What I Learned This Season

As predicted, Andy Herren became the first LGBT winner of a Big Brother season.
As predicted, Andy Herren became the first LGBT winner of a Big Brother season.

To the surprise of a very few followers, Andy Herren won the $500,000 on Wednesday as he bested Ginamarie Zimmerman 7-2 in the final vote amongst the nine jurors. Spencer Clawson, who now goes down into the show record books with a whopping nine eviction, finished in third place.

It was the longest season of show history, and probably the most controversial, much to the combined chagrin and joy of show and CBS executives. The show left me with several thoughts, so as I did last year, let me share the five most pertinent thoughts with all of you.

Race Hatred And Ugly Behavior Is (Unfortunately) Ratings Gold: First and foremost, I found the whole series of episodes of racism, homophobia, and the like disgusting. I still contend the show was stunt-casted that way to make sure Elissa Slater didn’t go out the door so early (the one thing “Hailey Jones” did get right although her Amanda predictions were completely incorrect), keeping the Brenchel Army’s boisterous fans around, which some believed was pure corruption. What is still confusing to me is that the show confronted Aaryn Gries on her behavior, but everyone else got a pass. We also had the sad spectacle of Amanda correcting Aaryn early in July when Amanda herself in fact turned out just as bad.

This may be the year that will be remembered as the year the show “lost it’s soul” in the name of keeping respectable ratings. How the show deals with this in coming years is an important issue, and I hope they go to more of a BB UK set of rules to where being racist and making disparaging remarks is unacceptable.

It may be just the excuse for an all-star BB16 next season, or another season loaded with re-runners. Of course, that assumes that we were to blame for it all for reacting how we did. Of course, WE didn’t put the houseguests in there, CBS and show producers did. But I digress.

The Moonves/Chen/Grodner Axis Is Here To Stay: I don’t believe all the recent hype that Allison Grodner is going to be removed as the show’s executive producer. I think Julie Chen and her hubby Les Moonves (who happens to be the CEO of CBS) wouldn’t allow it. Yes, there are some open questions about whether or not the voting is rigged on some of these choices “America” makes, mainly because the media won’t touch that idea due to conflicts of interest. Other networks run their own reality shows, so why would they?

Secondly, once the anti-Aaryn protests went to early July went to the show sponsors, the oust Aaryn movement fell FLAT ON ITS FACE with a solid thud. Unlike the other international versions of the show, protestors could not drive a wedge between the show and their sponsors.

The series has already been renewed for 2014, and I don’t see the show slowing down any time soon, unless one of those three “power players” want it to, or unless there is an incident on a future show (think Krista-Justin from BB2, or some kind of tragic accident in a competition), the show goes on.

If you want that to change, don’t watch the show. It’s that simple. Of course, if you do that, the show likely goes away. And no one will say that with at least 16 seasons, the show didn’t have a good run. It’s already outlasted some of the greatest shows in TV history. It’s kind of like reality TV’s version of “The Producers” in that with “Survivor” as the network’s signature reality show, it does not have to be a ratings winner. So think of the Moonves/Chen/Grodner trio as a three-headed Max Bialystock. What’s good is bad, and what’s bad is very good.

A Rabid Show Is Producing Rabid Fans: Social media was pretty outspoken over the various BB15 outrages, and after an incident where contestant Amanda Zuckerman threatened to stab her own allies if they did something she didn’t want, I stopped watching the live feeds. I relied on Twitter and Hamsterwatch the rest of the way. I do fear that the day is coming where a past, present, or future houseguest (or the spouse, mother, father, or sibling of one) is attacked based on his or her days in that studio lot in California disguised as a house.

To a certain degree, I think the lack of rules and the double standards on rule enforcement encourage rabid and overzealous fans. But let me be clear, there is no excuse, NONE, for bullying these people whatsoever. There is a line somewhere out there, and when the rabid fans out there cross it, it makes us ALL look bad. Take up a hobby, and check back in sometime in June, okay?

When The Show Promises A Twist To Eliminate A Certain Strategy, That Strategy Will Dominate The Season: BB15 will probably be remembered as the “Year Of The Rat” with Andy Herren winning, but I will remember it as the “Year Of The Floater” with the final three houseguests not really being in a strong alliance most of the way. I like watching the game for the strategies the houseguests employ, and I like good strategic players like Dan Gheesling and Dr. Will Kirby. This was not a year that favored stratagems by any means. Players with potential such as Nick Uhas and Jeremy McGuire were aced early. It seems as if anyone wanted to play the game, it made them a target.

Of course, the ill-fated MVP/three nominee twist had a lot to do with that, as BB15 was the third season in a row to have a “false front” twist before the game moved on to how it is conventionally played.

Longer Is Not Better: As frequently noted, this was the longest season in show history, and I don’t really understand why the need to make what’s usually around a 75 day season one that lasted 90 days. It didn’t begin well ratings wise with lackluster numbers before the 4th of July, and ended flat with a less than promising finale.

Personally, I’d love to see Big Brother go 60 days, from roughly the 4th of July to around Labor Day. Have more double evictions and maybe (if they ever bring back the three-nominee idea) have the first ever triple eviction with two houseguests going out the door at the same time. Maybe have a three-way final vote like Survivor has recently added, and have “America” break any tie?

Then again, that opens up another can of worms with “America” voting.  Ugh.

(By the way, what would they do if a Survivor final vote ever went to a 3-3-3 tie? Would Jeff Probst conduct a three-way live duel or something?)

So BB15 leaves fans at a crossroads. Should we celebrate that the show is alive and somewhat well, or be concerned about the misrepresentations that were abundant this season? I suppose it depends on your viewpoint.

With the show over, I go back to posting on a monthly basis, then back to a weekly basis for the second season of Big Brother Canada. Stay tuned.

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