An Offer You Can Refuse

On Day 64 of BB1, the remaining six houseguests get a chance to get rich quick.

On Day 65 of BB1, the remaining six houseguests get a chance to get rich quick.

Welcome to a brand new feature being trotted out called “Days Gone By” which, with the help of a CBS All Access subscription, will take a look back at come classic BB US episodes while we wait for some other seasons to get started, such as BB Canada and the celebrity version of BB in the UK. On this particular day, it’s Day 65 in the BB1 house, and the 50th TV episode of the season, which Big Brother is airing six nights a week for at least half an hour most weeks.

Evictions have taken place up to this point once every two weeks, and so far, four of the starting ten have been eliminated: Will-Mega, Jordan, Karen, and Brittany. The original BB hasn’t been doing well ratings wise since it began to very high marks in early July, so the producers have come up with an idea to kick start the series to its finish 24 days away on September 30, 2000.  On the live show held on a massive set with a studio audience (the only season that would use one up until more recent seasons), Julie Chen explains the planned shakeup.

bb1beth

Beth, what can you do?

Money will be offered to the first houseguest who wants it, but in exchange for that, they have to give up their shot at winning the $500,000 grand prize at the end. If anyone takes the bait, a new houseguest would enter named Beth, a competitive Florida party girl who promises controversy to go along with her personality. Should she go in, the already announced nominations would be null and void, although it wasn’t made clear if Beth would get some kind of immunity for entering.

If that fails to happen, the nomination process already in place (each houseguest named two others to be nominated for eviction in season one, there was no HOH process) and the pre-taped series of nominations that would normally air that night would stand. Much like the versions in other countries, those nominated face a public vote to decide who leaves. If anyone ties for second place, or if a three-way tie or more exists for first, there could be more than two nominees, which did happen in BB1 on several nominations.

After a brief interview, the explanation was made that whatever winnings Beth earns will be reduced by about 72% for only being in the house for a few weeks, so if Beth somehow took first place, she’d only win about $140,000, not the full $500K.

Inside the house, most of the six houseguests are wearing camo gear and/or dark glasses, including “Chicken” George, who is supplementing his attire by wearing a plant on his head. They are then told the results of the nominations: Cassandra, Curtis, and Eddie each picked up three votes to each to be marked for banishment (as it was termed it back then), while George, Jamie, and Josh each received one vote each to remain safe. Afterwards, Cassandra was asked to retrieve a suitcase from the Red Room that contained $20,000.

After they all balked at the initial offer, Josh was asked to bring out yet another suitcase, and this one contained an additional $30,000 to raise the offer to $50,000, which was what was also offered that season for a third place finish. (That year, whoever finished second won $100,000.) After discussing it, that deal was also turned down.

The climatic moment came when, after mumbling to himself for a bit, George said to Eddie in a voice that sounded remarkably like Jack Nicholson’s, “Shut it, Eddie. I ain’t gonna take it.” Julie then asks them each individually one last time if they would like to take the $50K, and individually the answer is the same: no.

Visibly disappointed, Julie Chen congratulates the houseguests for their resolve. The following week, Cassandra would be the fifth contestant evicted on the 71st day the following week, with Eddie winning BB1 seventeen days later. The international format would also be marked for banishment after the season, replaced with the more “Survivor-ish” style that’s been used in the USA ever since.

A lot of people who followed the show that season thought that the most interesting houseguests being evicted early had a lot to do with the radical change in format, but my feeling has always been that this particular night shouldn’t go overlooked. Had Beth been sent in, and caused the tension to rise in the house, who knows? Perhaps the initial format would have survived at least another season had Beth and Jamie been at each other’s throats, for example.

On December 6th, a look back at another classic BB episode, with a year in a review post on January 3rd of 2016. Talk to you then!

A Conspiracy Theory About Conspiracy Theories

The many facial expressions of Vanessa captured in one pic.

The many facial expressions of Vanessa captured in one pic. Found out later on October 4th that @DVEm1 created the collage, so allow me to give the proper credit.

I used to be someone who believed that BB was rigged. There’s a YouTube video of me ranting and raving about that four years ago. It happened, and I can’t deny that I felt that way at one point.

Since I’ve gotten re-interested in Big Brother these past four seasons, my opinions about whether or not it’s a rigged show have done a 180 degree turn, basically because of some of the ludicrous theories that have been espoused by people supposedly in the know.

The most recent of these theories revolved around Vanessa Rousso being hand picked for the win, because CBS wanted her to host a reality/poker show tentatively called Poker Face. The Celeb Dirty Laundry site does a disservice to its viewers printing such dreck on their site, but I guess they don’t care about having integrity.

As Scott Hudson brilliantly pointed out on one of the final “Big Brother Gossip” podcasts during the season, it’s a crazy rumor because poker’s popularity has waned since the online poker rooms were closed down in 2011. If you’re going to prosper in poker, you should be near Las Vegas, Atlantic City, or one of the many casinos on Indian land nationwide.

(Full disclosure here once again: I once won $450 back in 2010 at a PokerStars WCOOP tournament, but I don’t think I ever played against Vanessa, who was sponsored there at some point before the 2011 poker boom went bust.)

Two years ago, the rumor was the fix was in for Amanda to win, but she didn’t even make the final night of the season. Had the rumor substituted Andy in place for Amanda, it would have been very accurate. Note that the most hand-picked houseguest that year, Elissa, also didn’t get close to winning.

I heard the rumors and murmurs last year about how Frankie was chosen to win beforehand, and once again the rumors were absurdly false. Frankie finished 5th, and was lucky and fortunate to get that far.

Here’s my opinion, and it’s just that, my opinion: if CBS was going to rig BB for someone to win (and I should point out that the “if” is so big, it should be next to the Hollywood sign out in LA), why would they rig it for a houseguest who already has other means of income such as Frankie or Vanessa? Wouldn’t it be wiser to create their own legends and mythology as opposed to boosting those already using up their 15 minutes of fame?

That theory also has flaws if you look at the history of who has won Big Brother in the past. How would Rachel’s win on BB13 be explained? Or Mike Boogie winning BB7?

That’s the problem with conspiracy theories. Can’t have one of them without that sprouting more of them, after that it’s a snowball running downhill.

Back next month for more…