In the world of reality TV, summer doesn’t start until the doors of the Big Brother house are opened. It is three full months of backstabs, alliances, twists, and endless drama. I live for these three months – I get a bit obsessive following the reports from the live feeds. Big Brother 19 is no exception. This time around, the season is promising a summer of temptation – both good AND bad consequences. And this promise has found its way to the overall season theme.
The house is designed after the Garden of Eden. Inside the house there are snake statues, temptation wording covering the walls, and an actual fake tree with cardboard apples. However, no major changes were done to the actual format and structure of the house – it still has its two floors with a spiral staircase. Overall, the set design is tame compared to previous seasons. We’re talking about a house that has been transformed into “Alice in Underworld” and international destinations. Having a cardboard tree to mimic the apples looked cheap in comparison. Maybe the budget was significantly lowered this year? This is the 19th season, after all.
Whereas the house was underwhelming, I was pleasantly surprised with the cast selection. Don’t get me wrong, the Big Brother casting will never be perfect. This is an issue that has plagued the series for many years and something I think they need to always work on. However, I’m glad that they fixed their age situation. Big Brother always came off as an ageist where nearly 85% of the cast was in their early-to-mid twenties and in the actor/dancer/model category. Now there are actual people in their thirties and someone in their fifties. Kudos to the selection team for actually trying to give a wide range of personalities and people.
Based on the premiere night alone, I haven’t locked in on my winner predictions yet, but there are some people I’m liking that I would like to see over others. Alex, Christmas, Dominique, Elena, Jessica, Jillian, Matthew and Megan are the ones who stand out for me in a positive way. I liked their segments and they don’t seem overtly annoying. Alex might possibly be the person I will be rooting for, with Matthew and Dominique close behind. (But I’m not locking anyone in yet!)
Ramses, Raven and Mark are alright in comparison. However, I don’t feel like I want to put stock in them yet as Ramses seems like an obvious early boot. His personality could come off as annoying to more of the stoic, alpha-male guys. Raven seems fun, but I have a feeling she’s the guaranteed floater. She’ll have to prove me wrong – I don’t feel the strategic or competition threat from her yet. And also from the middle, Paul is…Paul. He’s a returning veteran and, while I do like him, I’m not a fan of these returning player twists if they’re not done right.
Cody, Jason, Josh and Kevin are my least favorites, particularly the first three. They need to go, pack up their belongings and head out of the house right now. Jason is already too much, Josh’s ego will destroy his game, and Cody is a brick wall. He is probably the casting I just don’t understand. There are thousands of people who audition for Big Brother, and dozens of people who are recruited to come audition. Was there no one else who fit his archetype who had actual personality? He’s hot, but that isn’t enough to sustain a summer.
When it came to twists, Julie promised three big temptations in a single night. To recap:
- The houseguests were offered the chance to win $25,000 if they agreed to press a button that would unleash an unknown punishment. Kevin accepted the deal. Paul from Big Brother 18 joined the house as a houseguest and Kevin could not win the next HOH.
- Paul got friendship bracelets and the others would have to tempt Paul to get one. A bracelet would guarantee immunity for the night.
- Cameron, Christmas and Jillian got to choose if their fate would be determined through a challenge or a house vote. They chose a house vote.
I love a well-developed twist, especially when it covers every potential scenario. My favorites include the secret pairs of Big Brother 6, the return of the exes on Big Brother 4, and the cliques of Big Brother 11 to name a few. Each had their positives and negatives. The problem with the premiere night twist of Big Brother 19, however, is that it clearly favored Paul. He simply walked into the game, was guaranteed immunity and got personal time with every house guest to make deals. I mean…he chose who he wanted safe in the second round! I understand that the odds are against him as the only veteran in the house. However, I hate when the twists are catered to veterans. He already has notoriety and a built-in fan base from his previous season; the newbies don’t have a chance to get the spotlight. Every early fan vote and “coincidental powers” are guaranteed to go his way.
The other issue I have with the twist is that the stakes weren’t there. Sure, eviction is important and terrifying, but Kevin got off lucky for accepting the deal! He’s walking away with $25,000 for pressing a button. Let’s be real here: Paul was going to find a way into the house regardless of this twist. Kevin is essentially getting the third highest prize of the game possible and only had to give up HOH – my alternative to the twist would’ve been him giving up his spot for Paul. This would’ve been more dramatic and set precedent for houseguests to debate accepting temptations for the rest of the summer, as well as for future seasons. This was a major missed opportunity.
I liked the second challenge of the season. It mixed endurance and offered a riddle element to it. This was one I played at home and tried to figure out who held the poisoned apples. I didn’t do too terribly. Big Brother 19 did a good job with this. We need more new challenges of this variety for the rest of the summer.
Cameron was the first to get the boot, and I was shocked! As a super-fan of the game, I expected him to get a bit farther than just the first night. I think the affects of Ian and Steve winning (Big Brother 14 and Big Brother 17, respectively) have come back to hurt the geeks and super-fans. People didn’t trust him and they immediately expected him to be sneaky, cunning and strategic. Unless he had made alliances BEFORE the twists were revealed or had chosen the right apple, he was doomed from the beginning.
The premiere night of Big Brother 19 was…alright. Many of the houseguests were enjoyable and I liked the temptation challenge with choosing the apples. Seeing someone get “Jodi’d” is always a sad moment, but Cameron had a few chances to stick around, so at least he had his chance. Paul’s return, and the twists that catered to him, put a damper on the night; it ruined what I hoped would’ve been a veteran-free season. Big Brother 19 still has potential and I have high hopes, but based on the first night, I’m already worried.