Big Brother 21? Remember that? When the majority of HouseGuests who were People of Color were not only eliminated first but forced to be segregated to a room on the other side of the house? It was a bad look, a really bad look that caused Julie Chen to go BB15 on their asses and show oddly edited clips of alleged racism.
CBS announced a changed that at least 50% of their reality casts would be people of color from now on. That change doesn’t go into effect until the 2021-2022 season that begins in September, though, so many fans were wondering what we would be in for. But, then, something magical happened and we all learned that Robin Kass wasn’t casting this season. The last time that happened was for Big Brother: Over the Top, and the results were magical.
When BB23 started, we discovered that we had been blessed by–at the least–a pretty decent cast. On top of that blessing, we got day one feeds so we could witness the early alliance formations. One of these alliances is The Cookout. They seemingly formed to ensure that this season wouldn’t be a repeat of past seasons where the people of color are alienated and then eliminated pretty early on.
Sounds Great, What’s the Problem?
The reasoning behind the alliance is solid. You also can’t play a game based on the hope that the future will be better. You have to play it based on how you have seen it played before.
So, to be quite honest, they sort of had to create this alliance. They could not play Big Brother this year and hope that a bigger number of people of color would erase the tendencies seen in past seasons. In essence, the game of Big Brother has dramatically changed–for the better.
Let’s be incredibly clear here, any existential problems with The Cookout are not the fault of any member of the alliance. Their goal isn’t “get out all the white people”, it’s “have each other’s backs because in the past people of color have been grouped together with each other no matter what, and then targeted because of that.”
The Actual Problems
How do you talk about Big Brother? It’s always good to talk about your interest with other people into the same thing. Me? I was a BB Tumblr person until that platform lost favor. As someone sho joined Twitter shortly after it launched, I’ve always followed the Live Feeds via that app–especially when I was too young and poor to actually watch the Live Feeds.
Let’s be honest, though. Big Brother Twitter is a fucking cesspool. As is the way on Twitter, the fans think that their opinion is the only opinion. The thing is, it’s been pretty calm over on #BB23 and the quiet makes me uneasy. Like that trite saying, it’s like a calm before the storm.
So, let’s go through a few possible issues that may come up because of us outside the house.
1. A white houseguest discovers The Cookout and tries to target them.
Yeah, if this happens it’s the Black HouseGuests vs. everyone else. That looks horrendous. These BB Twitter streets would become an all-out war zone. Log off and take a valium.
Could this actually happen? I don’t think so. For them to be discovered in time for anything to come of it, at least one of the members would have to turn on The Cookout, thus making the other side of the house not all-white. The BB Twitter streets would get bad, but not as bad.
2. The Cookout starts functioning as an actual alliance and explicitly targets all the non-black HouseGuests.
I think this one might actually happen. Once the teams twist ends, alliances can be a little less secretive. Right now, The Cookout is functioning more like a pact to not target or vote against each other while also trying to push the target off each out within their teams. The Cookout HoH’s so far have shown that the members are independent and have varying targets.
Making group decisions and targeting their former white (and Hispanic and Asian) allies to advance their goals would be a flip of the scrip that’s less “get out the white people” and more “save the black people.” That’s a very subtle but very important difference.
3. As the game goes on and the numbers go down, a white HouseGuest gets HoH and nominated two Cook Out members together by coincidence.
This one is a definite and BB Twitter will definitely label them as racist for no real reason. Bonus hatred from BB Twitter if that HoH is Whitney. And, I know it won’t be everyone, but topics on Twitter get very noisy and the angry people are persistent and loud.
4. The Cookout functions as a successful secret alliance and steam rolls it to the top 7.
There’s a possibility of this, but I think Claire, SB, DX, and even Christian and Alysa are a little too savvy at this point to not watch their backs and be thinking about the first allies they feel comfortable sacrificing. Plus, Tiffany and Kyland are in it to win it and they would 100% turn on The Cookout (only if they need to) before the top 7. Hell, with the Azah x Tiffany spats going on, that might happen pretty soon.
Anyway, there’s an audience for this outcome, but I enjoy shifts in power in a season and usually stop even watching feeds on seasons with a steamrolling alliance. Would BB19 have been bearable if Paul and his goons were people of color? Nah.
In the end, it’s important to not get ahead of yourself with this. I’ll readily admit that I let my brain run straight to “how will this impact next season?” or “I’m gonna be so heartbroken when X turns on Y.” Right now? It’s the end of Week 3 and Brent is going out after Travis and Brandon went out. I’ll take it and enjoy it–for now.