Summer’s Guiltiest Pleasure: Big Brother on CBS

Editor’s Note: This post is written by friend of The Wise Guise, Chill Town Charlie. Enjoy his thoughts and ramblings on the show that everyone asks, “Who watches that?” whenever the commercials come on. The answer is Chill Town Charlie. And he seems to think a lot of other people are watching in the quiet of their own homes… and just not talking about it. Enjoy!

What’s not to love about the basic B’s of Big Brother – Boobs (both the physical and mental versions), Brawn, Bisexuals, Bawdiness, Backstabbing and Bros?

We all know the first season sucked.  We were all really excited after Survivor’s first season had us captivated every week, talking about it with our friends, and imagining how well we’d do on the show.  Then we saw cryptic commercials for a new show, which appeared to be Survivor in a House… where viewers got to vote people out!

Unfortunately, season one failed pretty miserably. I could barely watch one episode a week, much less three.  Yes, the players got to nominate people for America to vote out of the game.  But they always nominated the annoying (i.e. entertaining and interesting) people, and America always voted the villains out.  It left us with a somewhat lovable, underdog winner of the half million dollars. But everyone realized the show was a shell of what it could be… i.e. Survivor in a house, with enough differing rules to make it interesting.

Beginning with Season 2 all the way through the current 14th season, the show has been much better – more interesting, better characters, and better format.  You see, for reality shows (especially ones during the dog days of summer that air multiple episodes a week), the format is the name of the game.  Are there enough compelling competitions, characters, and drama to fill 160 minutes of TV every week? Although Big Brother can’t always answer this question in the affirmative (especially later in the seasons when the cast of characters is small, shifting the drama from being dependent on alliances and votes to competition victories and losses), those of us who have watched most episodes of most seasons know that Big Brother is a worthy guilty pleasure during the dog days of summer.

This 14th season has featured the usual basic B’s of a Big Brother season – boobs (both the physical and mental versions), brawn, bisexuals, bawdiness, backstabbing and bros.  From the shocking first week when we lost our only African American on the first night of the game (bummer) and our only 2006 Playboy Playmate of the Year to last week’s entrance of the four veteran, all-star Big Brother coaches into the game as players competing to win, this season has had it all.  We had Russell Hantz’s brother (villainous Russell of Survivor fame… try to keep up!) get kicked out of the house for a physical altercation.  We had a showmance love triangle result in one Jersey Shore wannabe being removed from the game and the remaining duo kissing and taking power in the house.  We have a World Heavyweight Champion wrestler’s son constantly being targeted for eviction.  We have a nerdy little, Generation Y version of Rick Moranis romancing the beautiful airhead and taking every punishment possible (including kicking himself in the face) to curry favor with fellow house guests. Like I said, we’ve had it all.

But the show took it up a notch this past week.  After starting with only 12 players (and 4 returning players as coaches to try to coach one of their team members to victory, solidifying $100,000 for themselves) and removing them at record pace, the producers had to give America and the veteran all-star players (including former winners Dan and Mike Boogie) the opportunity to join the game before the season ended 6 weeks early.

Like many Big Brother fans, I was skeptical about the coaches getting to enter the game after being in the house for three weeks, forming alliances, affecting who got evicted, and being completely immune from being evicted themselves.  BUT, looking at it, they have huge targets on their backs (or at least should if the other 8 players had any sense in them, which the jury is still out on), they still have to outlast 10 players to be one of the last two standing (given 16 total competitors this season), and they still have to persuade the jury of evicted house guests to award them the $500,000.  Besides, if the 8 house guests playing this game for the first time allow one of the all-star coaches to reach the end, then none of those 8 deserve to win this game.  AND, because of Mike Boogie, Dan, Danielle, and Janelle being in the game, whoever ultimately wins the game will be more deserving, as they will have had to navigate past 15 other players to reach the end and get the most votes to win.  As for us viewers, the first week with coaches as players has already brought some of the best Big Brother since Jeff and Jordan romanced Jordan to a victory and the All-Star season when Mike Boogie fulfilled Chill Town Destiny by joining his bro Dr. Will in the Winner’s Hall of Fame.

Which transitions so nicely into the action this week that sets up Big Brother 14 to possibly be an all-time great season.  After finding out he wasn’t nearly as powerful as he thought he was, Mike Boogie showed that Chill Town magic that made us all love Big Brother so much in season 2, revealing that quite possibly he can be the Mayor of Chill Town in a season without the help of Dr. Will.  Taking Frank (whose struggles in challenges have shown him to not be anywhere near as big a threat as feared) under his wing and after appearing as if he’d ride into that eviction sunset as a bitter, whining elder to Frank’s naive rookie, Mike Boogie has brought economic boom to Chill Town.

Until this past Wednesday’s episode, Mike Boogie looked a little old, a lot less charming, and as if he was living in the past glories of his alliance’s Big Brother prowess, refusing to adapt to the new age.  But then, after Frank blew the Power of Veto challenge and all appeared lost for our new, seemingly misguided Chill Town alliance, Mayor Mike Boogie showed he had just as much magic in him as ever.  By being brutally honest about who he would work with (anyone but Janelle) and who he would not (Janelle), the seeming desperate Mike Boogie appealed to the other house guests.  Along with Frank’s loss, Ian’s star-eyed loyalty to the Big Brother veteran and timely joining of the alliance in power (Quack Pack?!? Really? That’s what we’re going with? Shoulda focus grouped that with Chill Town first), and the rare time Janelle let her guard down and rested on her laurels, Mike Boogie’s persuasive proclamations and power plays were something Nixon would be proud of. And just like ol’ Tricky Dick’s Silent Majority in 1968, Mike Boogie formed a powerful alliance called the Silent Six in the 2012 Big Brother House.

New powerhouse player Danielle (whose puppy love of Shane and father-figure love of Dan has her hardly having any original thoughts) took Will off the block, replaced him with Janelle, and just like that, we had our first backdoor blindside of the season. The greatest player to have never won the game, who has been known to make runs to the Final 3 on the prowess of her challenge-winning-skills and conniving ways, was out of the game several nights later, by a vote of 8-1.

I half expected her to pull it off and find a way to stay in the game, but the opportunity was too ripe and the rest of the house respected her game-playing abilities too much.  Out the door went Janelle… and then we got the sign that Chill Town was in charge again!

During the Head of Household challenge, Mike Boogie seemed to be running the show, telling winners of each round who to match up for the next round, winning enough to get to the semi-finals, throwing the challenge to his protege Frank, and then celebrating with Frank once he won.  Frank had gone from almost evicted in two weeks to the king of the house… and all thanks to Mike Boogie’s old tricks being better than ever.

With 11 players left this season, the new Chill Town duo seems to be in complete control of the game! Most impressively, they seem to have a litany of people to pick off before having to start backstabbing people… although the genius of Chill Town has always been their ability to have plenty of allies and targets, at their best, able to backstab the right people at the right time to shift the numbers the other way, always shifting the targets and voting blocs to ensure they’re never vulnerable for eviction.  Looks like we have another fun season on our hands with Chill Town at the helm with 11 players to go.  I don’t think they’re the favorites to win, but their place of power in the game will drastically affect who does end up winning… meaning the ultimate winner this season should be a more deserving one because of it! And… you can never count Chill Town out.


1. Mike Boogie (Odds to win: 20 to 1) – Maintaining his strategy of throwing competitions to not be seen as a competition threat, Boogie holds all the power this week.  Frank completely listens to whatever Boogie says, so what Boogie says this week, goes. Of course, after his performance last week in convincing all his enemies to join up with him, it seems Boogie’s had more control than we all thought for quite some time.  Still not a favorite to win given his past victory and reputation, he could still go quite far.

2. Frank (Odds to win: 12 to 1) – Frank’s not necessarily as smart as Dr. Will. BUT, he’s better at competitions and better at being a friendly, charming presence in the game… which can go a long way. With Janelle gone, there shouldn’t be any big players gunning for Frank for a while. He’s got to be one of the favorites to go all the way, if he plays his cards right.

3. Ian (Odds to win: 6 to 1) – Ian is my favorite to win right now. Like Dr. Will stated a couple weeks ago, his lovable nature, willingness to take punishments for the house, and Rick Moranis-esque looks make Ian a non-threatening, loyal-appearing player.  By the time everyone realizes he’s too sympathetic to go to the Final 2 with, it might just be too late.  The game might already be in his hands. And could there possibly be anyone who would be more fun to watch win than Ian? Here’s to hoping Ian and Ashley are the new Boston Rob and Amber! Cheers!

4. Danielle (Odds to win: 12 to 1) – I think it’s too early for Frank and Boogie to target Danielle. She should be safe this week, allowing them to lull her and Shane into a false sense of security.  But after her prowess in last week’s challenges, she could be a great ally for the next 2 to 4 weeks for Chill Town.  Speaking of Rob and Amber, Danielle could easily use Shane to get far in the game and end up winning it.

5. Dan (Odds to win: 18 to 1) – He’s just so lovable. Everyone in the house loves him, Janelle is rooting for him, and he has alliances with all the major power players.  I don’t foresee him getting targeted until the Final 6 or 7, and even then, some timely victories could give Dan another run to the end.  I don’t foresee anyone not voting to give Dan the money at the end, unless of course he’s up against Ian.

6. Jen City (Odds to win: 30 to 1) – I’ll admit… despite her rough exterior, she’s very likable and fun.  Seemingly a non-factor in the game until now, her under-the-radar approach has taken people very far in the game before. I could see her making it to the Final 5 or 6 and then, if she pits the power players against each other continually, possibly giving it a run.

7. Brittany (Odds to win: 35 to 1) – Brittany is likable enough, although not nearly as likable as the last time she played. She has a solid alliance with strong players. Unless Chill Town targets her sooner rather than later (unsure why they would target her ahead of Shane and Danielle though), she could end up with a solid 5th or 6th place finish.  She’s been too in the middle of things this season to go further though.  Dan, Boogie, and Frank know that she could cause trouble for them if they let her hang around much longer.

8. Shane (Odds to win: 20 to 1) – Shane will have the biggest target on his back sometime in the next 3 weeks.  That means he’ll have to manage a string of HoH and PoV victories for 4 or 5 weeks to have a chance to make it to the end. As he’s shown, that’s possible. But as Janelle knows all too well, it’s not the wisest way to win the game. And as we all know, Shane isn’t exactly a King Solomon… or Dan… or Chill Town.

9. Will (Odds to win: 25 to 1) – Will seems well liked in the house. But as we saw with his spat with Janelle, he could lose his cool at any point and spiral out of control.  Because he’s well-liked and pretty good at challenges, he’ll always have a target on him.  And I expect he’ll be gone in the next 3 weeks.

10. Ashley (Odds to win: 45 to 1) – She might make it far, thanks to her non-threatening ways and Ian’s schoolboy crush. But I don’t see anybody voting for her to win.

11. Joe (Odds to win: 100 to 1) – As he showed by being the only person to not vote Janelle out, he’s out of the loop, out of touch, and on his own in the house. He’s the easy target this week, unless Chill Town decides to shake it up this early (which there has never been a too early for Chill Town).  His days are numbered.


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