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Eric Stein Sizes Up The Big Brother 11 HouseGuests - Week 7

Posted on 08/30/2009 by RealityWanted in Big Brother and Reality Wrap

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Eric Stein Big Brother

by Eric Stein


I hate to say I told you so, but Jeff…I told you so.  Jeff made the wrong moves last week and he's going home this week as a result.  It's somewhat ironic that Jeff fell prey to the exact same HoH issues that plagued Jessie, Ronnie, and Russell.  Overconfidence, paranoia, and playing the wrong hand at the wrong time.  And he knows it too.  Jeff played a very interesting game, which is very hard to analyze.  On the one hand, I really really liked both Jeff and the way he played the game.  Somewhere around week 4, I praised his level-headedness and wagered that his fortunes were about to turn.  And boy did they ever, as he had over a month reign as king of the house.  He seemed to have the best perspective on the entire experience.  He was happy when he should be happy, angry when he should be angry, worried when he should be worried, and always remembered it was just a game.  For the most part, he didn't let the experience go to his head and was often the most even keel person in the house.  He seems like one of the more decent guys to step foot in that house over the past several seasons.  That said...he was immeasurably benefited by the twists.  I'm surprised this week's Pandora's Box twist wasn't simply, "Nobody can vote Jeff out - he automatically wins."  Without the clique twist protection afforded to him by the athletes, there's a distinct possibility that Jeff would have been the first person out of the game (he was actually a less liked, more threatening presence than Braden was in week 1).  And obviously, I don't need to speak to the Coup again.  So his game was a mixed bag of great moments and not as impressive ones.  Unfortunately for him/America, Jeff's goose is cooked.  He's going out 5th.  But fear not….this is not the last time you will see Jeff.  I have a sneaky suspicion that Jeff will be taking up residence at the BB house again sometime in the next few summers.  And I expect that Russ will be there as well.  While I knew Russ would never win with his over-the-top histrionics, he played a very entertaining game.  One that was actually pretty slick and effective at times (and not so much at others).

While, I don't know if it'll play out this way…Jeff's departure should guarantee that Jordan is the first member of the final 2.  Without Jeff, she's valueless as a player.  Mich/Kev/Nat seem fixated on the fact that she is the sweetest/most well liked person in the house.  Yet, all three of them are smart enough to realize that the jury numbers are not in Jordan's favor.  She does not have the votes.  This jury will vote for game players.  And regardless, Jordan doesn't even have friends on the jury other than Jeff.  I'd go as far as to say that the only votes she'd get are Jeff's and America's.  She will not win this game.  And she has a zero percent chance of winning the final endurance comp/mental comps at the final 3.  In turn, there is no chance that she goes home next week.  She's the least threatening opponent for each of the other three.  Just like Jerry and Sheila were brought to the final 3 for the purpose of beating them, so will Jordan.  And once she's there, why not drag her to the end?  Michele, Natalie, and Kevin are all cutthroat players - this isn't a final 2 scenario in which any of them will care who wins the $50,000.  For the first time in YEARS, the final two will not be truly loyal allies.  This is the most fragmented final 4 in ages.  Think about it…it looked like you needed that solid 2 to win this game.  The Renegades, Ryan/Adam, The Donatos, Boogie/Erika, Maggie/Ivette, Drew/Cowboy…they all were tried and true partners to each other for most of the game.  You don't really have that here by any means.  Nat/Kev are the closest thing to being aligned, but they really barely played the game together until they were forced to.  And they'd turn on each other in a second.  Jordan is guaranteed final 3 and if the final HoH winner is smart, should be guaranteed final 2.

Here's an interesting thought…the final 4 is now comprised of one member of each clique.  Wouldn't have expected that. That's kinda crazy.  After seeing a slew of the powerhouses go down shortly after their HoH reigns (Jessie, Ronnie, Russell, Chima, Jeff), can everyone finally admit that HoH is a grossly overrated power in this game?  Now, having your buddies in power is a great thing.  That is the best possible power in the game.  But putting that HoH target and pressure on yourself rarely works out well until the end game.  In terms of winning the comps when they mattered (and just as importantly, not winning them when they didn't), BB10's Dan and BB8's Zach played the best HoH games in the past few seasons.  By winning this HoH comp, Kevin stepped up.  If he were to stay for the final 3 comp and win that too, he'd fall into that category as well and deserve to win the game for winning comps when it mattered.  Unfortunately for Kevin, I actually suspect that he'll go home next.  He's a guy in a house with 3 girls, he's a threat (as shown by this comp), and he's powerless at the worst possible week.  You never want to win HoH at the final 5…you want to win at the final 4, so you then get to compete again at the 3.  Unless he wins the veto, he could very well be going down next…another HoH to follow up his reign with an eviction. 

Let us praise the final 4 for playing this game the right way.  Not the most entertaining way.  Not the most obvious way.  The right way.  Sure, a final four of Ronnie, Russell, Jessie, and Jeff would have been showier and more exciting for the fans - but this group of 4 did not get there by fluke.  They got here by earning favor with those in power, subtly picking their spots, not rocking the boat, making diverse relationships that kept options open, and lying effectively (but not pointlessly).  We all know I've been backing Michele's gameplay all season long.  I've always stood by it and I still do.  But I need to give Kevin credit where credit is due.  I believe the most common fatal flaw in Big Brother is an inability to contain one's self.  Type A personalities are cast for a reason and 95% of them can't stifle those big personalities.  Kevin stifled his.  There is a lot to be said for being the voice of reason and letting others hang themselves.  Kevin did just that all game.  Smart, smart player.  Kudos to him.  He's showing now that he was not a non-entity, but rather just biding his time.  Big difference!  I wish they would give players like him and Michele the proper diary room sessions to explain their gameplay more thoroughly.  The only person afforded that opportunity the past few years was Dan, as he was often shown explaining his reasoning for his actions.  If Kevin or Michele were given that edit, the fans would find their games to be far more impressive. 

I am still unwilling to state that Natalie played a good game, because she didn't.  She is still around for three reasons.  Her strong allies protected her.  When her side lost power, those same strong allies were far greater threats than her, so they went home before her.  And she stinks at the comps; hence people have no reason to rid of her.  In spite of the recent edit to try to claim otherwise, Natalie is the wrong type of liar in this game.  She lies for the sake of lying, which is ineffective.  There are times to lie and other times it's pointless.  In a house of more savvy players, her lies would have doomed her early and often.  Only the specific circumstances of this house and these players have allowed her to continue to lie and it not bite her in the butt.  They know she lies - they just don't care.  It's like a known fact that they just accept…Natalie is a liar, who cares?  Just don't believe a word she says and move on.  Now as for Jordan, I'm going to argue that she played a good game.  Whether she meant to or not is another story, but she did.  Being well liked is a great strategy in the game.  Aligning yourself with a player who will a) never betray you b) is stronger than you, is a great strategy.  She won HoH and Veto in a week in which it was very important for her livelihood.  Sure, I don't get the sense that all of these moves were necessarily calculated decisions, but that doesn't make them any less effective.  As I said about Jordan back in week 1, in the scope of this season's cast, being friendly and under the radar will get you to the end.  And voila, here she is. 

What the heck has happened to the competition team?  Are they asleep at the wheel?  We are currently reliving season 8.  Before/After on the stairs, teacup/fishbowl, morphomatic, Otev, etc.!  What the heck?  Not only is it a bit lazy, but more importantly it's giving me flashbacks.  Every freakin' episode induces post-traumatic stress disorder in me.  It's like I was in Vietnam!  Sure, I won Otev…but does anyone remember how I fared at the other three?  Couldn't stand, total destruction, broken back in the slippery lane comp.  Couldn't stand, total destruction, extreme dizziness in the morph comp.  Winning before/after until the absurd final question and lost by one.  Why oh why are they making me have to watch these again?  I'm telling you, I'm going to start waking up in cold sweats, shooting up from my sleep yelling BEFORE or AFTER.  When I take a bath now, I fill it up teacup by little teacup. Please stop reusing the comps from my season…I beg of you!  Padded room here I come.


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