Big Brother #23: “The Cookout” Issue

In the past few days Twitter has come alive with complaints and comments about the only true large alliance remaining:  The Cookout.  Many fans, including me, has no issue with the alliance as they have managed to sustain their group and few outsiders have figured it out.  Others have been increasingly upset because Big Brother producers have allowed “People of Color” to align their side of the house to stay and run the house. The upset group feels that Big Brother should have done something to stop this or called the house guests on the alliance so that The Cookout was neutralized and the season would be more like previous seasons with the obvious winner.

Past History of the Alliances in Big Brother

The reason I don’t have a problem with this is because this season’s cast is more diverse and, excuse my pun, smarter.  When you enter a house with a large segment of the population equally divided not only by sex but ethnic backgrounds, it makes for a more interesting game.  For the past few years, we have had to deal with the racist/sexist/age angles.  I could go far back and point out house guests that were embarrassed after the show but instead, let’s look at Season 21.  It’s the most current season where the problems existed. 

Before this season, the Head of Households would take out the ones that were different based on age, LGBTQ status, and whether they were a Person of Color.  In Big Brother 21, Jackson Michie was named Camp Director and had to immediately put up four people to play for eviction.  His choices were Cliff (age), Kemi and David (People of Color), and Jessica (difference in appearance/Person of Color).  David lost the contest and was sent to an outsider cabin.  Over the course of the first few weeks, others from the initial group joined him.  To make matters worse, the alliance of Gr8teful formed with Jack and Jackson making racist and other inappropriate comments.  Both were warned by producers but it didn’t seem to make a difference.  Jack was out quickly ann when interviewed by Julie Chen Moonves, he felt the issues were taken out of context.  When given the evidence in a tape, he seemed ashamed of his actions and apologized.  Jackson (otherwise known as Michie) would win the season and then be embarrassed by his actions on the season finale.  To say he was shell-shocked is putting it mildly.  He was speechless and I don’t think he has really apologized to this day for his actions. 

Big Brother 23’s The Cookout Forms

Big Brother 23 has strong players in the cast and they were easily identified.  Seven of the house guests are what is considered People of Color and six of them bonded and formed “The Cookout.”  Their goal was to take each other to the final six so a person of color could finally win the money.  Let’s face it.  The majority of the winners have been Caucasian men who played on strength and looks.  This year, this group would be different and here lies the major issue I have with them.  They excluded a “Person of Color” who was of Asian descent, Derek X.

The Cookout’s Plan of Action 

The big goal for this group was to keep it a secret.  Frenchie didn’t know it during the first week’s HoH, but he led to the group’s success by saying on entering the house:  “No person of color or woman will leave.”  Frenchie wanted to be fair.  While I commend him for this, his method didn’t work.  He eventually had to go back on his word after forming so many alliances no one could track them and his handshake with Travis.  This led to Travis going up and out the door.  This also put a target on Frenchie’s back, along with two others who were considered his strongest allies,” Brent and Whitney.  The house was solid that these three had to go.  Frenchie left week two, Brent left week three, and Whitney left week four.  This immediately saw a decline on the Caucasian side of the house but no one realized anything had changed.  All of the house was having a great time and becoming friends.

The Cookout Members Are Strong

The Cookout is strong and has smart members.  This is both a plus and a minus as they can bond together but the cracks are showing.  Derek F. and Azah have been pushed to the bottom of the pack by the others.  Azah, in particular, feels that they have no voice and have had several fights with Tiffany. Meanwhile Xavier and Tiffany feel that they are the leaders which leaves Hannah and Kyland in the middle of the pack.

The problems are now arising as the group has set up a shield (or pawn if you will) to use in the voting agenda.  Kyland is paired with Sarah Beth.  Tiffany has Claire.  Hannah has Derek X. (who is a person of color).  That leaves Xavier, Derek F. and Azah.  Before I get to Xavier, you must understand that Derek F and Azah are paired with Britini.  Poor Britini has been considered weak by the house but she has won competitions.  She’s also been on the block three times which her team feels isn’t fair.  While Derek F. and Azah had Britini as their shield/pawn, Xavier, the strongest player in the Cookout, had Christian and Alyssa as his shields/pawns.  Christian went home last week.  The funny thing is that Christian realized he was Xavier’s shield.

The Future

So where does that leave The Cookout as nominees are growing tight.  Basically it means that one of them has to go up against their shield to stay.  It’s dawning on Derek F. and Azah that they got the short end of the division as Derek F. is on the block.  (Spoiler:  Claire was up but was taken off the block today by HoH Kyland with a veto.  Alyssa had another veto and is Xavier’s shield.  Xavier wouldn’t let her go up this week without a struggle.)  Tiffany got Claire back.  Because of Derek X.’s record, they want to wait for a Double Eviction to take him out.  .  That leaves Britini and, if the exit goes as planned, she will go and leave Derek F. and Azah without a shield.

Is this fair?  Of course not.  Of The Cookout, the only ones who have really done any damage to the other house guests are Xavier and Kyland.  Xavier has been HoH once and Kyland twice.  While Tiffany thinks she is the “brains” and the Janelle of this season, she hasn’t won anything and has proceeded to cause frissons in the alliance.  Derek X. is catching on and questioning.  I could spoil more on him but won’t.  Azah has lost trust in Tiffany.  Derek F. now realizes that he’ll probably be the first to go of the Alliance.  While Xavier has tried to mend fences, he is unwilling to give up his pawn.  For everything he does, Tiffany opens her mouth and causes problems.  Sorry Tiffany, you are not the next Janelle.  The house guests outside of the key group (Sarah Beth, Claire and even Britini) felt their friendships/alliances with their partner will keep them safe. 

So what could prevent The Cookout from having a member win the season.  The High Roller’s game hasn’t worked so far.  In fact, Kyland made sure that the second veto came into play (again no spoiler with this).  Below is how it could be prevented.

Derek X. continues to win.  He’s figured out much but he doesn’t know that he’s Hannah’s shield.  If he can only put the other chess pieces on the board in the appropriate order, he could play a statistical game and make it to the end. If he can align with a disgusted Azah and whoever is left at the end of the week, a new alliance is born.

Claire needs to realize that it is not teams any longer.  She seems to be seeing beyond Tiffany as a cohort and to the adversary role but hasn’t been willing to let go of the Royal Flush.  She’s been a floater up until recently when she showed she could win comps.  Can she shake off the stardust and realize that Tiffany is bad for her game?  Better yet, can she do something about it?

Sarah B. has lost her “intelligence” and gone to the sunglasses game.   She always appears wrapped in a blanket and clueless.  Kyland makes their decisions.  Her biggest wish is that Derek F. will go.  Can she convince enough of The Cookout to do this? 

Alyssa thinks she is safe with Xavier as her partner.  Well, Christian wasn’t that safe!  The veto gave her a certain amount of power but Xavier will cut her if he has to do it.  I look for it to be a fight between Tiffany and Xavier to save their shield/pawn to the end.

Which brings us to the Britini angle.  Most fans think she’s on the way out the door.  Some house guests see her as being too popular as she did get the “big bucks” in the high roller game from America.  If Derek F. survives the week, he knows where he stands but feels he won’t have the physical strength or “smarts” to stay.  Azah plays too emotional and she and Tiffany are at odds.  Will this split them from the main group to form a new alliance with Derek X.?

So, while the chances look good for one of The Cookout to win, I do have the hope that Derek X. can play the spoiler.  He has both the knowledge of how to win and the competitiveness to win.  We still have some weeks to go and I may adjust this later.  I see fights coming between members of The Cookout.  Tiffany and Xavier think they have this game in the bag but Hannah is a quiet player and smarter than they think.  Kyland has a big problem with perception and is making his alliance mad due to the excessive overthinking of the game and relationship with Sarah Beth.

What do you think?  Will The Cookout survive?

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