Big Brother 24, just like every season of Big Brother, touts itself as a “social experiment.” A game where different combinations of people come together to live in a house and compete for the grand prize. We see 24/7 into their lives through the live feeds, so no one can hide from the edit. It’s “Big Brother” keeping a close watch on all the players and their dynamics. In recent years, the live feeds exposed the truth and dark sides of its houseguests; exposing those who are bullies, racists, misogynists, homophobes, and generally mean and annoying people. We’ll never forget the all-out chaos during Big Brother 15, the bullying during Big Brother 19, and the bullying/microaggressions of Big Brother 21. In the case of Week #1 of Big Brother 24, the game has fallen into that last example.
Before we get into the gameplay, let’s chat about the house and the overall Week #1 twist. For Big Brother 24, the house went for a summer beach house feel to work with the season’s “music festival” theme. Paired together, it’s a typically standard vibe for Big Brother; nothing has stood out as special or new. Even the Have-Not room was a generic pool space that used floaties as the bed. The Big Brother house has done so many outlandish themes in the past, like an airport, Alice in Wonderland, and a summer camp. Bringing it back to another beach theme pales in comparison–it’ll be fine in the long run as it won’t take away from the game, but it’s nothing we’ll remember years from now.
The twist also suffered from the same fate. However, the sum of all its parts made it forgettable. To describe it plainly, the twist was hard to understand. We like a bit of ambiguity to keep us on our toes, but if the twist is keeping everything secret and not explaining itself, it’s too much stuff up in the air. And as viewers, we shouldn’t be leaving the premiere scratching our heads over what Julie Chen just said that didn’t make any sense. It wasn’t surprising that the show axed the twist after the first week; it was causing too many problems in the house, and we really didn’t need another Big Brother 21 scenario here. No more twists that segregate a portion of the houseguests!
Speaking of the players, the cast hasn’t hit their stride, or more likely it’s not a strong group this year. There’s a huge mix of catty girls and bro-ish guys that have thrown the game for a loop. Don’t get me wrong, there are always a few of them in the mix, but the energy level has shifted everything in a bad direction. Week #1 had frustrating levels of mob mentality and bullying of a person they viewed on the outside. The houseguests don’t always have to get along with each other, but there’s a clear difference between not liking someone and actively trashing/ostracizing them for no reason. This issue all stems from the treatment toward Taylor.
Taylor did nothing in the game to deserve the negative and hateful treatment she received. For those who watched the 24/7 live feeds, it showed that she was being pleasant and kind to her fellow players; she tried to make connections and mostly stayed chill/quiet. However, the majority of the houseguests made early assumptions about her, which they then used to belittle her, talk bad about her, ostracize her, and lie about her. The players were using words like she was “scary,” “aggressive,” or they “feared she would blow up” if she were nominated. Head of Household Daniel blatantly said he knew he didn’t like her from the moment he saw her and figured she would cause problems/to be loud in the house. Paloma and Jasmine talked the most gossip about her, with Paloma usually being the one stirring up drama and lying about Taylor to make her look bad.
The treatment of Taylor showed bias and microaggressions. The houseguests already had their pre-conceived ideas about her, even though they didn’t talk with her, and she didn’t do anything to prove their point. They were easily willing to go with the lies and treatment to treat her badly because they expected her to be the “loud”, “scary,” and “aggressive” person they assumed her to be. And their treatments stopped being subtle, going so far as for Jasmine to put her back to Taylor to exclude her from conversations or for people to leave the room when Taylor joined them. Even when the house started doubting the lies against Taylor, players like Paloma, Daniel, Jasmine, and Monte would double down with more assumptions to explain why they thought she was a horrible person.
The two moments where the Taylor haters kept pointing at her being the problem were (1) when she showed the girls her finale dress, and (2) when Taylor warned Monte about potential house fears. For the first instance, the girls had asked Taylor to try on her dresses and show them. So, for them to turn it around to say she was “showing off” and “conceited,” was a petty and catty move. In the second instance, all Taylor did was tell Monte that the girls feared that the strong boys could start a “bros alliance” and that he should talk with Paloma to quell any fears with the girls. His turning it around to lie and make Taylor look bad proved he wanted to dig Taylor’s grave just as much as Daniel and Paloma. Sure, Taylor talking with Monte wasn’t a good move strategically, but he ruined any chances of building a connection with Taylor. All Taylor has done was live her life and try to work with people who never gave her a chance.
Daniel’s HOH reign was a failure compared to previous first-week HOHs. He let other people dictate where he should be making his move, he played too emotionally, and he didn’t set up any strong alliances to protect him in the coming weeks. During his time, alliances like “Girls’ Girls,” “Mamba,” “Oasis,” and “Beep” were set up that didn’t include him. Sure, he made a close Final 2 alliance with Nicole, but even then, she can’t protect him with everything. Daniel let the game move on around him when he had the chance to use his power effectively. It’s a bad move when an HOH has nothing to show for their week.
On the other hand, Michael did very well in his first week. Daniel strangely targeting him because he’s a superfan ruined any chance of them making a “superfan” alliance (having that alliance was a better move for him), but Michael putting in the work to build strong connections and win the Power of Veto turned the tide in his favor. Michael is in almost every alliance; people love him and know he could win a challenge. He’ll most likely get nominated in the future since he’s a challenge threat, but he used an opportunity to his advantage. He did the work that Daniel didn’t, so we need to applaud him for that.
The big surprise of Week #1 came from Paloma leaving the game. We don’t know if it was her choice to leave or production stepping in to talk things out with her, but Paloma leaving the game was the right decision for her mental health. Big Brother is a stressful game of paranoia and lies; sometimes that pressure, awkward filming schedule, and confinement messes with people. Anyone watching the 24/7 live feeds would’ve seen Paloma barely sleeping, speaking erratically, bringing up strange topics, trying to break the rules, and a list of other escalating issues. If she had stayed in another week or so, there was no telling how much more the game would’ve hurt her. From a general health standpoint, she made the right call to leave.
Week #1 of Big Brother 24 started the season on a very low note. Between the bullying, microaggressions, and messy twists, the first week didn’t paint anyone or anything in a good light. Things can only go up from here, but most of these players will have major damage control to do once they leave the house. And even then, the treatment towards Taylor currently needs to stop! Something needs to be done to put this season back on track; the summer has only just started.
Big Brother 24 airs on CBS on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 8/7c.