In a television season shrouded by a lengthy writers' strike, CBS has opted to reward its viewing audience with two editions of the hit reality series Big Brother, a competition that dwindles a band of thirteen competitors down to one, who stands to bring home half a million dollars. On a weekly basis, house guests compete for the Head of Household (HOH), who is given the liberty of choosing two potential individuals to be evicted. Of those in danger of eviction, a test of endurance or trivia knowledge is implemented for the coveted Power of Veto (POV), which gives the person holding it the power to (1) take him or herself off the block (if they have been nominated) or (2) take an evictee off the block, thereby forcing the HOH to make another choice for eviction. At the end of a given week, CBS hosts a live eviction in which current house guests (with the exception of the HOH and the two nominated evictees) vote on who they wish to be removed from the Big Brother house. Every subsequent week, various competitions bring forth new HOH's (a Head of Household may not have the distinction for consecutive weeks) and new opportunities to achieve POV. All in all, Big Brother is a riveting game of strategy, controversy, and drama that entices viewers three days a week (Sundays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, the last of which is a live eviction episode). Observe why you should get caught up in a reality show craze that has entertained American audiences for nine years running and will captivate reality show aficionados starting this Sunday at 8:00 PM.
5. A Game of Gimmicks
Although the most recent edition of the show (Big Brother 9: 'Til Death Do Us Part) was nearly destroyed by a gimmick (house guests were paired up as couples and were evicted as a pair), the show has the tendency to thrive off of twists. Take for example Big Brother 8, a show driven by two twists: (1) select house guests knew one another on some level (for instance, Dustin and Joe were ex-boyfriends forced into a tense living situation and expected to compete) and (2) America's Player was chosen, a distinction held mightily by Eric Stein, whose game play was altered by the will of America. Voters would force Eric to do several things, including (a) persuading the HOH into making his/her evictee choices, (b) voting off an elected competitor on the eviction block and (c) completing tasks that would earn America's Player money. Despite submitting to the wishes of Big Brother viewers, Eric made it into the top four, a standing he more than likely would have improved on had he not been America's Player (after all, the way he wished to play the game was severely compromised).
4. The Best of Survivor + The Best of Real World = Big Brother
Big Brother combines the best elements of Survivor (tense competitions involving strength, strategy, and endurance) and Real World (high-strung drama at every corner) in order to create a brand of unique reality show intrigue. Players hook up, house guests get crapped on, and individuals struggle to survive knowing that a tremendous amount of money is at stake, along with the construction of a reputation as a keen, observant, and cold-blooded combatant. These facets of the game are what makes Big Brother an altogether must-see event, an experience further enhanced via Showtime's Big Brother After Dark (uncensored live feeds!).
3. In This Game, Cheaters Do Prosper
As a prerequisite for applying to the show (ordinary people looking to be a part of the Big Brother experience must fill out a 14-page application, complete with an audition tape), soft-mannered, honest folk need not apply. Alliances are formed and broken by those looking to catapult themselves to the top, even if it comes at the expense of cutting throats and driving daggers into the backs of unknowing house guests. The most notorious pairing, featured in Big Brother 7: All-Stars, was the self-proclaimed Chill Town (a reincarnation of an alliance started in Big Brother 2), comprised of Will Kirby and Mike Boogie, who shafted various females (in relationships they called 'showmances') in order to achieve victory. Despite their conniving ways, Will and Mike proved to be two of the most memorable and skilled competitors on the Big Brother stage.
2. A Cast of Characters You Love to Hate
Often times, the players you hate the most (Big Brother 8's Jen and Evel Dick) are the ones who make the biggest strides in the game, simply because it's their antics (playing mind games, keeping empty promises, etc.) that define their grand plan in spite of the ill-will and hatred they produce. As fate would have it, the more obnoxious the player, the more likely they are to move forward in the competition. Often times, it's the 'floaters' (those not choosing sides in an alliance, those who keep to themselves, those who continually 'do the right thing') who draw more ire than the hated ones, simply because it's the loathed players that are, in essence, engaging in the game, not simply biding their time from one eviction to the next. Additionally, the greater levels of obnoxious behavior are what draws you into Big Brother like quicksand. After all, aren't we all gluttons for a gloves-off, expletive-laden tirade?
1. It's an International Sensation!
First initialized in the Netherlands in 1999, then popularized in England for the early part of the 21st century (fans of the show can, at any time, watch seven different live feeds through a digital cable box in Britain), Big Brother currently airs in 70 different countries, hosting 43 varying Big Brother competitions on a yearly basis. Tasting success akin to David Hasselhoff/Pamela Anderson's global craze Baywatch, Big Brother continues to utilize similar formats that play out differently from one country's version of the show to the next. In this summer season of unwatchable television, take a chance on Big Brother; you'll soon be hooked!