I love Big Brother. It’s my favorite show of the year. I look forward to investing my entire summer to the live feeds, watching every moment unfold and being a fly on the wall for three months of the year.
I love it to an unhealthy degree. It’s only been two weeks, and already I find myself still awake at 5am, captivated by the HGs chatting and making strategic plans in the hammock as the sun comes up.
But I’ve been disappointed by Big Brother 15. Sure, I’ve loved the nonstop strategizing and gameplay and crazy alliances and shifting allegiances, but the game has left me feeling angry instead of overjoyed. I’ve become bitter and resentful. And I’ve finally figured out why.
Big Brother 15 is not the same game I love.
Each year we’re told to expect the unexpected and await new and exciting twists. But the MVP twist with three nominations for season 15 is a step too far.
For the most part, the fundamental format of Big Brother hasn’t changed since season 3. Back in season 1, America voted for who would go home each week and the result was less than stellar. In season 2, the HGs voted themselves, but there was no Power of Veto.
In season 3, the Power of Veto was introduced and the real game was born. Since then there have been slight changes (making it so the Power of Veto winner couldn’t be nominated, limiting PoV players to six, making it so extra players were chosen by random draw), but those were designed to increase the use of the Veto and to keep it fair.
Throughout it all, the format remained the same. The Head of Household competition decides who is in power that week. They nominate two people (or in the case of season 9, two couples), a Power of Veto competition decides if one comes off and the HoH nominate someone new, and then the other HGs would vote. That’s been how the game has operated for 12 straight seasons.
Sure, there were twists with the HGs. Sometimes they knew each other (exes, twins, friends, enemies, All-Stars, Dynamic Duos) and sometimes there were teams (the cliques of season 11, the coaches of season 14), but the fundamental structure remained the same. The only change was the social dynamic of the people inside the house.
That has all changed in season 15. The MVP vote, and the third nomination, changes the entire format that has been in place for 12 seasons. Now the HoH’s power is greatly diminished and the viewing public has more influence with the actual game.
Sure, America has voted before to give people power. We’ve voted for an evicted HG to come back into the game in seasons 6, 9 and 13, we controlled Eric’s decisions as America’s Player in season 8 and we gave Jeff the Coup d’Etat in season 11. But none of those consistently altered the entire structure of the game. Heck, none of them even turned out so well. The returning players were promptly evicted a second time, Eric’s game was ruined because America made him do things against his best interests and Jeff was still evicted.
The MVP twist, however, makes Big Brother 15 resemble the awful season 1. It gives America a huge amount of power every single week that changes the entire game, and strips power away from anyone who wins actual competitions.
In the history of Big Brother, since season 2, there have only been two instances in which the evicted HG was not someone the HG nominated. It happened in season 11 with Jeff’s Coup d’Etat (something that caused Chima to have a meltdown that got her expelled) and in season 12 with Matt’s Diamond Power of Veto. Now in season 15, this scenario has already happened twice in the first two weeks, with Elissa’s MVP nominees David and Nick getting evicted. For more than 150 other evictions, the people who went home were nominated by the HoH, a huge amount of power, but thanks to the MVP twist, the HoH has almost no power whatsoever. As Aaryn proved in week 2 on Big Brother 15, winning HoH can be of absolutely no value in the game other than simple immunity.
One of the joys of Big Brother, for me, is that the HGs are isolated from the outside world, but now the outside world is creeping in and affecting what happens inside. That’s what this MVP twist does, it shifts the power from the HGs inside the house to the people watching at home, and I thought season 1 proved that was a terrible idea.
I will continue to watch Big Brother 15, and I hope that, at some point soon, the MVP twist goes away and it turns into a regular season (like with the coaches coming into the game or the Dynamic Duos, couples and cliques being disbanded).
Big Brother is still my favorite show and always will be, I just wish season 15 was still the show I fell in love with. I’m fine with adding twists and turns, but why change the basic, underlying structure that has worked for so many years?
Want to add Big Brother 15 to your very own watch-list? Download BuddyTV Guide for free for your phone.
(Image courtesy of CBS)