3:30 pm EDT, August 8, 2019

‘Big Brother’ needs to get back to the heart of the game

I have always loved Big Brother for the social experiment it is. That’s why it makes me more and more depressed to see it fall farther and farther from the great game it used to be.

For a few years now, Big Brother has changed little by little from the summer alternative to Survivor, full of schemers and people devoted to playing the game, to a platform for fame seekers to get their 15 minutes that they can capitalize on afterwards. It’s slowly breaking the hearts of all the fans that have been watching since seasons 1 or 2, and this season has been the worst yet.

Houseguests say and do downright racist things, pretty people gang up on anyone who looks even the slightest bit different, and certain houseguests even flagrantly break rules and get away with it. It’s a really horrible situation for a show and a game that many Americans look forward to obsessing over all summer long. When we think back to many of the show’s true greats, Dan Gheesling, Janelle Pierzina, Will Kirby, it’s hard to think about how far the show has fallen from their great, strategic gameplay.

But not all hope is lost! If they implemented just a few key changes, I feel like the game could easily return to the fast-paced, strategic game we all know and love.

How ‘Big Brother’ could get back to its former glory

  • Stop casting beautiful people to pair off in the first week: Showmances have been a part of the game from the outset, but the show didn’t used to cater to couples. The few long lasting relationships that have been born in the Big Brother house have been real, slowly developed and enchanted viewers with their authenticity. If the show would get back to its roots: putting a diverse group of people in a house as a social experiment, it would be far better off than trying to compete with The Bachelor.
  • Get back to the basics: Everyone loves a good twist. After all, some of the show’s most interesting seasons have involved one twist or another, but I think the most unexpected thing Big Brother could do now, would be to have a twist-less season… and just don’t tell the houseguests. Can you imagine the paranoia as each one tries to figure out what the season’s big twist is going to be? It would be fascinating!
  • Bring back the competitions: I used to love watching the food competitions, the luxury comps, the late-in-the-season-and-the-houseguests-desperately-need-new-clothes comps. Heck, I’d even just take getting the Have-not competition back. Maybe scale back the grandiose-ness of the styling for the comps and get back to basics, bringing back quantity rather than quality.
  • Discourage, rather than encourage, group think: This season especially has been plagued with a sizeable group of houseguests believing their own lies and treating others like dirt. The group think has pushed all but one of the people of color out the door before jury, and it’s making one of my favorite summer past times impossible to enjoy. I hate seeing good people, like Kemi, David, Ovi, and Nicole forced to dumb themselves down or hide their most attractive quirks to appeal to a group of houseguests who don’t see their value. Big Brother should try making unanimous votes unappealing, and reminding the houseguests that un-evolved gameplay means losing privileges.
  • Get an entire cast from casting calls: There has been an increase in the number of people in the house that don’t have any idea how the game is played. I can see the value in having some people who don’t know every in and out of the game, but lately, casting seems to be looking for pretty faces more than just someone who’s unknowledgeable. I would be so psyched to see an entire cast full of superfans, full of people who want to cement their place in Big Brother history by making bold moves using skillful strategy. Let’s do away with pursuing pretty people with Instagram followings and focus on the thing that made the game great to begin with.

There are probably a dozen other ways the show could improve itself, but all of them are going to require that Big Brother get back to what it did best in those first few absolutely addicting seasons.

I would love to see a return to peanut butter and jelly, a throwback house with throwback twists, or just a chance to see the game flourish again without trying to come up with another crazy twist. People have loved Big Brother for more than a decade for being exactly what it is, and maybe it’s time to get back to what made the show successful in the first place.

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