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Holy Double Jackpot Batman!
Travis Eberle

There are a few things that happen this time every year that are subtle clues that it's summer time. Kids running around on the streets, the Mariners are eliminated from the playoff race, and Big Brother comes back to TV.

This year has been a weird one for me. It was billed as a "Summer of Secrets," but the secrets have been going by the wayside. The double jackpot was revealed way too early, and even so, the players had figured out that there were secret partners by the second week. As the kids on the schoolyard used to say "If I told you, it wouldn't be a secret anymore, would it?"

So, on that note, Big Brother kinda blew it. But on the other hand, they've made some big strides. This year introduced several intricate puzzles for the players to solve along the way: the combination to the gym room, the 'gold room,' and the Golden Safes inside. Watching the players agonize over how to open the rooms, then rejoice as they are given the solution by a benevolent Big Brother is a treat. After all, I grew up with puzzle-inspired video games, where you had to put together clues in order to find the way through the seventh dungeon, or to retrieve a key from behind the waterfall. The puzzle element is something I hope Big Brother keeps for a very long time. While I enjoy this new tweak, I'm disappointed with the players coming to grips with the nature of the game.

Every year, players seem overcome when they have to lie, cheat and steal to get their hands on the $500,000. Have they not watched previous seasons? Dirty tactics are par for the course ever since 2001. Backdoor dealing, duplicity, and shifting alliances are part of the game. They have been, and they will continue to be as long as the game is played this way. It's fun to watch some people squirming when they realize that the Veto competition has been jiggered so that a disliked houseguest has no way to defend against himself. Or watching as the final group of six bargains with Satan himself to get another week in the house.

Some have compared Big Brother to Indoors Survivor, and there's a bit of truth to that; you have routine evictions, and shifting power, but the similarities end there. Big Brother is a fantastic exercise in strategy and planning, along with interesting competitions, and typically interesting characters. You will not be disappointed if you join in at this point.

Travis Eberle is a Big Brother, a responsibility he takes seriously. If you'd like to see him host the show, rather than Julie Chen, e-mail him at:


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