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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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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Never Too Early To Read Tea Leaves

While the third season of Big Brother Canada is a little over three weeks away, there was a very telling clue as to what direction the seventeenth season of Big Brother will go when that curtain is lifted in late June.

CBS revealed that when the season commences, it will be a two-night premiere, as was the case last year.

Will the “Battle of the Block” format return this year?  You would think so, right?

Let’s keep in mind, however, that twists of various seasons gone by have been mixes of even earlier seasons.  It’s kind of like going to your neighborhood 7-Eleven and playing with the various flavors at the Slurpee machine.  Want a part-Cherry, part-Cola Slurpee?  Have at it.

But yes, I do think BB17 will have a BOTB element to it that will split the cast in halves for entry.  But suppose they mix things up with BOTB so that only one houseguest wins immunity from the block in that competition, leaving the other three up for the possibility of eviction, much like how BB15 had three nominees in the early going.  Maybe the HOH that stays on gets to make some kind of trade or switch with his or her three nominees thereafter.

That’s where I think they might be going with this.  We’ll know in a few months, as the producers will no doubt read this blog post and tweak accordingly.  I kid!

Back in a few weeks once BBCAN 3 gets started.  Until then, live long and prosper.

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Across The Pond

Love him or hate him, Perez Hilton stole the show on season 15 of the UK's Celebrity Big Brother.

Love him or hate him, Perez Hilton stole the show on season 15 of the UK’s Celebrity Big Brother.

Some called it brilliant, some called it boring, but the 15th version of Celebrity Big Brother once again captured the attention of scores of British fans for the 31 days it was on.

If you’re not familiar with how the UK does Big Brother, it is essentially the rules used in the first Big Brother here in the United States.  Each houseguest usually gets two nominations, and the top two vote-getters including ties go up for the public to vote out.  A strategy of playing nice in the beginning and being more ruthless in the end that we see in our country would probably be the exact opposite of what would be a good strategy over there.

In the UK version, rules are not a prop as they are here.  If you break a rule, you’re warned, then you’re gone if you do it again unless you do something so severe that an immediate ejection is called for.  American actor Jeremy Jackson learned this the hard way when he groped and exposed one of Chloe Goodman’s breasts in the first few nights of the season, as did actor Ken Morley when he used offensive language, another big time no-no after Jade Goody’s tirade on the fifth season of CBB back in 2008.

Internet gossip columnist Perez Hilton had the best finishes amongst the token Americans who usually appear in British seasons by finishing seventh and lasting 29 of the 31 days of the season.  His controversial behavior in the house did remind me a bit of Frankie Grande’s sortie last year, leading contestant Katie Hopkins to compare him to a yeast infection.  He did seem to relish in his “bad guy” tactics, although he thought the show should pay for mental counseling as he gets back into the real world.

Good to be back for another unreal reality season of Big Brother here in 2015, and I’ll talk to you all again next month.

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The Year That Was

Yep, I can't believe 2014 is almost over, either.

Yep, I can’t believe 2014 is almost over, either.

So here’s what happened in “Big Brotherland” in 2014, or at least in the English speaking nations.

Derrick Levassur won this year’s US version of the show, and did so in a dominating manner perhaps not seen before. He won a 7-2 vote over runner-up Cody Calafiore, who could have evicted Derrick in the round of three, but chose not to, making what many believe was a $450,000 error. The show was longest in US BB history going 97 days, and provided plenty of controversy thanks to fifth place finisher Frankie Grande, brother of singer Ariana Grande.

Derrick was not the only American to win a Big Brother this year. Across the pond on the second Celebrity Big Brother of the year (they hold one in January/February and one in August/September after the regular UK season ends), actor Gary Busey won the fan vote over pro boxer Audley Harrison. This made Busey the first American to win a season of the show anywhere other than the United States.  British comic Jim Davidson won the year’s first Celeb competition, which will be returning when 2015 begins.

In the regular UK season, Bolton’s Helen Wood, best known for being part of a sexual threesome that included UK soccer legend Wayne Rooney, won out over rival Ashleigh Coyle to win the final vote. Wood was warned for transgressions throughout the season, including the use of abusive language referring to the 18 year old Coyle, but was never ejected. As part of this year’s “Power Trip” theme, fellow housemate Pauline Bennett gave Wood a pass to the final night in the season’s first few days, so Wood never had to face a public vote for eviction.

Canada’s season, played from March to May this year, was won by Jon Pardy, winning the US style jury vote over Montreal’s Sabrina Abbate. Pardy made a controversial move in the final three in evicting his pal Neda Kalantar of Vancouver, but the move proved crucial in winning the final vote. A third Canadian season is in the works for 2015, and will get a network upgrade by airing on Global TV instead of Slice, the show’s home of the first two seasons.

Finally over in Australia, a season known for going over 100 days just went 80 this year, won by fitness trainer Ryan Burke, who won 36% of a three-way final vote. He just squeaked by Travis Lunardi who had 33% of the vote, and Skye Wheatley, who had a 31% share of the ending tally.

What will 2015 bring?  Stay tuned!

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16 After 16

So much for my prediction last month that we’d see a Big Brother soon without live feeds, as CBS has launched their own Netflix-like network called CBS All-Access. For as little as $6 monthly subscription, you get over 6,500 episodes of shows CBS owns the rights to, plus every Big Brother episode going back to season one in 2000.

Which gets me to this month’s topic:

Since it doesn’t look like there will be another All-Stars season anytime soon, I thought I’d share with you my “Dream 16″ of the first 16 seasons, and show you what my All-Star season cast would look like.

A few ground rules first. I’m picking 8 men and 8 women, and if I have to channel my inner Grodner, I’d keep the game simplistic as possible. No highfalutin twists here, just the basic game everybody knows, although I’d throw in a one-off twist during the season at a random point and give the fans their choice of what twist from the past to employ.

Here’s my candidates, and a brief description of who I’d choose:

MEN:

Eddie, BB1: (Like George from his season, I’d think he’d excel at the BB2 and beyond era.)
Will, BB2: (How do you not put him on the all-time list?)
Drew, BB5: (Skilled tactician during his season.)
Mike Boogie, BB2/BB7/BB14: (Just as capable and smart as his buddy Will.)
Dick, BB8: (Would drive the others crazy, and that alone would be entertainment enough.)
Dan, BB10/BB14: (Only contestant to play multiple seasons and not be evicted or quit.)
Ian, BB14: (The brains of any major alliance that the “dream game” would have.)
Derrick, BB16: (Right up there with Dan and Will as an all-time great.)

WOMEN:

Lisa, BB3: (The first female winner would schmooze her way into contention.)
Danielle, BB3/BB7: (A great competitive schemer with drive to match.)
Jun, BB4: (Would probably make deals with the least likely candidates.)
Janelle, BB6/BB7/BB14: (Probably the greatest female competitor in show history.)
Maggie, BB6: (Underrated villainess who won her season with relative ease, and every show needs a villainess.)
Daniele, BB8/BB13: (Dick’s daughter was also a great in her own right.)
Jordan, BB11/BB13: (How would she do without Jeff?)
Rachel, BB12/BB13: (How would she do without Brendon?)

More next month…talk to you all then.

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What Was Learned

Jeff Probst, Julie Chen, and Kevin Frazier in one of Julie's many selfies this year.

Jeff Probst, Julie Chen, and Kevin Frazier in one of Julie’s many selfies this year.

What did I learn watching BB16?  Not a heck of a lot, really.  But I’ll share with you three points:

Was Derrick The Best Ever BB Player?: Kind of hard to say, really. It was a boring season because he was laps ahead of the field. Was Memphis and Jerry in BB10 better than Cody and Victoria were? For that matter, were Nicole and Monica from BB2 better than Cody and Victoria? In retrospect, the answer is easy. But BB2 didn’t have Power of Veto, and neither BB2 or BB10 had four nominees for a majority of the season as BB16 had. Derrick would definitely be in my “All-Time 16″ and would have his face on the “Mt. Rushmore” of US Big Brother players (with Dick, Dan, and Dr. Will the other three), but a comparison between himself and the others would be a comparison of apples, oranges, mangoes, and grapefruits. Wouldn’t be fair to any of them.

Stage Casting Here To Stay: As much as I disliked Frankie and how he had the effect on the houseguests as an antichrist depicted by Nostradamus, I have to admit the format of the last three seasons works, ratings wise. I don’t see it going away, and I think you can count on someone’s relative or offspring making it on to BB17 next year.

Worth noting is the “Hailey Jones” notes from last year, because the exact same thing wound up happening this year as was the case last year. On BB15, a stunt casted houseguest (Elissa) and a controversial houseguest (Amanda) paved the way for the winner, although “Jones” got the winner incorrect (it was Andy, not Amanda as predicted). This year, a stunt casted houseguest (Frankie) and a controversial houseguest (Caleb) went out back to back, paving the way for Derrick’s win. Coincidence or luck?

A Down Year For Production And TV: Notice how there were more “holes” on the live shows and in the production of the feeds this year, and how some in the production end of the show openly cater to TV viewers and not feedsters. For instance, one of the HOH question-and-answer competitions couldn’t be finished before the live show ended, causing a “cliff hanger” for the feedsters and the TV viewers, whether it was planned or not.

I’ve been saying this for a while, and I think this happens eventually: expect a season to air sometime in the future (maybe 2015, maybe some time beyond) with either limited live feeds or no live feeds at all. The show wants to wean new audiences onto the franchise, and wants old time live feeders to quit the show cold turkey, and CBS thinks they can do that by bringing in someone’s brother, sister, relative, son, daughter, father or mother onto the show every year. Killing off the live feeds also only gives the side of the story they want to share, and it’s something the other CBS reality shows do anyway.

Time to take a bit of a BB hiatus with not as much news coming in. Catch you all next month!

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