He may have lost his job, but he won...money that will offset the loss of income from his job? Andy Herren, former part-time public speaking instructor was tonight crowned the winner of Big Brother 15 with 7 votes to GinaMarie's 2. Our own Kate Ward called this victory the "lesser of two evils," but that's selling it short. His was the least of something like 10 evils, the least of a house almost supernaturally attuned to evil, and evil forces. We should be happy? Question mark?
More than anything, I think we can just be glad that this epically controversial season is over. Since the castmates' propensity for horrible talk started dominating all show-related writing and discussion oh, two weeks in, it's been easy to overlook the generally boring trajectory of this season. Sure, Andy's victory was a surprise. And certainly I wasn't expecting GinaMarie to have hung onto her spot to nearly the end. But most of what transpired along the way -- the challenges, the order in which people were sent packing -- was hardly watercooler exciting. Evictions and eviction strategy plaued out pretty much as anyone could have expected, even a Big Brother noob like me. I've got to say I was bored more often than not. Saying something on a show where people hang around a house talking, I know. But underneath the astonishing racism, BB15 amounted to a pretty mundane 3 months of television.
You could see that in tonight's final HoH competitions. Three trials separated Andy, GinaMarie, and Spencer from a guaranteed shot at half a million dollars*.
*What's the $500,000 thing about anyway? A cool million sounds/is a lot better than its half-full cousin any day of the week, and frankly not that much more for a show of this caliber to wrangle together as prize money. But they've been doing it this way for...ten years now? I'm guessing that's a sentimental amount at this point, a "we're the show with the sort of small payout!" distinctive mark. ANYWAY.
Up first: rollerskating around an endless rink, trying to hold onto your harness. Like Survivor's "Hands on an Immunity Idol," this one was all about endurance (and also the ability to deal with foam, but that's got to be related). Next Spencer and Andy competed in "Crab Bag" to assemble, after finding all of the houseguests' likenesses, a chronological wall of their eviction. Rather than put the two of them head-to-head, which would have offered at least moderate excitement, producers had them race back-to-back. Andy won by 15 minutes.
It's in the last "challenge" that the dull nature of this season really made itself felt. Taking their places on two sides of a balance, Andy and GinaMarie answered simple trivia questions about their housemates anyone even tangentially familiar with them could answer. "What was McCrae's favorite thing about living in the house? Was it hooking up with Amanda...or pizza?" "What would Elissa say made her most uncomfortable in the house? Was it Amanda? Or was it Amanda?" That sort of thing. Ultimately Andy emerged victorious because come on, he was up against GM. But the lack of difficulty here, in a game-deciding match, felt honestly shocking. It was like showing up to your organic chemistry final to discover the professor just wanted to see how many Sour Patch Kids you could fit in your mouth.
I am not a BB super-fan like...many of my colleagues. But I wanted to enjoy the show and its well-documented fun and absurdity. Zingbot! Weird rules and penalties! Uncomfortable showmances! I'm not saying we didn't get all of those elements this season -- and how! -- just that they may have been overshadowed by, and subsequently lost to, the out-of-control bullshit taking place "behind-the-scenes."
Let this be a lesson to TV producers everywhere: powder keg people are fun to watch, and then they explode. If we can take more than just potential for conflict into account when casting these shows, we may yet wind up with a show that doesn't make us all feel sick to watch!