By: Ariel L. (’23)
Each year, fans of the show Big Brother gather together to watch the series. However, a lot of fans were not happy with how “Big Brother 22: All Stars” turned out.
“Big Brother” is a show where a group of contestants known as the HouseGuests live in a house with cameras and microphones recording their every move 24 hours a day for 12 consecutive weeks. During their stay, they are stuck in the Big Brother-bubble, without any contact with the outside world. Each week the HouseGuests compete in several competitions in order to win power and safety inside the house. Episodes are aired every week with live feeds available to viewers.
Each week, the HouseGuests compete in something called the Head of Household (HoH) Competition, which allows the winner to gain immunity from eviction and the power to nominate other HouseGuests for eviction. The Power of Veto (PoV) competition gives the winner the power to remove one HouseGuest from eviction.
There are a few key elements as to why this season justified people’s disappointment. First and foremost on the minds of viewers was disappointing casting. Between people’s busy lives and the COVID-19 pandemic, the production team had to scramble to find good HouseGuests. The cast was made up of sidekicks, weak winners, sore losers, and other not-so-stellar players. The only interesting contestants were the consistent fan favorites, but most of them including Janelle, Kaysar and Keesha were taken out early. It is also important to note that the fan favorites were taken out by the dominant alliance that was immediately formed in Week 1. This alliance won most of the competitions proceeding to target all the other players.
What the season lacked in drama, it made up with important conversations surrounding important and timely social issues. The show has had controversy in past seasons for HouseGuests displaying racism, bullying and homophobia so it was great to see the show shed some light on the importance of representation and diverse experiences. Many HouseGuests used their platforms to discuss relevant topics. Da’Vonne brought attention to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and the importance of self-worth; Kaysar spoke about his religion, Kevin discussed the stuggles with his identity as a gay, bi-racial man, and Ian revealed he was on the autism spectrum.
However, not all of these issues were used in a positive way. An example would be when cast members Memphis, Daniele and Nicole were caught on live feeds making fun of Ian’s rocking. Ian is living with autism, a complex developmental condition that involves persistent challenges in social interaction, speech, nonverbal communication and restricted/repetitive behaviors. Rocking is something that he personally does to cope with stress. Many HouseGuests, such as Memphis threw out “jokes” about Ian’s autistic behavior by saying “he stresses me out. He’s always rocking.” Daniele also said: “When [Ian] is sitting there rocking, I can’t even look at him sometimes, because his constant movement stresses me out.” This type of behavior should not be tolerated.
The best part of the entire season was when it was over, and Da’Vonne won the America’s Favorite Houseguest (AFH) Award by popular vote. This made history as she was the first black contestant to win that title. Previously, she had never made it to the top three, but this year she beat out many former AFHs. Truly deserving of the title, she will always be a memorable Big Brother player, being the one responsible for some of the best moments on the show.