As expected, Saturday’s Digital Daily was the last one for Big Brother Canada 11.
I’ll be back to recap the final shows this week, but now seems like a good time to think about what went right and wrong for season 11.
The lack of live feeds
The obvious first item here, of course, is the decision to cut live feeds.
That immediately killed interest for a huge chunk of the diehard Big Brother fanbase, most of whom stuck with their decision to not watch or follow the season at all.
The Digital Dailies ended up providing more content than I was expecting, including spoilers for comp wins and nominations ahead of the TV episodes.
But we knew we were watching curated clips that were selected for whatever reason, and we were not getting the full picture. We’ll never know what was omitted, and how relevant it was.
That decision and resulting lack of interest also hurt those of us who generate revenue in order to provide our coverage of Big Brother live feeds. That hurt.
And it will probably make the cast less known after the finale than a usual feeds season. That could be good or bad for them, depending.
A cast of dull bro-jocks
Overall the cast was decent and ethnically diverse, but there weren’t many dynamic personalities, and it was a bit weighted towards bro-jock type guys.
That’s unfortunate for non-fans of bro-jock type guys, but it’s not unusual for either Big Brother Canada or USA. The cast had an average age of 29, which is better than seasons that have mostly early 20s—people without much life experience.
Three hamsters left by choice, which is a new record and not in a good way. (Three also left Season 8 without eviction votes, but only one was optional—the other two were ejected, and then the rest of them were sent home due to COVID lockdown.)
Were they not told what to expect? Did Diary Room not work as hard to get them to stay as they usually do when someone wants to quit? We’ll never know.
Most of this season’s cast were not good at the game of Big Brother, evidenced by several overtaken HOHs and a lot of gullibility by several who believed whatever they were told. Repeatedly.
And most of them weren’t good competitors, which allowed Ty to dominate the last several weeks.
Competitions that were too physical
Many of the competitions were new or at least had a new angle to them, but too many required physical strength, especially early on.
That let the bro-jock types win and run the early part of the game, which few fans want to see—at least from what I see among my mutuals.
There are plenty of sports on television already: Big Brother should be more well-rounded when it comes to competitions.
An overload of useless sponcon
Sponcon was beyond excessive this season, even for BB Canada, where it’s always been a big factor. I don’t think anyone needed to see sponsor logos in every room or hear their company names in so many episode segments.
Cash bonuses were often involved when comps were sponsored, but that only benefited the winner of the comp and cash—it was just more annoying commercials for the rest of us.
And the record-breaking ninth sponsor they boasted about pre-season never showed up. Maybe they didn’t appreciate the horrible backlash that happened when the no feeds announcement happened.
Update/correction, May 12: The ninth sponsor finally did show up in the last couple of shows. It was Disney, promoting their new Little Mermaid movie.
Wendy’s reward points were rarely mentioned or acknowledged on the show, and when they finally came into play a week before the finale, there wasn’t much of a “game-changing advantage” at all.
Ty got to make a one-minute plea to the jury plus have a conversation with Season 9’s winner Tychon.
When you hear “game-changing advantage,” you think of things like comp time bonuses or extra votes or secret vetos. Instead they offered those two items at a points auction, along with Wendy’s food, cash, and messages from home.
Evictees selecting who to leave their points to was a fun idea in theory but when those bequests stacked up over multiple evictions, they led to Ty having almost twice as many points as second place Claudia, and triple the points of everyone else who was left.
That system should have been more equitable. But again, it didn’t end up being much of anything anyway.
Twists that went nowhere
They started the season with the Dead Last twist, which was different, and it seemed like a good plan to prevent people from throwing comps. But it ended after the first and only week it was in play.
Viewer popularity votes for safety also kicked off that first week before viewers knew anything about any of them. And then safety votes came along seemingly at random later, for Weeks 4 and 6.
Many have speculated the timing was intentional to save certain hamsters from eviction, especially Week 6 when Santina would surely have been evicted otherwise.
Diary Room sessions were also a good idea in theory, reminiscent of Big Brother Over the Top, in which everyone was asked the same five or six questions in private so we could get an idea of what they were really thinking.
But those only happened twice, in Weeks 3 and 5, and both times they were posted days after taping them, when new regimes were in place and things may have changed enough to affect their answers.
Why they’re even still doing slop is a mystery. It’s the worst, for both hamsters and viewers, and serves no purpose except to get a couple minutes of whining for the episodes. And it only came along twice this season, for three and four days respectively. Why even bother?
The few things that worked!
On the plus side—yes, there are some positives—the house looked great once again, and they stuck to the theme of a murder mystery mansion in most of the rooms.
The theme itself kind of randomly popped up here and there, notably with the memory comp featuring alumni posing as if after a murder scene.
And Arisa Cox did a great job hosting once again. She could easily host eviction shows live and do them well, but for whatever reasons (likely to avoid unexpected ugly moments), they still pre-taped every “live” episode.
There’s no way to know if the decision to cancel feeds will end up with Big Brother Canada being cancelled or not, since TV viewer ratings are no longer available and those are the reason any show lives or dies.
But there’s no question the decision hurt the show’s reputation with its formerly loyal fanbase. And there’s definitely no gratitude to us for having saved their show after it was cancelled following Season 5.
You can get the links and information for how and where to watch Digital Dailies, as well as the episodes and extras, at Hamsterwatch.com. I’m also keeping my usual Power Status section up to date there, along with tracking comp wins, nominations, advantages/punishments, and prize winnings. If any of that or these recaps have been useful for you, feel free to buy me a cup of coffee via Ko-fi, and thank you!
Thursday 11th of May 2023
Totally agree with your comments. I feel like this is the end of BBCAN, and it's going out with a whimper. It changed the game with the end of the live feeds. Now you're only seeing exactly what production wants you to see. I feel like Arisa has lost her enthusiasm as well. The casting was terrible, and once Kuzie left, I had no interest in who was going to win. It makes me sad as someone who enjoyed going to the tapings to see what they've done to the loyal fans and the show itself.
Wednesday 10th of May 2023
Question, and maybe I missed this in an earlier article, but -- I'm very curious why you've suddenly had such an interest in BBCan and have reviewed it so thoroughly and so (pardon the phrase, I'm not complaining as much as it may seem!) ubiquitously, when to the best of my knowledge you've never reviewed it like this in the past, and you often dislike the US version immensely and don't review it at all. Seeing how much coverage you were giving it, I tried to find a way to view it as a U.S. cord-cutter, but really didn't think it was worth using a VPN to watch live episodes through the Canadian website. But your site blew up with BBCan news, and you don't seem to like it much more than the American version, so.... why did you invest so much time and site space on it?
Tuesday 9th of May 2023
I used to love BBCan. The first five seasons were great. Then it started going downhill and I haven't finished a season in years. I blame the casting.
Monday 8th of May 2023
Since no one has commented on this article, that speaks volumes on how many people have watched the game this year. I've watched BBCan since the beginning but I'm one of those who refused to watched because of the live feeds. It defeats the name of the game. I hope this gets the show cancelled or becomes a wake up call to the producers so they bring the feeds back.