The following is the first ever Guest Post from new Rob Has a Website contributor, Andy Baker
After a weekend of reading cast bios and watching interview videos – and several weeks of being modestly entertained but mostly underwhelmed by Glass House — I’m finally prepared to begin my Big Brother 14 coverage.
Like so many other reality show bloggers, I’m going to cave in to the irresistible temptation to rank the BB14 houseguests. Here’s the thing: I freely admit that trying to predict who will finish where is an utterly futile endeavor, especially on a show that’s subject to a staggering amount of producer manipulation. So why bother? One, because everyone loves lists, and two, at least these rankings will give you a rough idea of who I think has a legit chance to win.
One caveat before I begin: The mentor twist is going to make these predictions even more speculative than they would be in a normal Big Brother season (if such a thing exists). Will they get to “save” players, as judges do on shows like American Idol? Wouldn’t surprise me. Will they be allowed to watch diary room confessions, spread disinformation, and turn houseguests against one another (and will the mentors get to team up and create alliances that wouldn’t arise naturally)? Almost certainly. And will they rejoin the game at some point? This would be brutally unfair, but I wouldn’t put it past the producers.
And now, the list:
“THANKS FOR PLAYING” DIVISION
12) Jenn Arroyo – Like it or not, the first week or two of BB play out like high school — cliques form, the beautiful people flock to each other, and those who live at the social margins find themselves scrambling for connection, meaning and relevance. Take a look at every winner of Big Brother — quite a homogenous bunch, no? (Evil Dick is the exception who proves the rule.) Jenn has a ton of tats. She labels herself as a “rock and roll lesbian.” She believes she’s “mega awesome.” Could be a pretty cool person — but, yeah, she’s on the block week one.
11) Wil Heuser – To be honest, I could be totally underestimating this guy. There are moments in interviews when he comes across as engaging and entertaining — and yet, after watching him for five minutes, I’m exhausted. The voice, the thinly-veiled narcissism, the constant flipping, touching and caressing of his flowing locks — it’s all too much. In a game that is almost twice as long as Survivor, houseguests, consciously or unconsciously, keep people around who will make the journey more enjoyable. Wil is the very opposite of that. See you on YouTube, buddy.
10) Ian Terry – In social games like BB, the best players ignore what people say and instead focus on how they say it. If you can’t read body language, you don’t stand a chance — and if you’ve got bad body language, you’re dead on arrival. During interviews, Ian’s eyes dart in every direction, he hunches over like the pressure of BB is making him implode, and his conversational behavior is filled with twitches, interruptions and smirks. Yes, he understands the game (he’s a superfan) and he’s smart (in an engineering sort of way), but there are two sorts of nerds who end up on reality shows: endearing (hello, Cochran) and annoying (hey there, Ronnie). Ian’s in the latter camp — and without an alliance to embrace him like a mascot, he’s leaving early.
“ONLY IF EVERYTHING BREAKS RIGHT” DIVISION
9) Shane Meaney – By the third week in the BB house, alliances have formed, battle lines have been drawn, and floaters have been vilified yetlargely ignored. It’s around this time that newbies like Shane — who has almost no understanding of how the game works — overplay their hands and end up on the chopping block. Power players won’t take him seriously and alliance members won’t trust him because he’ll be alarmingly non-committal — and then we’ll be treated to Shane’s “confused face” (which made roughly 87 appearances in one of the interviews I watched, usually right after the statement, “really good question”) while he’s sitting in the red nomination chairs. If Shane defies all logic and wins this game, he’ll be BB’s very own Fabio… but it ain’t gonna happen.
8) Jodi Rollins – Can someone explain to me why older players embrace the parent role in BB? In Survivor, it makes sense — the conditions are brutal enough that castaways seek solace from a father or mother figure. But BB is, situationally speaking, a bunch of teenagers who have the beach house to themselves for the summer — they don’t want parental supervision. Jodi — who periodically reminded me of Shirley on Community, only less funny and with tighter shirts (I felt bad for the buttons, odd but true) — is going to find out, swiftly and rudely, that no one in the BB house wants a mom. Sorry, Shirley — your summer vacation isn’t going to be as long as you had hoped.
7) Joe Arvin – On the one hand, we’ve all heard stories about reality show casting alternates (Joe was added at the last minute) doing well. On the other hand, there’s an obvious reason why the producers didn’t originally cast him: He’s boring. He sounds like a great guy — during his interviews, you can see how much he loves his kids, and you believe it when he says that he’s soft-hearted and trusting — but these are not the redeeming qualities of a BB champ. Joe, a professional chef in real life, plans to lay low and cook his way to the final two — much like Jonas on Survivor: One World. How’d that work out for Jonas? Right — voted out at the merge. The same fate awaits Joe: a decent run and a seat on the jury.
6) Kara Monaco – Jordan redux, if Jordan had ever been Playmate of the Year, worked at Disney and put the sin in Cinderella. Kara’s blonde, not that bright, and a terrible liar — which makes her a perfect pawn. She’s going to be in an alliance within the first week — I’m going to guess she teams up with Frank — and will never once consider betraying or backstabbing anyone. She’ll go as far as her alliance takes her — again, just like Jordan — but I have a feeling that she’s going to strike up a showmance, be seen as a voting block threat, and end up on the jury at which point someone will have to explain to her that she didn’t win.
5) Ashley Iocco – I don’t care if Glee is on FOX, if no one in the house refers to Ashley as Trouty Mouth this summer, I will be gravely disappointed. Anyway, I guess the BB producers decided to double up on the dim blondes this summer — Ashley and Kara are entirely redundant (but in a way that male, bikini-loving viewers won’t mind). You know, I can’t recall a single BB alliance which had two hot blondes in it — can you? They’ll inevitably end up on opposing sides of the house, and, like Kara, Ashley and her “super love energy” will make it as far as her alliance allows. I don’t see her winning, but she’s the flavor of player — blonde and bland — that often makes it deep into the game.
“THE REAL CONTENDERS” DIVISION
4) JoJo Spatafora – Clearly, CBS reality show casting directors decided (probably after watching too much Jersey Shore) that there was one criminally underexploited demographic which desperately needed to be on network TV this year: people with annoying voices. First, we had Jay on Survivor: One World, and now we’ve got JoJo, the Sicilian model/bartender. Like Jay, though, I get the vibe that JoJo is smarter and savvier than she seems at first blush. She also gets bonus points for her willingness to be a villain — I think she means it when she says she’ll do anything to win the game. It’s a mortal lock that she and Willie gravitate to one another and form the heart and soul of one of this season’s two main alliances (unless the mentors mess it up). She has a shot at winning the whole thing; at the very least, she isn’t going home early.
3) Willie Hantz – If there’s one BB14 wager I want to make, it’s that Ian is going to out Willie as a Hantz within the first week. Willie talks like Russell, dresses like Russell and acts like Russell — every mannerism, every facial expression, every word choice and voice inflection is pure Hantz. How Willie thinks he’s going to keep his identity a secret is beyond me; the more important question, though, is how the other players are going to react to having Russell’s brother in the house. In the end, I think being a Hantz is going to do more good than harm; Willie’s a smart and engaging guy, and it’s easy to see him shaping an alliance with the moths who are attracted to the flickering flame of pseudo-celebrity. He may be planning to sow the
seeds of discord in the house — he claims he wants to get the players to hate one another — but like Russell, Willie will soon abandon this strategy and engage like a prototypical power player: control the intel, keep the numbers, and get to the end.
2) Danielle Murphree At the moment, my gut is telling me to flip JoJo and Danielle — or maybe put Danielle in the “Only if Everything Breaks Right” division. But here’s why I put her near the top: she’s going to join an alliance, but will be the advising Iago who avoids putting a target on her back… she’s not going to do anything to piss anyone off (even if she has the scariest of female physical attributes: crazy eyes)… she’s a southern belle, a casting category that historically does well (but if she’s really 23, those were some mighty rough college years)… and she’s got the power floater blueprint down pat: she understands the game, she’s willing to seem “not very smart,” she plans to hide her athleticism, and she’s going to lay low while
avoiding confrontation. Just like JoJo will wind up with Willie, Danielle is going to end up finding Frank and forming the SuperFan SuperDuo. Book it.
1) Frank Eudy – Maybe I just have a soft spot for unemployed people who end up on reality shows, but Frank feels like a front-runner to me. I get the same vibe from him that I got from Kim in Survivor: One World — Frank is gregarious, amusing, and animated; his body language is positive, open, and welcoming. It’s pretty clear, even after only a few minutes of footage, that Frank is socially adept and strategically shrewd; an example: he’s willing to win the first HoH competition not only to be safe for a week, but also because he trusts that he’ll be able to forge an alliance of his own choosing when players seek him out. It took me awhile, but I finally realized who Frank reminds me of: Dan Gheesling, one of the best Big Brother players ever, and one of this season’s returning players. Like Dan, Frank will be able to lie, manipulate and backstab if and when the situation demands, yet somehow still seem like a nice guy — which means on Finale night, the Chenbot will crown him the winner of BB14.
So there you have it: If I could pick only one player to win it all, Frank’s my guy. Did I really just predict that the son of a pro wrestler would take down the BB title? Yup, I did.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know!