I know it was rushed at the end. I know we had two players essentially quit. I know the winner was questionable…
Despite all that. It was a success.
Celebrity Big Brother did exactly what CBS hoped it would do: be entertaining, captivate audiences for 3 weeks, come second place to the Olympics but blow everything else out of the water.
For 3 weeks of airing, Celebrity Big Brother did (for the most part) just that. When the season was announced, I have to admit that I was skeptical: are the celebrities going to take the game seriously? Are they just going to lay around and wait for evictions to happen? They didn’t. They came out playing, and I know the rushed format had a LOT to do with that, but they came out fists flying.
What did we get?
We got an interesting twist Week 1 with Keisha Knight-Pullam usurping Shannon’s HoH, nominating Chuck and James. We got the house flipping on Keisha and Omarosa, evicting Chuck. We got Shannon getting her comeuppance a few evictions later, and we even got REALLY good gameplay out of Omarosa (which I’m really shocked about).
All in all, there wasn’t but one real dud in the cast as far as gameplay was concerned (Keisha), but her volunteering to be evicted due to her breast milk being depleted actually saved Omarosa and gave us some really fun gameplay over the following week. If we’re being completely honest, outside of Ross, Omarosa MIGHT have played the best game in the house from a social and actual competition standpoint.
Everyone had a role: James Maslow was an absolute CHARM on the episodes (I didn’t watch the feeds this season) and mind you I had NEVER heard of this guy prior to this season starting. He was a competition threat and hung around way longer than he should’ve been allowed to. Ross played an Andy Herren type game: was literally in every conversation, was aware of every potential move in the house, but unlike Andy in his season Ross was actually in hot water multiple times and pulled himself out of danger multiple times. Marissa didn’t really add too much to the show, but in the beginning she was very entertaining (so I take back my Keisha comment, Marissa actually did less), and Brandi created the drama in the house. Ariadna was a gem, she was sweet and honestly a BADASS.
Even Mark McGrath added to the game, whether it was diary room humor or his meh HoH, Mark played an effective game by floating around the power and not being on anyone’s radar at really any point in time. Metta World Peace was a Godsend in the sense that he was completely unpredictable and funny, I wish he wouldn’t have quit because he could have snuck to the end and won the whole thing.
What does this mean moving forward?
CBS seems bent on allowing Big Brother to experiment in its “offseason”, which is great for Big Brother fans in a number of ways. First, we had Big Brother: Over the Top, an all-feeds offering that satisfied the most diehard of fans by letting the show play out over the feeds virtually 24/7 with no television output, just a few recap episodes allowed through CBS Access. The season has a split fanbase: there are people who REALLY enjoyed everything about it from its slightly older cast to the drama that came with it between the LNC and Ballsmashers. There is also a significant amount of people who are either just “meh” on it (like me) to absolutely hating it for a myriad of reasons. Celebrity Big Brother meets in the middle: a short fix prior to BB Canada’s revival that features slightly familiar faces in a condensed format with access to feeds and a plethora of entertainment. While there’s a sizeable amount of viewers who didn’t care for it, it achieved it’s main goal (refer to the beginning of this post). Which means that either:
a) we’re getting a Celebrity Big Brother 2 or
b) we’re going to get another type of BB experiment next Winter
Let’s talk about both options:
Option 1: Celebrity Big Brother 2
IF CBS goes this route with a CBB2 next Winter, I think it’s important that they look at a few things by using CBB1 as a measuring stick. For one, they need to be able to get concrete commitments from these celebrities: while Keshia’s exit is excusable (I don’t want to hear it, she thought she would be able to continuously supply milk for her child, she couldn’t, she left), Metta’s really isn’t. He knew he would be locked away for a few weeks and CBS should’ve seen that as a warning and let that ship sail instead of effectively ruining an HoH and almost putting said HoH in danger. They need to be sure to get that locked down next time.
It also needs to be just a LITTLE bit longer or better scheduled. 11 Celebrities is a perfect number, no need to expand, but stretch the season by a few more days so that the ending isn’t rushed. Having a final HoH that evicts TWO houseguests at the final four instead of making the Wednesday episode a double eviction (putting the house at 5) and Friday a double eviction (putting the house at 3) makes virtually no sense. Especially since we wasted the final Saturday episode on an HoH and another White House segment (seriously, it’s over played guys, and I cannot stand 45), that could have been a season recap and parts 1 and 2 of the final HoH. You could’ve even taken a page out of OTT’s book and eliminated 4th place in the final competition with the final HoH having to choose who to take between 2nd and 3rd place.
That said, the casting was pretty damn good. Got a great mix of celebrities that some people may know, but I realize that a good crop of this cast is pretty familiar only to the late-20s to early-40s demographic, leaving the young side a little alienated (you got James Maslow though). If they’re going to steer clear of YouTube and internet celebrities (please do), this is honestly the best way to go. We’re not going to get Viola Davis and Adele in here, so considering what we got versus what we COULD have gotten, I’ll take it.
Option 2: Another BB Experiement
Okay, this could mean anything, and while this has the potential to be another mess, it could also be glorious, just like CBB was. The main reason why I don’t know if there will be another Celebrity Big Brother is because CBB’s purpose was to combat the Winter Olympics, which obviously won’t happen again until February 2022. If CBS doesn’t feel the need to squeeze in a surefire winner next February, especially with a pretty solid winter lineup, then I don’t see them forking out the money for CBB (even though it seems to be paying for itself ratings and eventual ad revenue wise, I don’t know what the ad slots go for during this show). If that’s the case, you could start getting some pretty solid experiments to separate from the mainshow. One option could be to make the spinoff series a series for returnees, it could run after the Super Bowl until mid-March (30-40 days) with a group of 12 and a jury of 7. This program could serve as a way for BB to experiment with different twists in hopes of them becoming permanent gameplay. You could mess with this format a little by having themes for returnees (“BB: Second Chances comes to mind) and just hope you don’t run out of returnees. Either way, Option 3, which I wouldn’t be mad at, would be them no longer doing a winter series outside of special occasions, because one thing we know is that the very first time we got a Winter edition, it went bad. Very bad.
Let’s talk about the winner
It’s pretty obvious that Marissa shouldn’t have won. I don’t know what deal was made or agreement was reached, but she is our winner for the first ever Celebrity Big Brother. You can be as mad as you want, but I saw the same people who were joyous about Josh’s victory be extremely bitter about Marissa’s (namely on Reddit). Either you want the best player to win or you don’t.
I think in a normal season, Ross is probably your winner here, with time to think and convene, a jury would likely see him as the obvious choice.
Either way this season was meant to be entertainment and that’s what we got. Right down to the very end.