When Keeping it Real Goes Wrong
I still don’t comprehend what Candice wished to achieve by calling that house meeting. I mean, I understand the circumstances that lead up to it: I understand that Spencer told her one thing and Amanda a contradictory thing. But did she even take a scant minute to cerebrate over why Spencer would do that? If Spencer were trying to evict Amanda (like he told Candice,) did Candice expect him to be candid about his intentions with his target? Or did Candice seriously question the manifest antipathy that exists between Spencer and Amanda?
Worst-case scenario: Spencer sees that shifting the vote to Amanda is unfeasible and makes a move against Candice. But does that necessitate a house meeting? Given the trust between Spencer and Howard—and, by extension, Spencer and Candice—wouldn’t it be more prudent to pull Spencer aside privately?
Ever since Candice started clinging to Howard, her game has been ravaged. It’s easy to forget that she once was in a power trio with Elissa and Helen and was the first houseguest to intuit an all male alliance. But the more time she spent with Howard, the more insular she became. The house meeting is the culmination of these past two weeks of isolation.
It ended up having predictable results. The people who dislike Candice ended up disliking her more; the people who have more of a neutral view of Candice reveled that she was naive enough to publicly dress down Spencer, the only other outcast in the house.
It was a misbegotten exhibition of pride, an action that defied explanation.
And that is keepin’ it real with Candi.
Cause Without a Rebel
“I watch Big Brother. Maybe I’m not as big a fan as some of y’all out here, but that’s boring to me, if the same few people are going to manipulate everybody. That’s going to be a boring season to me because the same thing is going to happen every week.”—Howard
When I watch sports, I don’t necessarily root for teams anymore. I root for games, exciting, unpredictable games. This usually dictates that I root for whichever team is currently losing. The problem with this current season of Big Brother is that such a dynamic is nonexistent. Howard may have been a desperate man trying to save face, but he paradoxically has a point.
You would think that watching savvy players would be— in and of itself—a pleasurable viewing experience. But it never really works out that way. Magic Johnson needed Larry Bird. Janelle needed the Nerd Herd. Friction makes the fight, and rivalry transcends individual achievement.
As far as I can tell, MVP was a twist designed to designate an underdog: The rest of the house would inevitably deduce that Elissa is Rachel’s sister and will use that as a pretext to vote her out of the game early. However, Elissa will be able to hang around because she will win MVP every week.
But production failed to understand that you can’t just foist an underdog on viewers. This is an organic process. You can’t cook it up in a lab like Walter White. Elissa has been given too much unearned power and support; it makes this whole situation feel dishonest and disconcerting.
The other corollary to the MVP twist is this homogenization of the house that Howard is referring to. This eventuated in a supermajority which controlled the house every week regardless of who was winning competitions. And the victims of this supermajority happened to be some of the more combustive players (Nick and Jeremy.)
MVP has actually turned out to be an anti-twist, for it is making the house more predictable. As egregious as I thought the coup d’Jeff was in Big Brother 11, at least that upended the status quo. Prior to that twist, Jessie’s side of the house was dominating the game. With the coup d’etat, Jeff was able to shift the power and the trajectory of that season. Sure (for a Big Brother purist, like myself) it was cheating, but at least it made that season more entertaining.
I can’t say the same about MVP. Like Howard said, it’s been fairly boring.
 Consider Kim from Survivor: One World. By all accounts, I should have liked her: She was an excellent player, unrivaled by anyone on that cast. And yet, it was for that express reason that I had a hard time cheering for her. No one even remotely challenged her, and the season was a slog.
 Production’s new solution is to strip MVP from the anointed one and give it to America, and by America I mean the Brenchel Army. With Amanda going up as a nomination for the second week in succession, the Brenchel Army has controlled the nomination two out of the three available weeks. However, it appears that this latest incarnation of MVP has been largely ineffective.
 Can you tell how jazzed I am for the final season of Breaking Bad!?
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