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BB20s’ twist: a season ‘inspired by Silicon Valley’

BB20s’ twist: a season ‘inspired by Silicon Valley’
Big Brother 20 host Julie Chen inside the redecorated BB20 soundstage house. (Photo by Sonja Flemming/CBS)

Big Brother 20 has unveiled its twist, though there aren’t very many details, and it kind of sounds like every other season, just with new labels. (The BB20 cast was previously announced.)

CBS says the BB20 twist is “inspired by Silicon Valley,” which seems like the perfect choice for a show all about a lack of privacy, constant surveillance, and a lack of transparency from those in charge—never mind its self-importance, misogyny, and toxic fans who continue to support it.

Plus, Big Brother often fails to deliver on its lofty promises, so it’s kind of like an iPhone: pretty much exactly the same thing as last year, just pretending to be new.

There is very little information in today’s “house and twist reveal” press release about the actual game play and how it will be affected by this twist—which is actually more of a theme than a twist.

But it seems like business as usual on Big Brother.

For example, the house’s not-so-secret room is called the BB App Store, and will be featured on the first Sunday episode. It will apparently give houseguests voted on by viewers the chance at rewards or punishments, which would make it just like Pandora’s Box.

Here’s CBS’ tech nonsense description of it:

“America will have a chance to get the Houseguests trending, resulting in power apps or punishments that could crash their game.”

After showering its returning houseguest with advantages last summer, ensuring he made it far into the game, BB20 appears to be continuing on the same advantage-soaked path—just without a returnee, and definitely without Paul, I hope and pray to any gods that will listen.

That’s because the first episode next Wednesday will have “three challenges that will yield a game-changing power—and two unprecedented punishments,” according to the network.

The BB20 house: now with more sinks

The Big Brother house is actually not a house, but a soundstage in Hollywood that’s redecorated every year. (Learn what it’s like behind-the-scenes of the Big Brother house.)

There are some minor but possibly significant structural changes this year. There’s a 22-foot tall rock-climbing wall in the living room, and four sinks instead of two in the bathroom.

The two downstairs bedrooms are also connected by sliding walls that can be opened, creating one big room.

Otherwise, the tech theme in the house is very loose—think emoji pillows, LED lights, and a giant gummy bear, which absolutely makes me think of Silicon Valley.

In this house tour, Julie Chen suggests the house is “interactive” because things move, like the bar in the kitchen where the houseguests sit and slurp cereal, giving live feed watchers their money’s worth of entertainment.

CBS describes the new house like this:

“Building on the themes of interactivity and collaboration, this season’s house is inspired by the fun, colorful and creative interactive spaces on tech campuses around the globe, with a dynamic touch of innovation in every room.

Dominating the living room is a Big Brother first – a 22’ tall rock-climbing wall, allowing the Houseguest to literally climb the wall when they feel trapped in the house. In another first, this season’s circular couch is on a large rotating platform, opening up a space for the houseguests to access the climbing wall.

The downstairs bedrooms feature the first sliding walls to be incorporated into the Big Brother house. These five separate panels can open up to make a more communal space, and the placement of the beds and reflective walls create an optical illusion.

Under the careful watch of a 4’ tall fiberglass gummy bear, the kitchen features a unique island on casters that allow the countertop and the stools to move from side to side. The Kaleidoscope Lounge is a party of pattern, with multi-dimensional shapes and colorful graphics. The highlight of the room is the floor-to-ceiling pin art wall, featuring 14,276 separate plastic pegs on a display big enough to press your entire body into. The common bathroom features four sinks, bright green walls, emoji pillows, and a collection of mirrors covered with interchangeable IRL filters inspired by multi-messaging media apps.

Upstairs, the bridge has been transformed into a gaming lounge with a classic foosball table, a tabletop video game-inspired cocktail table, an illuminated abstract chessboard, and moving gamer chairs that bring an arcade feel to the space. The extra-large aquarium has a prominent position, and is stocked with neon tropical hybrid fish swimming among sunken custom 3D printed miniature themed arcade games.

The Head of Household Suite has a trendy warehouse feel with dark wood, exposed cinderblock, and walls covered with LED panels that constantly change color. In an upgrade, not only can the HOH spy on the other players, now they will also be able to speak with them through a video intercom system placed in select rooms around the house.

In a nod to the home of tech giants in Northern California, the backyard features a mural of California Poppies, the official state flower. The yard is outfitted with a new pool table and the trademark pool and spa made for a summer of scheming.”

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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.


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