High school clique twist confirmed for Big Brother 11; cast competing in four groups

CBS has just confirmed the not-so-secret twist for this season of Big Brother: the 13 houseguests will be competing in tribe-like groups, as I first reported, that have been divided based upon high school cliques, as was rumored, although there will be four groups instead of two.

The 12 houseguests “will be playing the game in one of four familiar high school cliques — popular, athletes, brainiacs and off beats,” according to CBS, which says “[t]hey will compete for food, safety from eviction and luxury prizes as part of their clique.” That’s similar to the divided house “battle” from the Netherlands’ version.The 13th houseguest, who may be season nine’s Sheila, will “join the game and give an advantage to one of the cliques.”

The annoying part about this is the way producers are again trying to force conflict, which executive producer Allison Grodner admits in her press release quote while trying to pretend that everyone on earth was either a popular kid, athlete, nerd, or off-beat, whatever that means. “You may have graduated, but the truth is we never leave high school and this summer we are going to prove it. From the brains to the jocks to the off-beat, everyone will be able to identify to one of these cliques, giving the viewers a group to root for and against from the very beginning. The division will cause instant drama,” she said.

That’s annoying, but I do like that the cast is formed of strangers, and grouping them into tribes/cliques has potential, as do the cast members themselves, who seem pretty strong overall. Here’s a preview that identifies the cliques that some of the cast members belong to:

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.