They started off Big Brother 18 the undisputed underdogs. The veterans seemed like such easy and natural early eliminations. The stack appeared to be so stacked against them that it seems Big Brother 18 introduced new twists and rule changes (teams, Road Kill, etc.) specifically to help out the returning players. Yet in just a few short weeks, the veterans have taken over the game in Big Brother 18 in more ways than one. Are the returning houseguests and their dominance of the game making the season less fun to watch? 

Big Brother 18 Recap: Da’Vonne and Frank’s Conflict Comes to a Head >>>

Are The Veterans Crushing the Season?

It’s a problem that plagues any reality show that decides to bring back former players and it is understandable. A returning player, especially on Big Brother where the audience gets so attached to their favorites, is inherently going to attract more attention. Big Brother has solid and literal numbers backing up and reinforcing Nicole, James, Da’Vonne and Frank’s popularity. James and Frank both won America’s Favorite Player in their respective seasons and Nicole was in the Top 3 of that same popularity contest. The returning players are literally fan service and Big Brother obviously wants to tap into that popularity by giving a lot of screen time and editing a lot of “storylines” for the veterans. 

At the point of the competition where Big Brother would be letting the audience know all about the new houseguests, Big Brother 18 is spending a lot of time on people we already know. As a casual viewer of Big Brother — someone who obsessively watches every televised episode but doesn’t touch the live feeds — I know next to nothing about new players like Michelle or Corey. This is not even to mention people like Bridgette who might as well have just moved into the house for all the impact and personality they have in Big Brother 18. Going into week 3, I should at least have some idea of the personality of all the houseguests. 

Part of the joy of watching Big Brother each summer is getting introduced to a bunch of strangers and seeing them throughout an entire summer-long experience. They fall apart, they scheme, they even, very often, hook up. It’s TV voyeurism at its “finest” and most entertaining. There is an impression, more than with other reality shows, that we are really getting to know the people on Big Brother. This element of the show is missing with all the time spent on the veterans.  

Or Are They Keeping it Afloat?

On the other hand though, it could just be that Big Brother 18 needed the veterans to make a good season. It’s not like there are no people of interest in Big Brother 18. Paulie has proven in a very limited time to be much more charismatic and likable than his already popular brother Cody. Tiffany, for better or worse, is at least interesting to watch. Zakiyah has the capability and intelligence to become a Big Brother favorite. My skin crawls every time Bronte opens her mouth but there is something mildly interesting about her naive and childish exterior and the monstrous personality it hides. 

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Yet, on the whole, a lot of the Big Brother 18 cast membets seem rather boring. Natalie appears to think she is an aggressive and smart player but she has aligned herself with Bronte and Bridgette, neither of whom appear to have any clue what they are doing. Paul consistently calls himself “your boy” in the Diary Room but has no idea that the majority of America either despises or is utterly indifferent to him. The newbies who started out the season with so much fire and vinegar have pretty much laid dormant at the veterans’ feet. It doesn’t feel like Big Brother 18 is crushing the newbies in the editing room, it just doesn’t seem like they are doing anything entertaining. 

The veterans have definitely taken over the Big Brother 18 house. They are the focus of all the drama and they are just using the newbies to their game advantage. Corey’s only purpose on the show is to be some combination of Nicole’s ally and boy toy. Corey has not had a single original thought so far in Big Brother 18. Perhaps Corey is a perfect example of the problem that is the new houseguests. 

Corey is not exceptionally boring, he’s just like all the rest of the newbies. Maybe the returning houseguests haven’t crushed the newbies with the force of their personality. Maybe there was no personality or TV-worthy entertainment in the newbies from the start. The veterans aren’t keeping Big Brother 18 from being more fun, they are the only thing keeping it interesting in the first place. 

But what do you think? Are the returning houseguests the worst part of this season? Are they the best part? Is it somewhere in between? 

Big Brother 18 airs Sundays and Wednesdays at 8pm and Thursdays at 9pm on CBS.

(Image courtesy of CBS)

Derek Stauffer

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Derek is a Philadelphia based writer and unabashed TV and comic book junkie. The time he doesn’t spend over analyzing all things nerdy he is working on his resume to be the liaison to the Justice League.