Stacking The Deck?

And there they are: the BB16 houseguests.
And there they are: the BB16 houseguests.

We have a cast, we have a refurbished house, and we have a twist. That is, at least for a little while.

Everything we need to know was revealed over the past weeks, and as usual, the revelations left more questions than answers. Let’s take things in chronological order, shall we?

First is the twist that turns the algebra that is the weekly game play elements (one HOH, two nominees, a power of veto that finalizes the nominees) and turns it into calculus (two HOH, four nominees, the possibility of at least one HOH being eligible for eviction, plus other unknown elements including this new “Battle Of The Block” contest). I can’t see how they can have two HOH’s and not have some sort of team concept. Would HOH 1 have knowledge of the nominees that HOH 2 has plans on? Can a houseguest be nominated by BOTH HOH’s? Can HOH’s compete in consecutive weeks?

This is my pet peeve with production the last few seasons. They show you the mansion in the distance, but they don’t Google Map or GPS to tell you how to get there. Details are important, my friends in BB production-land. When you don’t tell us the “how,” it makes us feel like 14 year olds on our first date.

I give the twists a B-plus, pending further information. I’m sure this is some sort of “front game” which won’t last the duration of the season. Like we had in BB’s 9, 13, 14, and 15…and I’m probably forgetting a few.

As far as the houseguests go, I give the cast a B-minus. Why? I think the CBS executives saw our worrying about veterans returning and had some sort of panic. From the information on Twitter, it appears that the cast was highly recruited as opposed to gathered from the tryouts and gatherings over the country the past several months. But I don’t mind a heavily recruited show, because you get players who don’t know the game mixed in with those that do know the lay of the land. You get novices taking out veterans, and veterans whining like poker legend Phil Hellmuth, that they got taken out by someone who can’t spell Big Brother.

What is bothersome to me is that one of the houseguests is Frankie Grande, brother of singer and actress Ariana Grande. Many of you remember that Elissa Slater was cast last year, and took every “MVP” crown each of the three times it was offered. If season sixteen has a similar such element, it would be a cinch that Frankie would take such a title repeatedly as long as he’s in the game. Hence, he becomes a “voting mule” that may have an easier road to the jury, if not the end, then the others.

Is it fair? I think not. But when has the game ever promised fairness?

Looking at the rest of the cast, I’m looking at three particular contestants to shine and make a serious run at the big money. Christine Brecht, a young Arizona barista, is a super-fan who looks like a bit of a wild child submerged by an apparent nerdy exterior. (By the way, I like nerds, or those considered nerdy.) Michigan’s Nicole Franzel has a similar look and appeal, plus she’s a nurse, which would seem her a solid social game threat. Earlier in the week, I thought Kentucky’s Caleb Reynolds might be a good third pick, but I’ve had second thoughts on picking him. (Closer to this post’s Sunday press time, it turns out that Caleb has some…shall we say, baggage? Doesn’t seem to like our current president, for one.) Instead, I’m thinking Devin Shepherd might have it in him to have a good run instead.

Look for Frankie Grande and Paola Shea to be total wildcards who will either be contenders or pretenders based on their online followings, and if the group figures out they have such solid followings. Paola could be a “plan B” storyline should Grande falters early on.

Next week, a look at the first few days of season sixteen. Hey, I’m trying to pace myself for a long three months! For more current offerings, feel free to check out my Twitter feed. I wish everyone well in the game, and just remember, I won’t be the one making fun of you.

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