Say Cheese!

I’m not too keen on the MVP twist. We’re told by CBS that the MVP vote is predicated on who the viewers think “is playing the best game.” Obviously that is disingenuous. The sad reality is that most people will just vote for the houseguest they like most. I mean, what has Elissa done to warrant that distinction other than be Rachel’s sister?

And we’ve seen the power that MVP wields. In a week where Aaryn won HOH and Jeremy won POV, their side still lost an ally. Sure, it’s always enjoyable to see Aaryn get duped on national television, but that week was patently unfair.[1] And as much as I liked seeing McCrae make a move against The MC, any type of strategic move—in this context—comes off as facile.

But something interesting is happening in the Diary Room sessions: Houseguests are using their confessionals as an appeal to the public for MVP votes.[2] However, you can’t just overtly beg America for votes or tell America how cute it looks lately. You have to be oblique.

You have to associate yourself with Elissa.

Helen describes being put on the block by Aaryn as an attempt to create a rift in her and Elissa’s friendship, which she avers will not happen. Oh, what’s that? You like Elissa too, America? Maybe you can be friends with Helen also. Maybe you want to consider bestowing MVP to Helen once Elissa is voted out.

The other option considered by Amanda and McCrae is to throw Elissa a pity vote if she were to be voted out. So now you could have the possibility of someone orchestrating an eviction while simultaneously appearing to be torn about it, perhaps making a few contrite comments in the Diary Room about how it’s personally difficult to vote the subject out.

Not only are you acting to other houseguests, you are acting for America and sometimes the two may be at odds. Forget duplicity, we’re talking triplicity here!

MVP has created a new dimension to the game and it’s fascinating to watch the houseguests try to comport to what they think America’s whims are. But I’m not so sure if it’s good for the game. The MVP could conceivably be employed to either create drama on a weekly basis, or uproot the undesirable houseguests. And while that’s all fun and all, don’t kid yourself that it is rewarding good game play.[3]

In fact, I think it is creating conditions that are inimical to good game play.


Never Met a Wise Man. If so, it was a Woman

Helen’s musical tastes are staggering. She includes "Firework" by Katy Perry and "Bad" by U2 in her top five songs of all time, and Ten by Pearl Jam in her top five albums of all time. She has also attended “several” New Kids on the Block concerts, and—oh yeah— to cap it off, was once obsessed with Nevermind by Nirvana.

What in the name of Bono is going on here? Can you imagine Helen jamming to "Lithium?" It is insane. It is absurd. It is…

It is 7:00PM. Helen just finished having a lovely dinner with her family. She and her husband ferry the dirty dishes over to the sink. It’s been a long day for Helen. She covertly taps her husband on the right flank. “It’s time,” she’s says with quiet emphasis. Her husband sternly nods and shepherds the kids away do review times tables.

It’s time.

Helen walks into her garage and boards her 2011 Ford Fiesta. Helen is alone. She takes a deep breath and turns the ignition. Nirvana’s Nevermind is pouring through the speakers, pummeling her in all its pretty, frustrated angst. Helen feels frozen in time. Leaning back passively in her seat, she can see the quantum of sound waves whizzing by her wildly, enveloping her in a flannel insulated cocoon.

Helen closes her eyes in ecstasy. Beside her in the passenger seat is a copy of Chris Christie: The Inside Story of His Rise to Power. She reaches over, clasps the book with anticipation, and slowly opens her eyes. As she cracks the book open, Kurt Cobain sings, “Monkey see, monkey do. I don’t know why. I’d rather be dead than cool.”

“Fuck yeah,” she says placidly. “Fuck yeah.”


[1] Was Aaryn foolish for not even attempting to work with Elissa? Of course. I still don't think that justifies what transpired though. 

[2] I know some of the more savvy players have been very cognizant about what they say in the Diary Room in prior seasons. But now the houseguests know the precise twist, and they know that it is up for grabs every week

[3] You could argue that the Big Brother audience ultimately respects game play, hence why people like Dr. Will and Dan Ghessling are beloved by the audience. But would we love them if they had such egregious twists? Would Dan have the opportunity to host his funeral in Big Brother 14 if MVP existed? And if these players had MVP, would they even have to make the moves that they are celebrated for?