Before Big Brother 23

I have been watching Big Brother ever since Season 2, when the idea of strangers being locked inside a house without any access to the outside world sparked such thoughts as, “they can’t call anyone or read the newspaper” and “they’re going to be so bored without a TV”.

It was a different world. That was 20 years ago – 2001.

Ten years ago, I remember running across my university campus during a commercial break halfway through the Season 13 finale, just so I could watch the end with friends in another residence.

Still don’t know how I got there in three minutes flat. Definitely one of my proudest athletic achievements.

Fast-forward ten years later – yes, I’m telling this story in 10-year intervals – and it’s premiere night for the 23rd season of Big Brother.

Is the show different? Absolutely. I’ll get to that shortly.

But do I still get excited for the start of a new season, and a new cast that hasn’t disappointed me yet? Definitely. I’ve been trying to find “inside information” of any kind for the last few weeks.

All I could stumble upon were pictures of the outside of the backyard. Very exhilarating.

The Big Brother I grew up with was a cutthroat game where alliances were made, and then broken. It was a game where players weren’t afraid to go after big targets. It was a game devoid of a large alliance of 6+ players because no one was afraid to play.

It was a game of Wills and Janelles, Dans and Britneys, and Evel Dick.

It was a game where endurance competitions lasted longer than one hour.

It was a game that didn’t try to manufacture too many “powers” that never really panned out.

I genuinely miss those bare bones days of Big Brother. I thought they would come back last year when there was an All-Star cast, but they did not. At all.

I don’t know if the shift to timid, groupthink gameplay in recent years is a result of the contestants growing up in the social media age, where they might be more concerned with growing a following on Instagram, than they are actually winning a game they knew nothing about before entering the house.

Then again, with the amount of inappropriate comments houseguests have made in recent seasons, I was probably expecting too much from a group of individuals who seemingly forgot they were on-camera every second of the day.

I want my Big Brother back.

When most evictions are unanimous votes, I die a little inside.

When the houseguests base their vote on, “well, this is what the Head of Household wants”, I die a little inside.

You know what you should do? The opposite of what the HOH wants. You keep the person they want to get rid of, so then that feud continues to fester for another week and distracts others from looking your way.

But no. Let’s vote out whoever the HOH wants just because it’s their week of power.

HELLO!? The HOH doesn’t have a vote (unless there is a tie). They have NO say.

My annual fear is that the new crop of houseguests have only seen recent seasons, which is why we’re stuck in this perpetual monotony of, “I don’t want to get blood on my hands, let me nominate two people no one really likes.”

Someone needs to remind them they’re on TV. It’s supposed to be entertaining. MAKE IT ENTERTAINING.

I can’t stand the whole, “I don’t want to upset the house”. THIS IS BIG BROTHER. THE HOUSE IS SUPPOSED TO BE UPSET.

Breathe, Paul. Breathe.

For this season, they are going to divide the houseguests into four teams of four, for the first four weeks. There will be team captains and everything.

They have done this before. I don’t think it really worked. I think they’re doing it to prevent large alliances being made, so at least they’re trying?

I just don’t find teams very interesting, unless it were two teams and only lasted for a couple of weeks. That’s what they did on the most recent season of Big Brother Canada and it wasn’t too bad.

In fact, it helped make one of the best seasons of Big Brother I’ve seen in a long time.

The motto has always been, “Expect The Unexpected”, which, in theory, gives them the freedom to do absolutely anything. So, do anything.

Reality competition shows like Survivor and The Challenge constantly reinvent themselves by adding small new wrinkles to the game. I wish Big Brother tried to do more of that.

Sure, they’ve given out secret powers that only one person knows about, but most of the time, that person tells someone else and then the whole house knows. Or, they don’t end up using the power because “they don’t want to get blood on their hands”.

It just falls flat.

This is Big Brother. The whole concept is that everyone is constantly being watched.

If you’re going to hand out secret powers, do it in front of everyone. Let people feel some heat and have to find a way to weasel their way out of it.

If someone wants a power, let them live with a target on their back as well.

Don’t just say, “here’s your power, no one knows about it, you can remain hidden” in hopes that they’ll pull it out in two weeks and “shock the house”. That has rarely ever happened and the TV moment it was supposed to create, is lost.

If you want to hide something – and I’ve been wanting this for years – don’t reveal the vote count when someone is evicted.

Make it an Invisible Eviction. That would encourage people to not “vote with the house”, would it not?

I mean, votes are already anonymous, so you just have to be good at lying if you don’t want to vote with the house. BUT, if you don’t trust yourself to lie, then you can hide behind an Invisible Eviction. No one will know how many votes went to either nominee.

You and your small alliance can cause chaos and send the house into a frenzy.

As a viewer, that’s all I want. A frenzy. I want shocked faces when the evicted houseguest is informed that they must leave the house.

I don’t want these happy-go-lucky eviction nights where everyone in the house knows what’s going to happen before anyone has made their final speech. I want those final pleas to mean something. I want the voters to think, “you know what, they made a good point. I’m switching my vote.”

But no. Very few people want to send a stray vote the other way because that would just cause a commotion.

Yes, because an 8-1 vote is cause for concern.

Anyway, I don’t mean to be cynical. I just want a good season of Big Brother.

If everyone plays hard, then no one will stand out as playing too hard. Therefore, they’ll all have an equal-sized target and no one can go around saying, “they’re playing too hard, too soon, let’s get them out”.

Please play hard.

It’s a new season, which means there is always optimism.

Here’s hoping for a great cast, a great season, and a reminder of why I, and millions of others, grew up loving Big Brother.

Enjoy the premiere.

Are you a fan of Big Brother? Who are some of your favourite former houseguests? What are your hopes for this season?

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4 Responses to Before Big Brother 23

  1. peckapalooza says:

    I love this post. You are speaking my heart. I had such high hopes for last year’s All-Star season. But I gave up about four weeks in. And I honestly said to myself I was done with Big Brother for good. But it’s back… and I want to be hopeful and I want to see a good season again. I’m not optimistic, but I’ll be watching tonight’s premiere. I took the time to peruse the short cast bios last week and noticed that they all range in age from 20 to 34. I miss when they would throw in an old cantankerous guy just to stir the pot. I miss the drama. They’re all too afraid to rock the boat. I hope some of this year’s houseguests are different, but judging from what I read of them, I really don’t think they will be.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Last season was so disappointing. I still can’t believe how bad it was. I looked through the cast too and am a bit (blindly) optimistic just because it’s the most diverse case they’ve ever had (outside of them all being young) and the last season of BB Canada was the same way and the houseguests delivered an amazing season. But who knows. I always get lured in by pre-game interviews and how they say they’re going to play, and then they don’t follow through. We’ll see.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. markbialczak says:

    I watch and pick favorites and root and hope, you know it, Paul. As long as the core couple or three that perceives it has the most power gathers the largest numbers at the start, the recent formula will continue. It’s all about confidence, the lack of it, and group-think. CBS scrambles to try to stir it up but so far has failed. Yet I don’t give up on it for some reason. Yikes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Well said, Mark. With so much money on the line, it is a smart strategy for them to have the numbers and not take unnecessary risks. As viewers, though, we want chaos and entertainment. That’s where the show needs to step up and try out some new curveballs.


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