Is Big Brother Fair?
by Drew, the Big Brother Cynic
To an extent, many of my columns are about one central question: Is Big Brother fair? Today, I’ll place the angel on one shoulder and the devil squarely on
the other and address this topic head-on.
Before we start, we have to define “fair”. To me, a fair game means that every houseguest has the same opportunity to win Big Brother, which each houseguest’s
game-playing ability (competitively and socially) as the lone variable.
Pro: Big Brother is fair
It’s impossible to claim that Big Brother is 100-percent real. Those of us that watch (or otherwise follow) the feeds often see major
happenings – most notably in the “social” aspect of game play – misrepresented or flat-out ignored on the final, televised product. But despite
this fact, one cannot claim that Big Brother is unfair because of one simple fact: every player ultimately controls his or her own destiny.
Over the course of the week, there are two chances for a player to guarantee his safety: the Head of Household competition and the Power of Veto
competition. All but one player (the outgoing HoH) plays in the former, while six players (more than 50 percent, for most of the game) play in the
latter. Additionally, if somebody is a player has a legitimate chance of going home, that player will be nominated and thus will definitely play
for the Veto.
So the odds are pretty good that, in the course of a week, a player will have a chance to guarantee his safety. And even on the off-chance that
a houseguest does miss out on both competitions, any good houseguest who is a target will most likely have at least one alliance member playing on
his behalf. And this doesn’t even get into the social game, which every houseguest is playing 24/7 – albeit some better and more aggressively than others.
So, yes, in the end, Big Brother is fair.
Con: Big Brother is unfair
Everything in the “Pro” section is true. However, to say that Big Brother is fair because of that argument is a stretch. Look no further than
America’s Vote. Last season, America had a jury vote and this season America selected an evicted houseguest to play for a chance to return to the
house. This may not be unfair in a perfect world, but in reality, as long as Big Brother is a television program edited for entertainment value rather
than absolute accuracy, some players will be portrayed more positively than others.
It’s a matter of the ends not justifying the means. Everybody is in this Home Run Derby, but some players have a baseball bat and some have a toothpick.
Look at this past week. Big Brother didn’t hand the Power of Veto to Rachel, but not only did they present an incredibly-convenient (for the Vets) Pandora’s
Box, they held what was essentially the same competition as the “banana” HoH comp that Rachel won earlier this season! Big Brother didn’t win the PoV for
Rachel and Jordo, but the odds were not fair across the board.
So, while every player can theoretically control his or her own destiny through winning competitions, it would be a lie of omission to claim that this
makes the game “fair”.
These are the two ways that I see it. I suppose, like any “argument”, whichever one you already agreed with probably sounds better to you. In the
end, it all comes down to how much you trust the good folks at CBS. Did Jordan and Rachel get incredibly lucky this week, or did somebody stack the deck?
Leave some feedback in the comments section. Many of you have seen a lot more than I have (I started watching in Season 10), and I would love to hear more
examples of fair/unfair play.
At this stage in the game, Head of Household is a pretty straightforward job. Rachel will nominate two newbies and, for Jordan’s sake, hope that
the third (the non-nominated one) doesn’t win the PoV. There are two ways to go about this:
a.) I’m thinking we’ll have a question or otherwise “intellectual” comp, so I personally would nominate Kalia and Adam – as I think Porsche
is least likely to win the veto in that situation.
b.) Nominate Kalia and Porsche, believing that Adam can be convinced not to use the Veto if he wins it.