Saturday, July 21, 2012

BB14: Williegate

So by now, everyone knows that Willie Hantz has been expelled from the BB14 House. His fall was quick and explosive, after a series of events that lead his volatile personality to its inevitable conclusion. Here are the steps that lead to his demise:

Step One: He was cast in the first place. The psychological evaluation which must have not been squeaky clean and his personal past of violence were ignored because the Hantz name brings in fans from Survivor, cashing in on the Hantz notoriety. It all started with Russell Hantz whom fans have loved to hate since he made his villainous debut in  Survivor Samoa, and returned twice more in Survivor: Heroes vs Villains and finally in Survivor:Redemption Island. Russell never won the game, but CBS thought they would cash in on the name, bringing his nephew Brandon who bungled his way through Survivor South Pacific. The money making machine didn't let that stop them, deciding to bring Willie Hantz, Russell's brother, into the BB franchise this year, despite many things that they should have taken into consideration. Trapping such an unstable personality with anger management issues into a house with others might not have been a good idea.

Step Two: He was with the wrong coach. I love Britney. She's funny, smart and sociable, but there was no way that she could have managed this person. His interactions with women can be called attentive but have been consistently demeaning. He laughed with Britney's attempts to reign him in but still proceeded to do what he wanted. He didn't consider women a threat or smart enough to play the game on their own. He would use the women, but not make them his allies. And he had a female coach who, well-intentioned though she might have been, fueled his teetering temper by feeding into his paranoia.

Step Three: He was given HoH. It got to his head and gave him a skewed perspective of the game, further aggravating his control issues and anger when everyone refused to bow to his wishes.

Step Four: Other houseguests contributed to his downfall. The primary irritants were Frank, Joe and Boogie. They saw right through Willie and knew what buttons to push, especially Frank and Joe. Frank wouldn't play into Willie's games and, rightly, called him out on them when Willie tried to engage him in a fight. Frank remained calm and humorous during that interaction, gaining him favor in the game and with the fans. The problem was, that Willie perceived Frank to be an ally, taking this "betrayal" very hard. Joe, on the other hand, came in playing the sneaky game, taking every opportunity to undermine Willie who gave him plenty of ammunition to play with. His decision to hide the nicotine patches during the lock down last night was inflammatory and unnecessary.

By that point, Willie had lost the game in and with his mind. He was about to be nominated. His coach lost the competition and told him he was tanking his team's chances. He had no allies. He was a Have Not. Does this excuse him? Not at all. This explains his climactic breakdown that lead him to lose complete control and become violent, as he had threatened to be, a reaction that his history proves to be habit.

This situation has brought to light several issues that have plagued this game, and are coming to a head this year.

Firstly, CBS needs to look-up the word "uninterrupted". This is a gross misrepresentation and advertisement of the live feeds. This year, more than any other year, the feeds have not only been riddled with technical issues, but have been purposefully blacked out when they need not have been. Why black out the feeds during Willie's spiraling out of control? They didn't afford Chima that same "courtesy" in season 11. We got to see her demise up until the point of her expulsion.  Yesterday alone, the feeds were on trivia for 9 hours with the Coaches' Comp, the Nomination Ceremony and Williegate. Customers, to say the least, are irate. And it's not about the $30 bucks that we've shelled out for the "early bird special". It's the expectation of what we will be getting in purchasing those feeds. An uninterrupted 24/7 look into the house. If it weren't advertised as such, or if they were to publish the dates and times of the blackouts, people would not feel so cheated. They would go about their business knowing that the feeds are down.

Secondly, Williegate has brought to the forefront an other concern. The consistency and integrity of the game's rules. When Chima was expelled from the house in season 11, Michele Noonan's HoH reign was curtailed because a house guest was removed during this time. According to their rules, only one person can leave the house during an individual's reign. This season, Frank, thus far, not only remains HoH, but two more people have been nominated, with one expected to be leaving the house on Thursday. Whether we like these people or not, this kind of inconsistency has and will cost people the game. And what is to be done with 9 people left and 3 weeks short for the season?

Thirdly, despite fans' and vets' protests about not mixing newbies with vets, production has gone ahead and reintroduced this formula over and over. At what point will fans stop buying into these kinds of shenanigans? At what point will they say, I love Big Brother, but this isn't Big Brother. This disregard for their fans - the feeds, the rules, and the game manipulation - is bound to cost CBS the one thing they desire most: ratings and money.