Big Brother recap: Second Chances and Rookie Mistakes

Original article available on EW at this link.

Dear Big Brother houseguests,

Tell us this: When will you learn? Have you watched this show or any others before blasting your mediocre strategy and social play on television and laptop screens across the country? I’m not trying to play armchair quarterback here. I’ve made my own fair share of mistakes playing games, but you guys keep racking up more rookie-level mistakes than “The Little Giants” before the championship game.

There are character archetypes in reality television. But what the houseguests don’t seem to realize is that there are archetypal trajectories too. Certain player patterns are mainstays over the years. Let’s stop red-light-style in honor of the HOH Competition and consider a few examples:

(1) Dominant alpha players have a tendency to get arrogant and complacent just before the rug gets pulled out from under them (Cody 1.0). (2) Players who mock others about being on the bottom end up eating their words (Josh to Jessica and Cody). (3) Overtly coupling up is a one-way ticket to disaster (Cody + Jessica = Jody 1.0 and Jody 2.0).

As much as some players say they’re aware of the dangers and pitfalls of the ways they’re playing, I’m not sure I fully believe them. With that said, let’s switch from red light to green and gawk at the delightful car crash that is Big Brother 19.

House Car Crash: Josh

Knock, knock who’s there? It’s Cody, and he’s back from the dead just in time to pump up Jessica and disappoint the remainder of the house before the HOH Competition. Everyone minus Jody goes into the competition with the same mindset as Paul: Cody is “still public enemy number one.”

The houseguests head out into the backyard to play “What’s the Hold-Up?” The competition is basically a stationary, mind-numbing version of Red Light, Green Light — houseguests hold up a red disk representative of a red light with white Mickey Mouse gloves and a flimsy stick for as long as possible. When they drop out, they get to punish each other with obstacles you’d encounter on a busy street. The issue? These punishments are everyday occurrences in the BB House anyway.

Take the angry, screaming road-rager, for instance, who’s just the same as afternoons with Josh. Then there’s the food truck dude dressed as a hot dog, dousing houseguests in mustard and ketchup — welcome to a pleasant game of pool with Mark and Josh, minus the hot sauce and pickle juice.

As predicted, the houseguests target Cody and Jessica with punishment after punishment. Josh decides to add to the pleasantries with shouts of: “Hey Cody, you pack of meatballs, you ready to go back out that door again? Huh? Huh?” What Josh doesn’t realize is he’s not doing anything to take on his adversaries. He’s fueling Jody’s desire to decimate everyone else in the house for multiple reasons. First, yelling is the worst possible strategy to take on a Marine. “As any Marine will tell you,” Cody tells us, “you get yelled at a million times… This has no effect on me.” Second, what Josh doesn’t know is it’s the three-year anniversary of Jessica’s father’s death. She has something way bigger to fight for.

And fight Jessica does, until we hear a cock-a-doodle-doo in the wee hours of the morning and Christmas drops. If you thought you were crazy during the episode — yes, you were watching Big Brother. No, you were not watching the season premiere of The Bachelor with a cocktail party and rose ceremony that drags on until daybreak.

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