Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Big Brother: The Will Show 2 ends

Yes, I'll admit it: I watch Big Brother.

I'm not a fan of "reality shows" (a misnomer if I've ever heard one - these are just drawn out game shows, people, get over it), but this one I can watch. First of all, it's very well edited, the shots are usually clean and well-lit, and it's rarely dull.

I wasn't hooked from the beginning. I didn't watch more than 5 minutes of the original incarnation, and thought it was a pretty silly concept - why would I want to watch these people live for 3 months? It all seemed kind of sad.

But an interesting thing happened in Season 2. I tuned in out of curiosity and noticed that the set-up seemed to be vastly improved. But what got me hooked was the best thing to ever happen to reality television: Evil Doctor Will.

Will was the suave, cocky, charming guy in Season 2. He got the hot girl, he had the goofy buddy, and he seemed to have things well in hand. This, of course, made him a huge target. The other members of the house quickly dispatched his girlfriend and buddy and they all figured Will was as good as gone.

Not so fast.

This is where Will became my hero. He played the part of the dead meat to a tee. He put up little outward struggle, threw competitions for seemingly valuable rewards and pretty soon the target all but vanished. In the meantime, he became the game's puppetmaster. He systematically dismantled the ruling alliance by pitting one "friend" against another and charming the queen bee. He played to their ego, he played to their pride and in the end he just plain played them. Understanding his circumstances, he played to the camera in numerous asides, entertaining the audience while the other competitors bored us. He was the Iago of reality tv: he used cunning and deceit to manipulate this game of trust, showmance and betrayal. It was effing brilliant. I ate it up. Big Brother 2 became known as The Will Show.

Of course I was delighted then, when Will was selected to compete in the All-Stars version of the show.

Immediately the two main brains, Will and Kaysar, identified each other as threats. But it was Kaysar who went out early. Then, one by one, the other competitors fell. Week after week, Chill Town (Will and his buddy Boogie) schemed and manipulated to get what they needed to advance. It was all working brilliantly.

You could not have taken a bet before this season started that both members of Chill Town would make it to the final four; but that's just what happened.

That's when the odds caught up with the good doctor.

I knew Will was in trouble when Boogie won Head of Household. It was only a matter of time before the puppets did what they should have done weeks prior: they spoke to one another and the scheming was exposed. With Boogie safe, the only potential revenge would come at the expense of Will. And so the king fell.

For me, the show is essentially over. At this point, the only thing that would surprise me is if by some miracle Boogie managed to win. I cannot imagine the "jury" will choose to give him the $500k over either of the other two competitors (exception: if Erika stabs Janelle in the back and Janelle takes revenge by getting all the Season 6ers to vote for Boogie). The jurors all know they fell at the hands of Chill Town, and these are not reasonable people. A reasonable person would recognize Chill Town's achievement and say, "Wow. Well played." In this game? Not likely. And so skilled, pretty, but hopelessly stupid Janelle will likely win, provided she gets to the final two, otherwise Erika will take the prize.

For me, it's a bittersweet ending. I'm sad Will is gone, but incredulous that he made it this far.

But I suppose I should not have underestimated the puppetmaster. That's what his competition is known for.

Wow. Well played.

The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist.
- Kevin Spacey as Verbal Kint in The Usual Suspects (1995)

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