Pretzel Logic

“Who invented this bitch?”—Jason on Audrey

For the first week of Big Brother 17, I felt like one of the contestants. Every night, I collapsed into my bed feeling like I was just beginning to understand the dynamics of the house, only to awaken to the realization that I had already fallen significantly behind. Who said what? Is that true or a scurrilous rumor? Who is the source? Who is the true source? Is that person reliable? How many alliances are there? Is that a real alliance or a fake alliance? Where is the rockstar dentist?[1]

I had no contact with the outside world. There was no intermission. OK, there was that one time I watched a live version of “Whole Lotta Love” with the volume muted so I could sustain aural contact with the live feeds, but that was my only abdication. I consumed no news media. I verbally participated in the houseguests’ conversations.

It was exhausting. I was going insane.

The reason for all of this was Audrey. CBS always boasts that the current season will be the most twisted summer ever; by herself, Audrey actualized CBS’s tease. She twisted that house into a veritable palimpsest of he said she said, and she did so with such reckless abandon that her game capsized in the first week! Remember Brian from Big Brother 10? You know how we use him as an illustration for the dangers of overplaying? Yeah, we won’t be reaching for his name anymore. In her folly, Audrey has eclipsed all.

And now that people know her game, her sway in the house has evaporated. She drops a hinky vote to evict Jackie, thinking she might stir up disorder, but everyone knows it was her. And nobody cares. Even when she tells the truth, like when she told Jace that everyone knew about their fake Five Alive alliance and that he was going to be backdoored, no one believes her.

Audrey is completely isolated. She scarcely talks to people on even a personal level. Someone will occasionally feel bad for her and attempt to strike up some casual conversation, but Audrey immediately falls back to game talk, and no one wants to talk game with her.

I don’t think Audrey is interested in making personal connections in the Big Brother house. She just so badly wants to play the game. But she’s spoiled it. No one wants to play with her. She lies in her bed a tantalized prisoner of the Big Brother house, too much of an outcast to be evicted, and yet also too much of an outcast to work with.[2]

I am not a prisoner anymore. With week two effectively concluding on Friday, the Big Brother house is way easier to follow now. It is, in many ways, a relief. I’ve caught up on the news. I’ve properly gotten the Led out. My life is way less stressful.

But I kind of miss being crazy.


Everybody Loves Meg

Getting nominated the first few weeks of Big Brother is disastrous for your game. It starts a cycle in which your nomination is fait acompli every week. The HOH sees it as a chance to dilute the blood on their hands: If everyone nominates the same person, that person can’t hold a grudge against every HOH.

That’s why it’s crucial for Shelli to put Meg on the block. Firstly, it ensures Da’Vonne, Shelli’s target goes home. But looking at the big picture, it pushes Meg into that aforementioned disaster scenario, which is important because Meg’s social game is immaculate, probably the best in the house. Everyone loves her. I love her.

But if I’m someone like Shelli (i.e. someone that isn't in Meg's inner circle), I want Meg to spend a lot of time on the block. I want the house getting used to Meg being on the block, and I want other houseguests repeatedly being confronted with the notion of evicting her. You take Meg’s strength and you turn it into a weakness: You make Meg the house’s pawn.

It’s a mistake to utilize Liz, Steve, or Johnny Mac in this capacity because they haven’t shown themselves to be dangerous players yet. They don’t have the agency to make moves because they haven’t forged the relationships Meg has. Not only does this make them less effective pawns, but if they do get evicted, which we know is a common occurrence, your HOH was wasted.

I’m telling you, Meg is a serious threat in this game. She needs to be on the block early and often.

[1] He’s probably in the Diary Room playing a set. 

[2] It’s true that Shelli is targeting Da’Vonne, so I suppose you could say that she is on working terms with Audrey. But Shelli understands that Audrey isn't to be trusted at all. And yet, although everyone allegedly wants Audrey out next week, it might be too alluring to target someone who isn't ostracized by the entire house. Shelli started a dangerous game by keeping her safe.