Season 12 of Big Brother succeeds in spite of its failed theme.
Every summer I look forward to a few simple things — Maine lobsters, corn on the cob, driving around with the top off and the start of Big Brother. It is my summer addiction. This summer I have not missed one episode. Every July I look forward to who the house guests will be and like clockwork, there are stereotypes that everyone will fall into. The villain, the ones who float from one side to another, the two faced bitch, the “showmance,” the cocky one and America’s Sweetheart. This year was no different.
Every season promises a theme that will make the game interesting and promise drama, but not all of them deliver. This season’s theme, “Summer of Sabotage,” has fallen short of expectations theme wise. One of the house guests was not playing for the grand prize of $500,000 due to them being the saboteur. Annie, the original saboteur, was the first house guest voted out. Epic Fail. I have found in my years of watching Big Brother that those that play the hardest right from start go out first. The producers then gave us Ragan as a two week saboteur. Maybe it is my jaded and cynical mind, but putting a note under Enzo’s pillow is not really a huge act of sabotage but at least Ragan was fulfilled his two week commitment which is more than Annie can say. The theme was ill defined and a complete bomb. No one on the cast cared and neither did we.
Every year, you can count on a showmance (a relationship that forms during the reality show, sometimes used as a ploy for more camera time and more time than not ends once production is over). This year it was Rachel and Brendan who were exchanging “I love you’s” during the first week. I give them at least a month after the show is over before they break up.
It’s not unusual to see the house divide into factions, as alliances are a major part of making it in the Big Brother house. Over the course of this season, though the house guests might have had some minor issues here and there, the one thing that usually united the house was their mutual hatred for Brendon & Rachel. No one got along with the two of them for many reasons. Brendon and Rachel alienated themselves from the rest of the house guests and made no secret of their romantic alliance. Instead of laying low and attempting to work with the house guests in power, they created targets for themselves and those loosely aligned with them.
When Brendon and Rachel were put up for eviction, Brendon decided to sacrifice himself for Rachel because he “loved” her. Yes, he was willing to give up a chance at $500,000 for someone he knew for a little over a month. Brendon lashed out at the house guests, hoping to get them to hate him so badly, they would evict him instead of Rachel. The house saw through this and decided to evict Rachel, and then evict Brendon. After her eviction, Brendon swore revenge on those who “screwed” them and fought hard in the HOH competition. All of this made FANTASTIC television, as the “root for” couple became the couple people began to despise.
Rachel’s obnoxious personality was grating from day one. Rachel let all of America know that she is from Vegas and that “no one stands between me and my man.” Her screeching voice was the first to make it to the jury house, which was almost too bad because the diary rooms of the other house guests making fun of her were simply priceless, especially Britney. Brendon, though cute, never spoke without her, which was great.
It was a drama filled day when Brendon, who was HOH at the time, opened Pandora’s Box (a gift or a punishment for the Head of Household and the rest of the house gets the other). Brendon was hoping to get to spend time with Rachel, but imagine his surprise when he was taken to paradise…without Rachel. That meant a punishment was inflicted on the house. Much to the chagrin of the house guests, Rachael was allowed back in the house for 24 hours.
Rachel, although a good hardcore player, did not realize that when Pandora’s Box was opened and she was released onto the house for 24 hours that it was a punishment. Instead of using her time to try and learn information and maybe make amends with those who she fell out with, she was even more obnoxious than before! Her plastic body, gross red hair extensions and voice that could crack glass tried to get under Ragan’s skin but he owned her in one of the best bitch fights in the history of Big Brother. Ragan, you made all of us proud. [Video Clip — Rachel returns and fights with Ragan]
Matt was by far one of the best players this season. He tried to be the cocky villain and he wasn’t pulling it off very well. He threw a very important Head of Household competition that eventually led to his eviction. He was so cocky that thought he was safe. No one, not even the host Julie Chen, is safe in Big Brother. Not only did he try to pull a Jonny “My grandma isn’t here because she died” strategy but he was ineffective in playing both sides of the house. On one side he had the Brigade – an alliance between Lane, Hayden and Enzo that was formed in the beginning of the game and on the other side of the house – Ragan, Britney and occasionally Brendon. He overplayed his hand when he visited the bus stop and cruelly threw his BFF Ragan under it. The best thing, Ragan woke up and realized that this was a game and not a campfire where we sit around and sing kumbaya. See you on finale night Matt when you vote for the winner.
One thing that that stands out amongst this crowd is that there are no standouts. There’s no Dr. Will who you loved to hate or Janelle, who you just loved. There was no Evel Dick or Chicken George. There were thirteen house guests that were just ordinary. America’s Sweetheart Britney; the lovable gay professor Ragan; Lane, the Texan who now has a burger named after him; Enzo who clearly stepped in the wrong line for casting ( Jersey Shore was to the left).
Could it be that the ordinary is ordinary because the stupid theme blew up in their faces again and we were just left with people playing a game? That is the crux of Big Brother. It is a game. I am not saying don’t throw some twists in there. Just don’t make the game all about twists. Let the game be played by the best players, using their smarts and strategy. Maybe this is why the ratings have been the best in years. No twists, no theme, just smart strategy.
As of last Thursday, there are five remaining house guests – Britney, Enzo, Hayden, Lane, and Ragan. Each of the final five has an equal opportunity to win, each buoyed by their strengths and weaknesses. Personally I’m rooting for Britney. She’s pulled through when she needed too, and played hard. For that same reason, I could pull for Ragan. He’s played the best overall game, and though his alliance with Matt came back to bite him in the ass, if he makes it to the finals, the jury should strongly consider voting for him.
Come September 15, I will be there to watching the two hour finale with a shoe in my hand yelling at my television like I do every summer.