This season of "Big Brother" has a huge optics problem and the selective editing for the CBS broadcast isn't helping when there are live-feed watchers out there who see all!
"Big Brother" has a huge optics problem this season, and live-feed ethusiasts appear to be getting more of the picture than television-only viewers. Nevertheless, it's worth noting that no matter who got evicted tonight, that marks three people of color in a row evicted ... the first three people!
Whether or not you believe the reasoning was strategic in every case, it's hard to fathom that being completely true. David (black) was banished in the first episode, where he was joined by Jessica (Latina), Kemi (black) and Cliff (oldest).
Yes, in that case, Ovi (Bangladeshi) was not singled out, but he was subsequently backdoored as the first legit eviction of the season.
To make matters worse, the members of Camp Comeback (where evicted HouseGuests stay as they continue to live in the house, have to wear a uniform, so now three people of color are ostracized from their white counterparts in the game, and forced to wear matching uniforms.
Plus, you know the one who didn't get the boot tonight is the next likely target.
It's no real surprise that Kemi was the next person evicted. She's been Jack's target since the beginning of the game, but what television-only viewers don't know is just how vile his language has been toward her. If you thought Kemi's makeup monologue or throat-slitting comment were abhorrent, you've only seen the tip of the iceberg compared to some of the awful things Jack has said.
As chronicled by reality blurred and various live-feed Twitter feeds and sites, Jack has referred to her and Jessica as "f--king maggots," to Kemi alone as "dog shit" and paraphrased a sentiment from last season even more aggressively, saying, "F--king Kemi makes me want to stomp a f--king mud hole though her chest."
CBS did not air any of this aggression, nor did they show Jackson/Michie calling her a "tumor" and a "cancer" in the house. Now, none of it has been overtly racist, to be clear, but this vitriol does seem to be excuslively aimed toward people of color, which has led many to speculate there are racist undertones (or overtones) behind both Jack and Michie's behavior.
That only makes it all the more interesting that Michie was the sole vote to keep Kemi in a 10-1 landslide that ended her game (for now). This was likely in response to a thoughtful heart-to-heart CBS did opt to air where Kemi told Michie that it was Isabella who orchestrated the all-female Black Widow alliance and that she'd also spilled the beans about her final three deal with Jack and Michie. That's a huge reveal!
We only just learned how bad Isabella is at keeping secrets, blabbing everything to everyone about every alliance and everything going on in the house ... and she was at it again tonight, pointlessly telling Sam about Gr8ful and how he was their unofficial ninth member for the purpose of voting. Honey, there are two people out of the house (and they're not even gone), slow you roll!
Isabella is playing like it's coming down to it when we are still so much in the early stages of this game. There was no reason to tell Jack about the Black Widows, there was no reason to tell Kemi about her final three and there was absolutely no reason to tell Sam about Gr8ful.
Of course, it turns out that doesn't matter, because Jack basically blabbed it, too, with the worst lie/coverup in "Big Brother" history. He flat-out said the name Gr8ful to Sam before fumbling and trying to suggest he was referring to their nine alliance. You know, Gr9ful? Not buying it?
But they weren't the only ones talking too much. Poor Cliff apparently spends each morning talking to his family in the boat room into the camera. Well, Christie was walking by at just the right time and overheard him breaking down all four couples that make up Gr8ful (rightfully pairing her with Tommy strategically).
He then exposed his own new (and admittedly kind of pathetic) alliance with already-evicted Ovi and Nicole. Nicole has now been exposed as being in back-to-back alliances against Gr8ful, which just might be enough to convince them to break up the all-POC attack they've been on since the beginning.
Once again, Gr8ful secured their position in control of the house, but this isn't the same Gr8ful as when Jack won HOH last week. Nick ascened to power, but he's already been trying to play both sides with his new showmance Isabella. And now, Bella is in Gr8ful's crosshairs, so is it time to cut those ties and try and make them the Gr7ful?
Nick has an opportunity to really upend the game. Michie's lone vote for Jessica could have been a red herring to sow mistrust and confusion in the house, or it could be indicative that he's not thrilled with how Gr8ful is fracturing already. Unfortunately, if that is the case then his target would be Bella, and she's sure to be safe under Nick's reign.
Still, this week has a real chance of doing something interesting and maybe not send Jessica to Camp Comeback next. Of course if it does, and then Gr8ful decides to target Isabella next, that would again be disastrous optics as Isabella is of Chinese descent so the first five people out would be all the people of color? We get there are complicated reasons for some of this, but boy oh boy could this get awkward.
Then, they could go ahead and target Cliff (they've declared him a target now) so all that's left are 20s and early 30s white people left competing for the half million. Heaven forbid we represent the diversity of America. Or maybe we are representing America by shunting them off to a sequestered part of the house in hope of getting them all out completely.
Maybe it's not that black and white (natch), but it sure isn't looking good. And CBS choosing not to share the more hateful language some of those white people in power are saying about the POCs on the show could be seen as covering up possible biases and subtly racist motives behind some of these decisions. Why not show the whole picture for every HouseGuest? Or at least honestly represent them.
Jack and Michie are running the house, but they are aslo running their mouths in a shocking way toward people of color. Why are we only seeing one of those things?
Michie rises to the top because he appears to be showing some initiative and insight beyond blind loyalty to Jack's wants and desires. His vote to Jessica may mean nothing, or it may mean he has a deeper understanding of the overall strategy of the game than Jack, who tends to make a quick decision and then try to power it through. Plus, an olive branch to Kemi could prove beneficial as she stays in the house. Grade: A+
Nick rises to power and as a part of Gr8ful he shouldn't be in any immediate danger. At the same time, his showmance with Isabella could be very damaging to his long-term game. But there is a strong bro vibe running through the power, and he could use that to save himself at the expense of Isabella. It's too early to see how effective his reign is, but he has the tools and the knowledge to make a big move. Does he have the nerve? Grade: A
Jack still has a lot of influence, and has basically gotten what he wants throughout this game. But his ride-or-die Michie voted against him and he blurted out the name Gr8ful to Sam, so he's not nearly as clever as he thinks he is. Suddenly, Jack is looking a little more vulnerable. He should be able to power through, but if he's not careful, he could also become a target. Grade: A-
Holly, Analyse, Christie and Tommy continue to ride the coattails of Gr8ful, but they are not at the top of that totem pole by any means. We've ranked them as we see them, so it might behoove Christie and Tommy to open up and be a little more flexible in their games. If not, they might wind up going out midgame. Grade: B
Sam just got some huge intel about the existence of Gr8ful and seems determined to forge his own path. He's proven himself a competition threat (most wins so far with two Vetoes) and he's bold enough to have conversations with anyone and take in everything they're saying. He needs to rally the troops outside of Gr8ful and try to shake loose the lowest hanging fruit. Grade: B-
Isabella is blowing her game one conversation at a time and it's only a matter of time before Gr8ful realizes they don't need all eight members to control the game. She's a wild card trying to play both sides and failing on both sides. Her position may be about to drop very, very fast. Grade: C+
David still seems the most likely from Camp Comeback to return to the game (which could be based on nothing, honestly) and he has the best assessment of the power dynamics in the game along with Cliff. If he comes in ready to tear things up, it might still be possible to take down Gr8ful before they run away with the whole thing. Grade: C
Kathryn is smartly laying low after making herself a big target for daring to be in a showmance with Michie which he subsequently got tired of. For the time being, she's not a big target, but she's also not someone Gr8ful is going to keep around and she's not really doing anything about it. Grade: C-
Cliff is so sweet and genuine but he just talks way too loud and he basically exposed his understanding of the couples and his alliance to Gr8ful. That's all it will take for them to decide this 54 year old is a real threat to their games. At least the house still loves him on a personal level. Grade: D+
Nicole is in big trouble now that two alliances she was a part of have been exposed to Gr8ful. It would be gr8 for them to target her before Jessica as the bigger legitimate threat strategically to their game, but they probably won't. Still, she's in their crosshairs and right now it is totally their game. Grade: D
Kemi could be a wild card in this game if she finds her way back into it, unless Gr8ful is as solid as it is right now. Then she'll just go right back out the door. Here's hoping she makes things interesting, at least, before she does go. Grade: D-
Ovi just doesn't seem to have a shot at all. He's been largely clueless in the game thus far and his pointless alliance with Nicole and Cliff only proved he's got nothing. If he comes back into the game, he'll be the easy one to vote right back out as he hasn't forged any tight bonds with really anyone. Grade: D-