Celebrity Big Brother
has come to a close and the winner has been crowned. After all the scheming, back-stabbing, lying and alliance flips (done by Ross) it ended up being Marissa who was voted the best Big Brother
player and the winner of CelebBB
On the surface this outcome can seem like, once again, the most deserving player didn't win in Big Brother. Ross certainly felt that way in the finale. After votes were read Ross argued that to win and play Big Brother properly, you have to lie and scheme as much as possible. With all respect due to Ross, this just isn't true.
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Playing Smarter, Not Stronger
Lying is a part of Big Brother. Anyone who goes into the house thinking they're going to be completely honest is either going to be a totally boring houseguest or someone who is eliminated early. There is some lying that is required in Big Brother, even if it's a lie of omission. Yet the problem that Ross has faced (in addition to several other infamous runners-up) is that he lied way too much.
Ross, undeniably, played the most aggressive game in Celebrity Big Brother but it was far from the smartest or best game. Ross had deals with everyone and he wasn't very steady on any of them. That's a dangerous game but also a stupid one. There's way too many variables where it could fail and it just makes you look like a dishonest monster at the end. Which, for all intents and purposes, is exactly how Ross was in the game.
Even though he played with Marissa the entire game, if Ross won the final HoH he wasn't going to take her to the final two. Ross survived as far as he did because he made deals with everyone. Ross made it to the end on the backs of bigger threats. Ross, despite what he said in jury interrogation, had final two deals with everyone in the finale but Omarosa. Furthermore, he got his two Head of Household wins by basically begging and making deals to secure them.
Ross isn't a bad Big Brother player. He's nowhere as vain and egoistic as Paul, who also lost (twice) to someone who floated most of the game. Yet like Paul, Ross overplayed his hand. There's a limit to lying and deal-making and Ross exceeded it. He crossed the line from shrewd player to maniac and unlikable liar, at least as far as the jury were concerned.
The remarkable thing about Ross' gameplay was that people thought he was trustworthy. Ross was just desperate, grabby and trying to cover himself as much as possible. Ross played a game to get to the end but not to win. Everyone, including the audience, seems to forget that to win Big Brother you must manage the jury.
Every Jury Is an Emotional Jury
Ross did make people like him while he was in the house. Yet it was all built on a flimsy foundation. Most of Ross' relationships were based on this "trust" in the game. Shannon, James and a few other houseguests all really felt that Ross had their back in the game, only to get out of the house and realize he had about a million other deals. This is terrible jury management and the fatal flaw of Ross' game.
You can be as aggressive in your strategy and competition wins as you want in Big Brother. However, the game really comes down to people liking you. Big Brother is a social game. To win it all, a good resume is secondary to just having the jury like and respect you, which is something Ross failed to do at the end. It's an area where Marissa (and other past winners like Josh, Nicole and even Ian Terry) have succeeded. It's not impossible to make a lot of deals and still win but Ross didn't do it correctly. Derrick Levasseur also played an aggressive game but he balanced that by making people really like him or at least like him more than his final opponent, Cody Calafiore.
Ross tried to have people like him as they left the house, by acting so sympathetic and hurt in their goodbye messages, but it just rang hollow. It came off as the transparent grab for votes that it was in reality. Of course, he wasn't helped by the fact that everyone was able to watch the season back and see him turn on everyone, but still his efforts to be likable failed hard. By comparison, Marissa forged real relationships based on a lot more than game trust and most importantly owned up to the flaws of her game.
Ross might've still won Celebrity Big Brother if he hadn't still tried to play the "nice guy" with the jury. Like Paul, both times, Ross refused to admit that he really betrayed people and made as many deals as possible. To the very end, Ross still was trying to argue that he was loyal, but he was forced into situations where he had to give up his allies. It was far more accurate that Ross forced those situations himself. The more Ross dug into that false impression, the better that Marissa's flawed but much more social and honest game looked.
Big Brother is quite plainly a popular contest. It's true that, on occasion, the most ruthless and biggest liars have won. Will Kirby definitely set a precedent in the second season when he won by stabbing everyone in the back, but Big Brother is much more of a social game than people realize.
It's better to be likable and respectful than a liar. Marissa did lurk in the background of Celebrity Big Brother but by doing that she clearly understood the jury better and made them appreciate her more. Meanwhile Ross failed, spectacularly.
But do you agree? Is it better to play a social game where the jury likes you or was Ross robbed of the win? What is the best way to play Big Brother?
(Image courtesy of CBS)