Heard Dat

As a Big Brother purist, my favorite players are the people that play the game the hardest. And no, that does not mean the people who win the most competitions. I’m talking about the social game. A strong social game usurps everything else because with a strong social game, you need not depend on winning crapshoot competitions.

And so this would be the point where I tell you how immaculate Derrick’s game has been and how the excessively vilified Frankie Grande is the only other player in the same league as him.[1] It’s true, isn’t it? By any objective metric, Derrick deserves to win Big Brother 16.

Yet, as a viewer of this show, I’ve found myself reluctant to root for Derrick. This is the one year where I had to deviate from my code. Why is that? Well, you watched this season, didn’t you? I hate to be a naysayer, but this season really was brutally tedious. It is arguably the weakest season of Big Brother in the post All-Stars era.

And as excellent as Derrick’s game has been, it hasn’t been fun to watch. He was too dominant. He faced no adversity whatsoever. And sure, that is largely a testament to his gameplay. But I think it is also the corollary of one of the more underwhelming casts we’ve ever seen[2], and a series of boneheaded twists that consistently made the house less exciting.

So who would I have liked to see win Big Brother 16? There’s no use being coy, because you know what I’m going to say: Beast Mode Cowboy! Regular readers of this column will know that I have been dag-gum fixated with this guy since the first week! Hell, I have cataloged his freestyle raps!

Unlike Derrick, Caleb has been intrinsically entertaining. It doesn’t matter who is in the room when he was rapping, dancing, or showcasing his martial arts skills. He is a one-man band.

For some people, I have no doubt that this diverting presence in the house was Zach. And yes, at times, Zach was electrifying television. But the frustrating thing about Zach was that all of his chaotic antics were belied by his utter indifference toward the game. Zach rarely had an effect on the rest of the house. He threw a lot of bombs, but he jumped on most of them himself. 

Case in point: When he slipped up and told Victoria about Derrick’s inclusion in the Detonators, he immediately backtracked and said that he lied about it and that everyone should send him home. Even when he was evicted he upheld this lie just to appease his friend Derrick.

Say what you want about Beast Mode Cowboy’s game, but homefry was there to win. There was a little White Knight Syndrome in him when Amber was in the house, but I guarantee you that Caleb wasn’t sacrificing his game for anyone.

I’ll admit that the man is a dreadful liar and is blind to certain aspects of the game (he never saw how much of a threat Derrick was), but he also has a knack for understanding elusive simple things: Caleb was the only person in the Bomb Squad to understand the necessity of keeping Zach, a number for their alliance, during Nicole’s HOH.[3] And consider how all of those aforementioned shortcomings double as strengths: People trusted Beast Mode Cowboy because they knew that not only is he honest, he is incapable of lying. If you were true to him, he would be true to you, and—because of his competitive prowess—Caleb's trust was a highly valued currency.

Obviously, the one person he wasn’t loyal to was the one person who actually had his back: Frankie. Sending Frankie home was Caleb’s fatal misstep. It was a bold move that would have look dazzling on his Final Two resume, but, unbeknownst to Caleb, it greatly handicapped his game. The better and bolder move would have been throwing Cody and Derrick on the block.

Alas, Beast Mode Cowboy fell for Derrick’s spell just like all the rest of those jamokes. And although part of me wants to see Cody take Victoria to the Final Two just to chastise Derrick for dragging that Big Brother tourist through this game, my support is with Derrick. In the words of Omar Little, “A man got to have a code.”

Now, if you excuse me, I shall judy chop my television.


[1] I verily admire Frankie’s dedication to this game. That's right: I am a Frankie fan.

[2] I don’t blame Derrick for fulfilling his role as brilliant strategist. I blame the rest of the cast for not challenging him. I know there is a contingent of the Big Brother audience that always thinks the current cast is among the worst, and I usually scoff at those people. But if you have followed the live feeds, you know that this isn’t hyperbole.

[3] Derrick, of course, then did all the legwork to save Zach.