Saturday, March 17, 2012

Big Brother US: Majority Rules

BIG BROTHER US (Seasons 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 13)
"Majority Rules"

This is a fairly simple challenge, and a staple of the American version of Big Brother. Pretty simply, the remaining players are asked a gossipy, Cosmo-quiz question, and must choose one of two housemates as their answer. Those players who select the majority answer remain in the challenge; those players who do not are eliminated. If both answers get the same number of votes, the question is ignored and everybody remaining moves on. The challenge continues until there is only one player left or until the limited number of questions have been exhausted, in which case a sudden death tiebreaker is asked. This particular challenge has always been a Head of Household challenge, which basically means that one player (who won the previous week's such challenge) is out even before the challenge begins.

Have you noticed what makes this challenge so stupid yet? It's literally impossible to get a winner without having to use the tiebreaker question. Think about it. You need exactly one person to win. And what Earth numbers is "one" a majority of? That's right, only "one". If you get down to two people at any point, then any question asked will either wind up with both players picking the same option, deeming it worthless, or picking different options, deadlocking the vote and again deeming it worthless. If you have any higher number, then one is the clear minority and that sole player will be eliminated. In other words, you could just ask the tiebreaker question straight away and still get a result just as valid. Normally, if it was a one-off challenge, you could assume it was just an oversight of the producers' behalf and be done with it. But this challenge has been used - in the exact same format - SIX TIMES. That's just a bad combination of ignorance and complacency.

So, how do we fix this? The way I see it, there are two basic options. You can either run the challenge in the same format with an odd number of players but get everybody to answer every question (with lights or something to help mark who's still in the challenge, and with the odd number of players eliminating the possibility of deadlocked questions); or you can go straight to the "what did this specific subset of players think?" part of the challenge that winds up happening after the first eliminations by having players guess what the player sitting out (and later what they and the other eliminated players) said. Neither option is entirely foolproof - although it's far less likely, there's still a need for a tiebreaker question in both - but surely it's better than the current format.

Or they could just get rid of the challenge idea entirely. It's not an interesting challenge to begin with, really.

1 comment:

  1. For what it's worth, the main reason it probably gets played again and again is that despite the fact that there's usually a large alliance that forms the first week, the competition is always won by someone outside said alliance.

    That being said, I don't see it being played anymore; given that in 11 people were openly plotting how to cheat at it (a majority alliance simply would alternate A and B until the others were eliminated), it's not a stretch to think that others would do so also. I suspect it was played in 12 since no one was willing to make an obvious move, lest they end up on the wrong side of a viewer-granted Coup d'Etat.