Big Brother needs a button to reset this whole season

The big surprise on Big Brother last night was not a result of the eliminations, but the revelation that its houseguests now have access to a button that will reset the next week of game play. Making a whole week completely irrelevant apparently qualifies as a twist in “the most twisted summer ever,” even though there have been no twists since the start of the season, unless you count eliminating the major two-HOH twist.

A button press is 100 percent inevitable because someone who’s nominated for eviction and/or back-doored would of course press the button to vacate the nominees and replay the Head of Household competition. That gives the nominated button-presser a chance at immunity instead of a chance at going home, and even these players are smart enough to know that. Update: As several people have pointed out, the houseguests don’t know what the button does, which makes this far less of an obvious move than I initially suggested–as in, it’s not inevitable at all. However, during BB14, the reset button did the same thing (clearing the nominations, though with the addition of adding the coaches to the game), so any player familiar with that season might correctly guess that it will have the same effect. It even looks like the same button.

While this buys the show an additional week now that its finale is a week later than originally scheduled, and will perhaps irritate the dethroned HOH, it will actually change nothing. This just became a wasted week, but at least it’s the week when Jeff and Jordan are going to show up on Sunday’s episode and I can skip it without worrying that I’d missed anything except CBS’ inexplicable fascination with them.

Meanwhile, the show will now air Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 8, moving it out of the way of football on Thursday nights.

The studio audience boos Christine

I have long wanted the live studio audience to be more than clapping robots, but to hear them angrily boo Christine was insane and completely disproportionate to her actions. The only other person I can recall being booed previously was Aaryn, aka the one who made the most bigoted comments last summer, and these boos came off as louder and angrier.

Christine may have played a frustrating game–and she readily admitted that bailing on Hayden and Nicole might have been a mistake–but that does not deserve boos. This non-starter of a season is not Christine’s fault; it’s everyone’s fault for letting Derrick win. Was the audience punishing her because she and Cody have been flirting? Will he get the same boos, or will the audience just be horrifyingly sexist and assign all blame to Christine, which is what Frankie did?

Speaking of Frankie: He, of course, immediately gave himself credit for the booing, saying nonsense such as “I guess I made the right choice” and refusing to tell Derrick the “things that she said about me and things that she said to me” which made him want to “attack” and “destroy” her. I realize the studio audience changes, but if Frankie doesn’t get equivalent boos, there is something really wrong.

The editors have been including more of Frankie’s obnoxiousness recently, and I don’t just mean the annoying way he performs every single thing down to individual blinks. He’s coming off as cruel, spiteful, and so self-absorbed and self-important that he could follow Big Brother by touring the world as the second coming of Jesus and I would not be surprised. His reaction to the veto competition was particularly telling, as he started barking judgement at the people who’d just played.

Another uneventful double eviction

The season’s second double-eviction episode was as flat as the first: the HOH competition was over after a single question, Derrick made the predictable nominations, and Frankie grandstanded but didn’t use the veto he won in a challenge that was a lesser and easier knock-off of Survivor maze challenges. Zzzz.

It’s left me asking again whether the show will ever get out of its rut. After watching Derrick play the house masterfully all season–which has been delightful, including his conversation with Caleb in which he convinced Caleb to take him to the final two–I think the game really needs a major shift.

That’s probably easiest to accomplish by modifying the veto, allowing its holder more power (i.e. the ability to nominate people) or shifting to a more Survivor-like game, where more than two people are targeted every week. Or why not reverse it, allowing the HOH to designate two people as safe, leaving everyone else vulnerable?

Either way, the game needs more than a rewind twist. Though a button that changes everything yet does nothing is a great metaphor for this season.

Surprisingly, man not eaten alive on Eaten Alive

Eaten Alive

Discovery Channel’s happy family holiday special Eaten Alive aired Sunday, rewarding viewers for their two full hours of viewing by ensuring that they spent quality time in the company of others instead of wasting that time doing something else that might not have been as satisfying, such as buying things that have labels which accurately reflect their contents.


Winter 2015 reality TV debut schedule

winter 2015 reality TV schedule

Mark your calendars with all these upcoming reality TV show debuts, including Celebrity Apprentice, The Bachelor, and another season of MasterChef Junior, all of which kick off in early January.

There are also 20+ shows debuting in December--including the one-off return of The Sing Off. No winter break for reality TV.

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.