Tuesday, August 28, 2012

BB 14: Pawns Are People Too

This is my dilemma with Big Brother: it's a game of strategy and unwitting your opponents; it's often a cut-throat game, one that requires a single-minded commitment to do anything you can to win. On the other hand, it's a game where you have to use people as allies and pawns, sacrifice or support them. The part of me that enjoys watching strategy, appreciates the big moves and unexpected game play. The empathetic part of me, does not enjoy when people are emotionally devastated by any part of the game's maneuvers.

There are very few people I have encountered in whom I cannot find a single redeeming or likable quality. I can safely say that at certain points in this season, I have liked and empathized with each of the house guests, even those who have taken on the roles of villains, even those who have displayed personality traits that don't jive with me. There are certainly people in the game with whom I can relate more or understand better because of who I am and what I have experienced, but there has not been anyone this season that I have despised as a person. I have despised some of the things that have been said, cruel things, personal attacks, mean behavior that has nothing to do with the game; but on the whole, I remind myself that they are people with highs and lows, weaknesses and strengths.

My dilemma right now is being manifested by two players whose words and actions I have liked and hated in the past; two players who have made me laugh, cry, sigh, and groan in frustration; two players that I have rooted for and wanted gone this season: Dan and Britney.

Dan is the master strategist who knows how to play and win a human chess game like this. He is also a naturally caring person who has a genuine interest in people. His struggle in BB has been between doing what it takes to make it to the end, and feeling guilt for the things he's done to others in the game. I admire him greatly for his ability and resourcefulness, but also for his understanding that certain unsavory things must happen in order to advance in a situation like this.

Britney has been vocal about Dan's "betrayal" but is it really? If the QP were a strong alliance, why would Britney force Ian to put Frank and Ashley on the block while pulling Frank in the storage room to make a deal with him? If the QP were a strong alliance, why did they not work together during the Pandora Box challenge and devise a strategy to keep the two who would be on the block safe? Ian was clearly intent on getting this power for himself, making Dan not trust him and push harder to win. If the QP were a strong alliance, why wouldn't Ian and Danielle work their connection to Jenn to get her away from Frank and use the Veto? Instead, they accepted Dan's demise and planned the future in the game without him. Really, what choice did Dan have?

That being said, it gives me no pleasure in the way he demolished an already over-sensitive and fragile Danielle during his "game funeral" in order to make an impact on his intended audience (Frank). I understand his reasoning from a game perspective. By doing this, Danielle got the whole house and the fans to side with her and feel sorry for this young woman on a human level, which is quite an achievement, given that she's been the target of ridicule this whole season. He's told her on several occasions that he's done this to get her to the end; and I believe him. Dan loves this game and every aspect of it. I don't think his endgame is necessarily to win the big prize, but to get to the end with Danielle by his side. I could be proven wrong and the circumstances might not favor this outcome, but this is my strong hunch based on the things he's said to Dani.

It really all depends on whether Danielle will survive this week; and the one person standing in her way is her closest friend in the house: Britney who represents the other side of my dilemma. There are many things I really like about Britney. She could be someone I would love to hang out with. I enjoy her humor when it's not blood-thirsty and mean. I enjoy her interactions with people and her genuine caring for others like Ian, Danielle and Shane. The problem is, though she is very intelligent and perceptive, she lacks the objectivity to follow through on a well-thought out strategy.

She can read the signs and see what others might not be able to, but she lacks the finesse to apply that knowledge in a way that is beneficial to her. This is the reason she caused Willie to spiral out of control by feeding into his paranoia, telling him, prematurely, that the coaches were coming into the game and that the "whole house is against him". There was no reason to give him this information at that point in the game. He was HoH. They had the power; and knowledge that others don't have is even more power. Had she kept her mouth shut, he would not have picked a fight with Frank; Janelle would not have dug her heels in about evicting him; and Willie ultimately would not have gone down in BB flames.

This is why she is in this position today, not because of Dan's "betrayal" which is laughable really. Dan only did what he had to do, to get himself off the block, the target off his back and his closest ally, Danielle, safe. During the roller coaster ride of emotions she took yesterday, she ranted about Dan to the whole house, behind his back, then apologized to him; this was followed by more rants against him, in an attempt to discredit him with everyone, followed by another apology. She was reacting to the situation emotionally, not as a strategist.

The one thing that struck me though was during one of her conversations with Danielle, Britney expressed her own dilemma. She needs to fight to stay in the game, because she failed to do so in season 12, but at the same time she does not want to take Danielle's first and possibly only chance at winning the game. Yet, she continued to campaign to Joe and Shane to keep her. Joe jumped on that band wagon quickly, but Shane has not, voicing his dilemma: Britney helps his social game (and he really needs help there) but Danielle is a competitor who advances his chances of making it to the end.

Shane is the swing vote this week. What will he do? He is highly impressionable, indecisive and not very intuitive. His competition performance is really the only reason he is still in the game; but that too has put a huge target between his shoulder blades. He will need Danielle to ensure that he makes it farther otherwise, he will be the first or second gone next, depending on how things shake out in the house.

1:32 PM: For those of you craving the feeds. Here's what you're missing.

Nothing. Shane and Danielle are sleeping. Britney just finished a half hour "funny" rant about Dan. Joe is fired up, saying he will turn evil. (???)

Britney goes inside to get something to eat, sits at the table with Dan and comments that the awkward level has peeked, that she's sitting at the table conversing with the guy that got her put on the block.

Frank goes into the Kicks Room where Danielle is alone to reassure her that he's working on the votes and not to worry.

Carrot has the HoH camera.

Stay tuned! :)