Big Brother All-Stars, Part 2

Big Brother All-Stars, part one

The show’s finale came down to Mike and Erika. If the other contestants were actually voting for the winner based on merit, there is no reason that Mike’s victory would have been assured, so there was really no other way to go than what happened. While the jury was discussing them even Mike’s best friend Will couldn’t come up with one legitimate thing that would convince people that Mike should win:

“Do I respect the way Erika played this game? Absolutely. She played a phenomenal game. However, as a person, she just kind of disgusts me. I’m not really sure why; I can’t put my finger on it. Am I biased? Absolutely. They played a very similar game if you look at it. And the bottom line is to me, Mike’s was superior.”

“She disgusts me.” And there we have the kickoff off the show’s theme: ‘Let’s Humiliate Erika’. No reason for why she disgusts him. If it’s because she slept with Mike to get closer to winning the game, than you’d have to say the same thing about what Mike did, except for that pesky trend of the public condemn any woman who has sex while congratulating men who do the same. And Janelle was treating this entire speech as total truth, that Erika is awful for some unknown reason but Mike is awesome for playing her. What makes it even sadder is that Janelle was played in the same way (if less catastrophically) and she still tore Erika down every chance she got for the rest of the show.

It came up again when the jury was given the opportunity to ask Erika and Mike questions before the voting. James asked Erika how her game was any different than Alison’s with “the hook-up technique”. Now this was completely off-base: Alison was known in her first season on the show for blatantly declaring in the Diary Room that she was flirting with people that she had no interest in order to use them after they cared about her. That was Mike’s technique, not Erika’s. Erika genuinely cared about Mike during the show, Alison used people. It’s interesting that it’s all the same to James – there is no difference in a woman sleeping with someone she cares about and a woman who did the same just to use people. It’s… what was that word again?- Disgusting. She didn’t live up to the code he’s chosen to set for her, so let’s throw her under the bus. Doesn’t matter in the least why she made that choice.

Probably the worst single moment came when the people who weren’t on the show long enough to make the jury were brought back in. Julie Chen, the host, gave Alison the first opportunity to address the final two:

“Hi, guys. Erika, congratulation on making the final two. Mike, congratulations. You played Erika the whole season long! Better than Big Brother, you played that girl. Erika, I hope you use that money and buy yourself some dignity.”

Was she implying that Mike has any dignity? Because that’s not a quality I think someone who uses someone and then declares them a whore on national television possesses. You’d think Alison, who has now been on 3 reality shows (BB4, TAR5, BB7) and won none of them- actually getting kicked off the latter two in just two episodes each, would be a bit more cautious about throwing that particular stone. This is the woman who during the first episode of the season said that she was probably best known for “being a hooker” while she was in the house the first time. I doubt she thinks Erika lacks dignity, she’s just glad there’s someone else to take the heat. She might as well have said ‘thanks for making a fool of yourself so there’s someone else to laugh at’.


  1. Jennifer Kesler says

    No, Alison said that. I read it that way, too, at first. :)

    It’s still appalling. I mean, the show’s aren’t live. The people making them show what they want to show.

    Weak people can’t handle feelings or empathy, so they make fun of strong people who can. Meanwhile, weak people commercialize every aspect of their lives: “I’ll bang you if you do this for me. I’ll marry you and bear you kids if you do a helluva lot more for me. I’ll be your friend if you lie to the police about me.” And so on. They call it dignified because… well, let’s face it. Someone that weak wouldn’t know dignity if it patted her on the behind.

  2. sbg says

    D’oh! *is embarrassed*

    From what little I’ve seen of BB (the name Janelle seems familiar), it seems nothing more than a production created solely to see how conniving, dishonest and unethical people can be just to get their 15 minutes of fame and a shot at money.

  3. MaggieCat says

    Oops, sorry about the imprecision there. Part of the problem with recognizing these people by name. (I’d do anything to give that information up.) Yes, that was Alison who said that. The same woman who, during her pitch to get America to vote her into the house for the A-S season said that her old strategy was “being a hooker” like it was some sort of accomplishment. Julie Chen doing her perky happy ‘oh isn’t this funny’ host thing certainly wasn’t helping though. I guess she’s the one who got stuck trying to make Mike’s win look as acceptable as possible to keep CBS’s press department from going on strike.

    The amazing thing is, I didn’t particularly care for Erika when she was first on the show. But no one, no one deserves to be treated like that. It’s one of those situations where I simply cannot comprehend what on Earth can make people act like this, and I start questioning the future of the species. That’s part of the reason I find it a little weird to criticize reality television- these actions aren’t scripted, at least not in the traditional sense, so that implies that in some way this their actual day-to-day behavior. If anything you’d think they’d behave better because of the cameras, but history has definitely NOT borne out that theory.

  4. scarlett says

    I think also there’s a hell of a lot of editing going on there. I mean, you have 24h of footage squuezed into an hour or so of TV – I can’t imagine it would be all that hard to cobble enough footage to get as 2D a character as you wanted.

    And then there are the rumours (denied, of course) that these kinds of shows deliberately choose contentants with volitile/clashing personality to stir things up.

  5. Jennifer Kesler says

    Oh, they stand outside minor casting agencies and look for actor wannabes to cast. I know – I was invited to try out for Survivor when I dropped off an actor friend at one of those places, lo these many years ago.

    Would you invest in a show where literally anything might happen? Of course not. These people are directed heavily, if not scripted, to get what the network believes will win high ratings. I suspect there’s a fair amount of scripting, too – I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that some of the contestants allegedly sleeping together aren’t really doing so. I’m not saying there’s no hanky-panky on these productions – there is on a lot of shows. I’m just thinking that if networks constantly badger fictional shows to pair off certain people they think the audience wants to see rolling in the hay, they’d do the same on this sort of show. They’re so reliant on that “who’s doin’ who” gimmick, it’s hard to imagine them sacrificing it for “reality”.

  6. sbg says

    They’re so reliant on that “who’s doin’ who” gimmick, it’s hard to imagine them sacrificing it for “reality”.

    What do you mean, gimmick? I spend my whole existence pondering who every random stranger I see is sleeping with. I don’t know how else I could possibly be entertained. /sarcasm

  7. MaggieCat says

    I think also there’s a hell of a lot of editing going on there. I mean, you have 24h of footage squeezed into an hour or so of TV – I can’t imagine it would be all that hard to cobble enough footage to get as 2D a character as you wanted.

    Actually, assuming the network isn’t allowed to lie, they did it to themselves. The finale was live, although the group interview where Will made his speech about how disgusting Erika is was taped earlier while they were still at the sequester house in Mexico. Big Brother really can’t get away with “constructing” stories as much as other shows can anyway, since there are 24 hour feeds available online. There are things that can’t make it onto the show due to the FCC that feed-watchers are more than willing to talk about, so it’s win/win for the show.

    Hmm, now I wonder if anyone came to their senses later when they realized that for once they couldn’t say they were the victim of a bad edit? (That’s been the standard excuse since the first Survivor.) Nah, better not get my hopes up.

  8. Jennifer Kesler says

    You know, a friend of mine pointed me to some videos from the 24 hour feeds – there was some disgusting bashing going on there. Guys and one of the girls bashing a woman. I think it was Janelle getting bashed, but whoever it was, it was ugly.

    Of course, guys like that, I had figured out by the time I was 13. He was just mouthing off to hear his own voice, because no one really truly cares what he thinks or feels, and deep down he knows this but doesn’t know what to do about it. He’s trying to provoke a response to synthesize the feeling of someone reacting to him, when what he really needs to do is stop being a piece of trash and become a real person.


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