One die-hard fan elaborates on the major and minor tweaks that could improve Big Brother for its fans and for its ratings popularity

How To Improve an Already Great Show

1) The old music MUST come back. I don't care what "secrets", etc. they unroll- if I don't hear that familiar tune, the chills just don't run up my spine like they used to. It had gotten to the point that when the season premiere music started, it would bring tears to my eyes...sappy, I know, but the new "rock-ish" music just means nothing to me. This is about tradition for so many of us (live-feed, chat rooms, etc.) Would Survivor or the Amazing Race change their music after umpteen seasons?

2) Twists ARE good, but...I dunno. I thought the point of this whole thing was being stuck in a house with strangers. When you add even TWO people who know each other, whether in secret (the Twins) or not (this season), it undermines the basic principals of this show, which are the colossal hiding of one's true personality and the inability to trust anybody. Like Dr. Will, and now Maggie- the farther away from your true self, the safer you are. I believe Maggie won because she was separated from her partner almost immediately. This also worked for Janelle to a degree. Some could argue that adding partners spices it up (instant feuding, stronger desire for revenge), but I believe it ultimately clouds whatever game theory a show like this has.

3) Julie, Julie, Julie. Most of her quirks have now just become reasons to love her, part of the tradition. The head turns, the "but first"'s...come on, you know that we all love her corniness. However. If the woman doesn't gain some weight I am going to have to stop looking at her! It's that giant gaping canyon of space between her legs that just wigs me out to no end!!! Please, woman, for the love of god, gain some weight, wear baggier pants & skirts, or tell the producers to stick to head shots.
While I'm on the subject of Julie, I really hope that one day she realizes that this is not just some dumb show or whatever (her little moonlighting gig), and really gets in sync with the fans. She needs to be reading web pages, going to chat rooms, etc, to get the pulse of the answers that WE want. Her questions to the evicted Houseguests are sometimes base, boring, and uninteresting. I think her little interview segment should be lengthened, and she should be more prepared. Sometimes it looks like she doesn't even know anything about that person. At all. She should stick to her journalistic roots, and stop her transformation into generic host. The alternative would be to replace her with someone who cares more, former Houseguests perhaps? Former winners?

4) OK, I realize that the show comes on 3 times a week, people miss it, and they need to recap a little. But devoting the entire first third of the show to black-and-white flashbacks is unnecessary. I mean, come on, we get the recap before the music even starts, and then another? Talk about overdoing it. If they want to show NEW old footage, then great, but not the same things over and over and over (except, of course, when they showed Kaysar's Return a million times, because that was simply the best Reality TV Moment ever. It’s a judgment call.)

5) Regarding the food competitions. They might be lame sometimes, and the PB&J thing a bit played out, but the Houseguests need things to look forward to and keep them excited. Maybe they should simply have an individual luxury competition each week instead, in addition to America's Choice. They had the right idea this season with the Gold Room and safes, and they should expand on the kind-of scavenger-hunt idea throughout the season. The Food Comps could be seen as passé now, since eating has become the number one pastime of the guests.

6) America's Choice has an impact on the game and the Houseguests, yet we never get an opportunity to assist in choosing the winner, or even to broadcast our collective opinion about the final two. Maybe there could be an additional, "bonus" prize (a car?) that America's Choice could give to one of the final two? Just for some fan satisfaction. This is a fan-driven show. The more we are asked to be involved, the higher the ratings will go.

7) Every other show in this country has two-hour specials except ours. What’s up with that? As anyone could see from last night's finale, the jury (plus the others) could have talked for hours, and the show's fans would have loved it, would have eaten it up with a spoon. As soon as it became really heated last night, Julie changed the subject, due to, I believe a lack of time. If it was truly a scheduling conflict that kept our finale from being lengthened, then it should have aired on Friday or Saturday. The point is that the finale is not only about choosing the winner. It is the last time that we will see many of these people, get to hear their opinions. We deserve more than hurried, half-thought-out segments. This year was more in-depth than usual, but it could have been even meatier.

8) Shameless cross-promotion sucks. I never got to see even one of the special "never before seen" scenes on Julie's morning show. Can’t this scene be shown on the CBS website as well? Can’t they show footage from the morning show interview with the evicted Houseguest on the next episode? Why cheat even one fan?

9) Take a page from the book of Survivor. We are ready and waiting for a Big Brother All-Stars, (Big Brother: The Houseguests Return, etc.) including the winners and all the most annoying or memorable characters. I know I'm hardly the first to ask for this, so let's get it together, people! CBS: want to finally see all three nights in the top ten? Put this show together and it can happen. Fans, don't you agree? And since these are Pros at the game, why not make it 100 days even?

10) It would be great if we got BB re-runs on a cable channel during the week, or even a marathon of all three from the week on one day. Personally, I would watch the originals and then the reruns! Anybody agree?

11) I have heard what must be every opinion on earth about the Veto competition. It must stay. Remember the days before it? Not as compelling, that’s for sure, and it gives the middle of the week some oomph. But, the Back-Door thing could become a major problem. I think all the fans expected more Veto twists this year like the rumored Platinum or Diamond Veto. I think that in order to put the kibosh on the Back-Door-Plan, Houseguests should never know what, if any, power the Veto may have. How about a “Temporary HOH Veto”, where the winner of it could nominate the replacement Houseguest (instead of the HOH)? How about an “Involuntary Veto” that HAS to be used? How about an “Instant Veto”, used on the spot after winning? How about a “Switch Veto” that transfers HOH status to the saved evictee, or Veto winner? The possibilities are endless, and should be explored. While we as fans request a degree of tradition, we also know that you have to mix it up to keep it fresh. As we learn from the Amazing Race, things that level the playing field are maddeningly wonderful.

12) Double Eviction= two times a bad idea. If this INSANE and NONSENSICAL idea continues, the part-time HOH should definitely be allowed to participate in the next HOH comp. Aborted HOH reigns are unsatisfactory to the HOH and the fans. One of the most fun aspects of BB is watching the dynamics change after HOH, after Nominations, after Veto. When the nomination is instant, it just sucks some of the suspense and cunning out of the show.

13) Last but not least, I would like to express my personal opinion that any endurance competitions should be aired all at one time whenever possible, even if they must be edited to fit into one show, even if they aren’t live. The reason I say this, and I know many of you will disagree, is because I don’t like being driven online to find out who won.. I always find out more info than I wanted, or confront the plague of ill-informed party poopers that plague the chat rooms. After all, it is the episodes that matter here, not the online bonuses. And the chat rooms are so full of bad spirit that I think many avoid them entirely, favoring fan-friendly sites like Jokers Updates. The flaw of the Live-Feed and chat idea is getting so far out of sync with the broadcast that it becomes irrelevant. While I do love it, I think that it should be kept optional in spirit. And what about all the people who don’t have computers? Again, why cheat even one fan from the satisfaction of knowing what is going on…

I want to finish by saying that it truly does suck when the people you like are gone by the Final Two, but that’s just games for you! And overall, I think this season was great, the best yet. The improved House was very, very cool, and I can’t remember loving Houseguests like this since Dr. Will. Hurricane Howie, Busto, and Pepperoni will live on in my memory forever. The whole Cappy thing was a goldmine of hilarity. Kaysar and Janelle were an absolute casting triumph, and I would say “keep up the good work”, cause this crew blew the Nakomis/Cowboy and Jun/Allison Seasons AWAY as far as sheer character likeability is concerned (though Drew and Dianne were sweet). This year produced two extremely distinct sets of people, explosive rivalries, and some of the most dramatic confrontations (Eric & Michael, Howie & April, Ivette & April, Janelle & Beau) of any Reality show, period. Keep the requisite minorities, the requisite lunkheads, bombshells & studs. We will love them all and keep coming back for more!

Long Live the Houseguests & here’s to next season!

(Please respond to my e-mail if you’d like to continue this dialog. I love to hear from my sibling Big Brother aficionados)