One of the things I look forward to when it
gets to mid-summer is the annual return of Big Brother. A dozen or so
attention-hungry new initiates engage in various competitions with the
aim to get opponents evicted and win the ultimate prize: $500,000.
But you probably knew that. After all, the show has been on the air in
this format since 2001. (The very first season, in 2000, was closer to
the international format: everyone nominates someone, and the two
least-liked are put up for a public phone-in vote and the loser is cut.
The other gets a yellow card reprieve. It didn't go so well here, so we
have what is essentially Indoors Survivor.)
What makes the show entertaining year after year is the challenges, the
new features, and the twists. But this year, I think the show bit off a
bit more than they could chew with the twist, and one player in
The 'twist' for this year is already done, but the idea was that each of
the thirteen competitors was part of a high school clique: either the
brains, the popular crowd, the athletes, or the “offbeats.” Back in my
day, these were called the “dorks,” but I guess we've moved on from
Anyway, if someone from your faction, er, clique won the head of
household competition, you were safe from being nominated for eviction.
That's a pretty darn sweet prize, right there. The loser of what used to
be the weekly food competition would be christened the “have nots” for
the week. They get oatmeal, the most Spartan of accommodations, and no
hot water for bathing. Also something to compete to not be stuck with.
My main gripe is that there's no need to go “back to high school.” This
could have been accomplished by giving each player a designated color,
with no one worse for the wear. And since the cliques have already been
disbanded, it seems odd to have gone through all that for nothing.
My other gripe has to do with something that doesn't have to do with the
actual competition, but with the people competing in it.
At some point during the first week or so, one of the houseguests
allegedly said some things that are unsavory at best to racist at worst.
They were edited from the CBS show, but kept on the live feed. I realize
that since we're not voting to keep or kick anyone it doesn't matter
overmuch, but it bothers me that the editing bay has that big a hand in
setting the tone of the characters that we're spending a summer getting
to know. It amounts to stacking the deck or cheating. I don't care what
the FCC rules are, or the “opinions expressed by contestants do not
necessarily match those of the production company.” Give us an
even-handed account, please. (Full disclosure: I don't get the live feed
and I don't remember any of those nasty words; I'm just going by what
Secondly, I'd like to wag my finger at Russell Kairouz. In a
confrontation worthy of being the climax of a John Hughes film, Russell
called out current Head of Household Ronnie Talbott for playing both
sides of the house. While America got their tubs of popcorn and got
ready for a throwdown, Ronnie ensconced himself behind the locked door
of the HOH Room, and could only be coaxed out by the producers who had
to beg Ronnie to go to the Diary Room. Why? Because Good Ol' Russell was
waiting there ready to pounce on Ronnie, in true bully style. Since
physical fighting is disallowed, Russell let loose with just about every
name in the book, and it drove Ronnie to the bunker, to live only on the
various noshes that are supplied to the weekly winner of that
competition. I don't care that Ronnie basically played his hand too
early and tried to ride the fence, there's no reason for Russell to
conduct himself in that fashion. Fie on the producers for letting
Russell behave that way, perpetuating the stereotype of the jock ragging
on the bully.
I realize that people argue, and shout, and life is like that. I suppose
I'm old-fashioned in not liking that. But I draw the line at
in-your-face bullying, and I wasn't all that happy to find out that the
producers were selling us two different storylines earlier. I'll watch
the episodes to see what the challenges will be, but at this point they
may as well be played by caricatures.
Travis Eberle can be reach'd at