Day 85: Rumors, Dishes, And Dirt

Five of the final six, absent HOH Steve...

Five of the final six, absent HOH Steve…

With tonight’s eviction decision looking like a lock, and Julia seeming to be the sixth member of the BB17 jury, I thought I’d look at the rumor mill.

The big rumor this week (and the most unrealistic in my view) is that the fix is in, and that Vanessa Rousso will win the season in 13 days time. Now, she might win the whole shooting match anyways, but this rumor has it that production has been feeding her inside information, which explains how she always seems to know when she’s being targeted. If the rumors are true, CBS will use her popularity to give her a show of her own called “Poker Face” with her in the hosting/starring role.

Personally, I think it’s all bull feathers. Poker’s popularity peaked in 2011, right before the government of the United States clamped down on all of these poker rooms such as PokerStars, the online “room” Vanessa had an affiliation with. Until these rooms come back, poker’s popularity will continue to dwindle, just as the prize money for winning the World Series Of Poker has.

(In the interests of full disclosure, I once won $450 at a PokerStars tournament in 2010, but I don’t recall ever playing against Vanessa. I think I would have remembered it if I did, or at least said hello to her, as she was a BIG name in the poker world at that time.)

Les Moonves fired a shot across the bow at Robyn Kass, the long time casting director of Big Brother in both the US and Canada, saying he was disappointed in about five or six of the houseguests cast this year.

Typical Les! When something is his fault or Julie’s it isn’t, so it’s somebody else’s fault: in this case Robyn’s, or so he claims. Just like it wasn’t “their” fault in 2011 when that regrettable racism scandal broke out involving (for the most part) Aaryn. Remember how innocent Les and Julie acted about that, and how “personally offended” they were, and how Aaryn was the scapegoat of all of that, and no one else was?

They had the “BB Takeover” ready to go to make every week unpredictable, but like other seasonal twists, it went away. In this year’s case, it went away after three weeks. When the show began to drift into the boring refrain we have seen in the most recent previous seasons, the “Takeover” wasn’t there to save it, because it left the scene a long time ago, nor did it return.

More tomorrow. Heck, I didn’t get out all the somewhat fresh material I had today. But with a feeds blackout coming in a few days (if traditions of past few seasons hold), I’ll have time to dish a bit more in a few days.

Here We Go Again

On the live feed video series presently, Jeff Schroeder of BB 11/13 chats with Mike "Boogie" Malin, BB 2/7/14 houseguest and BB7 victor.

On the live feed video series presently, Jeff Schroeder of BB 11/13 chats with Mike “Boogie” Malin, BB 2/7/14 houseguest and BB7 victor.

We’re now 17 days removed from the launch of sixteenth US season of Big Brother. Never thought back in the 2000’s the show would get this far into the second decade of the 21st century, but yet here we are. Those of you who thought there would be a change in production for this season, I told you not to expect it back on September 22nd of last year, and sure enough, Frau Grodner and company are still in place, putting the ingredients together for yet another season of BB, trying to keep the show as fresh as it can be, which cannot be easy with this many editions.

As for me, I usually wait until the cast is revealed before I invest in a season, although this year I’ve already taken that plunge. To me, casting is everything. I tend to like seasons where the cast is all new (or all veterans, for that matter) as opposed to the mixed bags we got in seasons eleven, thirteen, and fourteen. I enjoy watching the maturation of the new houseguests, figuring out how they think and how they adapt, as opposed to watching veterans imposing their will and skill (or lack thereof) on the lowly newbies. I’m hoping that’s we get this year, but after the racial bigotry debacles of BB15, I’m thinking we get a vet/newb mix, if I had to guess.

Who is in the cast? Will there be newbies? Veterans? A mix thereof? We won’t likely know until June 19th, and I’ll likely cover it in two weeks on June 22nd.

But there was some recent good news: this year’s feeds are going to be in high-definition, which means when the houseguests are lounging in the backyard, you’ll see every sinew of their six-pack abs.

Back at you next week, hopefully with some more news…

Egg On My Face

Sometimes in life, you make a judgement call, and your judgement winds up being wrong. I had one of those moments tonight, and I believe I made a mistake interpreting a statement Amanda Zuckerman had made at about 4:26pm BBT today, August 3rd.

In the cockpit room talking to McCrae Olson and Aaryn Gries, it seemed at first that Amanda had called Candice Stewart, a black woman, a monkey. In light of some other things Amanda had said in the house, it seemed a totally logical development.

I listened to the comment myself closely on the flashback stream of the live feeds. It had certainly sounded to me that Zuckerman had said the word monkey, and I said as such on Twitter and on Facebook.

Then others chimed in, saying that Amanda had slurred her words, and that she had ended on sentence with the word “block” and began another with “He” in reference to Spencer Clawson. At first, I scoffed at that notion. But when I put together my own clip, it began to dawn on me that the latter explanation was indeed correct. Amanda didn’t use the word “monkey” after all. Had she done so, the house would have gone into yet another tizzy, and that didn’t happen.

So I apologize for my error, and will try to do better from here on out. For those of you who criticize me for coming to a snap conclusion, as I said, it sounded like a logical development at the time, thus the matter wasn’t as “cut and dry” as these situations usually are.

It has been an unusual season, which has put bloggers, fans, friends and family of houseguests all in unusual positions.  Everyone keep calm and carry on.

He Said, She Said

Against the odds of a month ago, Amanda Zuckerman has become public enemy number one in the house, surpassing even Aaryn Gries.

Against the odds of a month ago, Amanda Zuckerman has become public enemy number one in the house among some live feed and social media followers, surpassing even Aaryn Gries.

So we’re now up to the 43rd Day in this debacle that has been the American version of Big Brother’s fifteenth season. Howard Overby was the fifth evicted from the house by a 7-1-0 tally (Candice Stewart, Howard’s showmance partner, was the only dissenting tally, cast by Spencer Clawson), and after a briefer than expected Head of Household competition, it was Ginamarie Zimmerman walking away with the honors to commence the sixth eviction cycle,

The highlight (although I submit it was a low light) of the week was the allegations of sexual harassment made by Amanda Zuckerman against the now departed Howard. According to Amanda, Howard whispered in her ear that he wanted to “f*** the s*** out of her” when he got out of the house. Amanda didn’t appear to be offended by the remark at first, but started ranting and raving a few minutes later. What was said between the two cannot be independently verified, since it wasn’t shown or recorded by the live feeds. Without that kind of information being made clear to the feedsters, what was said and what wasn’t may forever be a mystery, so no use attempting to answer a question that cannot be answered here.

Increasingly disturbing as the season progresses is the fixation by producers, host Julie Chen, and her husband Les Moonves of the racism perpetrated by Aaryn Gries and, to a much lesser degree, that of Ginamarie Zimmerman. Chen and Moonves have often stated that they are “appalled” by the comments, which strikes me as disingenuous, especially in the case of Mr. Moonves, since he has the ultimate authority over all programming at the network.

Conversely, there has been no real focus of the comments made by Amanda over the first six weeks of the house by the show. Lucky for us, the hard work of a You Tube user “pronkoforder1” benefits us by putting together a “highlight reel” of the comments Amanda has made in the house.

So now the houseguests re-circle their wagons, preparing for they think will be one eviction next Thursday when in fact there will be two evictions that night. Double evictions are usually chock full of excitement, and hopefully things will be no different on August 8th. It doesn’t appear that the house will flip against Amanda anytime soon at this juncture, as she has consolidated her power in the house by engaging in verbal spats with Candice and a lengthy alcohol-driven tirade against Jessie Kowalski.

If the house doesn’t get rid of Amanda soon, her road to the $500,000 may get much clearer.

The Victim Card

Jessie Kowalski smokes a cigarette early on Day 26, July 16, 2013.

Jessie Kowalski smokes a cigarette early on Day 26, July 16, 2013.

CBS once again took to a public relations offensive with the airing of the eighth episode of Big Brother and the airing of The Talk the following day, the subject matter being the ongoing racism of one Aaryn Gries.

As many of you live feed watchers know, there’s only one problem with that: Aaryn is not the sole person in the house these past 26 days engaging in racism or misogyny. The fact that they misrepresent the facts so grossly should be an indicator that the show and the network are being deceptive with us, the viewers.

You have Spencer Clawson making creepy comments about Jessie Kowalski to confidant Judd Daughtery, wondering if Kowalski’s womanhood tastes like butterscotch.

Then there’s Ginamarie Zimmerman, probably one of the more mentally unstable houseguests in show history, challenging Candice Stewart in a verbal altercation last Thursday to, paraphrasing slightly, get her black out.

But yet they want us to believe that Aaryn’s the only bad apple in the house. Get real with your reality, CBS.

They would rather run a disclaimer to permit Aaryn’s behavior then get rid of her for racially charged bullying. What does that tell you? And to be clear, I do not like Miss Gries and her behavior in the house, but it only tells part of the story here. The people who put her in the house to begin with now react as if they have been victimized. They create the problem, they react to it, and they will make us wait for the eventual situation where the problem is solved, whether it happens now, in September when the show ends, or somewhere in between.

In the tinderbox of racial relations that exists a few days after the trial of George Zimmerman, who may or may not have used self defense in killing Trayvon Martin in an Orlando suburb last year, CBS has to be extremely careful not to become pimps of racial division, even if it is to gain publicity and ratings.

Max Bialystock of The Producers wouldn’t even approve of that.

The Slow March

If you go to the live feeds, you now get this disclaimer.

If you go to the live feeds, you now get this disclaimer.

I don’t know about you, my fellow blog viewers, but watching the BB15 house is aging me. Hours seem to go by like days, days go by like weeks, weeks go by like months. With this group, you never know who is going to say what, and what will wind up on TMZ.

House dynamics and house cliques seem to change by the day. If you think it’s impossible for person X to dislike person Y, wait a few hours and it winds up happening. Maybe the three nominee/MVP rules are to blame for this. Or maybe it’s a very unpredictable group.

The most recent developments are these: Helen Kim, the third Head of Household of the season, nominated Aaryn Gries and Kaitlin Barnaby for eviction. To the surprise of only a select few, Elissa Slater won her third straight MVP, giving her the right to name a nominee of her own, choosing Spencer Clawson. So, in the three HOH reigns so far, ten of the sixteen houseguests have now been on the block at least once, including eight of the fourteen remaining.

On Saturday, Kaitlin won the Power of Veto competition, which sets up an interesting problem for her. If she uses the POV on herself, which seems the most logical play, her showmance friend Jeremy McGuire will likely be backdoored and voted out as things stand now. If she doesn’t use the veto, she probably wouldn’t be the target of the next eviction vote, Aaryn would be. Would she be smart enough to recognize this, or will she choose the obvious route of self-preservation?

There was a controversial moment on Friday night, as Helen Kim pretty much admitted on the feeds on two separate occasions that the production team of the show didn’t want Howard Overby, the former Southern Miss football player, on the block. That brought out the age-old argument on social media outlets about whether or not the show is manipulated behind the scenes, or how much.

Dingo over at Hamsterwatch points out that during season eight back in 2007, they had a similar station as to the present racism and homophobia controversy, but on a much smaller scale. Amber Siyavus spouted controversial views about those of the Jewish faith during the course of the season “Evel” Dick Donato won.  At a point after this became a much smaller scandal that the present one, Eric Stein was at risk of being evicted, and Eric was a Jewish houseguest. It also was one of those weeks were a dramatic voting turnaround took place, and instead of Eric going down, Kail Harbick wound up going home. In the present situation, you have two African-American houseguests and a very racist one in Aaryn. Does the show have a vested interest in assuring Aaryn goes home before Howard or Candice Stewart does?

It should also be noted that Eric was also America’s player during the course of the season, and was ordered not to use the Power pf Veto at one stage that kept the Donatos from simultaneously being on the block and would have prevented them from each finishing in the top two during that particular season.

Not even past houseguests have a total consensus or agreement as to the legitimacy of the contest, which I have always found interesting. It seems that those evicted early are more inclined to believe that production interferes often, while those who finish high or win their respective seasons seem to think highly of the production team. Think of that what you will.

As for me, I’m pretty sure the truth is somewhere between those two extremes. And the search for that truth continues here.

Fight Night

I hadn’t planned on doing a commentary today, but the ugly incidents of last night gave me other plans.

Aaryn Gries and her gang of thugs were baiting some of the women in the house who voted against Nick Uhas last night. First, Jeremy McGuire and Kaitlin Barnaby hogged the bed Jessie Kowalski was in as an effort to make her feel uncomfortable for her vote. Then Aaryn started to race-bait Candice Stewart after Aaryn had flipped over Candice’s bed several minutes prior.

Howard Overby came into the room, and you could see in that clip that he was barely holding his composure together. Ginamarie Zimmerman entered the conversation, and she and Candice exchanged words. Zimmerman quickly got up in Candice’s face and challenged Stewart to do something about the situation.

“Whatcha gonna say?” Ginamarie kept asking Candice.

Ginamarie Zimmerman challenges Candice Stewart to fight her... July 11, 2013.

Ginamarie Zimmerman challenges Candice Stewart to fight her… July 11, 2013.

Howard picked up Candice and carried her out of the room they were all in, with Stewart never losing eye contact with Zimmerman as she departed.

“Oh my God, I just wanted to smack her right there.” Kaitlin Barnaby said as Candice exited.

I’ve been watching this show a long time, and I’ve never seen an incident that ugly in the house as that one. Yes, even more disgusting than what Shannon did in BB2 and what Jeremy did with Elissa Slater’s hat just a week or so ago. And I must admit, it’s one of the rare times an incident on a TV show has made me angry to watch it, and it actually me feel ashamed to be white.

This was in your face racism, disgusting and uncalled for. Aaryn and her mini Aryan Nation showed a total lack of class, and quite frankly, NOW they should be disciplined for what they’ve done, more than ever. And NOT just Aaryn, the others as well. They are a national disgrace!

Will the show or will CBS do anything about it? Probably not. After all, it is good ratings. Prove me wrong, gang.