Last night, during the epic Big Brother 15 Head of Household / returning Jury HouseGuest competition, something a bit odd happened that left people wondering if the challenge was rigged. Right before just evicted Jury member Helen Kim came off the wall, it appeared like someone behind the scenes may have touched or shoved her foot. Was Helen pushed off the wall in the Head of Household Competition? Or signaled it was time for her to jump down to make way for Judd to return?
We have all kinds of crazy conspiracy theories about Big Brother 2013 going around. There is inevitably a rumor about who production has allegedly “chosen” to win the show this time around. This year we’ve had two strong contenders for this rumor. The first was all about Rachel Reilly’s sister Elissa Slater and how CBS wanted her to win so they could make some kind of crazy reality show featuring the Reilly sisters.
The second, and more pervasive rumor, centers around alleged former CBS employee and friend of Big Brother producer Alison Grodner, Amanda Zuckerman. By the way, although it is true that Amanda did work on several reality TV programs during her life (despite being marketed as a ‘real estate agent’), there is no clear evidence that she previously worked on Big Brother or personally knows Alison Grodner. Well, there is some anonymous Facebook post that claims both of these things are true and Big Brother 15 is rigged for Amanda to win but nothing else of any actual significance.
Which brings us to what happened on Big Brother 15 last night. Close to the end of the competition, there were still three Jury members on the “wall” competing for the chance to come back into the house. Jessie Kowalski had already been eliminated earlier, throwing out a “f**k you to Amanda” as she exited. Judd Daughtery, Helen and Candice Stewart were still in the running. Then, all of a sudden at around 8:06 PM BBT, Helen was off the wall, followed a few moments later by Candice — leaving Judd as the winning Jury member who got to come back into the game.
Now, the interesting thing about this, and what is fueling all the conspiracy theories, is exactly how Helen ended up being out of the competition. It wasn’t during one of the more difficult moments of the game. The board she was standing on wasn’t moving. She wasn’t being sprayed with water in the face right then. She wasn’t even trying to catch a ball flying at her head. She seemed to be standing there just fine and did not look unbalanced. Then, if you watch very closely, you see a hand move near Helen’s foot behind the wall. She immediately looks down toward her foot and then comes off the wall in what appears to be a controlled, easy jump. She does not at all look like she fell.
Now, we admit, Helen’s exit from the game was totally weird looking. But we have a few things to say about this alleged “rigging” of the Head of Household / Jury competition. First, there are going to be people behind the wall controlling the mechanics of the competition. So, the random hand near Helen’s foot right at the moment she came off could have totally been coincidence. We saw random movements behind the feet of other HouseGuests during the competition and they weren’t falling off at the time. Second, rigging any kind of competition as extremely complex as the one last night would be incredibly difficult because it would be way unpredictable. Third, Helen was exhausted, freezing, shaking and had repeatedly complained she was so hungry she couldn’t stand it from being on slop. She simply just have been done and couldn’t stand it anymore.
Some people have said that balls were being tossed in an easily catchable manner to Elissa (or Amanda, depending on your theory). Other fans posted that Elissa (or Amanda) weren’t getting hit in the face by the water sprays as badly as the other HouseGuests. One Twitter poster we saw even claimed that Elissa’s incredible fall and recovery without touching the ground (and we did NOT see her touch the ground) last night was all staged to make it look like the competition wasn’t rigged for her to win. Really? That would have been so risky a move that we can’t even imagine how someone could possibly imagine that would work.
Is Big Brother rigged for Amanda to win? Or for Elissa to win? If it was, that would be CBS’ right to rig it if they have made that agreement with the players in their contracts. There is no law against CBS scripting the whole show the way they want if that’s how they think they’ll get the best ratings and make the most money and that is clearly spelled out to the players from the beginning. Most reality TV shows are scripted to some degree. (Just watch an episode of Real Housewives for the truth of that!) We’ve even had people sue over the ‘scripting’ of reality shows, like with Storage Wars and the whole planting of goodies in the storage lockers for people to find, and accusations galore that shows like The Bachelor are rigged. Although, frankly, we don’t think production is actually planning and executing a totally rigged show with or without the players being involved in the conspiracy.
We do believe that Big Brother influences the HouseGuests at least a little to make the show as interesting as possible and maybe feature beloved and hated characters over less interesting ones. Production probably feeds them lines and tells them more than we’d like about certain things or encourages them to pursue certain strategies. Hell, we know that Helen said this season that production didn’t want Howard Overby voted out at one point. So yes, stuff goes on behind the scenes that ruins the purity of this allegedly player-driven game. However, Big Brother is such a long, convoluted, crazy game that the idea of CBS actually choosing the winner right from the start and then somehow maneuvering the whole game and all the HouseGuests into making them win seems a bit out there to us.
It’s possible that production has favorites they would LIKE to win and may or may not push the game that way. However, going down to the level of shoving Helen off the wall last night? Or signaling her that she had to jump off? We’re going to prefer not to believe in any such conspiracy theory and just enjoy the aftermath of a great, entertaining HoH and Jury competition that has finally kicked some fire back into this rather tepid Big Brother 15 season.
Go back and watch the Head of Household / Jury Competition on the Big Brother Live Feeds yourself using the free, two-day trial from CBS and make your own judgement call on whether you think something was fishy or not. The Feed coverage of the challenge runs from about 7:20 PM to around 8:30 PM. And then let us know what you think!