Big Brother 19: Here’s Who’s Sitting Pretty and in Deep Shit After Week 1
This season is nuts, y’all.
Welcome to The Queue’s coverage of the 19th season of Big Brother, where I’m holding Twitter DM convos with a rotating panel of guests about the show and posting those chats online.
If you have questions about what Big Brother is, who Ryan is, or why you should keep up with this series even if you’re new to the show, click here.
This week, Chris is on a lil’ hiatus, so Ryan and I are talking how everyone is doing after their first week in the Big Brother house as well as what each players strengths and weaknesses are, what they have to do to win, and other considerations. The players (aside from Jillian) are in alphabetical order, so feel free to scroll to your favorite (or least favorite) contestants to see what we have to say.
EDITOR’S NOTE: There are live feed spoilers in this recap of conversations from last week as well as news of who won the week 2 HOH competition and was nominated.
Lily: Okay so let’s start with newly evicted houseguest Jillian: What were Jillian’s strengths (if any)?
Ryan: Oh, poor Jillian. I think her biggest strength was being set up to be this season’s Pawn Star. In most Big Brother seasons, she would have been safe by a unanimous vote, but this is BB19 and we’re tempting fate!
Lily: I still find it so interesting (and hilarious) that everyone decided to keep a huge target in Christmas over her. I’ll also say that I did appreciate that Jillian wasn’t a blubbering mess despite being on the block for, like, 14 days straight or whatever it was. It would’ve just been annoying if she cried the entire time.
Ryan: She was on the block since Day 1, Lily! Yeah, she basically was a potted plant game-wise and entertainment wise. No waterworks, no outbursts, no funny anecdotes, just Jillian. Boring Jillian.
Lily: I guess that brings us to the next question: What were her weaknesses? I'd say her biggest one was that she never played the game. She had her "alliance" (they were never officially an alliance) do the dirty work, and she seemed to lack any and all social skills.
Ryan: HER SOCIAL GAME! Poor girl did not know how to establish connections or broker deals.
Lily: Yeah I think I commented to you throughout the week that even when OTHER PLAYERS threw her a bone and tried to talk to her, she’d just sort of sputter and run away.
Ryan: Exactly! She was just hovering and would just run away at any attempt at building a connection. Just not good.
Lily: I’m sure she’s a fine-ish person in real life (we won’t get into her being a known Trump supporter), but I’m confused as to why she was cast. What I mean is, I don’t get what “character” she was meant to play.
Ryan: It confuses me! She really was milquetoast compared to the rest of the cast.
What She Needed to Do to Win
Lily: So, if Jillian wasn’t evicted, what would she have had to do to win?
Ryan: So if she stayed, there would be an interesting dichotomy in the house with the two sides. I think Jillian would need to continue to play under the radar (UTR because I’m going to use this a lot I feel) until about jury and then try to make defining move for her game. Big Brother is a lot of luck, but I think Jillian could have easily made the F6 in another season.
Lily: Yeah, she would’ve been SUCH an easy goat to take to the end, to use a Survivor term here. At the end of the day, she just had to make solid social connections and use herself for votes to whoever needed her. She could’ve played a decent floater or coaster game if she’d had better social instincts.
Lily: And lastly, any other opinions of Jillian? I don't really have too much to add. I just feel like the show could've cast a much more compelling character in her place. Or, I wish Cameron had been able to stay over her.
Ryan: I agree they could have casted a better character, or at least have Cameron over her night 1. I am not bothered by Jillian’s eviction. I do not think she, herself, would have provided much more entertainment or value in the game. Do I wish she would have stayed? Ultimately, I am going to say yes, because I would have preferred to fan the flames of the two sides.
Lily: Yeah, her leaving sort of put a damper on it, and a Christmas eviction would've been hilarious.
Lily: Okay, first houseguest who’s still here to discuss (and one I personally really like): Alex! What are strengths of Alex’s game? I’d say Alex is a strong competitor who’s gotten herself into a “leader” position in the “outsiders” alliance (though I hate the term because I just think of them more as rebels than outsiders, per se). She knows how to talk to people who are loyal to her, and she’s generally friendly with the other people in the house not in her alliance.
Ryan: Alex has been a surprise for me. As for strengths, she definitely has a physical prowess in relation to most of the girls and some of the guys. She claims to be a superfan (I am not convinced) but she does seem to have a head for the game. I think some early bumps in the road proved to be problematic, and she has learned from that. I like that she is the "leader" of the what we're going to call the rebels from now on (I personally also like the resistance). She seems to be friendly with everyone and that could help her if she continues to build connections.
Lily: Yeah the girls in the Pretty People alliance (as I call them) don’t say catty things about her; they just think she’s a threat, which means she’s played that social game well from just a “living in a house together” standpoint. You bring up a great point though about some bumps in the road for her during week 1: What were some of her weaknesses?
Ryan: I really like how blunt Alex can be, but I think that is the reason she was initially targeted, and I think it will continue to get her in some sticky situations. It’s never good to start the game being on the outs, but if you can survive a round or two (or just a week in BB19) the majority alliance will combust, and hopefully Alex can pick up some solid allies.
Lily: I’d say Alex’s biggest weakness week 1 is that she has a feisty personality, so she played what should be a week 6–8 game during week 1. There was a lot going out of the gate, and that feistiness came across as a threat instead of a fun personality thing. I actually think her and Elena have similar spice, but Elena is playing more of the low-key “I’m not a threat” route. (We’ll get to Elena later, though.) And to your point about her picking up allies, she’s doing a good job of being around for people who are on the outs, like Cody and Jess, which I think is smart.
Ryan: The major example for me [of Alex coming on too strong] is when Cody was fishing for ANY REASON to keep her safe, and she was straight up said “I would go after you and your friends.” I DIED. In the early weeks you just say yes, just to have safety. You may never have to follow through with your agreement.
What She Needs to Do to Win
Ryan: As far as what Alex needs to do, she has already started picking up allies in the ragtag group of rebels. She’s close with Whistlenut, she’s mysteriously able to charm Cody, and she has even struck up a peace treaty with her biggest adversary, Jessica. I think if Alex can stay off the block, and continue to build her connections, she has a solid chance to go far. She has the added bonus of having a fighting chance in the majority of the competitions as well.
Lily: I think Alex needs to tone down the rhetoric for a couple more weeks and more importantly, build stronger connections with the other side of the house. If she can get two or three other solid low-key allies on that side who feel a personal attachment to her, she’d be in a much better spot. Until she does that, she’ll be on the block any time someone in the Pretty People alliance wins HOH.
Ryan: Alex was someone who I found annoying coming into this season, and I cannot deal with some of the DRs she has, but admittedly, she has grown on me. I’d like to see her stick around and stick it to the Pretty People.
Lily: I personally love the strange kinship between her and Whistlenut. The fact that she was able to build strong bonds with military vet Cody, weird rodeo guy Jason/Whistlenut, socially awkward whiz kid Ramses, and milquetoast Jillian says a lot. I just think she needs to apply that to a few other people. Random question: Who in the Pretty People alliance should she try to align with?
Ryan: In a perfect world, she would get in good with Christmas, Dominique, and Elena. Have an undercover girl group, but we can’t have nice things in Big Brother, and that includes a dominant female alliance.
Lily: Yeah, Christmas, Dom, and Alex are all alpha personalities, so they wouldn’t mesh well.
Ryan: But imagine the possibilities! If I can’t have my dream female alliance, then I say try to get close with Paul. He’s the kingpin right now (I’m disgusted I even typed this).
Lily: Oh yeah, we’ll get to Paul in a little bit. Oof.
Ryan: Christmas is a crossfitter, an entrepreneur, an author, a friend to the military, a holiday, an inspiration, a motivational speaker, a rider of cowboys. Oh, sorry. You wanted to know strengths.
Ryan: Though I joke about all the stuff Christmas has told us about herself, she is a huge physical threat (even with a broken foot) and VERY, VERY good at speaking with people.
Lily: Christmas could’ve been a physical competitor if not for her broken foot, but I think she could also potentially be a mental competitor as well (we’ve yet to see that in practice, however). I think in reality, Christmas’ biggest strength is that she plays up her charisma. She knows how to build that trust with people very quickly. She understands the impression she gives off, and she plays that to her advantage. This is also why I love having a cast with players who aren’t just 20-somethings: They’re more likely to be self-aware.
Ryan: I agree! Christmas is a social media influencer. That last word has a lot of meaning. With her experience, she has been able to read the other players in the game and provide to them what the need in a social bond.
Lily: So more interestingly, what are Christmas’ weaknesses? I definitely think right off the bat, I’d say her self-righteousness is a big one. I’d argue that after Dom and Paul, she’s the most self-righteous player in this game, and Jess was the first one to REALLY catch on to it since they’re locked in that bitter feud. That moral superiority could backfire if she lays it on too thick or tries it with the wrong people.
Ryan: Ugh, I could not agree more!
Lily: On that same note, she has to be careful bringing her faith and religiosity into the game.
Ryan: Christmas, though very perceptive and great with people, lacks a bit of clarity and self-awareness. A lot of her time is spent talking about how she runs her business, how she works with people, how she organizes her life, how she keeps commitments, how she gives back to charity, I could go on and on. It gets old fast. She uses a lot of it to connect with people initially but then she goes into Life Coach Mode, and it comes off very, very “holier than thou” to me.
Lily: Yeah, and I’ll talk about this more in the “other/opinions” section, but I’m shocked her and Dom haven’t butted heads so far since they’re SO SIMILAR in the self-righteous and religious game they’re trying to play.
What She Needs to Do to Win
Lily: Christmas needs to tone down the self-righteous and self-absorbed rhetoric and lay low, especially because she’s already telling people she won a temptation and spinning her wheels constantly about game talk. One thing she does have going for her and she needs to continue to do is keep larger targets in front of her.
Ryan: Christmas is very lucky game-wise that she has a broken foot. She immediately becomes less of a threat. Now she needs to balance that with her words. She cannot continue to go into war mode, or people will target her. She already has enemies, and it’s only a matter of time for her if she continues to stir the pot. She needs to calm down, focus on her relationships with Dominique, Elena, Paul, and Mark, and let others do the work for her.
Ryan: Okay, this may be controversial for many viewers of the show, but I am #TeamGrinch when it comes to Christmas.
Lily: What does that even mean?!
Ryan: She got a huge hype train coming into the show, and though I like that she is an older, wiser female competitor, she has continued to annoy me, and I CANNOT WAIT for the announcer guy to make a pun like “Christmas has been cancelled” or “So and so was the Grinch who kicked Christmas to the curb!”
Lily: O M G. Also, someone on the feeds keeps referring to her as “Labor Day” and I lose my shit every time.
Lily: Cody literally could’ve coasted for weeks on end: He’s a good-looking bro with a compelling story (military vet!) who got along great with everyone in his alliance. His ~mysterious~ personality at first was very charming.
Ryan: So, Cody’s strengths are that he is an android devoid of all human emotion, and is physically capable of winning every competition this season. And everything you just said about his mysterious charm.
Lily: His lack of human emotion and his actual social ineptitude are truly astounding. A-S-T-O-U-N-D-I-N-G.
Ryan: I kinda love it.
Ryan: So, Cody’s weaknesses are that he is an android devoid of all human emotion, and is physically capable of winning every competition this season. And he is completely unaware of how to work in a team.
Lily: I’d say Cody definitely has a hero complex. He wanted to be the big, bad newbie who took out the single returning player during WEEK 1.
Ryan: YES! Cody wants to be the ALPHA! And yes, I literally just changed strengths to weaknesses and added something new.
Lily: The funny part is, everyone in his alliance was very cool with him being alpha, and he STILL screwed it up!
Ryan: If this was any other season, his move to backdoor Paul would have been EPIC and Cody would be revered as a saint amongst Big Brother legends. But Cody literally took a lovely silver platter and chucked it out the window!
Lily: Unfortunately, [Big Brother producer Alison] Grodner has a hard-on for Paul, and here we are.
Ryan: Just another thing Cody is too good for: Selfies, emojis, Paul, silver platter first HoHs.
Lily: Also, Cody has spent all of his time either in the HOH room or in the Have-Not room with Jess. A big no-no on BB for a variety of reasons.
What He Needs to Do to Win
Lily: Okay, one of the most compelling questions: How on earth could Cody possibly win?
Ryan: Well, if everyone gets injured and Cody survives the Big Brother apocalypse, he could win. I really see no way Cody makes it to jury, let alone to the end of the game. It would require INTENSE self-reflection to realize he needs to rebuild all the bridges he burned, stop making waves, and just be a good person. I don’t think it’s possible.
Lily: Agreed. I think realistically, he’d need to somehow stay off the block this week, stop spending all of his time with Jess, fall on his sword and just admit he screwed up with his former alliance members, and stay out of the way for a few weeks. He’d need a page out of the Dan Gheesling playbook: If you’re a target at the beginning of the game, show that you’re an easy target who can be taken out later but that you can be used as a vote to get some other targets out. That also could be a compelling reason to keep him and Jess around (for their two votes). They’ve got nothing to lose.
Ryan: That is his best angle to work, remind EVERYONE how big of a target he and Jessica are, and try to offer an olive branch or two, or 12?
Lily: I mean, I don’t think it’d be the worst strategy at this point: Go to someone in the Pretty People alliance who’s itching to make a power move, and make a deal with them.
Lily: The one thing I need to mention: Cody’s transphobic remarks aren’t cool under any circumstances. He’s going to take a lot of heat when he gets out, and it’s well-deserved.
Ryan: Another controversial opinion, but I really love Cody on my screen. He is so far removed from a normal human being, that everything he does (sans his problematic language) is fascinating to me. Cody (and Jessica) are amazing Big Brother villains, and I want him to stick around for as long as possible. As long as Cody is there, there is entertainment to be had.
Lily: Yeah, that’s why I’m so sad he made those comments. He’s a great villain in such a weird way, and it’s a letdown when people do or say things that are actually terrible and you can no longer just bask in their reality TV villain hilariousness.
Ryan: She’s perfect, she’s beautiful, she looks like Linda Evangelista, she’s a model. I’m sorry, she’s just so refreshing, I just had to use the RuPaul quote.
Lily: What I love about Dom: She’s not only one of the most dynamic female contestants this show has had in a while, but she’s also one of the most dynamic black female contestants we’ve had in a very, very, VERY long time. She’s SMOOTH AS HELL.
Ryan: Dominique is IN THIS GAME. She has a calming presence about her that draws people in, and she latches on! She’s also extremely intelligent, and observes EVERYTHING. If you want to know something, go talk to Dominique. She has the capabilities to go very, very, very far just on her social strengths alone.
Lily: She also, for the most part, does a great job at keeping her mouth SHUT. Somehow, she gets people to give her information without having to give up a drop of intel. It’s impressive to watch her work some of these people.
Ryan: We’ve mentioned it before, but Dominique has a high horse, and it will most likely lead to a very hard fall.
Lily: Yeah, Dom has a serious self-righteousness issue, especially where her religion is concerned. She got all mob boss over the Mark/Elena situation (and basically created a scuffle where there didn’t need to be one), so I can see her paranoia mixing with that self-righteousness and getting the best of her.
Ryan: While she’s very good with her social connections, I feel like she’s her own worst enemy. She observes everything, but she does not always connect the right dots. Once she decides something is true, she is going to make it be true in her mind, and she’s going to try and get other people to believe it. Case in point, “We have an infiltrator among us.”
Lily: Oh totally. The person most likely to take out Dom in this game is Dom herself. I also think her religiosity will be an eventual weakness in this game. The whole “I spoke to God and He said this” thing will get on people’s nerves more and more. You can’t turn the Big Brother house into a treatise on religion.
Ryan: I totally agree. Another weakness I foresee for Dominique the dominator is that she does not appear to have a solid #1. She is competing with a few people to be in that spot with other contestants. She needs to claim a “ride or die” that someone else doesn’t share, or overturn that relationship.
Lily: Ohhhhh that’s an excellent point. For whatever reason, she keeps competing with people who already have a ride or die instead of looking for greener pastures. Maybe it’s the competitive nature inside of her. Like, I know Mark is Wreck-It Ralph, but he already had Elena. Why try and create drama there when he’s obviously going to pick the person he’s making out with and spooning?
Ryan: I do think that is her competitive nature coming out. She likes to win, and she is used to getting her way, so I think she sees Mark as a prize, like she will beat Elena in some way.
What She Needs to Do to Win
Ryan: Dominique is #7 in a seven-person alliance (and an alliance filled with pairs). She needs to keep doing what she's good at the next couple of rounds, and try not to get in her head. An opportunity to target one of the other three pairs will come up, and she can slide into that spot of the eventual evictee. She cannot let herself get wrapped up in paranoia! I see that as her biggest hurdle, and I hope she can overcome that and see the forest beyond the trees.
Lily: Yep, I think she also need to be careful about how she uses her religion to further herself in this game. Similar to Raven using her illness (which we talk about below), there’s a point at which people just aren’t going to buy it anymore, so she needs to make sure it doesn’t go from being a nice part of who she is to being something she’s swearing on when making game moves. That could get her in a ton of trouble both in the game as well as out of the house.
Lily: In terms of other thoughts, something interesting I wanted to note is how Dom definitely seems to have some very weird competitiveness towards all of the other women in her alliance. It’s the perfect example of why we can’t have nice things (including a female power alliance).
Ryan: I really enjoy Dominique for the most part. She’s smart, charismatic, seems like she has a head for the game, but you hit the nail on the head. She does not seem to really trust the other females in her alliance. She did say early on that “the girls” don’t like how close she is to their boyfriends, but that’s something she can control. She needs to remember this is a game for $500K, and she needs to be a best friend to Raven and Elena, at least until she can make a move.
Lily: In reality, none of those girls have mentioned feeling threatened. They just get very confused when Dom starts acting aggressive all of a sudden. She got snappy with Elena a few days ago after she unsuccessfully attempted to convince Mark to separate from Elena and become her number two, and Elena was just like, “Am I missing something…?”
Ryan: Yeah, not a good look. I think it’s something she’s been able to get better at as she gets to know these girls more, and I have only the highest (maybe even the most heavenly) expectations for Dominique. I really want her to be the dominator she’s been hyping up!
Lily: Okay, so onto someone who I know is a favorite of yours, Elena. What are some strengths of Elena’s game?
Ryan: Oh, I am a huge Elena fan, but I have listened to her radio segments for years now. I’ll try to remain critical!
Lily: I’ve told you this before, but I think Elena is playing a very Meg Maley (from BB17) game, at least at the start, in that she’s non-threatening and fun. I do think she’s smarter than Meg Maley though, so that bodes well for her.
Ryan: Elena’s biggest strengths are her social connections. She’s very light-hearted, and has good relationships with most of the other contestants. She also has an interesting point of view by considering where she stands in relation to other people’s connections. I’ve heard her several times describe “I know I am good with so-and-so, but where am I in relation to this person?”
Lily: Yeah, she has a grasp on something that so many other houseguests struggle with: The idea that other people may be lying to her and have stronger connections than they lead on.
Ryan: Yes! Elena seems to understand the social dynamics, and tries to work those in her favor.
Lily: And on the flip side, in terms of Elena’s weaknesses, I’d say first and foremost, she’s an incredibly self-absorbed player, and that’s starting to rub people the wrong way. For example, after Cody’s botched move to get Paul on the block during week one, she couldn’t shut up about how “selfish” his move was and how it impacted HER. In reality, Elena was probably the person least screwed over by Cody’s decision, and it really didn’t impact her game whatsoever.
Ryan: I agree. She has the “gift of gab” but sometimes that can hurt you more than help you. I understand she was trying to emphasize that she too feels betrayed to remain good with Paul and Christmas, but she really went overboard with that. She has a couple of other weaknesses as well, mainly her blind loyalty to Paul, and her inability to keep Mark’s attention and loyalty. She has a decent amount of social capital in the house, but I think her not questioning Paul’s motives and not keeping Mark as close will hurt her in the long run.
Lily: I was just about to comment that like Meg Maley, she’s teetering on edge between being a good strategic but non-threatening player and turning into a perpetual pawn for bigger players.
Ryan: And FINALLY, Elena’s social game is a double-edged sword because she is one of the few houseguests that maintains a relationship with Ramses. Dominique in particular is trying to throw as much culpability onto Elena because of the Ramses relationship.
What She Needs to Do to Win
Ryan: I think Elena needs to continue to be fun and build connections. It would help her IMMENSELY if she took the time to listen a little more, so that she can understand the point of views of the other contestants. She also needs to realize that Paul is not someone to hitch your wagon to. She is really one of the few players I think could implement a decent floater strategy if she stopped being blindly loyal to Paul.
Lily: I think she’s someone who could actually use a shake-up in her alliance, because perhaps it’d force her to see what’s actually there. She definitely needs to be careful not to veer into perpetual pawn mode (or become a Pawn Star, as you call it). I’d also say that in addition to being blindly loyal to Paul, she needs to distance herself from Christmas as well as parrots Matt and Raven and find some more allies that are her own connections. The big question, of course, is how she does that without a Ramses situation.
Ryan: Yeah, Elena will be interesting to watch. I think she’ll be more of a player than a pawn, but only time will tell. That’s the beauty of Big Brother, each week, the HOH can reshuffle the playing field.
Lily: I think we won’t know which category she falls into until 1) someone she’s DEFINITELY not aligned with is in power (and had closer connections to other people in the Pretty People alliance), and/or 2) she’s on the block herself. For example, what the hell would she do if Jess was HOH? She’s made it clear to Jess that she doesn’t like her and has gone out of her way to be rude to her with the other girls, so that’d be a real test.
Ryan: Well, I don’t want to spoil with the feeds, but I would love a Jessica HoH at this point.
Lily: Spoil away!
Ryan: Well, to talk a little about dynamics in the game, Jessica has stated that she would put up Christmas and Raven is she won HoH. Now, this could have been in a fit of anger, and this could change if she did win, but I would LOVE if this was the action she followed through with as HoH.
Lily: Oh, I’d die. Elena would also die.
Ryan: So yes, a Jessica HoH would be a good test for Elena. Could she rebuild that bridge? Would Jessica be open to rekindle the relationship? We’ll have to wait and see.
Lily: Getting into other opinions, I want to talk about the love quadrilateral or tetrahedron that Elena finds herself in. Her and Mark make up the “Marlena” showmance, but we know they have as much passion as a toenail. Dom also has a weird obsession with Mark, which I wouldn’t characterize as sexual or romantic, but she’s obsessed with getting him to pick her as his ride or die over Elena. Meanwhile, we all know that Elena and Matt want to bone, but Matt decided, for reasons we don’t understand [because the feeds weren’t live during the first couple of days], to enter into a showmance with Raven. Matt and Raven also have the chemistry level of a human toenail, but I think Matt feels trapped because he’s so afraid of hurting Raven because of her illness (we’ll get to Raven using her illness as a game move later). Oh and also, Elena and Raven are “besties.” Oof, there’s a lot of tea there.
Ryan: Let’s try to unpack this one step at a time. Marlena, where to start with this? This is where the first week of feeds would really help out. I have no idea how Marlena or Maven became to be. I think the Marlena showmance is a bad idea for both of them going forward. Mark’s Therapist, Dom, preys (and prays, let’s be real) on Mark’s emotions to cast doubt in that relationship. Elena just doesn’t want to progress or label it as anything. She’s trying to maintain that relationship and her game, and it’s not working very well.
Lily: Let’s also be real: There’s not much upstairs when it comes to Mark, whereas I believe Elena at least has some depth, not to mention the ability to play this game with strategy and not just emotions. Say what you want about Cody and Jess, but they’re on the same page in terms of how they play the game (even if we think it’s dumb), which makes for a good partnership. Mark and Elena play the game entirely differently, and I think they both regret getting into this showmance without realizing that their strategies and goals just aren’t compatible. On top of that, Elena is sooooo worried about what other people think of her, when she just needs to get over the fact that some people aren’t going to like her. That’s just how the game works.
Ryan: *standing ovation*
Lily: Thank ya, thank ya. So, let’s talk Dom and Mark and Elena.
Lily: I’m going to laugh if Dom’s obsession with Mark is the end of her game.
Ryan: I really, really have high hopes for Dominique, but she is so wrapped up in trying to destroy Elena in Mark’s mind, that it’s downright frustrating.
Lily: It’s perplexing, quite frankly.
Ryan: Ok, so we know that Dominique likes Mark a bit, and uses the “he’s like my brother” to try and compartmentalize it, but Elena hasn’t really done much to warrant what I would call jealousy.
Lily: Like I said, I don’t think Dom likes Mark in a romantic way, but I think 1) she does have some issues with other women in general, and 2) she’s convinced herself that Mark is the perfect pawn for her game. I also think Elena would be relieved if someone else took Mark off of her hands.
Ryan: Dominique has told Mark she did feel something for him, and that’s why she started referring to him as her brother. But I agree with your other points, Dominique is not jiving with Elena and wants Mark to herself in this game. It’s crazy because Elena would probably thinks she has a good relationship with Dominique.
Lily: I think it’s a huge mistake because Mark’s emotions blow with the wind. And then the other half of this is the incredibly obvious Elena-Matt connection with Raven sort of waddling behind. What do we even make of that?
Ryan: I think if Elena was able to choose, she’d pick Matt. But because that ship has sailed with Raven at the helm, Elena really relies on Matt as her closest ally. It helps to have someone like Matt who is logical for the most part bounce off what they see is happening in the game. Then Raven comes in to parrot everything.
Lily: In that case, I think Elena will someday have to admit to herself that getting rid of Raven is great for her own game. I also think it’s only a matter of time before Raven gets suspicious and starts gossiping. We know Raven is a gigantic gossip, and there’s no doubt she’ll tell other people that Elena and Matt are too close.
Ryan: Getting rid of Raven is good for everyone, but it will be tough to be the one who does it. If they maintain their “besties” state, then it may be a while unless something happens that is unfavorable to Raven.
Lily: They’d rather Elena go up as a pawn before Raven, which is to Elena’s detriment.
Ryan: Jason is athletic?
Lily: I’d say Jason’s kind of a weird but likable dude in that rural country sort of way. And yes, athletic. I’d say he’s a real long shot to win, though.
Ryan: That’s all I have for Jason really, he’s a guy who is kinda funny who is there.
Lily: Weaknesses-wise, I’d say Jason lacks zero strategic chops, and he’s very, VERY spastic. He runs around the house like a chicken with his head cut off the second anyone starts talking game with him. Alex has spent half of her time in this house trying to keep Jason’s head on straight.
Ryan: He’s SO BAD. You tell him information, and not to say anything, and it’s like he can only run to everyone and say the important information! Poor Alex, she’s trying so hard with this one.
Lily: The other problem is, unlike someone like Raven who I think is only slightly better strategically, he lacks a compelling story that can endear him to people.
What He Needs to Do to Win
Lily: He has a snowball's chance in hell of winning, but what would he need to do if he wanted to go for the $500k?
Ryan: He’s a clown. He needs to dial it WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY DOWN, stop being so suspicious and work on making a deal with some of the Pretty People. He’s a top priority for them, so if he continues down this trajectory, he’ll be gone soon.
Lily: At this point, he needs to be like Cody and take that same page from the Dan Gheesling playbook: Offer yourself as a loyal vote for the time being, fly under the radar, and work on building connections.
Ryan: I think his nickname is funny. Oh, Whistlenut.
Lily: Same. He’s also made a number of problematic statements during his time in the house. None were lobbied at houseguests or anything, but it’s obvious he has no filter and isn’t use to policing his language at home. But shout out to Kevin and Alex, who have pulled him aside at different times and explained to him why not to use that language.
Ryan: Again, oh Whistlenut.
Ryan: I think somewhere there is some strategic acumen in Jessica.
Lily: I strongly believe that if she hadn’t entered a showmance, she could’ve actually be a decently astute strategic mind. She made some game talk comments pre-Cody blowup during week 1 that were pretty on point. She’s also relatively athletic, and I’m equally interested to see how she’d handle a mental comp or any of those random crapshoot comps.
Ryan: I actually feel like Jessica could be a real threat in this game. We’ll get into her showmance with Cody in a bit, but pre-game, she had the makings of another Janelle-esque player.
Lily: Okay, I think we can talk about this one forever. What are Jess’ weaknesses? First and foremost, that damn showmance. She didn’t need one, and she’s way too loyal to her man and is putting his shit game before her own game. He’s even TOLD HER to go play her own game and she refuses.
Ryan: Her biggest weakness in this game is Cody. She was set up so well in the Pretty People alliance, but once Cody threw a grenade into the mix, she decided to stand by him. Now, she’s making bad decisions because she wants to remain loyal to him, so she’s withdrawing from the group, spending all her time with Cody, and not trying to build connections.
Lily: Jess, like Cody, was set to slide by to at least mid-jury. She’s a conventionally attractive woman who’s not particularly controversial and isn’t a gigantic physical threat. But we’ve talked about this: She’s a pretty girl who probably hasn’t had many things in life not go her way, and I’m assuming she’s never been on the actual outs in her entire life. That fact is making her shut down entirely instead of rising to the occasion. This is where I see an interesting juxtaposition to Alex: Jessica shit-talked Alex constantly during week one, which made Alex work harder while staying kind. Jessica is getting similar treatment now and is completely crumbling. Also, while I ate up Jess’ explosive confrontation with Christmas on live TV (and everything she said about Christmas was pretty dead-on), the girl has a huge ego and doesn’t know when to shut up and issue a fake-as-hell apology to former allies.
Ryan: The dichotomy of Alex and Jessica is actually fascinating. Especially now that they have been painted into the same side of the house. I actually loved the blow up on Christmas. It was not a good look in the moment, but Christmas was exposed to be lying about what she was saying.
Lily: Unfortunately, I don’t think any of Christmas’ allies took Jess’ words to heart, even though they were so true. To be honest, I’d love to see an Alex/Jess alliance similar to Jun/Alison from season 4. They hated each other, but they realized they could unite and take out common enemies.
Ryan: Omg, that would be flippin’ fantastic!!! And I agree, Christmas’ allies may not have picked up on it, but she is high on the rebels’ radar.
What She Needs to Do to Win
Lily: First of all, she needs to snap out of it and start building damn connections. As much I know she hates Paul and isn’t falling for his BS, he tried to reach out to her this week, and she completely shot him down. Jess, you don’t need to be loyal to Paul forever! Kiss his ass while he has that HOH key around his neck.
Ryan: Jessica needs to humble herself. She needs to admit that she was wrong in standing by Cody and try to rebuild some of these connections. We would love to see Jessica/Alex team up. I agree Jessica could work with Paul short-term, and possibly reconnect with Matt. I think she will have to put in work with some of the girls if she wants to go far. It’s all up to her, because I think she’s capable of doing it.
Lily: Same. Also, it’s only a matter of time before the Pretty People alliance turns on members like Christmas and Dom and need some assistance with their evictions. Everyone knows Jess hates Christmas, for example, and she could say, “Hey, I know we went through some rocky times, but when you need help getting Christmas out, I’m game.”
Ryan: I like the idea of Jessica as a villain, and I hope she gets a chance to really play in this game. She was one of the most dynamic players coming in pre-game, and I think she could be a future all-star. IT ALL DEPENDS ON HER.
Lily: He’s relatively athletic. That’s about it.
Ryan: Is he athletic? I’m not so sure. I think Josh’s biggest strength is that he is dysfunctional, so nobody sees him as a threat.
Lily: Being a non-threat is indeed a strength.
Ryan: He’s completely inept at this game. He came in thinking he was going to be this big shot, and he’s been a big flop.
Lily: Josh was meant to be the season 19 equivalent of BB16’s Devin, who blows up in the first couple weeks of the game. That’s literally why he was cast.
Ryan: The Devin comparison is really good.
Lily: He’s another one who I’m sure screen-tested well but whom producers couldn’t have predicted would crumble within minutes of entering the game. Literal MINUTES.
Ryan: Instead of getting the crazy Devin, we got the Devin after being put up for eviction immediately.
What He Needs to Do to Win
Lily: I’m thinking a twin twist where he has a calmer sibling waiting in the wings is what he needs at this point to win.
Ryan: If Josh were to win BB19, that would mean this season was a complete hot mess, and I’d probably really enjoy it. But I don’t think Josh can win, in any way.
Ryan: “He’s a good person. He has a family.”
Lily: I will say what we saw of his blow-out against Megan was complete bullshit. He's a bully.
Lily: Number one, he’s absolutely hilarious. Everyone in the house loves him, to the point where Alex can’t imagine that he turned on their alliance and voted out Jillian (which he did).
Ryan: Kevin is the best.
Lily: Number two, the whole “I’m an old guy who wandered onto this lot and they just threw me in here!” schtick is a great strategic move, even though I think that’s just his personality.
Ryan: I really like Kevin’s game so far, and I hope it’s all been intentional. He’s a smooth operator and is held in high regards with most of the houseguests. He is a great storyteller, but on top of that, he asks questions about the other houseguests, and that is building solid connections with everyone.
Lily: He’s the perfect mix of a supportive father figure and the crazy drunk uncle.
Ryan: I think Kevin will be easily duped. He seems to know the understandings in the house, but he’s not in the inner circle. He’s basically a pawn in this chess game.
Lily: Yeah, the fact that he also doesn’t understand the simple mechanics of the game at all is a huge weakness here. He doesn’t get that it’s a chess game, and he seemed genuinely upset after Paul won the HOH and he realized that keeping Christmas and getting rid of Jillian wasn’t good for his own game or the game of the people he’s closest to.
Ryan: He’s one of those players everyone thinks they have, and I think that will come back to haunt him. Someone will be feel burned by Kevin at some point.
Lily: Oh yeah, big time. I could totally see him accidentally winning an HOH and it being the end of his game.
What He Needs to Do to Win
Ryan: He should play up his age and his lovability. I’m not sure if Kevin can win with strategy, but if he gets to the end with someone who is unlikable, he could pull out a win a la Jordan Lloyd.
Lily: I think it’s a fine line though: He needs someone who’s inept at strategy like him but ill-liked (like Jason) and not someone who wasn’t liked but could easily argue played a great game. He also needs to draw some lines in the sand soon.
Ryan: Yeah, it really depends on how the game goes, and if it’s more personal or more strategic.
Lily: I think Kevin is comfortably in first place for America’s Favorite Player.
Ryan: I want more Kevin on my screen, on my feeds, in merman outfits, he’s great. Truly epic casting here. And yes, go ahead and put Kevin in as AFP right now.
Lily: So, what are some of Wreck-It Ralph’s strengths?
Ryan: Mark is strong and likeable, he’s not some giant douchebro like people might assume. And for the most part, he’s fun.
Lily: Yes, he’s got all the trappings of the lovable bro who doesn’t have much going on strategy-wise. He’s also very generally well-liked. At worst, people just don’t have him on their radar; the rebel alliance have never singled him out as a bad person or someone they want to get out ASAP.
Ryan: He is SO EMOTIONAL!
Lily: The dude needs to CHILL. That Dom/Elena triangle is going to get him in some trouble. What’s stopping anyone from saying, “Hey, let’s just get the guy out who’s in the middle of it all?”
Ryan: Mark is in touch with his sensitive side, and that’s wonderful, but it will cloud his judgment in this game. And like we’ve mentioned before, Mark really does not have many original thoughts to stand on, between Elena and Dom. He’s an easy target, in my opinion, if someone wants to take out a threat without getting much blowback.
Lily: Plus, Dom and Elena would never be working together if it wasn’t for Mark. If I wanted Dom or Elena to be more loyal to me and my alliance, I’d go after Mark instead of the woman.
What He Needs to Do to Win
Lily: He needs to reach out to the rebels alliance; he has ZERO connections over there, so his game hinges on his alliance always being in power and him never going up.
Ryan: Mark needs to separate himself from both Dom and Elena. He should try to reinforce his relationships with the guys in the house, build connections with Kevin/Josh/Jason and continue to coast on his likeability.
Lily: He can easily make it to mid-jury if he doesn’t let these women take him down.
Ryan: He really needs to grow a pair. He’s talking about how Elena doesn’t respond to him well, or doesn’t provide much back in terms of building a relationship. They’ve only known each other for three weeks! Let’s hold off on the wedding and kids! It’s shades of Beast Mode Cowboy in some regards. LOL.
Lily: Also like, y’all met on a reality show where thousands of people are watching your every move. Cool it.
Ryan: Matt is sooooooooooooooooooooooo dreamy!
Lily: Matt’s strengths are similar to Mark’s: He a nice bro who’s easy on the eyes and doesn’t make waves.
Ryan: Matt also seems to observe and listen a lot more, which is why Elena prefers to talk game with him over Mark.
Lily: Yep, I don’t think there’s much upstairs, and that means he takes direction well. There’s also less emotional see-sawing than Mark, which makes him better at fulfilling the role of loyal foot soldier.
Lily: Matt doesn't seem to have any strategic chops, and he just repeats what other players say.
Ryan: While Matt is a great listener and he can be charming when he needs to be, he does not provide much in terms of game talk, strategy, or entertainment. He’s basically furniture for all I care.
Lily: Quite frankly, I think he’s sort of dud casting.
What He Needs to Do to Win
Lily: First and foremost, [he needs to] not be sitting next to his showmance Raven in the end.
Ryan: Matt fits the hot guy who will not wear a shirt quota, so that’s a plus for him. He’s super likable in the house, so if he could just coast on some of the other strategic decisions his alliance makes, he is can be set up to win a few crucial competitions and remove stronger players.
Lily: Like Mark, I think he’s set until around mid-jury. He just needs to be cutthroat when it gets to the last third of the game if he makes it that far.
Ryan: I want him to stop hanging around Raven and stop wearing shirts.
Lily: I think he needs to be careful with Raven; that’s a pretty delicate situation, and I’m sure if we asked him, he’d admit he regretted flirting with her and getting into that pairing. He’s already said he’ll fall on his sword to further her game, and that’s a pretty dangerous (and huge) claim to make so publicly.
Ryan: I hate it. If that’s the case, just pack up and leave now. Cameron would like to come play.
Ryan: UGHHHH. Sorry, I just had to get that out of my system.
Lily: On top of the fact that Paul’s biggest strength is that he’s a returning player, he has Grodner in his back pocket helping him along the way. People can disagree with me, but three weeks of immunity is ridiculous.
Ryan: Paul’s strengths include experience, status, and of course, being a favorite of production. Production knew that Paul would get that first temptation, but this is very similar to a twist that happened in BBCAN5 this spring, and it did not end well for that vet. I’m sure if you’re not familiar with the season, you’ve seen on Twitter, “I hope Paul gets Neda’d.”
Lily: To recap for people reading who don’t watch Big Brother Canada, during season 5 (vets versus newbies), a returning player named Neda got immunity for five weeks via a vote from Canada, proceeded to play a “DOING THE MOST” game, and was evicted as soon as her immunity was up.
Ryan: But not to run away with everything that annoys the living daylights out of me, Paul is charming and he is able to convince the sheep to follow him blindly. That’s gotta be worth something. On top of that, he’s pretty good at the competitions. He’s doing a fairly decent job at insulating himself and identifying public targets for his Pretty People sheep.
Lily: In terms of his actual gameplay, I’ll give credit where credit is due: To use a quote from Zoolander, “This guy could take two craps, wrap them in tin foil, and attach them to fishhooks and the queen would wear them.” Paul is charismatic AF, and people are scarfing down the flaming pile of shit he’s offering. He also has a great read on people: He know that many members of the Pretty People alliance don't have much going on upstairs and will blindly follow him, and he understands that he needs to keep the rebels alliance at a distance while still building connections with them. He’s pretty much the only member of the Pretty People alliance who’s building connections with EVERYONE, because he knows he’ll need them when his immunity is up. He knows he’s at the bottom of his alliance.
Ryan: Paul has been really good at keeping a couple of people closer to him, and he’s already planting seeds against players he sees as threatening, whether they are in his alliance or not.
Ryan: Paul has one incredibly huge weakness: his ego.
Lily: Paul believes he's God's gift to the Earth, and he just can't help himself when it comes to his ego. Additionally, when his ego takes over and he goes full id, he can really turn into a bully, and that’s not good. I was NOT a fan of the “I’m going to shove Ramses’ glasses up his ass” comment.
Ryan: Well Paul has made a few questionable comments, also falling into using derogatory language against the Transgender community. So we can add problematic to the list. When he gets into a fury, he leaves nothing but damage in his wake. He vetsplains to the other contestants, constantly talks about how he almost won, how he’s the best player there, and everything is filled with condescension and superiority. It’s such a bad look.
Lily: Oh god, the incessant vetsplaining. Bro, you screwed up your entire flawed game during your final speech to the jury. You lost to NICOLE. Also, his entire gameplay hinges on him talking so fast and spinning his wheels to the point where other people don’t question him. The problem is when they start to poke holes in his stories and they fall flat.
What He Needs to Do to Win
Ryan: He needs to continue to plot people against each other and build his loyalties. It’s a longshot for Paul to win in my opinion. The way he’s navigating this game, someone is going to call him on his shit eventually. If he continues to create public targets and make connections, we can see Paul sitting at the F2 again.
Lily: He also needs to know when to check his ego at the door. I know he hates to rely on trust, but that’s what he’s asking other people to do with him, and they’ll happily kick him to the curb if he doesn’t show them the same courtesy. I feel like his path to winning is pretty straightforward in terms of his own actions, though.
Lily: I personally think this season would’ve been great without Paul. Grodner and her production team have to have more faith in original casts and their casting crew.
Ryan: I agree about the cast, Lily. I really hate that they brought Paul back (still). It’s like we had this awesome relationship, we ended things on good terms, and now that we’re taking a second crack at things, we are noticing all the issues that were not apparent the first time around. It sucks because I really loved Paul in BB18, but I can’t even pretend to support him this season.
Lily: I think Paul will also be disappointed to learn that his stock will go down after this season. Players are more likely to become more hated after their returning seasons than more loved (this isn’t a Kelley Wentworth a la Survivor sitch), so he’ll be pretty disillusioned when he gets out.
Ryan: Awwww, sweet baby Ramses. Ramses, as a superfan, probably has a strong understanding of the game, but I can’t really suggest more because he’s not very visible.
Lily: He was good at building up initial connections with people.
Lily: What I find most hilarious about Ramses is that his social awkwardness keeps being confused as shady behavior. He’ll awkwardly walk into a room and then just kinda wander out because I don’t think he knows how to interact, and then, next thing you know, Mark is yelling, “HE’S A SNAKE!!!!!”
Ryan: Ramses is young. In a cast that is atypically older, he stands out in a bad way. He is more socially awkward than he is deceitful, but he’s not playing the game very well. I think he is trying to emulate Andy Herren of BB15, but much much worse. He even tried to start a rumor about a skywriter, and it caught up to him! What’s worst is, even his closest alliance members have faltered in trusting him because he comes off so sneaky.
Lily: Yeah I think he’s trying to use something between a floater and a coaster strategy, and neither is working for him. He just doesn’t have the social graces to be able to play either type of game. More than anything, I think he doesn’t understand how he’s perceived; he’s too focused on how he’d like to be perceived and didn’t factor that in when picking a strategy.
What He Needs to Do to Win
Lily: He needs to play up the lovable-but-transparent little kid route. That’s what people saw him as, and I think part of their distrust stems from the fact that he doesn’t fit the stereotype other houseguests laid out for him.
Ryan: He needs to realized how others perceive and try to change that perception among the other contestants. He needs to try and be the little kid brother so that people feel more protective over him instead of annoyed by his antics. If he can start changing how others see him, he can bring value as a number. The end game is where Ramses can shine because those challenges are designed for players like him.
Lily: Exactly. And in terms of building those connections, he needs to repair the connections he already has and then work on finding common ground with people he hasn’t interacted with much. At the same time, he can’t connect with other scheming players; that’s why him and Dom were such a disaster.
Ryan: I hope Ramses finds a way out of this situation. He seems to have a good read on a few people (Raven, Mark, Dom), and I think he could prove to be a valuable asset to other players.
Lily: He’s also had some funny DRs.
Ryan: I would say Raven’s current strengths are her position in her alliance, and the fact that she’s probably not on anybody’s radar, (but mine for annoyance).
Lily: Raven’s a solid alliance member and plays up the “sweet Southern girl” personality type very, very well. As two people from the South, we’re not buying it, but people from elsewhere in the country eat that shit up.
Ryan: We’re Elenas in this case. We know people like Raven, and we know there’s more than meets the eye.
Lily: What do you mean Elenas?
Ryan: In the premiere, Elena was like “I’m Southern too, but more like shotgunning a beer Southern, while Raven is sippin’ sweet tea Southern.” But yes, she’s well insulated within the Pretty People’s alliance, and unless things are completely unfavorable for her, Raven should be sitting pretty.
Lily: Good point. Agreed.
Ryan: Her cooking.
Lily: TOO REAL. One of the best convos between Cody and Jess was talking about how bad her cooking is.
Ryan: I feel like she’s a bad representation of the South and I feel the need to tell people WE KNOW HOW TO COOK!
Lily: On a more serious note, while Raven is a solid alliance member in a big group, she doesn’t really contribute much to the alliance. She literally just repeats what other people say (seriously, y’all, listen to her on the feeds!) and isn’t a competition beast who can pull her weight on that front. She’s good for a vote. She also has a bad case of self-righteousness that needs to be dealt with. Like, second tier after Dom, Christmas, and Paul.
Ryan: Other weaknesses include being a gossip (truly Southern to the core), and though she is well-insulated within her alliance, I would say she’s easy fodder, if the alliance had to give up somebody.
Lily: She’s definitely very, very reckless with her gossiping.
Ryan: It’s not that she’s even trying to be a gossip, she’s just a talker (like Elena), but she’s not as careful with who she’s talking to, or what she’s talking about, and that will get her in trouble eventually.
Lily: Yeah last week on the feeds, she started saying Jess couldn’t be trusted even before the alliance blew up. It’s only a matter of time before she says the wrong things to the wrong people.
What She Needs to Do to Win
Ryan: She needs to stay in the shadows, and talk less. Raven actually has a fairly decent chance to win (at this point in the game) because a lot of people feel for her cause. If she can keep up her Southern charm and end up in a F2 seat against someone on the same level as her, she could take this thing.
Lily: Yeah the biggest thing she has to keep an eye on is making sure big players don’t make it further than her. For example, I think Jillian would’ve been a great F2 match-up for Raven because everyone would vote for Raven over Jillian. Matt might also be a good one, but it really depends on his game.
Lily: Okay so for other thoughts and opinions, I obviously want to talk about Raven using her illness, gastroparesis, as a game move. I have MANY #thoughts, as we both know. So, I think there’s some good and some bad in here. On the one hand, I do think it’s great that there’s visibility for someone with a chronic illness on a show like Big Brother, especially because we get to watch these contestants 24/7. We can see Raven’s daily struggles and triumphs, and I think that’s important for the disability movement. Listening to her have those conversations with other people is important for public discourse; she told the other houseguests one day about how she needs to get a hysterectomy due to her illness and is therefore trying to freeze her eggs, and I remember thinking about what an important conversation that was for any sort of show.
But what leaves me weary is, Raven keeps using her illness to further herself in this game, but she won’t own up to it. She’ll happily listen to people (mostly men) tell her they’ll get her to the end to support her cause, and I think that’s definitely at odds with the idea many people in the disability rights movement have about people with disabilities being able to do things on their own and not being treated like [they’re] helpless. She’s playing up that stereotype, and it’s not particularly empowering to see her essentially hinting that she needs a bunch of men to get her to the end because she’s weak.
On a more social game note, she brings [her illness] up a lot and for no reason, and as Ramses mentioned on the feeds one day, she can’t help but bring it up constantly and make every conversation about herself. I do feel for Raven a little bit though socially; she seems like someone who's been very isolated and probably doesn't necessarily interact with people like those on the show often (or at all).
Ryan: I like to use the word saccharine with Raven. She is one of those people I would say is sickly sweet. She’s too happy for my liking, and I instantly question her as a person. I agree with you that it is FANTASTIC that she is raising awareness for her disease, but she is pouring it on strong. If she’s not parroting her way through a group conversation, it seems like that’s all she talks about. Ramses even clocked her on it! I believe she has good intentions, but I do think she’s using it as a crutch to move further through the game. I think she’s well-intentioned and maybe too sweet, probably hitting on your point she’s not as socially mature or experienced, but ultimately, I’m not on the bun bandwagon.
Lily: She’s also a case of casual viewers of the TV show liking her a lot more than live feeds viewers. She’s further down in the Jokers houseguest poll than I think she would be if it was a poll for casual viewers. She’s the lowest ranking member of her alliance as of today (day 19).
Ryan: We’re real cutthroat in these BB Streets. It also doesn’t help that she looks like a different person every time she’s on feeds. I think we’re up to like four or five unique looks.
Lily: Yeah and it’s not that I don’t like them, they’re just very, VERY different from one another!