Exciting first season hopefully paves the way for future success
By Lauren Kelly, Graphics Manager
The very exciting and very short first season of Celebrity Big Brother US concluded February 25 after lasting only 26 days. The 11 celebrities competing included singers, actors, athletes, and reality TV personalities, some more currently recognizable than others, but all there to play the game. The celebrities made alliances, backstabbed, and competed much harder than most players have the in last few seasons of regular BBUS.
There were a few stand-out players, along with a few disappointments. American Pie actress and BB superfan Shannon Elizabeth was both. She built up an alliance and won the first two competitions, including a Spelling Search veto win where she spelled the longest word in the history of the competition: “responsibilities.” Of course, this put a huge target on her and eventually got her sent out the door—something she is sadly still very bitter about, if recent interviews are anything to go by.
Another stand-out, but largely more positive, was Ross Mathews. Known as Ross the Intern during his time on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, he was also a judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2015. He came into the house planning to play Andy Herren’s (BB15 winner) game, gaining trust from everyone in the house, gathering information, and moving between alliances when necessary—a strategy he largely succeeded in using. His closest ally was Marissa Jaret Winokur (Hairspray!), and the two worked together the entire game.
Some pleasant surprises were the fast friends and allies Brandi Glanville (Real Housewives of Beverly Hills) and Ariadna Gutiérrez (Runner Up for Miss Universe 2015). They made a strong final four with Mathews and Winokur and were the ones to come up with the plan to take out Elizabeth, a previous ally. They also brought the entertainment. Glanville, known for drinking and speaking her mind, did just that, resulting in some solid drama and big slipups. Gutiérrez was sweet but calculated, and knew that it was only a game, so she felt comfortable making the big, necessary moves. Their friendship was charming and their gameplay impressive for two non-fans of the show.
The two big disappointments of the season were Keshia Knight Pulliam (The Cosby Show actress) and Metta World Peace (retired NBA player). Both chose to quit the show by asking their housemates to put them on the block and vote them out of the house, rendering two live evictions completely anticlimactic. The only positives are that World Peace brought plenty of entertainment with his spacey attitude and general lack of understanding of Big Brother, and Knight Pulliam gifted us with her eviction plea of “My breast milk is continuing to deplete.”
Of course, who can forget about Omarosa Manigault? The Apprentice villain and ex-White House staffer played an impressive game for someone with her reputation. Omarosa was a delight, stirring up drama by painting targets on others through lies, manipulation, and one large wink during a nomination ceremony. She played hard and made an ally of anyone who would work with her, keeping herself safe as often as she could with deals. Every episode also featured her dishing on some aspect of politics, most famously when she sadly told Mathews that “[America] will not be okay.”
But what’s a game show without a winner? The finale was a rushed two hours that started with five houseguests: Omarosa, Mathews, Gutiérrez, Winokur, and Mark McGrath (lead singer of Sugar Ray). Omarosa was eliminated first, and a final Head of Household competition was held that gave the last HoH an immense amount of power: They would eliminate two houseguests on the spot and choose the person who would come with them to the final two. In a shocking twist, as she had not yet won a competition at that point, Winokur took it and chose Mathews to bring to the finale. This felt like the nail in her coffin until it became clear just how bitter the ex-houseguests who formed the jury were. Seemingly influenced by Elizabeth’s attitude towards Mathews for planning her eliminations and going on a shared desire to have the more “honest player” win the game, the jury awarded Winokur the victory with a vote of 6–3.
We leave CBB after a sad ending to a mostly-great season. There are definitely some takeaways going forward. First, the much older age range seemed to result in better gameplay, as there were only two players in their twenties, while six were in their forties. In fact, at 45, Winokur is now the oldest houseguest to ever win Big Brother. Next, something will need to be done to avoid having houseguests who want to quit. This could be cured by sending eliminatees to a jury house like a normal season, instead of letting them return home. Sequestering them would also solve the bitterness brought on by houseguests being able to watch the show from home and see all the behind the scenes backstabbing that lead to their evictions.
Whether they fix this or not, I’m looking forward to next year’s CBB. But for now, we have Big Brother Canada starting March 7. You know you want to watch.