Big Brother 19 is heading down a bad road. Paul is in complete control of the game and almost all of the HGs seem content to let him pull their strings and dictate orders, from who to target to what to say. And while some may hope for a Paulie Calafiore-style fall from grace in a few weeks, that is starting to seem less an less likely.
The big problem with Big Brother 19 isn’t just the game, it’s the people. The casting department may have picked a few unique, entertaining characters (Kevin and even Cody make for very good TV), but this cast is not good for the game.
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Elena has talked on the live feeds about wanting a job in entertainment after the show is over. Raven constantly complains about her many diseases and how she needs the money for surgery and to freeze her eggs. She seems to think this is a charity and not a game show, which isn’t a surprise since Paul has said that he will create a Raven-themed shirt for his clothing company and donate the proceeds to her after the game is done. And Christmas has mentioned wanting to stay in the game long enough so that she will be relevant on social media, presumably to help her business career and sell some more of her books.
None of this is good for the game. Many of the HGs seem more consumed with the tiny sliver of post-show fame they can receive for being a reality TV star or the potential career and financial opportunities that will be associated with it. Winning is no longer the point of the game, now being a Big Brother HG is a future career.
And you can’t really blame them. CBS regularly brings back popular HGs to be on the show again, or cast them on Survivor, The Amazing Race, The Price Is Right, Candy Crush or The Bold and the Beautiful. Jeff Schroeder even got a job from CBS hosting interviews with the HGs. The network has created a culture where being a fan favorite is a more profitable venue than trying to win the game.
So when Paul, a returning player who perfected the art of branding yourself on the show and using it to boost your post-show career with T-shirts and public appearances, entered the game on Big Brother 19, is it any wonder that everyone flocked to him? If they become best friends with Paul and help him in the game, he will repay that “friendship” by helping them when it’s over to cash in on the experience.
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There’s no incentive to play the game hard, to make big moves, to risk everyone for a chance to win. Instead, the HGs want to stay on good terms with Paul because the prize that their eyes are on is not the half million dollars and being named the winner of Big Brother 19. They’re already looking past the game.
The solution, something I champion every year but which never changes, is to stop recruiting fame-hungry wannabe TV stars and, instead, cast actual fans of the game. If Big Brother casts people who care more about winning the game than being famous, perhaps we’d get a more interesting show with dynamic gameplay. Instead, we’re stuck with a season filled with people who only care about friendship.
(Image courtesy of CBS)