Opinion Piece: Big Brother Needs to Enforce Harsh Punishments for Rule Breaks

After the Big Brother 19 Power of Veto ceremony, Raven Walton and Matt Clines exploded. They screamed for at least twenty minutes at Jason Dent for blindsiding them. They claimed they understood it was a game, but took issue with the way he handled it.

Big Brother 19 Matt Clines

Raven said that Jason should have been honest with them, so that she could have appreciated her final days with Matt. Matt said that Jason acted like a ‘bitch’ for going to hide in the storage room. Jason kept his cool and addressed their concerns. By the end of the argument, they accepted their Big Brother 19 fate.

Matt was so sure that he would be the one to leave the house on Thursday. The previous day, Matt and Kevin Schlehuber were chosen as this week’s Have-Nots for being the first two players eliminated during Thursday’s Big Brother 19 Head of Household competition.

After finding out that Jason lied to him, Matt decided to just get penalty votes; he knew he was going home anyway, so why listen to Big Brother’s rules. He started eating regular food and taking hot showers. Big Brother gave a formal announcement that Matt would receive one penalty vote for his current rule breaks. He then continued to disobey Big Brother‘s rules.

Matt isn’t the first player this season to break some rules, but usually by accident or it was only a small indiscretion. In the last few seasons, players have disobeyed rules and engaged in questionable game behavior, but received no repercussions or very small ones.

Big Brother 19 Jason Dent

CBS gives houseguests formal warnings when a rule break occurs, but seems to not offer strict enough punishments to stop the behavior. Some players get away with rule breaks like sleeping in the daytime and not wearing their mic without too much of a pushback from Big Brother. The American Big Brother is too soft on these contestants, so how can they expect them to respect the show enough to follow their rules?

International Big Brother series–the canadian and british versions to be exact–implement much stricter punishments for rule breaks. Houseguests who break rules get formal warnings for their aggressive and offensive behavior: too many strikes results in an automatic expulsion. For smaller rule breaks, the entire house faces punishment, like no hot water, loss of privileges like food and makeup.

Matt is currently completely ignoring Big Brother‘s rules: one penalty vote is not enough. Big Brother needs to lay down the iron fist, and make harsher punishments, especially ones that affect the entire house. Matt’s stipend or early eviction should be on the table as a consequence of his behavior. If Matt accumulates more than 5 penalties, he should either lose all or part of his stipend, or get evicted early and not go to the jury house. We know Big Brother won’t go this extreme, but it should.

Big Brother Cast

If Big Brother doesn’t stop letting houseguests off easily, we could see an even bigger increase in player’s disregarding rules. And no one wants to see that because it makes a mockery of the game. It also makes the show lose some of its power as a social and psychological experiment.

In Big Brother 20, we want to see CBS stop coddling these players and really show them what hell looks like in the game. If they don’t want to respect the rules or the game, they shouldn’t be let off easily.

This is Big Brother, not summer camp. Make them actually follow rules and play the game for their stipend.

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