Is Big Brother 13 Rigged?

Personally, I really don’t care - I’d much rather see a compelling reality show than a competition mired in boredom

By , Contributor

We’ve known for years that the phrase “reality television” is an oxymoron, but is it actually possible that Big Brother 13, which is doing well for CBS in the ratings, is actually rigged?

Okay, rigged might be too strong a word (does “strategically pre-planned” sound better?), but the summer reality TV staple is once again under the microscope by fans across America.

Just a few weeks ago, America’s sweetheart couple Jeff and Jordan were riding high in the Big Brother house.  Jeff was HOH, and vowed revenge on competitors like Kalia and Daniele for their attempt to force him out of the game.

But thanks to a double eviction twist, (and the ultimate floater in Shelly), Jeff was whacked Sopranos style by the newbie hit mob crew.

Now, with only Rachel deemed “interesting” by producers (love her or hate her, she keeps the show from wallowing in the pathetic stench of monotony), it’s interesting to see how, once Porsche won the HOH competition, Pandora’s Box suddenly reared its tempting head again.

BigBrother13Cast1.jpgEnticing Porsche with money, Pandora’s Box was opened, and the latest twist was unveiled.  Coupling was back in the Big Brother house (for one week only), and best of all, if one of the two people from the nominated couple’s alliance won POV, both houseguests would come off the block.

Suddenly Rachel and Jordan, who had already begun shopping for their own Big Brother coffins, might just have a new lease on life.

In a POV competition, which involved the houseguests having to hold onto an oversized dummy, Rachel dominated.  And it’s no surprise.  You can call Rachel a whiner.  A sore loser.  A bad winner.  A needy woman who lacks self-esteem, tact, and a filter.

But she’s one hell of a competitor in physical challenges.  And the Big Brother producers know it.

On Thursday, following the eviction of Shelly, a new HOH needed to be crowned. 

So what was the competition?  Puzzles?  A memory game?  A mental endurance challenge?

Nope.  It was a Double Dare-like competition involving sticky slime and donuts.  And guess who won?

Spoiler alert.

Rachel.

If you follow any of the movies that get posted to Xtranormal, a satirical new video depicts a fictional conversation between Big Brother producer Allison Grodner and another executive.  In the video, the character of Allison talks about the need to keep and maintain Big Brother ratings, and that a house full of boring, unlikeable newbies is bad for business.


So why not rig a couple competitions?  Fudge a few poll results?  Attempt to persuade a few contestants’ opinions?

Of course, this video is in jest—but is it really that far off?

Are we really expected to believe that Brendon was voted back into the house over the likes of Keith, Dominic, and Cassi?  Before leaving the house originally, Brendon got a pretty harsh edit, and he wasn’t helped by the fact that his pouting, red-headed fiancée couldn’t turn off the waterworks.

If Big Brother 13 is rigged, personally, I really don’t care.  I’d much rather see a compelling reality show than a competition mired in boredom.  But on a deeper level, if the Big Brother producers are reduced to cherry-picking competitions based on who they think has the best chance to win, why air a reality show at all?  If you want to script drama, then CBS should air a relatively cheap, scripted drama.

More than that, the Big Brother team needs to cast their show better.  If one or two contestants make or break your program, to the point where you’re drumming up desperate twists and banking on weighted challenges, you’ve failed in the most important part of a reality show’s production.  The casting.

Big Brother 13 has been good TV this summer.  But if the producers are actually worried that viewers will tune out if one or two fan favorites are sent packing, then it’s the showrunners who ultimately need to be evicted.

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Michael Langston Moore is a freelance writer who aims to be both entertaining and insightful. His written work focuses on television, film, and music, and his analytical approach has landed him two columns on Examiner.com. Michael has interviewed the likes of Donald Trump, Russell Simmons, Paris Hilton…

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