As the show starts its fifteenth day of its fifteenth season, it is reaching a low point it hasn’t seen in years. Wednesday’s live show was one of the worst such efforts in show history, failing to bring recent controversies to light and actually creating some new ones.
Contestants Aaryn Gries and Ginamarie Zimmerman have now each lost jobs over their racist and homophobic comments made in the house this season, with Gries now having lost a pair of modeling deals while Zimmerman has lost a job regarding one of the pageants she’s affiliated with. The show continues to be ridiculed by media organizations, with TMZ, the Today Show, and CNN all now joining the fray in the past 48 hours.
In years past and as is the case now with the present scandal, CBS and producer Alison Grodner have deal with such crises by saying that they do not condone the conduct of the houseguests, and doing nothing more. After all, they are in the ratings business first and foremost. Better ratings for the Big Brother franchises mean better sponsors. They have puffed out their collective chests almost as if they are daring viewers cognizant of the controversy to contact show sponsors and get them to pull their advertising off of the show.
Who advertises on Big Brother? A who’s who of corporate America. Sprint, Verizon, Burger King, McDonald’s, Outback Steakhouse, Kia, Toyota, Sears, and Netflix to name a few companies of note. If the show begins to lose these kinds of sponsors, then the show has taken a major and direct hit. Until such a thing happens, CBS and Grodner’s production company carries the day and proceeds as usual. They do condemn bigotry in this instance, for they profit off of it.
By the way, the racist comments made by Aaryn Gries are not going away. Late Thursday night, Aaryn said that if fellow contestant Helen Kim ever became Head of Household that Kim would say “no happy endings for you” when she evicts someone. Yep, a nice cast we have this season, if someone was constructing a cast that would end the show here in the United States.
As many long-time followers no doubt expected, the live show’s clips of what had gone on in the house did not show Aaryn telling Helen outside of her earshot to go make some rice. Nor did it show Ginamarie Zimmerman confide in other houseguests that she has “n****r insurance” for her personal welfare. But with the invention of a “MVP” position that supposedly rewards a contestant for employing superior strategy, viewers at home unaware of the bubbling controversy would be more inclined to vote for Aaryn or Ginamarie not knowing the whole story.
I make one pledge to you, my readers, here and now as I have on Twitter: if Aaryn ever wins MVP, I will stop writing these blog entries, cancel my live feed subscription, never watch a Big Brother show this season or forevermore. With my luck, she’ll wind up being the next MVP holder.
The cherry on top of this sundae that is the mentality of the network and producers that they are more interested in creating festering controversies then they are doing what is morally right took place at the second Head of Household competition. For new readers unfamiliar with the show, the HOH essentially gets a free pass into the following week. But the caveat of getting the free pass is that the HOH puts up two of their fellow competitors at risk of being evicted, with the MVP secretly naming a third nominee.
For this competition, seven teams of two were “randomly” drawn (away from the light of day and the view of cameras) and raced to transfer barbecue sauce from one jug at one end to another jug at an end several feet away. The contestants could also opt to fill a smaller jug which would open up a cup of larger size. The winning team would then caucus among themselves and make a decision as to who would be the new HOH titleholder.
The team of Jessie McGuire and Aaryn Gries wound up winning the competition, but a controversy ensued on Twitter with many viewers suggesting that the duo cheated to get their victory. The rules stated that pouring from one cup to the other was the only acceptable form of transfer, but it appeared that the McGuire/Gries tandem were exchanging BBQ sauce too fast not to have been exchanging cups. And to be honest, I thought so as well, and I even screen captured a minute or so of the competition. (I’m aware that the show frowns upon viewers re-showing their feeds, but what can they do…take my feeds away?) In fact, McGuire owned up to the cheating on the feeds a few hours later.
The producers, for whatever reason, allowed the win of the McGuire/Gries pairing to stand, and it was decided that Aaryn would hold the title as HOH for the week.
For those who say that viewers should get over the fact that McGuire and Gries won, I would say that is practical to an extent. However, I would also submit that the HOH competition continues to show the mentality of the current production regime. By allowing Aaryn’s HOH reign to stand, it continues to show a pattern of letting controversies grow for the sake of ratings, and is therefore just as relevant as the utterings of racial and homophobic slurs.
All of these things should not be deemed as acceptable.