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Big Brother reveals a death to a second houseguest

For the second time in less than one week, Big Brother 16 informed a contestant about the death of a family member and later broadcast that tragic news. Both times, that death was of a grandfather: first Frankie Grande’s grandfather died, which he learned of last Wednesday, and then on Friday, Derrick Lavasseur was told his grandfather died that morning. The day before, Derrick actually threw the live HOH challenge so Frankie could win and see a photo of his grandfather.

Both Frankie and Derrick were told via letters delivered in the diary room, and both referenced the fact that the letters contained messages from family about wanting them to continue playing the game.

This is notable because it happened on the same series that keeps its cast in such isolation that the final three in season two weren’t immediately told about the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, and even then, only told a limited version—though one cast member, Monica, was told her cousin was missing. (Her cousin, Tamitha Freeman, died in the second World Trade Center tower.)

In my memory, never before has a houseguest been told about external events, perhaps because nothing of this scale has happened to anyone. The only thing close is when, three years ago, Dick Donato left for unexplained “personal reasons.”

As Derrick said on Wednesday’s episode, it “just puts in perspective how much we’re missing.”

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  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means. Learn more about Andy.

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