As the second eviction of the fifteenth season nears, it is fairly clear that the social experiment that began in 2000 has become a social nightmare here in 2013.
In a move that surprised everyone, CBS and show producers decided to go on the offensive the past few days, airing the racist and derogatory remarks of Aaryn Gries and one of Ginamarie Zimmerman’s comments on the Sunday night broadcast. The following day, host Julie Chen, who also hosts a The View like panel show on CBS called The Talk, spoke about she was offended personally by the remarks. While I certainly applauding Julie for her comments, she also said that houseguest Helen Kim was of Chinese ancestry when in fact she’s of Korean descent. An amazing blunder from a woman who is THE voice of the show, but after claiming last week’s three-way eviction vote was the first in show history (forgetting that a three-way eviction happened twice in season one), I kind of expected it.
It seemed to me that the PR offensive was designed to quell the rebellion going on among live feeders (such as myself), fans hearing the murmurs of discontent on shows such as TMZ, and advertisers. There is a huge problem with that type of move: even though the houseguests have likely been warned about what they say, they continue to say derogatory things every day, almost every hour. On top of which, Miss Gries has become the scapegoat of the scandal. While she has said the lion’s share of the controversial comments, others have said likewise, and get a free pass for what they have said for the most part.
CBS and show producers can’t condone the comments on one hand and continue to pay their salaries on the other. Well, maybe they can. I’ve been a fan of the show most of these 13 years and change it’s been on. But as the scandal grows, and the controversies move into uncharted waters, who knows what will happen.
I can see one of two things happen should the series reach its sixteenth season, most likely in 2014. One theory I have is that CBS and producers will take the hard line and have subsequent seasons without live feeds and fans hanging on every word on the feeds. That way, the network can show the game the way they want to, without worrying about what we see. Another possibility is that future seasons will be subject to UK style rules over what a houseguest can say, and can be disqualified if they make continuous derogatory comments.
Back in the house, the Elissa Slater experiment appears to be near an end. And to be honest, the show really doesn’t need her anymore, now that one of the biggest villains in series history has been created in the legend of Aaryn Gries.
The MVP/three nominee twist has had a huge impact on the game, with every major alliance seemingly teetering from week to week. When last we left the game, Jeremy McGuire had just won POV, breathing life into their “Triangle Of Thrust” alliance of Gries, McGuire, and Kaitlin Barnaby. Inexplicably, Elissa named Nick Uhas to replace McGuire, setting up a Helen vs. Elissa vs. Nick vote on Thursday night.
The move will likely prove a colossal blunder for Elissa, who’s stock in the house has dwindled over the past week. Moving Company alliance member Spencer Clawson didn’t care for Slater’s pre-vote speech on Thursday, which seemed to be the turning point in the move against keeping Elissa in the house. Oddly enough, Andy Herren, who is like a one man NSA agency in the house moving from room to room engaging other contestants in conversation, pointed out that the lack of popularity among Aaryn’s alliance proves that Elissa doesn’t need to stay in the game as a hedge to help them along. If Elissa is evicted, the MVP position is not likely to gravitate to the “evil” side of the house. Hence the move to eliminate Elissa from the game, which collaterally serves the purposes of the Triangle alliance.
So far, the season has failed to produce the high level of strategic play we’ve seen in previous seasons. Producers designed the new rules as a countermeasure against floating, a playing style where houseguests bounce around unaligned for any long period of time. If anything, the rule changes seem to hurt alliances more than they help them, no matter the size.