Sarah Hanlon, Pilar Nemer, and Ashleigh Wood chat things up about the boys, May 8th, 2015.

Sarah Hanlon, Pilar Nemer, and Ashleigh Wood chat things up about the boys, May 8th, 2015.

A lot to review this week isn’t there?

In the first eviction vote Wednesday, Bobby Hlad’s dreams of 100 grand were crushed as he was sent packing in a unanimous 7-0 vote, with Britnee Blair again serving as pawn.  The “lightning round” taking place all during Wednesday’s live show saw Britnee take the HOH mantle a second time, nominating the threesome of Kevin Martin, Zach Oleynik, and Pilar Nemer.

In an added stipulation, the HOH (Britnee) was not allowed to compete in the ensuing POV competition, won by Bruno Ielo.  Bruno then elected to remove Zach from the block, with Britnee putting WIlliow MacDonald up as the replacement nominee.  The vote to evict was actually a vote to save, with Pilar getting three votes to stay, which in turn sent both Kevin and Willow (who had the other two votes to stay) out of the game.

So far this week, the not-yet nominated Ashleigh Wood won HOH, nominating Sarah Hanlon and Godfrey Mangwiza.  Sarah will likely save herself off the block by winning POV Friday, forcing Miss Wood to make a new pick.  In yet another twist, Canada selects the Have-Nots this week, which is super important because they will compete amongst themselves for a secret power.  That power will force the comp winner into replacing one of the final nominees, and will also to give them the option to replace the other nominee.  Sarah and Britnee were the chosen two, with the winner of the “superpower” unclear as this issue went to press Sunday morning.

Whew, that was a lot to get out.

I wish the show would stop with the zillions of twists they’re throwing at us.  I get that a popular Canadian snack called Twistos is one of their sponsors, but with so many of these twists, the show is getting unrecognizable now. Whoever wins in a couple weeks will have been lucky, and not the benefactor of strategy he or she employed.

Further, I really didn’t care for the “superpower” competition, and I don’t think I will be alone when Canada sees it on TV.  It is (or was since it’s either ongoing or not at press time) reward disguised as a torturous punishment.  Watching the houseguests have mental breakdowns like Nakomis during BB5 here in the US isn’t fun or entertaining, it’s just stupid, and this season has seen a lot stupid things.  If Global TV is trying to kill off the show, they’re somewhat succeeding.

Ashleigh looks to me like she’s in the best position right now with Zach as her shield, but with either Sarah or Britnee winning the “superpower” and using those powers on Wednesday, her nomination-free streak will likely come to an end soon.  Who wins?  Who cares.  The game is a total crapshoot now.

I’ll be back in three weeks to recap BB Canada’s third show.  Frankly, between all the twists and that superpower competition, I really don’t want to give the show any more publicity beyond a wrap up of it.

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Triple Witching Hour

Pilar has a shocked expression on her face from an earlier twist.

It seems to be a spring tradition that headlines grab my attention away from Big Brother Canada for a bit. Two years ago it was the tragic events in Boston, last year it was the tensions between Russia and the Ukraine. This year it’s been the events in Baltimore where six police officers allegedly mistreated a man named Freddie Gray in their custody, with the 25 year old passing away from the injuries suffered at their hands, and the officers now under arrest awaiting trial. These world events have a unique way of telling us that there are things in life more important than just a game show.

Sindy Nguyen became the first BBCAN houseguest to be evicted twice (Gary Levy came back and made it to the final two in BBCAN1, thus was never evicted a second time), losing the house a second time to Britnee Blair unanimously 8-0.  Kevin Martin won his 2nd HOH, and places Bobby Hlad up a 2nd time (not counting the week where everyone was HOH) and Britnee up for her 4th trip to the block.  Kevin then went on to win his 2nd Power of Veto, the third time this season a sole HOH went on to win POV.  As this post went to press, Mr. Martin seemed to be considering taking Britnee off of “pawn of the week” status and putting Bruno Ielo there, but much like Cody Califiore during BB16 last year struggled with putting Caleb up early in the game, Kevin’s wrestling with this crucial decision.

As mentioned last week somewhat, there will be a HOH cycle where there will be three nominees and two evictees, and we learned this week is that will be a cycle that will entirely take place during Wednesday’s live show, making for not a double eviction but a triple eviction.  We still don’t know the mechanics of how the double eviction will work, and that would be nice to know for a show that has been struggling with these basic things this season.

The show has had some subplots that have kept viewers busy, such as the “sismance” between Willow MacDonald and hemployee Sarah Hanlon, and Bobby’s insistence that he has a secret veto of some sort, using it as a bluff to keep him out of danger and as a way to feed the paranoia of the others.  Unlike BB16 and how Derrick dominated, I don’t see anyone in the lead in the game right now in terms of strategy and positioning.  Perhaps all these twists have kept everybody off balance, or somewhat equal in terms of their skill.

We’ll be finding a winner 24 days from now, with BB17 beginning four weeks afterwards, at least on television.

More next week as BBCAN3 progresses towards finding its victor or victrix.

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Pressure Is A Privilege

Between surviving eviction, being nominated, then winning the POV, Godfrey had quite a week.

Between surviving eviction, being nominated, then winning the POV, Godfrey had quite a week.

Unexpectedly, it was Jordan Parhar who went home this week, losing a close 5-4 verdict to Godfrey Mangwiza as the house did a flip to teach HOH Zach Oleynik that he was not master of his domain.  Fate then went Zach’s direction as pal Pilar Nemer won the next HOH, putting Godfrey and the returning Sindy Nguyen up.  Godfrey then won Power of Veto, assuring that Sindy will be up against someone else facing eviction on Wednesday, most likely Brittnee Blair if current speculation is to be believed, or barring any last minute changes.

Things did get interesting this week, but Pilar’s HOH run is just another cruel twist of fate for the show in which a rapidly developing plot got grounded into a slow crawl. Godfrey had an outstanding run this week staying in the game, but it’s pretty clear he’s just a running man (think of the old Arnold Schwarzenegger movie) at this point.  Without more allies, the house will evict him once he can’t win one of those two competitions that is keeping him whole right now.  Sindy appears to be in the same boat, although she has a bit more influence in the house, with Zach probably in a bit of a spot himself, but with time to recover.

In a week and a half, a double eviction will be held in which there will be there nominees and two evictees from those three, something that has never happened before in North American Big Brother to my knowledge.  The mechanics of such a procedure need more details, though.  Will there be one vote to evict the top two vote-getters, or will there two votes to eliminate one houseguest in each round?  (In other words, a vote amongst three, then a vote amongst the surviving two?)  That’s a detail that has strategic importance and should be told to us sometime before it happens.

As we learned a couple of weeks ago with that veto foul-up, details ARE important.  Not knowing details only leads to confusion.  Surely, our friends in Canada can’t mess up things that badly twice in the same season, right?

More next week, talk to you then.

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Not Feeling The Love

Sarah Hanlon and Sindy Nguyen exchange smooches early in the BBCAN3 season.

Sarah Hanlon and Sindy Nguyen exchange smooches early in the BBCAN3 season.

You know it is a bad season when a houseguest mentions how bad a certain twist sucks, as Sarah Hanlon did this previous week.  More on that in a bit.

The past week saw Winnipeg’s Johnny Colatruglio go marching home and Sindy Nguyen re-enter the house after a 16 day respite, keeping the current field at 12.  Zach Oleynik is the current HOH and POV holder, and has put Godfrey Mangwiza and Jordan Parhar on the block.  Zach appeared to have other plans in mind, namely to use his nominees as a ruse to backdoor Bobby, but this plan might be getting scrapped in favor of targeting Jordan.

As Hamsterwatch so eloquently mentioned, it was another week where the show seems to want to follow in BB US’s footsteps.  By that, I mean that this is a show that wants ratings and wants warm bodies watching their feeds and shows, but also treats their hardcore viewers with a surprising amount of scorn.  This works here in the US because CBS always has the show on during the summertime, with the exception of that disastrous ninth season back in 2008 that aired in the late winter and early spring due to a writer’s strike.  A show airing in the summer has low expectations and ratings obstacles to overcome.

Telling the houseguests that viewers helped a series of skits earn them a reward, and then cutting those same viewers out of the feeds is not (dare I say) the best way to build rapport for your audience.  Yet, Big Brother Canada wants to go down that very same road of dysfunction BB US has been known for, and stays on the air for.  Probably doesn’t hurt that the CEO’s wife of CBS hosts the show either.

Global TV: good luck with that plan.  You’ll need such luck in the long term.

The only saving grace for the show so far has been Sarah and a few other players who actually try and play the game while the others lounge around.  I was hoping (as many did) that this would be a good season.  It has been anything but so far, and I think those who closely follow the show know it.

More next week, hopefully in a less critical tone if the circumstances allow.

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The Great Canadian Veto Kerfuffel

Since we last talked two weeks ago (because a guy has to take the time to celebrate Easter), Sindy, Naeha, and Graig has said their goodbyes, albeit possibly temporarily.  Bruno Ielo currently reigns supreme as not only HOH but the veto holder as well, consolidating his power in a week where twists will once again play a big role in who goes away (or home) this week. 

A trademark of Canada’s Big Brother, or so it has been the past three years, is the menagerie of twists thrown at the combatants, which usually have a logical structure to them.  This recent twist revolving around a variation of how the veto will be used this week made very little sense, as Twitter user DVEm1 points out eloquently.


Did you get all that?

I’m not the biggest fan of twists though I understand the logic of not letting everything get too mundane.  The problem is that a twist with options that are not carefully worded just confuses the heck out of us smart people.  Now, no matter how the decision goes, there will be controversy and suggestions that producers wanted a certain outcome, no matter how truthful or not the allegations are.  All because the producers mangled the syntax of a pivotal twist.  

Another byproduct of the twistapalooza that’s been going on is that it’s caused the more interesting characters of the season to be the first out the door, which is a recipe for disaster.  That’s exactly what happened in the first US Big Brother back in 2000, and even here in the Canadian version of 2015 only one of them can return.  If previous seasons have been any indication, the returnee usually does not last long, save James in BB9 or Gary in BBCAN1. Usually, the returnee has a big bulls-eye or his or her back from the get go. 

I’m hoping whoever returns breathes some life back into the game, or that what appears to be a veto twist that appears to be a lame duck at this point provides a little intrigue.  It will have to get interesting soon, or BB fans across the world will likely find other things to occupy their time until BB17 starts in June.

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Laws Of The Jungle

With no furniture in the house, the BBCAN3 cast gathers on the floor.

With no furniture in the house, the BBCAN3 cast gathers on the floor.

Ten days have now gone by during the third season of Big Brother Canada, with the 11th day now underway. Risha Denner was the first houseguest to depart, leaving fifteen left in the game at this point. Bobby Hlad won the first Head of Household competition, and placed Britnee Blair and Kevin Martin up as nominees. Martin then won the veto competition, likely removing himself from the block.  The current speculation strongly suggests Sindy Nguyen will go up in Kevin’s place, and will likely be evicted Wednesday.

It is always interesting to watch the first few weeks and try to follow the warfare as it develops. The elements I focus on are: how will the women react to each other, and who plays passively, who plays aggressively, and who can play passive-aggressively?  I tend to think of how women play with or against each other in Big Brother as something I call tactical cattiness.

The opening of this season reminds me of the beginning of the competitions in the Hunger Games movies. Some are immediately deploying their verbal and mental weaponry, leaving themselves wide open for attack by others in the hunt. Sindy, for example, always seems to be leaving her verbal motor running, which has exposed herself to the others as perhaps too desperate of a schemer on the bulk of what she has said so far.

Much as was the case on the last year’s American season, the women seem to have an innate ability to distrust each other, as evidenced in the initial show on Monday night during the first HOH vote when they each picked two names, since they were all co-HOH’s. It seemed half the women in the cast had no qualms about putting up two women as block nominees, while others went for the approach of voting one guy and one girl.

The game’s first major alliance has taken shape in the form of the “Chop Shop” group led by current HOH Bobby. The mathematics of the alliance, a six member group with fifteen left in the game at this point, seems to suggest that this group will merely chop itself up. They will have to win competitions to reduce the odds that are not presently in their favor with a six against nine handicap.

If you were a Risha fan, all is not lost just yet. It was announced during Wednesday’s live show by the adorable hostess Arisa Cox that the first five to exit the game will compete to go back into the house, marking the first pre-jury revival of a houseguest in BB Canada’s short history. In her brief stay and exposure (no pun intended) in the house, Risha reminded me of Tonya from the third season of the American show in many ways, and not just the obvious ones. Like Tonya, maybe it was a good thing she left early and didn’t catch the breaks needed to remain in the game, as other houseguests ruminated that Risha had a sharp set of verbal claws at the ready.  While I’ve never been a big fan of giving one person two chances and giving everyone else a chance each, doing a revive-a-houseguest this way is the fairest way to do it.

More in two weeks, as I take a week off for the Easter holiday. Hoping your Easter break is a safe one.

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Filed under Big Brother Canada, Commentary, Current HGs, Previous HGs

You Get An HOH, And You Get An HOH…

Meet Risha, one of the newest contestants in Big Brother Canada's third season.

Meet Risha, one of the newest contestants in Big Brother Canada’s third season.

If the NCAA collegiate basketball tournament here in the United States can use the moniker of “March Madness” to describe the events that take place in those 67 games, a season of Big Brother Canada can be a temporary insanity.

While most of Canada awaits the opening episode to be shown on its new home, Global, it has already transpired in real time.  I should probably warn you all here in now that this blog doesn’t do the spoiler thing.  I tried that a few years ago and it didn’t sit well with me. After that, I decided to make this blog a spoiler free zone, and that tradition will carry on in 2015 with the two North American BB’s taking place.

Sixteen runners started off Canada’s third season (my pick is Bobby to win, by the way), and as is to be expected, producers for Big Brother Canada started off the season with a grandiose twist: all 16 houseguests were each given HOH powers.  Eat your heart out, Oprah Winfrey.

This creates a problem: with everyone HOH, who would be nominated?  They brought back the US BB1/BBUK/BBAU idea of giving each HOH two votes, and the highest two vote-getters would go on the block.  No word so far as to how ties would be resolved if at all, with rumors in play that the audience may decide the first eviction this week, which would also be a throwback (and throw-over?) to previous and international formats.

The first set of nominees prior to veto were Toronto’s Patricia “Risha” Denner and Huntsville’s Sindy Nguyen.  Yes, that’s not a misspelling.  That’s Cindy with an S instead of a C.

More information next week as we get the first few episodes and feeds.  Now if I can only find a way to watch!

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