Do ‘Big Brother’ Experts Think Season 22 Can Be Saved?

Kevin Campbell and Tyler Crispen sit on the block before the Power of Veto meeting on Big Brother 22.

CBS Kevin Campbell and Tyler Crispen sit on the block before the Power of Veto meeting on Big Brother 22.

Big Brother 22 is halfway to its October 28 finale. With that in mind, Heavy reached out to some of the foremost Big Brother writers to find out how they feel about the season thus far.

Part I of the interview went up on Tuesday, September 15 — you can read about the experts’ level of excitement and disappointment in the season so far here. Today they’re weighing in on if they think the season can turn around and what they wish CBS had done differently this season.

The writers we interviewed via email include Andy Dehnart from Reality Blurred, Branden from Big Brother Network, Brian and Patrick from Reality BBQ, Dingo from Hamsterwatch, Jerrica from Big Brother Access, and Mike from Big Brother Gossip.

Answers lightly edited for length. Also of note: These were written prior to the events that aired on Tuesday, September 15.

Can the Season Be Saved?

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If you think the season has been a disappointment so far, do you think it can turn around??

Andy: Possibly, but the back half of Big Brother tends to get increasingly boring as a house with fewer and fewer people leaves less opportunity for anything to happen. Since it’s been quite boring so far, I’m not hopeful.

Branden: I don’t think the season can be turned around at this point. That big alliance has steamrolled and will continue to do so. Modern Big Brother is big on the whole herd/mob mentality gameplay. We get a group of people who all gang up on one or two people week after week. And even before the current target is out the door, the mob already has the next target(s) lined up, and so the gaslighting and shunning starts. It’s just not fun to watch when the season plays out like this. … We might get one or two weeks where we luck into a Da’Vonne or Ian HOH, but I don’t think there’s any way it can really be turned around. The most we can hope for now is a second half with a little drama when that alliance is forced to turn on each other.

Brian & Patrick: Can it turn around and come back to be a stellar top 5 season? Unlikely at this point, you would need to have an absolutely perfect season down the stretch with bloodshed, strategy, betrayal, conflict, and blindsides to get anywhere close to that.

Does this mean that it is doomed to be as bad and boring as it has been for the remainder of the season? Absolutely not. If that large alliance breaks apart and bitterness develops then some entertainment can still be had. The boat has sailed on this being a great season but that doesn’t mean we can’t at least get some entertainment from it still. Nothing is over until it’s over, we stuck through BB19 and we’ll stick through this.

Dingo: Never say never, but I think the only thing to look forward to now is the inevitable crumbling of the alliances that have been in power for all six weeks so far (as of this writing). Who will turn on whom and how messy will it get when it happens? That should bring some popcorn-worthy moments in the weeks ahead.

Jerrica: That’s a tough one. I think the damage is already done. The winner has already been selected, we’re waiting for the inevitable. However, if somehow the underdogs pull off a miracle and go on a winning streak, then the season could become more unpredictable and restore some excitement into the game. But, hate to be a Debbie Downer, but I don’t see that realistically happening, but I would love if it did.

Mike: I do believe whoever makes it to the end will battle it out and it will be exciting to watch, however, getting to that point may drive away a lot of the audience.

What Could CBS Have Done Differently?

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What do you wish production had done differently in the first few weeks of the season?

Andy: Replace themselves? I realize the producers are creating the show CBS wants, but Big Brother desperately needs reinvention, though its consistent ratings likely means they’ll never touch it. I
think the show needs to adjust its format to something that makes it harder for big alliances to form and gives less power to
individuals (which would mean eliminating or changing the head of household).

Branden: I wish production had actually kept the evictees in the house the first few weeks. They could have even played off the whole quarantine thing. And then they could have had a simple Battle Back competition like the Kaitlyn puzzle fiasco from BB20. I think it would have been nice to see the legendary players stick around the house a bit longer. But as for a way to not let that pre-game alliance steamroll the game … that’s tricky. I think some kind of America’s vote would have helped with that or a twist that pairs up people with unlikely allies or teams. It would have been so much more interesting to watch the season play out organically. I never in my darkest nightmares imagined I’d see any version of Daniele Donato strike up a final 2 deal with Cody Calafiore. I mean, what planet is this? I will forever be baffled most by Dani’s choices this season.

Brian & Patrick: The all-stars seem to be falling into the same power structure we’ve seen the last few years. A few more dynamic players would have spiced up the season more – though that isn’t to say production didn’t try. Rachel Reilly would have helped spice the season up but was unavailable due to pregnancy and several players who may have added some spice to the season were simply unavailable.

Production may also try to look towards altering or changing some game mechanics that would dilute the power of large alliances or at least discourage them with some sort of risk or temptation. The safety suite was a good idea … They should have also put in more than one duo – when Kaycee/Josh dropped out, they lost two duos immediately (Tyler/Kaycee, Christmas/Josh). This left Janelle and Kaysar with a big target on their backs as the only duo in the game. Backup plans should have been in place or they shouldn’t have relied on two people they knew were suspect to being taken out due to pregame activities.

Dingo: First I want to say it was a treat to have a live move-in and feeds from the first night, instead of waiting the usual week or more before we can watch, so I’m grateful for that. But several early comps in a row this time were favored to males, and we know many from this cast set up deals and alliances long before they moved in, along with various personal vendettas coming in with some of them. I think that was a fatal combination that’s helped to get us where we are now. Efforts were made to get the various outliers to team up and take on the power alliances but they didn’t go for it, so here we are. Could production have nudged those outliers in Diary Room to think about it more seriously? Probably so. Maybe they tried and failed. I’m sure the producers didn’t want three former viewer favorite winners to be the first three evicted, but they were. Chances are many of these vets recognize Diary Room questions or “suggestions” for what they are, and they go ahead and do what they want anyway.

Jerrica: I think production should have just held off on doing this season. Waited until the pandemic ended and then tried for an all-star season. I think much of the problem lies with the cast, but I know it was hard getting 16 people to agree with everything going on, so that’s why I think it should have just been delayed.

Mike: I think their first mistake was the initial HoH competition. The fact that only two women moved past the first part (when four should have) and the second part was designed for a very agile person made me feel like they hadn’t thought things out very well. Rushing to have nominations made within the first couple of days also forced alliances to be made quickly.

Big Brother 22 airs on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS, though this week the Wednesday episode is airing on Tuesday, September 15 because of the ACM Awards.

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