The following is a guest post from Rob Has a Website Contributor, Andy Baker
As I revel in Frank’s reversal of fortune, please allow me to offer these musings on our first live eviction episode of BB 14:
1) Kara’s gone, and as horrible as this sounds, I really can’t muster much sympathy. I usually feel bad for early evictees, but she was just sort of… blah, right? She’s a former Playmate of the Year, someone I’m sure the producers were dying to put on camera as much as humanly possible, and yet other than the obligatory “she’s been nominated” footage, she was nearly invisible from the start. There’s been a lot of twitter talk about the possibility of evicted houseguests returning to the game, but I can’t see the producers pulling that twist out of their bag of tricks for either Kara or Jodi; if Willie is voted out next week, though, all bets are off. (Quick footnote: Joe’s goodbye message comment about Kara’s looks earned a sneer from Kara and a smattering of boos from the live studio audience… but Shane’s repeated comments about Kara’s legs got a laugh? What am I missing? Oh, right – Shane’s young and handsome. Moving on.)
2) Frank, that straight-talking %@#$*?!, is the new HoH. He stands up to Willie, smiles throughout Willie’s efforts to intimidate, and right before the live vote, he makes an anti-bullying speech – what’s not to love (other than his fondness for the word “apreesh”)? I’ve said it from the beginning: he’s got the skill set to win it all – and with a comparatively easy week as HoH (assuming the house remains unified in its collective disdain of all things Hantz), Frank can gain some serious traction. This, which I’m sure comes as no surprise, pleases me.
3) Two BB tropes that absolutely, positively have to go: The repetitive recaps at the beginning of every episode and the mind-numbingly predictable nominee speeches. Replace the recaps with five more minutes of in-game drama, and force nominees to be creative and interesting when they address the houseguests (perhaps with the judicious use of a cattle prod and/or shock collar). Two quick fixes that are guaranteed to make the show 23% better.
4) Interesting coaches twist – at first blush, I’m intrigued by the idea of trading players. Just like the ability to protect a player, I’m not sure this power will have a massive impact early in the game; later, though, when each Coach has fewer players to protect or trade, the potential uses for these powers become more complex, layered, and possibly game-altering. That said, here’s one interesting scenario for this week: Britney wins the Coaches Competition… knowing that the house wants to go Hantz-less, Britney trades Slick Willie to Dan… and when Willie gets voted out, Dan’s gone too. She has to at least consider this, doesn’t she?
5) Speaking of Willie, I could write an entire Baker’s Dozen about his despotic turn as HoH… but I’m intolerant of intolerance, and right now, I don’t want to think about, or write about, Willie. Whether or not his treatment of Wil was overblown, his casual use of the N-word (a live feed controversy unsurprisingly omitted from Thursday’s episode) moves him beyond villain status into the “get him off my TV” category. The Big Brother producers should think twice before they work overtime to find a way of prolonging Willie’s stay in the BB house; sadly, though, I’m sure they think he’s ratings gold, which means he’s not going anywhere if Grodner gets her way.
6) Love him or hate him, Boogie wears some entertaining T-shirts. “Showmance Anyone?” takes the bronze, “Big Brother Belichick” earns the silver, and “Where’s Will?” gets the gold. Here’s hoping he has more.
7) Someone needs to post the Big Brother Ten Commandments in the kitchen so that the houseguests stop forgetting them. One of the ten: Thou Shalt Assume Everybody Talks. You’d think that the Coaches would know better, and yet Britney somehow thought that Willie would keep his mouth shut about her “Coaches returning to the game” theory. And Boogie apparently expected Janelle to keep quiet after he threw Dan under the bus. Insanity. (Quick footnote: I’m starting to believe the conspiracy theorists who think Janelle and Boogie made a pre-game pact to work together. Their early conflict and half-hearted diary room speeches all feel rehearsed to me; we may well be seeing Mr. & Mrs. Smith Part Deux.)
8) I know I can’t be alone in my disdain for Wednesday’s BB episode. How can CBS refuse to budge from the “Veto Episode” formula when an endless amount of drama is exploding in the house? It seems so counter-intuitive – even if a hastily-edited episode wouldn’t be as polished, it would be vastly more entertaining than an hour dedicated to an ultimately meaningless competition that happened over the weekend. Between the live feeds, Big Brother After Dark, and 24/7 twitter coverage, what percentage of BB viewers doesn’t know what’s happening in the house? In a week full of chaos and conflict, trim the veto coverage to one 15-minute segment and spend the rest of the episode giving viewers what they want. And with that, you’ve got another 17% improvement.
9) Team Diversity is the lamest alliance name in the history of forever.
10) Fortunes rising: The obvious answer here is Frank, whose eviction at various points this past week was a virtual lock, and now he’s the HoH. But I don’t like the obvious answer, so let’s look elsewhere. Hmmmmm. Maybe Jenn? Her team’s in power, and most people don’t seem to know she’s in the house, including the BB producers. But I’m going to go with Joe – as annoying as he can be, Joe earned some political capital when he told Frank about Willie’s plan to split the votes, and he also scolded Willie about playing too fast. Sure, Joe’s propensity for augmenting the truth is going to get him into trouble at some point down the line, but for now, Joe and his annoying voice are earning the green up arrow.
11) Fortunes falling: Shane. Looked to me like Shane threw the HoH competition. Avoiding the responsibilities of power is a viable overall BB strategy, but in this specific situation, it was a horribly unwise decision. I’m sure Shane is searching for ways to appear less threatening, but like it or not, his team was going to be targeted this week; his only way to avoid being in the nomination mix was for him or Jojo to have won HoH. Further complicating matters: I’ll be shocked if the Coaches aren’t fully aware that Shane punted an easy question… all the more reason not to trust him.
12) Okay, I’ll say it: What’s up with Shane’s ears? The guy is handsome, but when he’s on-screen, his ears are all I see. And now that you’ve read this, you won’t be able to look away. (Sorry about that.)
13) Prediction time: I’m not going to overthink this one. Frank puts Willie and Jojo on the block, with Shane as a replacement nominee if one of them wins PoV. Barring a Grodner-mandated deus ex machina, Hantz goes home. At least, that’s what SHOULD happen. But I wouldn’t bet on it.
That’s it for this edition of The Baker’s Dozen – see ya Monday!