Audrey Middleton has been, in her own words, the most hated houseguest in Big Brother 17 since the end of the first week. Yet three weeks into the longest Big Brother summer ever, Audrey is still in the game. She’s also poised to make it to week four because she is not Vanessa’s, the HOH of week three, target. Audrey has survived more weeks than anyone would have imagined despite her continuing unpopularity. Its maybe been by the skin of her teeth, but she has still survived. When taking into account Audrey’s cockroach like survival skills and evicted Da’Vonne’s comments that Audrey will win simply because she’s transgender, the “most hated” houseguest could become the most successful houseguest.
She’s Made Mistakes…
There’s no getting around it, Audrey’s is in a mess of her own making. She didn’t just shoot herself in the foot in the first week, she dual-wielded sub-machine guns and unloaded two clips. Audrey was so excited to become the next manipulative reality TV villain (or as she put it the Dexter Morgan of the Big Brother house) she overreached. She played too hard, too fast and got caught. She lied to everyone, made huge alliances and just generally performed stupid moves. She definitely earned the bad reputation she has now but it could be set to change.
Da’Vonne’s assessment of Audrey staying in the house because she is transgender and no one wants to vote her out because of that reeks of bitterness. Audrey’s initial popularity could definitely be due her “specialness” as a transgender woman. Consider how hot button of an issue the transgender community has become in recent years, no one (unless they are an extreme bigot) wants to go on national television and pick on the transgender girl. So it’s probably true that Audrey got a boost because of who she is as a person and what she been through. It has very little to do with why she is still in the game now though and that reason is pretty simple.
…But She’s Learning From Them
The incident that turned the majority of the house against Audrey happened very early in the game. The house confronting Audrey was a major event one and caused an appropriate amount of ruckus, but the farther removed we get from the fight the less major it is going to seem. Big Brother might has well be set in a high school for the amount of drama that goes on in a weekly basis. Whether it is because the people on Big Brother are remarkably petty or remarkably bored, or some combination of the two, the contestants can’t stay on good terms for long. There is always another argument to be had or some event to be blown out of proportion or some secret twins hiding in plain sight to investigate. Audrey mentally imploding and pathologically lying to everyone is so relatively minor.
Audrey’s best chance of eviction was the week immediately following the reveal of her deceit, but she dodged that bullet. Shelli wanted Da’Vonne out because of their personal conflict and Da’Vonne went home. The same thing has happened with Vanessa, she wants Jeff or James out of the house and Audrey is barely a blip on her radar. After her bombastic and braindead debut week, Audrey has done, the silent and smart thing. She’s laid low. It is a lesson that most Big Brother villains fail to learn. They’re so set on being memorable, conniving and loud they forget they rub people the wrong way. It’s like they’ve all graduated from the academy run by knockoff James Bond villains. They can’t even wait until the hero is tied up and helpless, they have to announce their evil plans loudly, clearly and staged in the most dramatic way possible.
Audrey Might Actually be the Most Powerful Contestant Already
Audrey’s odds of staying to the end seemed insurmountable when she was confronted about her many, many lies. Now she only has to realistically survive a couple more rounds of eviction before her transgressions are a forgotten memory. None of Audrey’s moves in the first week were necessarily bad they just all happened in a 48 hour span. It was overkill but the severity of what she did has already started to dissipate. Clay and Shelli, the Prom King and Queen of Big Brother High, have already talked about working with her. It is only a matter of time before other alliances try to recruit Audrey because they need numbers and she is a lone wolf. Audrey’s free agent status could quickly make her one of the most powerful people in the Big Brother house.
So while it was likely far from intentional, Audrey massive misstep in week one could pay amazing dividends by season’s end. If the track record of this season continues it will be a long time before anybody seriously targets Audrey and by that time she might have already amassed another alliance. She has already learned from her mistakes by keeping her head down, it is safe to assume she could learn more. She could realize how to harness her crazy gameplay into something crazy-smart. In an odd way Audrey is probably in a better position than most of the other houseguests on Big Brother.
(images courtesy of CBS)