Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Big Brother 16: one of the best yet

by Kelsey Barritt, Writing Intern


Because a quality season is always “just around the corner,” Big Brother fans know the meaning of patience. Through revolting characters and vomit-worthy showmances, we pay dues in front of the television, three nights a week, for three months a year. To those of us who faithfully tuned in to Big Brother this summer, season 16 rewarded our endurance. Big Brother 16 satisfied on just about every single level.

The personalities were perfectly outrageous. Some we loved to hate, and some we just hated (looking at you Christine). Devon changed his personality with the blow of the wind. Zach attacked house guests at each POV and nomination ceremony. And kind souls like Hayden and Donny restored our faith in humanity.

Photo by Joe Kohen/Getty Images
America loves a good love story and this season nailed it in the showmance department. Hayden and Nicole warmed hearts with their every interaction. They kept fans rooting for them with their will-they-won’t-they adorableness. Then, the not so adorable (cringe-worthy?) wannabe showmance, Caleb and Amber, evoked anxiety. We felt for poor Beast Mode Cowboy when his dream girl didn't return his affections. And we sympathized with Amber who felt trapped in a house all day with a [borderline] stalker. And Zankie. The unexpected and genuine, almost uncomfortably close, Zach-Frankie bromance never failed to entertain.

The alliances seemed unusually numerous this season. This giant cluster included the Bomb Squad, El Cuatro, Crazy Eight, and Hitmen. That was just the first week. Surprisingly, the Bomb Squad, consisting of eight out of sixteen houseguests, ended up being a strong alliance. As usual, loyalty and the fear of big moves bound the alliance through thick and thin. Still, the Hitmen proved to be the most steadfast alliance, bringing Derrick and Cody to the final two.

Out of every alliance, the audience clearly loved Team America the most. This summer’s interactive twist gave America the chance to be involved in the game and social lives of three house guests. Fans chose the perfect members for this alliance. Team America consisted of the sneaky yet sociable Frankie, the lovable Donny, and the brilliantly manipulative Derrick. America sent them on mostly goofy missions each week, which provided some much needed comic relief – watching Big Brother can be stressful.

The Battle of the Block is arguably one of the best Big Brother twists yet. Two Heads of Household, four nominees, and the possibility of being HOH at the beginning of the week and meeting Julie Chen by the end of it added an infinite amount of suspense. New enemies, friendships, and gaming styles resulted from this beautiful, beautiful twist. And it made Derrick’s zero nominations even more impressive.

Speaking of Derrick, the mastermind behind almost every eviction, who kept his undercover cop profession a secret all summer, who is probably among the top five contestants to ever play the game . . . .  He absolutely deserved to win that $500,000. It is rare to see someone so deserving actually win Big Brother, typically because of the bitter jury members – the house guests that didn't win. No one could deny Derrick’s flawless game-play. He never ceased to amaze. He manipulated house guests into: thinking they actually came up with his ideas; voting the way he wanted; and volunteering to go up on the block. Plus, somehow, nobody ever thought to nominate him. Derrick set the bar very high for future house guests.

The fact that the house guests actually acted like respectable people is probably what satisfied America the most. They did not always like each other, but they showed basic human decency. We saw them treat each other like family. They showed their true colors, and those colors were rainbow beautiful. We watched genuine relationships build, so much so that we felt included in their inside jokes. Yes, backstabbing and fighting happened, but we saw none of the nastiness of previous seasons.

Season 16 will go down as one of Big Brother’s best. I’ll expect a lot from season 17. The countdown to next summer starts now.
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