Big Brother 19: The Bullying Problem
If you have been watching the Big Brother live three times a week or watching the feeds, I say to you, congratulations! You have much more dedication than I do when it comes to watching live television. Instead, I wait a week or two to binge through the content, read the Big Brother subreddit, and collect all the information in order to gain a bigger picture.
In a few years we are going to look back at Big Brother 19 as the “Bullying Season”. Or at least I hope. This could spread a new type of game-play that actually is super degenerative towards the game of Big Brother. The show I mainly cover, MTV’s the Challenge, had a problem in the mid to late 2000’s where people were at times attempting to bate people into hitting them, forcing the aggressor to be kicked off the show. It was a dumb strategy that either worked or made overplayed and troubling drama. The bullying strategy is almost the same, just much worse for the victim.
At the end of the day it ruins the show for the families watching it with their kids at home, ruins for the lovers of the “game”, and ruins it for the people actually trying to “play” the game. Look at someone like Dominique who seemed like she could be a force in this game. And while not bullied, Paul truly took his minions and created this hive-mind that Dominique was too powerful for her own good, all while Paul sits as the most powerful player in the game by far, eliminating all his threats. It’s a Stalin like plan by Paul that will advance him far in the game by eliminating all potential threats, smart for him — boring for fans.
What/Who do we cheer for at this point? Cody has been pretty bad at times and is also possibly a robot. Jason and Kevin are fun guys, though neither have the social or game skills to create a proper coup or blindside. Yes, Alex shows potential, but the way the game is going right now, a win by her would need to require some big moves to be viewed as a “great game” versus being a lame-duck winner. It feels safe to say that Mark, Josh, Raven, and Matt are not winning this game, and Jessica’s game was ruined by the return of Cody.
There’s no skill to Paul’s game-plan besides absolute vanity and selfishness. Dan Gheesling on Big Brother 14 was the ultimate liar and manipulator, yet during his DR’s, he had the openness and honesty that he was throwing shit at the wall, seeing if it would stick. Will Kirby always threw competitions in order to not get blood on his hands and create power moves through others. This strategy helped him kill it on All Stars and is what also helped Boogie win All Stars. Derrick and Andy were great at making everyone think they were on their side, Derrick also kept empowering his friends in order to gain their trust. None of them would even consider bullying a player out like Paul.
Paul was robbed last season, and with the following and reach that Big Brother nation has these days with social media, he sure as hell knows it. The way in which Big Brother players get empowered after a good showing is staggering, heck even those who weren’t that great. By having a legion of fans, or at least small devoted cult following, they now feel like their opinions on the game and the way they play (when they return) is above all else. Not many players have the following Paul has. In Will Kirby’s Twitter fight with Michelle Meyer, he was quick to point out that Michelle played the game so poorly that what she tells players is probably a disservice to them. Being a bad Big Brother player does not make you an expert, it means you’re a bad Big Brother who got an incredible experience and know more about the insights of the house. Which is why Paul entering the game this season is bonkers. Never has a player of Paul’s skill level or magnitude entered a game of newbies like this alone.
Last season on BB18, we got 1 bad player (Da’Vonne), and 3 relatively good players. James (BB17) was a victim of no big moves, Frank (BB14) is a comp beast who was tutored by Boogie, and Nicole (BB16) a good player who was on the outside of the main alliance. A fair ratio, and in the end 2 vets made it to final 3, with one winning. On BB14, they brought in three legends with Boogie (BB2/BB7), Janelle (BB6/BB7), and Dan (BB10), along with a solid player in Brittany (BB12). Here, Dan proved himself as possible Big Brother GOAT through assassinating all of the other veterans. It goes on and on like this. A bad player will almost always be a bad player, but a good player will only improve. What happens when you put in a great player? Maybe he self destructs?
Trying to bully someone out of the game for all intensive purposes is weak.
For Paul to view himself as one of the great all time Big Brother player, this is a sign weakness. This the only way for Paul to acknowledge that the game itself is bigger than him, so he has to break the game in order to help his chances of winning by the smallest of amounts. Those of you that live with the idea that bullying is natural and that everyone gets bullied from time to time in their life, it’s important to remember that in this environment, there is nowhere to turn but utter seclusion. And even sometimes that does not work. Quitting because of bullying is not weak — staying only means you’re strong.
Big Brother is going to need to examine the direction in which the show is going. On Big Brother 18, Bridgette was bullied to an incredible degree that was not portrayed on the show. I’ll post a link to the degree of bullying as collected by a Reddit User at the bottom. The amount of strength she showed in adversity is baffling. This show had a great format and the way in which the game was evolving to what it was on BB14 when Ian won was a delight for fans and players. It’s collapsed in on itself where Pawns have gained so much power (Spencer, Victoria), and players are often punished for being good.
The game degenerating is sad. Watching Paulie on BB18 was especially sad. He represented undeserved entitlement due to his brother’s merits on BB16. Paulie viewed his game as the “game” everyone should play, and for a good while people somewhat followed him as he looked the part. These stereotypes for what a good player are often kill the game. BB17’s ignorance of those types is what made that season great — Johnny Mac and Steve in a final four, Vanessa as arguably the game’s best player, and Steven winning in the end.
BB19 represents entitlement and degeneration of the BB game itself, with the Bullying being the main representation of that.