Every summer a thing happens that consumes mine and a few millions other’s lives like nothing else, Big Brother. If you are unfamiliar with the show; 16 people, typically hot, of varying backgrounds are locked into a house for 3 months to compete for half a million dollars. The show is political; ‘alliances’ and scheming run rampant, physical and strategical; competitions of all sorts every week, the only rule to follow in the house is to stay in as long as you can by any means necessary. Every single season I swear off the show then the upcoming cast bios drop, the show starts, and then I die slowly of exhaustion from staying up way too late watching live feeds. It could literally not start at a worse time of year for me; I have little free time and I normally dedicate it to things I actually enjoy but this unapologetically cuts right into all of that and takes hold unlike most other reality TV hate watches.
I was introduced to the show by my now wife who said ‘don’t watch this it is the worst thing ever’ she’s an expert on television and my tastes so I took her word for it. But sitting on the couch next her while playing handheld games and browsing the internet hearing freakout after freakout blaring through the speakers I couldn’t resist, I looked up and it was like ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’, my face melted off. We haven’t missed a season, except for the awfully executed “over the top” season which in hindsight was pretty appropriately named. It’s a three month long glorious train wreck into the biggest dumpster fire ever assembled and it happens every year, no bachelorette-like off years here. Big Brother isn't like other reality shows because it allows you to follow the houseguests 24/7 with a CBSAllAccess subscription. While watching people at all hours may seem creepy in theory, it’s a just a TV show and skipping feeds means missing all the best parts. Often the best fights and strategizing gets butchered or left out entirely by production. CBS has a show to sell so they understandably put their thumb on the scale and sometimes that aligns with what you want and others it doesn't. Those times are as if the whole world is against your players and this gets viewers invested in the show in borderline unhealthy ways.
Throughout the season unexpected ‘twists’ occur that can mess up anyone’s game at anytime regardless of how well they have positioned themselves. You get attached to people and want to see them succeed for various reasons; personally liking them, a connection to their backstory or to spite others in the house you hate. Some people are good at maintaining sanity for a while but ultimately everyone cracks. Getting to know strange people and seeing all their idiosyncrasies even the ones who try to hide them is very interesting. There is something primal about watching someone slowly lose their mind, relatively,it is inexplicably captivating and is more entertaining than it should be. There are cast members who I loved that revealed themselves to be hateful, gross people that sickened me. There are ‘houseguests’ who I wanted punched in the face for weeks before wanting to be best friends with them.
Big Brother 19 dubbed the ‘summer of temptation’ promises not to disappoint if you’re into this sort of thing. On the first episode this season we got a twist that allowed my favorite past member to replace a house guest not one night into the season. Before even 72 hours could pass a houseguest got caught up in lies so badly she just gave up and walked out. This year CBS has added ‘temptations’ that will give viewers a chance to “seemingly” help out houseguests through voting but will each come with an unknown consequence. The early twists and rapidly developing cast drama is indicating we are in for a tumultuous season for all our enjoyment.
I can not in good conscience suggest anyone watch this show because it is so awful and so addicting…..but that is exactly why you should watch it.