Big Brother 18: State Of The Game [Op-Ed]

Big Brother 18 has been airing for almost a month and a half and we’ve seen six evictions and one person battle their way back. That means we should be at the jury point if they’re going with a nine-person panel as they have been doing in recent seasons.

Paul works on his renom plans for BB18

So now is the perfect time to weight in on the state of the game. And I have a lot of thoughts rolling around in my head about this season. While this is a fan-run blog, the journalist in me likes to keep most things I write lighter on the opinion. Sure, some opinion seeps in here and there, but let’s be real, blogs aren’t intended to be New York Times caliber. That being said, this post is when I go full-on opinion. I’m not going to be nice or even objective. So read on at your own will.

I’m going to address each remaining houseguest and then go into a few other points of interest. So let’s go.

(Warning: spoilers ahead)

Paulie. I’m going to start with the person clearly running the game this season. He might be Cody’s brother, but he’s playing Derrick’s game. Well, he’s TRYING to play Derrick’s game. Paulie has made it no secret that Derrick gave him some pointers on playing the game of Big Brother. And it shows. Paulie is the first to shut down any kind of pending altercation. He also knows when you see “your boy getting too close to a girl,” the girl got to go. So many eye rolls.

Speaking of the girls, Paulie is seemingly terrible when it comes to respecting women. He’s admittedly strung Zakiyah along most of the season and finally gave in when she was starting to realize she might be able to use her own brain in the game. Yes, I’m saying that his timing with letting Zakiyah have a little fun in the have-not room might have been a bit calculated on his part. She doesn’t want Da’Vonne gone, so let’s give her some lovin’ to see if that helps set her straight. I know, that’s disgusting if it’s true. Maybe it’s not true. I hope it’s not true. But the timing suggests otherwise.

And it’s not only with Zakiyah that Paulie’s misogyny has shown. His weird obsession with whether or not Natalie had a boob job, and the way he talks about it with Paul makes me nauseated. I’m sure Paulie and his family would beg to differ since Paulie loves his mom and sister, but this guy clearly doesn’t know how to respect a woman in the least.

My other issue with Paulie isn’t exactly a Paulie problem, but a house problem. And that’s how almost everyone is basically handing Paulie the $500,000 prize. I know that’s early to say, but when everyone does what he says and can’t make any of their own decisions, I have to wonder if it’s not really too early. I mean even Michelle, the “superfan,” has asked “so who is Paulie’s next target” … No one is thinking for themselves this season and I find that insane.

Paul. Let’s go right into Paul from Paulie, since they’re basically one in the same at this point. PP, or Team Pissed, have reached creepy status. They look alike, they talk alike, they probably smell alike. And Paul is doing Paulie’s dirty work for him as we’ve seen this week. I liked Paul for a couple of weeks when I thought he saw the writing on the wall, but the moment Paulie took Paul under his wings, the rest of his allies stopped mattering. Paul will be sorry in a couple of weeks that he decided to play Paulie’s game instead of his own.

Nicole keeps an eye on Big Brother 18

Nicole. I wasn’t the biggest Nicole fan in Big Brother 16, but I didn’t necessarily dislike her either. But this season’s Nicole isn’t that season’s Nicole. This one is whinier, more self-concious, more annoying and more man-hungry. Everything Nicole has done this season has been for or because of Corey. He’s all she talks about. She’s gotten herself so distracted by Corey that she’s currently ditching every female ally she’s had in the game. You’d think she’d realize that girls don’t fare very well in the game when it’s just them and a bunch of guys. I mean even if she didn’t see Big Brother 12, surely she saw Big Brother 16, the season she was on, and what happened with Victoria.

She’s really shady this season, too. She flip-flopped from Frank to Tiffany to Da’Vonne, to Frank, to Tiffany to Da’Vonne and back again. She’s playing sloppy and weird and nothing like someone who has gotten a second shot at the game. Some might even say this is her third shot since she won the returning juror competition in Season 16.

I just don’t understand who this Nicole is. Nor do I want to anymore. I’m too far gone with her. I can’t even watch a Live Feed camera with her on it anymore.

Zakiyah. I can’t talk about Nicole’s guy issues and not talk about Zakiyah’s. Every time Nicole talks about Corey, Zakiyah talks about Paulie. And the big difference here is that Corey is at least kind of interested in Nicole. For most of the season, Paulie has given Zakiyah little indication he is actually that into her. Of course that all changed this week when they might have hooked up in the have-not room. But as I mentioned above, I think that could be a despicable strategy on his part. Or he’s just been locked in the Big Brother house so long, he needed it. Regardless, she’s not interested in playing Big Brother and that is very clear.

Corey. I just want to get this clown out of the way so that I don’t have to think about him later. Corey has been worthless in the game. I’m still waiting to see why Paulie is so interested in working with him other than the fact that he’s a bro. But since he’s probably going to make it to the end at this point, I’ll try to think of something more to say about him the next time I weigh in on the state of the game.

Da'Vonne Rogers in tears on Big Brother 18

Da’Vonne. I love Day’s DRs. Who doesn’t, right? But I have to be honest and not blinded by the fact that I like her. She’s just not good at Big Brother. I don’t think she’s a threat and if I were among the guys this season, I wouldn’t be targeting her. But I do understand why Paulie and Corey are gunning for her. I get it. Da’Vonne isn’t even really nice to the other HGs. I mean I find that funny, but when you’re playing Big Brother, you’ve to to fake it at least sometimes. I respect her for always being real, though, but BB isn’t about being real.

That being said, I hope hope hope she’s got the round-trip ticket and re-enters the house if she’s the one to go this week.

The list continues on the next page…


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  1. Thanks Branden for your input, completely agree with you on your take of the houseguests. Sadly, at first I thought this season, thered be a lot more players for actually played instead of handing over their games to others. Big brother needs to work on their casting choices.

  2. Enjoyed reading your article Branden. I saw where Paul and Paulie both agreed that Nicole was playing the best game among the girls. I wonder what they’re seeing that a lot of people are missing?

  3. Great article. I agree about Nicole. I wasn’t a fan of hers in BB16 but I thought she would have the best gameplay out of all the vets. I also agree about Da. She’s very observant and she knows the game but there is a big difference between knowing the game and playing the game. I don’t see her as a big threat to anyone in the house.

    • But she’s a stirrer of the nobody likes a stirrer family. She can’t help herself. She actively targeted Tiffany and Frank, and it led to their downfall. Better to cut her now

      • Tiffany was out because Paulie was obsessed with her sister and Frank left because he plotted to get Da’vonne out. Da’vonne had nothing to do with them getting evicted, other than voicing her opinion about it.

      • She flat out lied and told Frank that Tiffany was targeting him. Which then lead to Frank targeting Tiffany, with the help of Day telling everyone, especially Paulie, that Tiff needed to go and she also blamed her for stuff that Day had said. So how did she not have anything to do with them being evicted? She painted the target on their backs for them.

      • The whole alliance wanted Frank out, including Tiffany, so Da’vonne wasn’t lying when she told him she wanted him out.

      • So why didn’t she just say “a lot of people are targeting you” instead of saying just Tiffany? She had a purpose for that and it was to get them to target each other while she sat back and watched. She wanted both of them gone and set it up.

  4. I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I totally agree about wanting Davonne to get the round trip. This bunch of houseguests is the biggest joke. These women are so stupid, I can’t take it. Don’t they watch this show? I can’t take many more of these bromance alliances coasting to the end.

    • I hope if she has it she goes right back out, it just will be a pain in the ass to repeat the same week twice in less than a month. She didn’t deserve a 2nd chance let alone a 3rd.

      • You’re 100% right. But she gives good sound bites in the DR so it’s not that big a shock they brought her back.

      • They’re lively. That’s what I mean. Love her or not (I’m not a fan) she’s always lively in the DR. Can’t take that away from her.

      • Big Brother is Rigged so she probably will “SOME HOW” get the round trip ticket. Da’ hasn’t won a comp. and runs her mouth. BB must like her ASSitation because she doesn’t deserve another shot after losing in the first round of her previous BB.

      • Didn’t the HG randomly choose an envelope. If she has it, then it has nothing to do with CBS. Just luck.

    • don’t you find the BB women to always be stupid? it seems they can never bond together against the men… they just fall in love and moon along behind some dude..sad

      • I do have to say the majority of women don’t play well. They let the guys take over, and/or attach themselves to a guy. There have been some strong women, some unlikable, some okay

    • I agree! I love Davonne and her diary room sessions! I really, really hope she has the round trip ticket! But if you look at the popularity polls every week it looks like the fans love James! I am not sure how to vote in America’s vote because if I knew Da was going to back in the house this week I would give her all of the my votes!

      • I voted for her and will continue to do so until she goes. She may also come back before they reveal the winner.

    • I am not a fan of Day but I’d LOVE to see her come back because this house needs something to break up the monotony

  5. Since the 21st century, words are used very superficially & liberally, so when people make claims of racism or misogyny, I don’t take it seriously. Some people are being insulted, but that’s every season, & I know for a fact the critiques aren’t what they expect HGS to be in private or online.

  6. CBS’s specific explanation of this round’s awarded power is as such: “The winner of this care package could single-handedly flip the house by preventing two Houseguests of their choosing from voting in next week’s eviction.”
    When you’re deciding which of the other remaining HGs to support cautiously support Da’Vonne because she’s the most likely evictee this week then your votes go to no one unless she has the Round Trip ticket. You’ll also want to keep in mind the other pending prizes. The following three packages will be “super safety,” “co-HoH,” and “BB Bribe.” Whoever wins this package won’t be eligible for those next three.
    Voting for this week’s care package opened yesterday and will continue until Friday, August 5th at 10AM PT. You have 20 votes each day. Shortly after that the HGs will learn who has won the next prize and remember all the details will be openly revealed. We don’t know if the HG who receives this has to make a publicly reveal of the canceled votes or even when that decision must be made.

      • The way I understand it is; if Victor gets ACP2 then he may or may not have to reveal to the HG what votes he cancelled. Sounds like they are leaving it to production to determine if the HG should know?? They know what the vote tally is so that gives them some room for drama or protecting those details.

      • It did say the HG has to reveal the award in the CP to all hgs…so whoever gets it best be careful whom he/she chooses to eliminate in this next round as it could place a big target on them next time.

      • that’s what is does in the end. From what was on the site, what might happen is the HG vote but 2 HG wont know if their votes got Cancelled. Guess we will see now it plays out with production.

        “don’t know if the HG who receives this (ACP2). has to make a public reveal of the canceled votes or even when that decision must be made.”

      • Got it. Thanks. Either way, these fools can’t keep a secret or make the decision without “the house”.

    • If Da’vonne gets the most votes and is evicted then the package goes to the person with the second highest votes.

      • “In the event the houseguest that wins a Voting Period’s care package has been voted out of the house, such Voting Period’s care package will go to the houseguest that received the second most votes.”

        That’s quoted directly from the CBS website.

  7. Nicole has really showed her true colors this season. I used to think she was a caring individual. But she’s changed a lot. Now she only cares about guys. And not just any guys. They have to good looking, and dumb as a box of rocks. Every comment she makes about a guy, it involves his appearance. And every comment she makes towards a girl, it’s usually catty and jealous. I think she made a mistake coming back for a 2nd season. Because Nicole was one of the most beloved HGs ever. But now people see her true vain self.

  8. I think BB’s problem this season is that with the exception of Paulie (sibling), Tiffany (sibling), Frank (returner), and Day (returner) this house is FULL of Hufflepuffs. I would go so far as to say that Tiffany probably would have been a Hufflepuff if she wasn’t trying to be her sister and Frank was definitely a Hufflepuff his first time in the house.

    They’ve gotten so much crap in the past for casting terrible people that they cast a bunch of people that are exactly like the people America always chooses as favorite HG – James, Meg, Frank (S14 version), Nicole, Donny, Elissa, etc. The problem here is that likable people don’t make good tv they turn into lemmings. You need a balance of the cunning manipulative types like Evil Dick, Dr. Will, Boogie, Vanessa, Dan (S14 version); smart strategic players like Derrick, Ian, Steve, Andy; loyal but still smart players like Dan (S10), Kaysar, Hayden, Janelle (earlier seasons), Brittney; and then your Hufflepuffs like Jordan and the other people I’ve named already. Yes this list is mostly winners – they’re just the ones I remember the best…sue me.

    • I like Frank and hated to see him go. I love Evil Dick, didn’t care about the others. Dr. Will and Boogie were entertaining. Love Brittney

      • I liked Frank so much this season. It made me so sad. I like to keep people around who are playing the game. And Brittney is probably my all time favorite – genuinely like her game play and she’s one of the funniest people on the planet.

  9. Great piece! This Season is a wreck and a waste of time for me personally. But think twice about hoping that Da’Vonne has the Round Trip ticket. If she indeed DOES have it I think the fallout from those who believe in CBS/Producer manipulation will be too much for audiences to handle. With the amount of dead fish in the house this Season having her sent back in will give those who believe in manipulation a LOT of ground to stand on. Even if it’s 100% true (a Round Trip ticket for Da’Vonne) that’s going to be difficult to swallow as a viewer.

    • I don’t even bother watching BBAD and I can’t wait each year for BB to start. This year I don’t really care

    • Ok, they picked randomly from 12 different envelopes. I do not see how the ticket could be rigged! The envelopes are numbered 1-12 so Big Brother knows which house guest has the round trip ticket but only after they picked!

      • I’m not saying it’s rigged. (I don’t believe it is.) But people on these boards in previous seasons have LOVED conspiracies. Last year people posted a lot about Vanessa being the pre-picked winner because she had an upcoming card show happening on CBS. NONE of that was true (obviously) but some people love the idea of conspiracies. That’s all I meant. Apologies.

      • BB13 was clearly rigged for Rachel, so you can’t blame people for loving the idea of conspiracies (not that you, personally, did. but just saying.). It’s not like there’s no chance of it happening whatsoever.

  10. I can’t even watch the feeds or BBAD this year due to who they have as HG’s. III was hoping Frank could do something but now that he is gone, I don’t think anyone can take Paulie out now.

  11. It’s getting harder and harder to send any of the care packages to any of these players. I wished there’s a package to evict a player on the spot.

  12. I hope James wins HOH and manages to toss Paulie out on his @ss, then we’d have a game worth watching

  13. Nicole, to me, has been the biggest disappointment this season. The whole season has just been bad so far. Just hand Paulie the check..quit wasting our time. This is getting beyond sad…no one seems to have a care in the world that he is running the house. I see no strategic game talk about getting out Paulie from anyone…they are just letting him rule. Also, I have an idea for these stupid showmances…anyone who comes into play BB and starts a showmance..that couple automatically gets two penalty noms..each! Three showmances in one season is way over the top!

  14. I don’t even know if we can still blame this completely on casting anymore. The world is completely different now. Anyone with a large number of followers on social media can it to generate money. Yes, younger people care more about social media but everyone is hungry for exposure now. Big Brother has to find a way to figure out whether or not the people they consider truly want to WIN the game because that’s been the biggest disappointment of the last seasons. Maybe it is time for an All-Stars season. I’m surprised they haven’t done another one yet.

    • Good point.

      At the first of this season, I thought Nicole was going to play a strong game and be one of the puppeteers along with the other vets and the siblings. But I am very disappointed with her gameplay.

      I’m disappointed Da started stirring up mess with her vets. Paulie & Co would have targeted her anyway because he wants an all male ending but if she hadn’t given people reason to wonder if she’s conspiring against them, she maybe could have rallied more support with James, Paul & the ladies. At least Paulie couldn’t tell Paul that she was a pot stirrer.

      Paulie is playing the best game, like it or not.

      I thought Zakiyah was laying low at first and would come on like gangbusters winning comps left and right but no, she’s planning her wedding and naming her Califiore children. If she had a notebook, she’d be practicing signing her name: “Zakiyah Califiore”. Another disappointment.

      Expected Corey was also laying low but would come through with more (legit) comp wins by now. But he’s safe. Maybe he’s saving it for “The Wall”.

      Speaking of disappointments – James. I’m glad Nat told him she was here for a game and nothing else but she respects him as a friend. Forget the lip smooch – a lot of us had this suspicion. Too bad she “came here for the game” but was content to settle for jury. Smh. James, you can drop off the hitchhiker at the next stop (Jury) and get your head in this game!!!

      I could not stand Paul, Victor (& Josea) at first because they were targeting the vets. Now, they’re targeting whomever Paulie wants and are probably safer than anyone else in the house who is not sporting a Y chromosome. If Victor wins the wall comp, they might decide to take out Paulie – who knows? Throw him & Corey on the block (or James) and voila, they could finish together.

      Thought big Meech might turn into something but she never really gelled with Frank or James or any of the boys so she would be fighting a losing battle now.

      • I doubt that there was ever going to be a lasting alliance with anyone, including the vets because they did it at the beginning of the game.
        Alliances before getting to know the players don’t always work. If it does is usually between two people only. Paulie and Corey are align until the end and hopefully he goes, but not before Nicole and Paulie.

    • Agreed. I mean Bronte applied to be on the show without knowing a thing about it just to get some air time. Apparently there are sites that will connect you to reality tv auditions. And everyone will say, of course I’m a BB fan. I don’t know how they’d get over that hump, but it needs to happen.

    • Your point is interesting but kind of contradicts itself. All-Stars all come back hoping for more camera time and the chance to stretch their self-believed “fame” into careers. Very few go beyond their Season and are forgotten quickly so they’re all hoping to be one of the very few who see another Season or maybe an appearance on TAR or SURVIVOR. So most of those players who play again are just looking for more TV time. Which is why this Season is so terrible. Bringing back 4 vets and bringing in 2 people with sibling relations to previous players who were there for a long stretch makes them all (6 of 16) experienced with the game. I think we need 16 people who really WANT/NEED the money who don’t view it as a humorous Summer with nothing to lose because they’ll be on TV. All-Stars are boring. We know them and their personalities already. I just wish they’d stop casting “bodies” in their 20s who have little/no life experience.

  15. Good summation, Branden. I agree on pretty much every count. I am Team Bridgette, though, and I don’t like Da, but otherwise, we’re on the same wavelength. Last night Natalie was talking to James in the hammock and she dropped the “ditzy” voice and talked about turning it up to start winning. I think maybe she’s been playing a part to a certain degree. Hmmm…

    • I hope so! Natalie does have a fairly good grip on the house, and if she is now here to play, it’s a shame America gave her the first care package. But then again, I’m not holding my breath for any of these houseguests.

  16. Hmm I’m wondering if CBS has data-mined BB fan demographics and decided most viewers want man-candy, ‘girls’ they can feel superior to, and guys who behave like girls.

  17. So Day is not nice to the other HGs and you like her for that? She keeps it real by being a sour faced, anti-social, paranoid, hypocritical curmudgeon.

    The vets had a perfect plan and were well on their way to playing a winning game. But then Da’Vonne went all paranoid with Tiffany and then Frank – without talking to either of them! Once Da lost her mind her game went down hill. She was great playing on everyone the first week.

    James is a big disappointment. Nicole is too whiny to watch. I think watch out for Corey. He could be this year’s Cody.

    I agree Z is not playing. James just does not know how to play. Bridgette may not be as dumb as she seems. Sticking with Frank and now Paulie may get her far in the game. She’s like Victoria only she won comps.

    Victor is obviously laying low after having been evicted once already. That is a good strategy. Had he come back playing strong he would be not last.

    As for Paulie, he has gotten way to cockey but he is earning it by winning comps. He is a threat because he can win, unlike Da who is a threat only because she creates drama.

    • Lol. I agree. D is my favorite, but her personality and social skills are horrible. I think she knows the game and was playing good, but her mistake is being too trusting of her “alliance”. She is not a threat at all at this point, but was able to change people’s mind and manipulate some. Paulie does all of that and wins comps, so he is the real threat of the house, but no one ever notices. If I had a person telling me who to put up when I’m HOH. That person will be my #1 target.

  18. You say, ” I love Day’s DRs. Who doesn’t, right? “. Well, I don’t. I don’t love her nor do I even like her. She’s a loud mouth, sh*t stirring, flip flopping, hypocrite. I hope hope hope she does not have the round trip ticket. As for everyone else I think you pretty hit the nail on the head.

  19. Thoughts
    – I agree that James is doing a good job not being anyone’s target, but is he really playing the game? And if so is it for himself? Or Natalie? He needs to do more than gun for obvious targets.

    – Natalie is pretty much Jordan Lloyd. Sweet, bubbly, but not really strong in this game especially with comps. However she seems to have a good read on houseguests and like James isn’t really anyone’s public enemy.

    – Say what you want about Paulie, but he’s doing a good job getting what he wants. Yeah he coached under his brother’s fellow Hitman but it seems to be paying off. Problem is his social game isn’t the greatest. If he were less of a douche I’d root for him more.

    – Very disappointed in Nicole. Thought she’d try to change her game. Really it hasn’t changed as much. Only difference is she’s more whiny and crybaby like. Less of the Andrea clone than I thought she was. The problem is she’s focused on Corey’s muscles rather than the half million dollars.

    – Day really puts her feet in her mouth. Every time she tries to stir up trouble, she ends up backfiring on herself. I’ll give her credit for making it past being evicted second, but that’s not saying much.

    – Bridgette I wanna root for, but she’s not doing much to keep herself. I get that Frank left a lot of damage on her for being a target, but at the same time she needs to buckle down and keep fighting.

    – Z……… ? Look at my problem with Nicole and then you’ll see my point. Only with Paulie and not Corey.

    – Corey is pretty much a Shane clone. Handsome, buff, but a complete tool.

    – Paul and Victor I wanna like because they’re pretty tough cookies, but they seem to be Paulie’s goons rather than good players.

  20. Hey Davvone You are my favorite big brother character you need to really sway the other people at the eviction

  21. In regards to how Paulie is playing Z, I say fair game. If she’s too dumb to see what he’s doing, that’s her own fault because it’s incredibly transparent. But if Paulie can string along an extra vote for the next few weeks before she gets fed up, why not keep her around?

    Maybe it’s a bit questionable morally, but so is telling everyone in the house that you have cancer (Dr. Will). My personal philosophy is that if it betters your position in the game, do it, no exceptions.

    The comments about Natalie’s breasts are absolutely ridiculous though, I’ll agree on that one unequivocally.

  22. I agree that Nicole hasn’t made the best decisions and I would love to see a strong group of girls for once. But honestly how would it help her at this point to work with the girls? None of them have won Hoh! What’s the point of being in an alliance with people who can’t keep you safe? I understand that she is at the bottom of the guys’ group, and they will probably cut her once they get to top 5. But if she worked with the girls she wouldn’t even get that far. The girls are just not good enough players to rely on. I think she’s playing the game more than some in the house. Don’t really understand all the hate she’s getting this season

  23. I agree about everything with Paulie; I thought he would be similar to Cody but he is the total opposite of his brother. The girls are not good players this year and haven’t done anything in the game other than start the FF which is now over. Day is the only one who can think for herself; and its earned her a spot OTB and a pending eviction.

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