worth viewing.

Most viewers can be ok with this type of turn of events once or twice. We’re now at weeks and weeks of this exact same scenario. I’m tired of it, and I know I’m not alone.

What is sort of funny about this lame season is that a lot of the blame goes to a player who was dispatched the second week of the season. Remember how we laughed and laughed when Devin (who?) created that alliance that included almost the entire house? It’s because of his work that a group of five have controlled the house ever since. They’ve been a part of every week’s HOH, and have orchestrated every set of nominees. Even when their plans don’t work out, they’ve been able to regroup and ultimately end up with that combo of noms I already mentioned.

This week was no different than the week before, or the week before that. As you’ll see on tonight’s broadcast, Caleb had a moment of clarity on Sunday, and for a few hours it looked like our long summer nightmare could be dispatched. Frankie was all but guaranteed to be evicted, but Derrick (along with some paranoia-inducing chatter from Frankie) convinced Caleb it wasn’t the time to do this. When will it be?

It’s really time for CBS to step in and fix the show. Forget about “twists” or stuntcasts. Stop recruiting in bars. Don’t call a person a “superfan” just because she made t-shirts of the cute, nerdy boys. Find people who have some knowledge of the game, but not enough that they’ll be too guarded to let loose on the live feeds. Mix up the competitions. Do something to fix this mess, as it’s looking more and more outdated every year!



  1. "....but Derrick convinced Caleb it wasn’t the time to do this. When will it be?"

    That's just not true! Derrick finally said evict Frankie and Caleb backed off saying he was afraid that Ariana's millions would hate him.

    (And evicting Nicole is best for Derrick's game but Cody pushed hard for Frankie so Der finally said yes - then Caleb said no.)

  2. Expect the expected... this season is so BORING..... tired of a bunch of twenty-somethings playing this game... mix it up... one thirtysomething guy got picked on the whole show.. the thirtysomething woman went home fast. Boring contestants, boring results...

    My twist... person who wins veto decides who goes on the block...

  3. Wow! What an excellent analysis. You nailed it. Thanks.

  4. I'm one of those people who quit watching. I usually hate it when people complain about their favorite player getting voted out and threatening to quit after, usually because they either don't really follow through with it, or because it just sounds so childish. But now I am in the same boat. Yep, I'm a big ol' hypocrite. After Zach was voted out, I took a look at what was left and realized that my time is too precious to spend watching this house-full of bores. But you are right. It's a combo of Frankie being the worst, and the constant lack of drama/big moves/unanimous votes. I love to watch this game because of the strategy involved. At the beginning of the season I was way impressed with Derrick. But holy shit after so many weeks of watching him do his thing and none of these idiots catching on says less to me about Derrick and more to me about the rest of the house. Who would have thought that it would have been Country Bumpkin to be the one who figured it out. But by then it was too late.

    One thing I disagree with you and Mike and Colette every week on, though, is your wish for them to stop recruiting in bars and whatnot. I wish they would cast a bunch of people who have never seen the show, have no idea what they are in for, have never used the terms "Throw under a bus" "Blood on my hands" and "Backdoor". Don't even give them DVDs in sequester. Just give them the basic overview of what they are about to do and set them loose. I want a house full of Big Brother virgins who have no idea how to play the game and figure it out as they go along, not anticipate Double Evictions, Zingbot, OTEV, or endurance comps.

    I've rambled on too long for a comment. Sorry!

  5. I equate this to a Lucy with the football scenario. We're just al tired of being Charlie Brown.

  6. I want to thank you for watching this season, I can see it has not been fun at all.
    I think they should start the season by letting all the members in the habitat at the same time. Yes it will be chaotic but what is wrong with that?
    Could it be that compared to last year and all the controversy is making this year seem bland?
    I think BB went out of their way to find people with no prejudices but Devin, Jocasta and Jojo, even Amber are out of the house aren't they?
    If Frankie was not in the house it would be even more boring and he has no real pal or even a foe to make a dynamic duo, good or bad. (yes I know about the rape comment.) Zack should have been that person, he would have put Frankie in his place it think.
    You are so right this season is so boring, I am routing for no one.
    Again thank you for keeping us updated. I found your link on Online Big Brother's page.

  7. Thanks JML! :)

    Katie, Derrick went back and forth on whether he was for it or against it. At various times, he said both. I guess you can make an arguement whether what he was saying led to Caleb's change of mind, but it was after the fact the Derrick said it was a big mistake. Convenient.

  8. Big Brother Rat.....

    I think we all would agree that it would be 100% fine to recruit from bars and strip malls and pedi-cabs as long as everyone was recruited that way and none of them knew about Big Brother and they didn't have them power watch the last 5 seasons before the show began. But if even a couple 'fans' with some common sense get on that season it would mess things up - throw in a complete batch of newbies and let them sink or swim without the help of production spoon feeding them previous seasons.

    Indymike (logged in as my admin account - doh!!)

  9. I think the problem is that Derrick is too good, and the other kids are too scared or naïve to challenge him or too oblivious to realize what's happening. He's been in control almost the entire season which doesn't allow for much drama. Either fill the house with 30-somethings who know how to play the game (imagine 5-10 Derricks fighting for power) or a bunch of newbies who have no clue and let them figure it out. You don't have to play the game the same way it's been played forever. I think it'd be fun to see a bunch of kids who have no idea what they're getting into figure it out. That being said, for now, I'm still watching. I think it has to get more interesting in the next couple of weeks, right??

  10. I would also argue that Derrick decided not to push for Frankie to go after a point early Monday morning. Derrick pushes - doesn't shove - when it comes to making changes. I think he could have got Caleb to put up Frankie on Monday but decided the mess it would create was not worth it and pulled back.

    I blame Derrick for a lot of this season's issues as I tweeted earlier today. His ability to control a lot of the other HGs and his apparent want/need to keep the drama low has lead to the constant unanimous votes that leaves everyone content as the watch the latest evictee's picture change to b/w.

  11. This is my first season watching live feeds occasionally and keeping up with gossip twitter accounts that watch the feeds 24/7. I never realized how much production messes with the game. It's pathetic enough it's the same comps every year but even worse that it seems to be in the same order. The fact that players just guess that double evic is coming seems odd. Probably hinted in the DR I'm guessing. IMO Derek has played the best this season, working with the cards he's been dealt. It's sad to think well never see a true puppet master like dr will in the house again. Good times, good times.

  12. I still predict his micromanaging will be his undoing.

    It will all depend just how much the jurors actually talk.

    I was watching Derrick talk to Nicole today and was just floored. He basically lectured her for actually having a negative thought about him. He threw out his daughter's name a bunch of time, and whined that he expected an apology from her after the show.

    He did the same thing with Donny last week...and really all of them. I don't expect the likes of Jocasta to figure things out, but Donny never bought Derrick's bullshit. If Donny and Nicole talk, their could be an upset at the finale if Derrick makes it that far.

    Derrick didn't need to have that convo today, just like he didn't last week. THey were unecessary.

  13. I've watched BB for years and there are always those people who call themselves fans and quit watching when their favorite player is evicted... It's a given every year it will happen. But like you my fan group friends are falling off the boards in droves.

    Derrick is playing an excellent game, hence the reason he will win this season. I've said it from week two and if he doesn't I will be shocked.

    Victoria... Really casting what were you thinking? She calls herself feisty, I call it predictable and boring... But every season has their floaters right.

    Frankie...Wow this dude is so self centered, self entitled, mean spirited and living in his sisters shadow it boggles my brain why he was picked. But then again it seems casting has to pick a gay man every season to fill some kind of quota.

    Christine, wow wonder if her marriage will survive the Cody showmance.

    Enough of my thoughts regarding the players... Really what I think is they need to bring some non BB fans onto the show, no past season DVD's, CHANGE UP THE COMPS so the players can't cheat their way to picking their winners, anyone who throws a comp has to be evicted and do away with the slop, keep the have not room but the eating issues when they have so much down time between shows just makes them sleep all the time. And whomever wins veto should pick the next HG to be nominated.

    This seasons twists had potential, but fell short big time!

  14. I've watched almost every season. This is definitely the most boring of them all. The only refreshing thing this season were that the woman looked like average, attractive people, not beauty queens, but unfortunately not very aggressive players. Not so for the men, very superficial and to an extent vain, Donny being the only down to earth, honest, average Joe. Don't get me started on the casting of Frankie, what a self-important, pompous ass. This season is so staged. They really need to mix up future casting, if they want people to continue to watch. Very disappointing after last years " the cast you love to hate."

  15. I also wanted to add how weird it is the amount of 12 year olds that comment on your tweets saying how much they hate derrek and what not. I mean, they change their name and picture to Zach or Nicole or Donny and hate everyone else except them. its fucking weird. and also creepy. has it always been like this?

  16. As much as I like Zach, his fan base is creepy. I must have at least 100 different followers (or the same person with multiple accounts) whose account name is some variation of Zach.

  17. Scott Thank you for everything that you do to make BB interesting You always find something that I missed and which even makes it mire interesting. One thing I would love to see is another all stars. Yes I know we have seen them all before, but these guys can play the game and do it well. I see Dr Will every once in a while and even thou i don't know him personally I am so tempted to ask him if asked would he do it again. then I chicken out. I believe production is happy with Frankie. He is doing exactally what production wants him to do, and that is to stir everything up. I don't think they care a rats ass about what comes out of his mouth just so that he does it Scott thank you . Much appreciated

  18. I didn't think about it that way, Scott. Devin probably was the one who might have made it more interesting. There has to be some way they can split up these giant alliances. Some way (cash) to get them to break up and make the game more interesting. I'm sick of the same players on the block: week after week after week.

  19. I don't disagree with BB Rat's or Scott's analysis/thoughts on casting. I would offer two scenarios I would like to see BB consider. First, cast a wide range of contestants. Include a few young pups, but also include people in their late 60's. Have people from a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds as well. Basically make the game the social experiment it was originally designed to be. In many ways, that's what makes this season of UK Celebrity Big Brother so great. Second, why not give us a season of All-stars vs Celebrities? Take a page from the UK book and run a four week season in January. I think that would be awesome depending on the cast.

    With all of that said, perhaps the best answer is to do a regular season using one of the International formats.

  20. You know, I don't think casting is the culprit. I think it's a lack of imagination in changing the formula - for challenges, punishments, rewards. They want to bring the audience into the game, but don't know how to do it in interesting ways. What about a contest in which they are each asked who the audience finds more funny/intelligent/manipulative/truthful etc. Derrick or Christine? Then Christine or Donny, etc. The person guessing correctly the most times, wins. In Celebrity BBUK they did something like that, and it led to a lot of fireworks (except that the celebs had to guess how one particular housemate ranked them). Sure, it might blow up some games, but if you did it in pairs like that, the results would be open to multiple interpretations. It's the type of thing that might make ppl think outside their little alliance boxes and perhaps make bolder moves.

    And... punishments (have nots, costumes) are dull, the hoh "rewards" get diluted because they are shared between alliance members. Give rewards that cannot be shared so that jealousies can brew.

    I don't know. Haven't given this lots of thought beyond the fact that I am bored and hope someone with some creativity can resurrect the show. Too often we blame the houseguests, but I think it's the structure itself that is predictable and dull. God, even the twists are essentially repeats, just renamed.

    Thanks for the post. It was nice to hear you voice many of my own musings.

  21. I am sick of both Frankie and Derrick. Has nobody figured it out that Derrick has been up on the block? He has made every decision in this game. Boring!!! Wish they got more interesting people in the house instead of vain, obnoxious people.

  22. These ideas are fantastic. I never watched before this season, and I am bored. Heard so many crazy things from friends who were obsessed but nothing interesting has happened.

    Question - is there a chance any of these ideas could make the show? I would love veto winner to pick the re-nom. It makes so much sense! Even the picking of the players would become great tv and nail-biting. I also think noms and re-noms should be immediate - before there is time to check in with everyone else. Make people play their own game and deal with the consequences of who gets upset. Things would have gone very differently this year if there was no time to 'calm someone down'. Just curious if cbs follows the fan feedback. You're handing them great ideas on a platter. Seems silly for them to ignore the suggestions.

  23. The costumes have ran their course. The only people who enjoy them are the Nicoke-types who (initially at least) looked at this as big brother summer camp.

  24. Man, I love some of CC's ideas above - especially allowing the veto winner to pick the re-nom! It adds a new level of strategy to the process.

    I just thought of a new type of reward. Perhaps the winner of a comp could be allowed to see a stream of tweets from fans for a very brief period of time (like 1-2 min). It would be randomized, and representative of several points of view. It would be secret knowledge, an advantage (but of course not too large a one). It would also be like a brief glimpse into their future, reading our views on their gameplay. While the players don't forget to perform for the cameras (especially given the many model/actors/moguls they tend to cast), I think they do forget how much we analyze their games. That is what is interesting, and anything that encourages thought along those lines would improve the game.

    Maybe, anyway. I do wish there was a way to express some of our concerns and ideas w/the network.


    This image I found on Reddit just about sums up the season.

    Derrick is the Wizard of Oz because he fools everyone around him; he's already at the end of the yellow brick road because he's already won the game.

    Frankie's the tin man because he has no heart.

    Caleb's the scarecrow because he has no brain.

    Cody's the lion because he has no courage.

    Christine is the Wicked Witch because people really don't like her. Also her laugh. Especially her laugh.

    Nicole is Dorothy because she "just wants to go home (I don't even like these people...)"

    Victoria is presumably being carried off by a flying crow-monkey somewhere out of the picture.

  26. I think the single biggest reason for this season being predictable and boring is the Dual HOH. The dual HOH allowed for the better game player to convince the lesser HOH to throw away their HOH. It is also the reason why no big players were put on the block- they would've been given 2 chances to become immune... and DOUBLE the chance of them having power and coming after you next week. And since 4 people were nominated every week, it caused everybody to be too afraid to go against the majority, thus leading to a unanymous vote every week- or else their chances of being put on the block is doubled what it used to be.

    The dual HOH is what really messed up this game. Not casting. Devon, Zach, Frankie, Donny: there are some memorable characters. The cast may have shown different personalities if they were allowed to play the real game.

  27. CBS answer to this will be a "All Star" season and just like with Rachel, Frankie will be in any future "All Star" seasons. It wouldn't surprise me if he tried the Amazing Race or Survivor next. I hate him.

  28. When the number of houseguests in the jury house is the same as the number of houseguests in the BB house, the audience should get to vote on which group they want to see continue. I know which group I'd pick this year. Can you imagine? Mass eviction, everyone trade places!

  29. I feel like the "anti-floater" twists that they have put into place the last 2 summers actually did the opposite and turned the whole house into floaters. Both this season and last season, the whole house voted together with one alliance running the game and God forbid anybody stand-up and go against the house. I'm so sick of this no blood on my hands mentality. It's Big Brother for goodness sakes, it's called gameplay!

  30. Check out Big Brother Australia 2012 for how it should be done. It's absolutely brilliant!

  31. I agree that this is the lamest cast ever. Even yesterday and today, Derrick is denying that an alliance exists to Verona and Nicole and they apologize to him for ever doubting him. Donny, the same thing last week. In his interviews he kept saying the same people were nominated due to battle of the block . Ughhh. ,Unbelievable! How many times do the same people have to be upstairs conspiring together, not go on the block and still the supposedly super fans can't put it together. Even though that was part of their own strategy, to have secret alliances.
    I'm not sure what can change to keep the hard core fans watching. TPTB like the way things are going cause the ratings are up in the demo they seek
    Only thing I can think of is if bloggers such as yourself and other big sites do a sit in and refuse to publicize the show or tweet or any such thing for a certain length of time And we the viewers refuse to watch until they actually do something unexpected.

    Some other things I've read or heard:
    Get rid of the have nots, it's way past any use. Go back to the food competitions and maybe useless people like Kathy and Violet won't stick around if everyone is denied alcohol or meat or dairy.
    Stop having Julie announce the vote total. Just say so and so you are evicted from the house. Maybe then it won't be everyone voting with the house. Give America one vote to evict.
    Have the Diamond Veto as a comp right at the start of the Season and you can use it anytime up until the F4. Nobody knows who has it. If that person is voted out it goes back in the game.
    We could vote on punishments if they break the rules like singing. Like washing dishes or doing laundry. Maybe then the house won't be so messy.Have them do chores for rewards. After all they want to stack the house with Juveniles , treat them as such.
    Have a better ratio of young and old, racial, ethnic, and sexual orientation HG. Not just the token flamboyant gay guy. Have several gay people and nobody knows that unless they choose to inform the rest of the house. . Maybe we could have a real gay showmance that happens organically. Maybe we could have hot mature men and women that might make a love connection. Let it happen instead of forcing it with a bunch of empty headed wanna be underwear models.and most importantly, get all new Comps except for the classic OTEV and Zing bot and Face Morph. Have more random Comps that any one could win. Another reason not to just keep a Veranda for a vote around . Just some thoughts. Thanks for your time and effort you all put into the game. You all do more to keep us watching then TPTB.

  32. Thank you for writing this post. I have felt the same way about this season.

    First of all, let me start by saying that someone wrote that a Jocasta-type would not figure out that Derrick was actually running the house. Actually, earlier in the season, Jocasta said this same thing. She figured it out before everyone else in the house.

    What has bothered me about these past seasons is that the houseguest know what is going to happen when and spend a lot of time talking about it. The producers should mix things up a bit. Don't have competitions at the same time each season.

    The casting this particular season was lacking because it is basically people whom are relatively close in age. I was hoping to see a diverse group, in both age and race, of houseguest this season. Watching 20-somethings prance around talking about silly things is not very interesting. Also, this season the guys are particularly vain. It can be amusing to watch vain girls, but vain guys is just annoying.

    The casting of Frankie, I feel, is a gimmick that is backfiring. He is such a self absorbed person that he is turning people off. Whenever he is on the feeds or BBAD, I mute him.

    This season has left me wanted another season of previous houseguest.

  33. All great comments! I used to watch feeds, every show live and check my pocket Big Brother App. Now I haven't watched any episodes on the night they come on. Usually I catch up on Thursdays and fast forward Christine, Derrick and Frankie' s parts. I loved Donnie probably because I'm from his area. Even he was hard to watch at times. I can't believe how terrible this season is, I thought last year is still the worst but this is a close second...Thanks Scott you rock!

  34. I think one possible fix for the show is for the HOH to only get to nominate one person for eviction, and that nominee then nominates the 2nd person to sit beside them and also to pick a replacement nominee if the 2nd person takes themselves down with the POV.

  35. I have watched BB every year since it came on and this is the worst one ever. They are usually pretty entertaining and this is awful. I keep watching hoping something will happen and it never does. What a bunch of chickens. Something will have to happen here soon. Right?? I have never hated a season so bad. Only person I liked was Donny. Hate all the rest of them. I could give a flip who wins.