Riverdale – Skip, Hop and Thump (Episode 119)

Tonight, Riverdale is honoring a tradition of the 1950s.  The sock hop became the school dance staple and featured dancing in your socks on the gymnasium floor.  Yeah, it sounds boring and the Tik Tok dances were a long way away.  Even the dances of the 1960s were just in their infancy.  The twist was being introduced by Chuck Berry.  And did I see a hint of Fangs going Elvis on tonight’s episode.  Oh my!  Elvis was the bane of many parents’ existence.

A note here from one who grew up in the 1960s: I remember the death of John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King.  The Beatles brought rock and roll into the norm.  I remember the first moon landing and the Civil Rights Movement.  In the time that Riverdale is set this season, married couples could not share a bed (which is why Lucy and Ricky were in single beds).  You had Superman and Dragnet.  The shows gradually moved and caught the wave of the times.  They followed the trends.  Star Trek, Mod Squad, and many others broke society norms.  It will be interesting how they do this with season 7 of Riverdale.

Jughead, Ethel and the Comic Industry

Riverdale opens with Jughead looking at the comics of the 1950s.  Crime and science fiction were the norm .  Jughead had a rejection letter from a comics strip but saw something similar in print.  He goes in the student lounge and complains and makes the decision to go see the editor of Pep Comics about it.  Nice that they used the original publisher of Archie comics, isn’t it?  When he gets there, he gets a lesson regarding the industry.  The editor has about five filing cabinets full of stories and no one to write them.  Jughead wants a job. Jughead is given an idea and told to write a seven-page comic dialog by the next morning.  Wonder if the Archie’s Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and others got their start with Archie comics in the same way?

Jughead talks to Ethel about it.  She’s an artist that likes gore and is up for the job.  The next day, he returns to the editor with the story and the editor accepts it but who will draw it?  Jughead suggests Ethel getting them both a job.  And both will work cheap. When Jughead goes to Ethel’s to tell her, Ethel’s mom opens the door and gets very upset that they’re alone together in Ethel’s bedroom.  Her mom tells Ethel she had better be glad her dad wasn’t home.  Oh, and the abuse made me forget.  Ethel and Jughead will go to the sock hop at friends.  Okay, this seems to be a child abuse situation.  And yes, there were abusive situations in that day, but no one heard of them.

The next day, Ethel gets caught drawing gore in class.  She’s taken to the principal with the guidance counselor (maybe teacher) there to discuss the situation.  When Ethel tells him that she has a job and is on deadline, he doesn’t accept that for a reason for a young lady to draw that type of script.  (He’d be scared if he saw some of the coimcs today).  She gets detention and told not to do it again.  Later, the principal finds out that Ethel skipped detention and decides to meet with her parents.  Well, Ethel had to!  She had a meeting with her new boss at Pep with Jughead.  The editor calls Ethel ‘Freckles’ which makes her grin.  No one at home has paid her any attention.

When Ethel gets home, her parents confront her hints of violence and shouts.  She storms past and remarks about their behavior toward her.  Her dad calls her a miserable person and Ethel throws it back at him.  Her mother wants to know where she is going.  Ethel announces she is going to the sock hop with Jughead.  Her mom says over her dead body.  Okay – enough on this for now.  Okay a question for production.  Did you get the parents costumes from the movie, Annie?

Betty and Kevin (in Love – Not!)

Betty and Kevin have been dating but their romance is going nowhere.  Betty is getting angry and hurt.  She is also developing feelings for Archie after teaching him to dance and later reading his poem.  Alice advises her after dinner and dishes to give Kevin some time.  He just needs to move slow.

On the Kevin front, we do see what Betty is upset about.  At Lover’s Lane, while the windows around them are steamed up, Kevin and Betty. just sit and talk.  Betty accuses Kevin of not being interested in her.  He’s reluctant to show any emotion or kiss her and seems to not like her kissing him.  She wants to know if he doesn’t like her because he hasn’t asked her to go steady or given her his Varsity Pin yet.  He alludes that she is a sex manic and she gets upset.  Remember the scene when Sandy leaves Danny at the drive-in in Grease?  We get a replay of that tonight.

Later, Betty gets advice from Ronnie on how to get Kevin to commit.  Ronnie tells her to make him jealous.  Ronnie tells Betty she’s like Marilyn Monroe.  So Betty changes her hair and decides to get Archie to take her to dance.  But Betty doesn’t know that Alice has talked to Kevin about the “pinning situation.”  Alice gives him the pin that Hal gave her.  Alice tells Kevin that giving Betty the pin will take the stress out of the situation.  Pinning is only a promise and Kevin likes that.  He breaks up the talk between Betty and Archie (before it gets started) and gives Betty the pin.  Is he serious?  No, because he is confused over his feelings for Chuck Walker who is new to Riverdale.  Kevin seems to like Chuck, but Chuck is clueless (I think).  Here Chuck’s father is military.  More later.

The Sock Hop Preparations

Cheryl announces the sock hop on the school’s PA system.  Kevin and Chuck are supposed to provide the music.  And yes, Cheryl referred to the dance as the “cat’s pajamas.”  Don’t ask me what it meant?  That was before my time.  Later, as Cheryl sells tickets, Toni and Fangs approaches.  First Toni asks Cheryl for a dance which sends Cheryl into crazy mode.  Toni tells her to relax.  She wants Fangs to sing but Cheryl points out that Kevin and Chuck will provide the music.  Toni basically says we’ll see about that, and she and Fangs walks off.  As ticket sales continue the next day, tickets are being returned.  Cheryl is told that Toni is threatening that the Serpents will beat people up in the parking lot for going to the dance.  So we get the reference to the Serpents but it gets better. 

Cheryl goes to the Serpents’ hangout, a coffee house, to talk to Toni.  Cheryl’s nervous because she’s not use to the casual attitude of the coffee house theme and calls it a biker’s bar (which it is in our Riverdale).  Toni tells her using Fangs would pack the house.  Toni also tells her to have a seat and to discuss it with her over a cappuccino.  I don’t think Cheryl knew what that was much less the “cool cat” atmosphere.

Archie asks Veronica to be his date and tells her he likes to slow dance.  She says he has to pass an interview and invites him to her house that night.  The invite isn’t for an opportunity to be alone with Veronica.  She’s holding interviews for her date.  When one makes a comment about Archie’s suit, Archie gets defensive and tells them it was his father.  The snob says:  “The one he was buried in?”  Archie turns on him and tells all that Fred was buried in his uniform.  Archie then turns to Ronnie and tells her he is leaving before he does violence and messes up the apartment.  (Mary loves Archie in Fred’s suit.  She also tells Archie that Fred wrote poetry that made her swoon.)

The next day, Ronnie stops by Archie’s house to apologize.  Mary greets her and tells her that if she hurts Archie, Mary will take care of her.  Mary tells Ronnie that Archie is a simple boy and asks what type of girl interviews boys for a date.  Ronnie says she didn’t mean to hurt Archie and her parents are actors and always interviewing. 

At school, Archie goes up to Ronnie to ask for a date.  Ronnie tells him that she’s made her selection.  She’s going by herself due to having too many options.  Archie tells her he doesn’t like that she’s had him “jumpinig through hoops.”  Later Ronnie and Betty talk.  Ronnie is going stag because she’s been careless with boys, especially Archie.  This gives Betty the idea to asks Archie to take her (but Kevin interrupts that).  Ronnie gets home to be given Archie’s poem by her door man.  She reads it and realizes just how special Archie is.

It’s Sock Hop Time

Cheryl has decided to let Fangs sing and neither Kevin or Chuck seem to mind.  Backstage, Fangs plugs in his guitar.  He even looks like Elvis.  As Fangs sings “Tutti Fruiti,” Ronnie grins.  She knows what the music will be like.  The girls mob the stage and Fangs decides to do Elvis’s backward walk/hop.  Toni and Cheryl talk and dance somewhat (Cheryl was reluctant).  Do we have a change in attitude happening?

All seems to go well with Mary and Alice chaperoning.  Featherhead doesn’t even seem to mind the music until the slow dance number starts. During “Only You,” Featherhead complains to Cheryl that the girls and boys are dancing too closely and Cheryl agrees.  I think more will come from this.  Ronnie sees Archie and tells him that she got and liked his poem.  Their romance may be starting but Archie walks away to dance with someone else.  Julian Blossom shows up and asks Ronnie for a dance and she agrees.  Alice smiles as Kevin and Betty dances.  Wonder if she saw the look Kev gave the boy at the table?  As the dance ends, Ethel enters, covered in blood.   Jughead goes to her.  She tells him something terrible has happened as the scene fades to black.

Next Week:

Ronnie has a make out party (like the key party they had on Riverdale).

Flash Dance anyone?  Wait that was late 70s or 80s.

Archie and Betty make out session coming?  If so, does this set up the triangle from the comics?

And I hope we find out about Ethel and the blood.  Do we get a Lizzie Borden here or her father/mother went berserk? Just a note:  I see where the child abuse and LGBTQIA stuff is starting.  These issues weren’t discussed quite as early as 1955 but did exist.  I hope that “change” happens than it  did in history.

Riverdale —  Season Seven – Don’t Worry Darling (Time Flies)

Riverdale tonight is called “Don’t Worry Darling.”  With this being the final season, what will we see.  The only set up we got was that Bailey’s Comet struck and sent all back to 1955 (and James Dean’s death).  Apparently the time shift has something to do with the fact someone came back from the dead that shouldn’t have.  That’s not the only change because we see Cheryl’s brother, Julian (the doll) with no mention on Jason.  Now this makes me think of the Blossom “666” series of the Archie comics.  We know that there is going to be adjustments to the characters and story line so hang on!  It may be a bumpy ride.  And Riverdale – can I please have a review copy early so I get all names right!

As the story opens, Jughead is the only one who remembers the past.  Yes, he is still the narrator that hangs out at Pop’s.  The 1955 Tabitha arrives on a school bus with Toni and others.  They’re students at attending an integrated Riverdale High (and this didn’t happen really to the 1960s).  The group arriving looks to be in shock and Jughead thinks that his Tabitha is there but she only knows his name.  Archie meanwhile has his own problems going to school.  James Dean has scared Mary and she won’t allow him to drive his jalopy.  She takes his keys and Archie rides his bike.  By the way, is KJ’s hair redder this year?

At school, Betty and Toni are in the newspaper office.  Toni has written something about the situation in Mississippi and the death of Emmett Till (an African-American boy who was abducted from his home, tortured and lynched.  (Note:  His story can be found in a simple search of Wikipedia.)  Mr. Featherhead (not Weatherbee) has a busy day.  He introduces Veronica Lodge, a television star from Los Angeles, to the class and Archie’s jaw visibly drops.  According to her, Ronnie is visiting her aunt and uncle while taking a break from LA.  She’s also preparing for a play, “Our Town,” about small-town life.  (My take is the show was cancelled or she got canned.)  Cheryl immediately develops a dislike for Veronica and that plays out in the student lounge.  When Ronnie starts talking about knowing James Dean, Cheryl gets mad  As President of the James Dean Fan Club of Riverdale High, Cheryl thinks Ronnie is lying.  Again, more on this in a minute.  As Cheryl walks away, Ronnie calls her provincial.  Jughead is in chemistry while this happens and has a flashback to burying the time capsule.  Both Justin Blossom and Archie wants to see Ronnie home and Justin’s car wins.

Featherhead meets with Toni and Betty and tells them he will not allow the article about Emmett Till to be printed.  The school’s counselor feels it is inappropriate and Featherhead agrees.  (I can’t seem to get the “bee” part out of my head.)  Betty tries to get her parents to use the story on the evening news cast but Hal says the station manager would have to approve and the Blossoms won’t.  When Betty shares this with Toni, Toni mentions she has pictures.  She’ll get them to Betty at school the next day.

After school Archie is working on his car to make it safe and talking to Jughead.  At the mention of Fred’s hammer, Jughead remembers the time capsule they had buried.  Jughead returns to the spot where it is buried and finds it while being watched (what from 2021?).  He decides to share the contents with the gang (except Justin).  When he lays the articles out, the others don’t believe him.  Cheryl mentions telephones and Jughead tries to explain cell phones, texting and the internet.  Ronnie asks what she did in the future.  Jughead starts relating what each has done with Kevin’s future the only one that he hedges on (Kevin isn’t out of the closet in 1955).  Jughead mentions they have been thrown back to 1955 from 67 years in the future.  Later, Archie has a talk with Jughead and tells him to forget the story.  Jughead will end up labeled a nut job or worse if he keeps on. Archie recommends telling others it was a science fiction movie or show that he was watching.  Well, how else could the gang in 1955 understand a story about an alternate universe.  There was nothing but movies, books and television about them then. 

At the Blossoms’ mansion, Penelope enters and finds the twins in different attitudes.  Cheryl is upset about Veronica and Penelope has a present for her – a movie magazine with Ronnie’s picture on it.   After reading the article, Cheryl tracks Ronnie down at Pop Tate’s where Archie is treating Ronnie to a small town meal and telling Ronnie about his life (sports, car and not having found the right girl).  Cheryl throws the magazine down on their table and calls Ronnie a brat who was kicked off the show and out of Los Angeles.  At her uncle’s home, we learn that Hiram and Hermione have banished Ronnie to Riverdale after firing her for acting up.  It’s a little more complicated that that.  She was actually following James Dean to a party when he crashed and saw the wreck.  When Archie gets home, Mary is waiting.  It seems Archie took his car out without permission and Mary tells Archie she can’t lose him like she lost Fred (car wreck).  Archie promises his mom that he won’t drive recklessly.  He will not speed or drag race.  If she wants, he will put a governor (speed control) on his car that won’t let him exceed 20, then 30 or 40, miles per hour which soothes Mary’s fears.  Meanwhile, Ronnie gets a call from her mother about having a boy in the apartment.  Ronnie tells her that Archie is only a friend which makes Hermione happy but a new rule is issued – no boys.

Betty is stunned when she sees the pictures of Emmett Till.  The pictures make the incident so real.  Toni and Betty try to figure out a way to get the story out since the adults won’t allow it.  The story will be told during announcements.  They corner Cheryl in the bathroom to get her help.  As Junior Class President, she can make announcements.  The three of them get rid of the secretary and Cheryl gets on the PA system.  She starts and explains that there is a story that needs to be told.  Toni takes over and tells the story of Emmett.  The principal isn’t happy and let’s Cheryl, Toni, Betty and 1955 Tabitha know it!  He institutes a new rule that announcements must be approved before read.  1955 Tabitha leaves to go to Mississippi to where the incident happened.  Jughead will get important notes for her at school

Featherhead didn’t want the issue discussed, but the announcement has made a difference.  In class, the teacher asks Toni and a young man (sorry, I didn’t get his name) if they want to discuss the situation.  Toni gets up, tells his story, and reads the poem.  The students are asked how they feel.  Archie says angry and others contribute upset, etc.  Jughead realizes that a discussion like this shouldn’t be happening in 1955 but it is – in Riverdale no less.  Is history changing?  (Note:  Time travelers are not supposed to change the course of time, space or history.)

After school, Archie and his yellow jalopy and Justin in his red car, are waiting to take Ronnie home.  She compares one to light/good (Archie) and darkness/evil (Justin).  Instead she walks home. 

Now for the reveal.  Jughead heads to Pop’s after school.  While he is trying to write, our Tabitha we know and love shows up.  Jughead wonders if she can take them home but she reveals that she can’t.  Their gamble didn’t work and Bailey’s Comet was an extinction level event.  She used her life force to send them into 1955 (and not heaven).  (Are we going to lose our Tabitha?)  The gang must make a difference in this 1955 Riverdale and find justice.  By doing this, they will bend the time to the present Riverdale (collapsing it back to the present).  Tabitha won’t be there.  The important thing, Tabitha tells Jughead, is that he must forget.  His questions brought her to him, and now she must help him leave the memories of the present behind.  They kiss, she vanishes and he still has some memories.  He rushes home to write the story but only gets three words  — bends – toward – justice.  He also finds his toboggan that we all love.    And he has no clue what he is to do.

Note:  I went to Wikipedia to read up on Emmett Till.  The story is sad but it makes me aware of how time was in the 1950s.  I was a child of the sixties and a teen in the seventies.  I saw the end of the segregated schools around 1968 so Riverdale is a little ahead of its time.  I want to thank Roberto for using a true fact to serve as a backdrop for this story.  He also is reminding me of how the past and our present are being tried and tied together again.

Next Week:

Fang sings and starts looking like Elvis (this makes me sad as the place near my home where Elvis ate looks to be about to go to make way for homes.)

At the “sock hop,” Betty is with Kevin who looks longing at another guy. Featherhead looks to be the warden who doesn’t allow changes in the 1955 theme.  Is he or Justin the big bad.

Riverdale – and So We Enter Final Season

Riverdale, you’ve been keeping the show secret.  Only one preview of what the 1950s look like.  And to give us an exact date of when the time switch is even more so.  Now, the 1950s has always been seen as a simpler time in most people’s mind, but was it?  Let’s take a look and consider how the outside real 1950s will fit into the little we know of Riverdale 1955.


If you think this will be like the comic strip in the 1950’s, let me clue you in.  I went back and read some of the strips of the 1950s and early 1960s.  In those strips we have a Veronica who lived in Riverdale almost all her life.  Hiram Lodge was wealthy but wanted his daughter to have regular friends.  Archie’s dad didn’t work construction and Mary was a stay-at-home mom.  Betty’s mom didn’t sit on the news desk and no hint of the serial killer aspect of dad.  Kevin, Cheryl, Toni, and Fangs could not have been free in their sexuality.  In fact, none of them were in the comic circa 1950s and 1960s.  Sabrina didn’t show up until mid-1960s. And I will stop there.

The Year 1955

Mickey Mouse Club debuted on ABC.

The Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc allies aligned. 

Rosa Parks sat at the front of the bus and got arrested for not knowing her place (the back) .

Disneyland opened in California.

McDonald’s was started.

Rock and Roll idols were Elvis Presley, Bill Haley, The Platters.  (Note:  Haley would die young in a plane crash.)

Polio vaccine was declared safe.

And on September 30, 1955, James Dean (mentioned and mourned on the show) died in a two-vehicle accident in California.

The Riverdale Angle

We know the series will begin on the date September 30, 1955.  That was stated by Mary Andrews.  We also know that the gang is back in high school.  This we got from the finale of season six.  The trailer has shown Veronica arriving in a convertible from Los Angeles, a movie star.  Kevin and Betty are a couple but both seem confused.  Sock-hops will be seen.  Archie and Cheryl are engaged.  New character will be Julian Blossom.  And Fangs will try to become a rock and roll (rock ‘n roll) star. 

Let’s deal with the elephant in the room first.  This would be Julian Blossom.  The first time we learned about Julian Blossom was in “Chapter Sixty-One Halloween.”  Did I mention he was a doll?  Seems Penelope was supposed to have triplets but Cheryl “absorbed” the Julian embryo.  I honestly think that Julian may be the “big bad” for this season. 

Why?  Here’s my main reason.  If you have seen any of the graphic novels of the new Archie line, you may have caught the “Blossom 666” series.  I admit to being curious because of the “666” number attached to the graphic novel and got it.  The series is about the fact that the Blossom parents were to have the antichrist.  When the children were born, Julian, the eldest was taken away to be raised in a deprived background and prepared for the role.  When he returned, it was a battle to see who would reign supreme.  And the battle was to the death.  Well, Cheryl and Jason decided it should be one of them.  Julian eventually was killed and we see him in the morgue one minute then gone the next.  So, will he be this season’s Devil/Cult Leader/Hiram Lodge?

Another thing we see is Kevin and Betty.  Betty  does seem to care about Kevin but it looks awkward (which is true to form).  Thus we will have the struggle over sexuality come into play.  How can Kevin be true to himself if he is faking it with Betty?  How long can Betty be part of a one-sided relationship?

Let’s move on to the other elephant in the room.  What exactly are Jughead and Tabitha’s roles.  We know from the Season Six finale, that every vision Tabitha had seen of Bailey’s Comet but two had Jughead dead.  I will admit, when Tabitha got off the bus in the promo, I wondered if it would be a Rosa Parks minute, but apparently not.  At this stage in the real 1950s, schools were segregated but the preview doesn’t seem to use that angle.  Tabitha, as Riverdale’s guardian angel, will team up with Jughead, who is the only one who knows that Bailey’s Comet sent them back in time.  What will they have to do to save the town and save the gang and return to the future and the Riverdale we all know.

Another thing of note:  both Ethel and Dillon are in the promo commercial for the season.  What role do they have to play?  Dillon is seen in a basketball jersey.  When last we saw him, he was trying to destroy the universe by sending it into a spiral.  Ethel was helping but turned away and helped “Bunker” Jughead and “Sterling” Jughead.  Her role in Rivervale was to keep the “Bunker” Jughead company and provide food since he had to keep writing.  Hmm!  Is this “Bunker” Jughead’s solution to save Riverdale?  I’ll have to make a note to watch for this.  And the role they played in Rivervale?  Is that why both are back?  Does the gang have to turn Dillon back to genius who doesn’t want to destroy the world.  And just whose blood is Ethel covered with in the promo.  I know Archie is tied to a buzz saw (think “Perils of Pauline”) but was Ethel there?

Riverdale, congratulations on keeping as many things secret as you have.  I hope you can get Mark Consuelos back for an appearance as Hiram Lodge but I’m doubtful as he and Kelly will be doing “Live with Kelly and Mark.”

South Park: Prince and Princess of Canada Really?

South Park is actually a cultural hero.  Even if you don’t watch it constantly, you hear about the parodies that it does.  I admit.  I don’t watch it regularly but after I heard about the “Worldwide Privacy Tour,” I had to watch.  Once  again I was reminded that there is more to South Park than meets the eye.

What you may ask?  Well, while everyone was laughing at the Prince and Princess of Canada, South Park had put a “Story B” into play.  I must admit that it intrigued me when the show aired but it wasn’t until I watched it the second time that I really understood what the “B” story was about.  They defined it as branding.  I will redefine it for my generation: it is bullying.

The story opens with Ike refusing to give Kyle the computer.  Ike is watching the Queen of Canada’s funeral and he doesn’t care if it was four months ago.  Kyle only wanted it to play video games with his friends and Ike feels that the funeral is more important.

The next day at school, Kyle apologizes to his friends for not being able to play the game.  They blow him off saying that he wasn’t needed and they reached a new level.  When Kyle explains that he had wanted to get to that level with his friends, they blow him off again and walk away.  Kyle’s feeling, of course, are hurt but when he tries to talk, no one listen.

Kyle arrives home to find that he has new neighbors.  That’s right!  The Prince and Princess of Canada have moved in across the street bringing their message of privacy and being left alone.  When Kenny tries to comply, the couple reveals that they don’t care.  They want to be seen and they’ll do anything to get attention.  From waking him up in the middle of the night to polo games with balls going through his window, Kyle eventually has enough.  He tries to talk to his friends who say: “We’re so over them.  Forget them.”  How can Kyle forget them when they live across the street and are trying to get his attention.

Now is when “Story B” kicks into gear.  Butters, classmate of Kyle, has overheard the conversation and wants to help Kyle.  He suggests that Kyle come with him to get help at a “branding clinic” that Butters has been using.  (And no I won’t use the company’s name here in case children see this).  Butters has gained more confidence since he has been going and the counselors explain who he is and how to project himself to the world for a better life.  Kyle jumps on this and goes along. He does not like the first brand but accepts the second. I’m beginning to see a trend with this and wonder why the last attribute is always “victim.” 

While both Butters and Kyle try their new identity out on their classmates at school, Kyle quickly learns his friends don’t want change to happen.  Meanwhile, there is a fight on the playground.  When Kyle arrives, Butters is being beaten up by Bebe.  It seems Bebe doesn’t like Butters new persona and this is her way of letting it be known.

Now for the big finish for this story. Kyle realizes that “branding” won’t help.  He takes Butters hand and leads him to the branding agent.  When he calls for their counselor, the Prince and Princess are there and the Prince tells him to stop.  If we notice the duo’s branding, “victim” always appears at the bottom.

Kyle gets mad at the counselor.  Kyle stops in the middle of the room and draws attention to Butters and himself.  Kyle has realized that it is more important to be yourself.  After seeing the damage that Butters new persona has caused, Kyle is going back to who he was.

“It’s this stupid place.  Don’t you see Butters it’s people who think of their brand which produces more people like them (Prince and Princess of Canada).  . . . Don’t you guys want to like you for you instead of who they want you to be.”  (South Park, season 26, episode 2, Comedy Center, aired February 15, 2023)

The funny thing is that a young boy gets the Prince of Canada to see the light.  The Prince ends up forgetting about getting a brand.

Now, what all this says to me is this. We are all looking for acceptance.  We may try branding like the Prince and Princess of Canada. Yet, with branding comes the force of not being yourself but who we want people to see.  Is this being honest. Kyle changed the Prince of Canada’s mind (whether it stays changed is another question for another episode). Maybe we do put too much emphasis on what others see than who we are.  Maybe, just maybe, that’s why we have some of the problems in our world today.  Maybe we need to step back, like Kyle, and try to admit our faults and become better people. This is the hidden meaning in this episode.  I hope some think on the issue and take it to heart.  Unfortunately, we live in a land where labels, brands and insults persist.  The world needs to change!  Can South Park make this happen?

Below Decks – Goodbye Captain Lee

In February 2023, word came that Bravo had told Captain Lee of “Below Deck” that his contract hadn’t been renewed.  Instead, Captain Kerry from “Below Deck Adventure” would take over the franchise show that made all others possible.  So why?

Let’s look at one other remarkable departure.  Last year, Eddie Lucas got into an altercation that led to accusations that racial issues had existed and Eddie didn’t do enough to listen to the problems in his job.  He told “New York Post” that he wasn’t invited back for another season.  Also in the “New York Post” article, Eddie stated that he had some issues about the salaries of the cast on other popular Bravo shows.  It seems that the “Below Deck” crew made much less than the casts of such shows as the “Real Housewives …”.  (“Whatever Happened to Eddie Lucas?”)  I won’t go into specifics but if what he said was true, I think Bravo has a pay scale and Eddie had reached it. 

Captain Lee has the longest record with the “Below Deck” series.  His time as Captain has now ended as his contract will not be renewed (“Captain Lee Not Returning for Season 11 of Below Deck.” Affectionately called the “Stud of the Sea,” this 73-year-old could do everything up until the 2023 series when health issues caused him to stay close to the wheelhouse.  Yes, he had health issues in the tenth season, but could it be due to other reasons. 

In recent weeks, he has called out Captain Sandy for firing one of his crew without notifying him first.  Sure, Sandy called him after the fact, but she was only a temporary captain.  Much discussion happened on Twitter, the worst place possible, and the sides were drawn.  I’m not sure what the proper etiquette is for firing on yachts, but I know that in many cases the supervisor has the final say.  So, who was the supervisor?  Lee hired the one fired (Camille) and should have had input.  While many supported Sandy due to the fact that she was captain, this appointment was only temporary.  Personally, I agree with Lee.  He should have been told before it happened.  The hospital excuse doesn’t work when Sandy used it because she called him there afterwards.

The managerial style also has come into focus.  Captain Lee is laid back and watches what happens from the deck.  He leaves it to his department heads to come to him.  If they don’t, he steps in with a firm hand.  This is not how Sandy handles it as I have mentioned it before in another opinion piece.  I have noticed on her own show, “Below Deck Mediterranean,” that Sandy seems much more lax with the deck hands than with interior crew.  She also has people who she knows will gossip with her.  This trend seems to have followed over to Captain Lee’s yacht.  She really didn’t know the interior staff and she has always found fault with them.  Captain Lee was giving Frazier assistance to “learn the ropes.”  Captain Sandy expected a first-time stew to know what to do and only offered guidance with “changes can be made” as her mantra.  I took that to mean Frazier was toast if he didn’t do what she wanted. 

I am not disparaging Captain Sandy.  She has her style but she also needs to respect that this was Captain Lee’s yacht and she’s filling in temporarily.  This then leads to the question:  Was this an audition of Captain Sandy to become the captain of the flag ship show.  If so, why didn’t she get the nod?  Why did it go to Captain Kerry who has his own ship and a season in the books.

I like Captain Kerry from “Below Deck Adventure.”  He grew on me as the season progressed.  It was his crew I didn’t like.  I can respect him and am more than willing to give him a chance in his new duties.  I think he can adjust to the Caribbean and wish him nothing but luck.  He’s going to have to prove himself to many old fans of Captain Lee.

And another key departure appears to have happened.  I read yesterday that Chef Rachel is leaving for other opportunities.  In an article appearing in US magazine, she states that she’s finished with the Bravo network (in her usual style with cussing no less).  (“Rachel Hargrove Reveals Whether She Will Attend the “Below Deck” Reunion).  This, on top of Captain Lee, will hurt the “Below Deck” flagship.  

I hope “Below Deck” fans can adjust to the new captain and chef.  I know I will miss Captain Lee but changes have to happen.  Rachel brought the common sense opinion.  Bravo wants to make an impact and I honestly hope they made the right decision.  If it’s because of his age, Bravo could be held accountable for age discrimination.  I felt the ouster of Eddie and others were wrong.  I have also noticed that the crews are getting a little chummier with sex during the cruises.  So, please, Bravo, cut down on the sex.  Remember, you aren’t “Big Brother” or others that play on the young having fun without considering the consequences!  After all, romance is one thing but sometimes the crew carries it too far!

Below Deck:  Captains and Their Duty

I’m a relatively new viewer to the Below Deck series.  A friend recommended it to me in May 2022 and I tried all series of the show.  I must admit that the scenery and places the boat visits are amazing.  I have viewed all five shows on stream:  Below Deck, Below Deck Mediterranean, Below Deck Sailing Yacht, Below Deck Down Under and Below Deck Adventure.  I had been watching previous seasons before writing this piece and being in the hospital recently gave me ample opportunity to view all available episodes.  Now, I will state my overall opinion on the series which is simply: “What Gives?”

What gives, you ask?  Yes, I mean that just the way I said it.  I know this is a Bravo show where sex and arguments are a staple of the Real Housewives line.  I know to the network that these two items sell the shows.  It wasn’t too bad during the first seasons.  Now it is going the way of the others to becoming a soap opera with the crew area becoming more of a focus that the locales. Let’s look at the captains, shall we, to see how they control the show.

Below Deck — The Original

Below Deck is the parent show.  All others came into being because of it.  It’s the one I prefer the most and I think that this is due to Captain Lee, the only Captain I have seen do this show.  Captain Lee knows how to handle a yacht.  He gives his first officers, bosun and chief stewardess, the opportunity to run their staff.  If something happens, he goes to the officer to address first before he gets involved.  The chef has their own department which makes things interesting.  Captain Lee doesn’t like to take part in petty arguments but will step in when things get beyond the control of his officers.  He doesn’t like bullies and he doesn’t like staff who take advantage of the ship and its amenities.  If he doesn’t like something, he lets people know, usually shouting from the bridge deck (while guests are on shore).  It’s a well-run ship and very few problems exist.  He also doesn’t let guests disrespect the ship or his crew.  When Doris refused to follow the ”no swimming at dark,” he told all that the cruise was ended and headed to dock.  He relented and only Doris left the yacht, and the other guests were much better after that.

I didn’t realize how much I liked his managerial style until he had to leave mid-cruise this season (Season 10) due to health concerns.  Captain Sandy of Below Deck Mediterranean took his place.  I’ll go into more about her in a minute, but things haven’t gone well with her so far.  She sometimes seemed to want to be a deckhand and didn’t seem to see what was going on under her nose on the interior team. 

Let’s look at the elephant in the room this season.  Camille knew that Captain Lee was watching but could always pass it off as “I serve two areas and don’t have time to always complete what I’m given.”  I think he was wise to what she wanted (to party) and was giving her enough rope to “hang herself” and lose her job.  Before he could take any action, he had to step down (temporarily I hope) as captain and Sandy came in to fill the gap.  Granted, Sandy was walking into a minefield with Camille and Camille realized it. Camille tried to stay under the radar but kept getting called on the carpet.  As a stew, she thought she’d be able to have fun and blame others. She didn’t like the second stew which made me question whether Camille thought she was superior to people of color.  Little by little, it started to unfold. She always weaseled out and then would say “my captain” will listen to me.  Camille thought that she could con Sandy into anything.  That is until the epic fight in front of the guests.  That was the turning point for Sandy.  The drinking of ship’s liquor, the sex in the quarters of a deckhand while the other one was there, only made it worse for the audience.  Captain Sandy put it back on Frazier, a first time chief stew, to make the decision.  He knew what he needed to do when Camille got the guests champagne and drank it while on duty.  When Frazier reached the end of his limits and said to fire Camille, Sandy finally did but in such a nice way.  Instead of apologizing, Sandy should have told Camille she was given every opportunity to do her job. In my opinion, a first-time chief stew needs to be guided not handed an ultimatum.  But to each their own.

Below Deck Mediterranean

Let’s move to Captain Sandy on the Below Deck Mediterranean series.  The Mediterranean series offers the beautiful ancient world and I love it.  I will be honest.  The crew cast gets on my nerves. There are times when Sandy gets as gossipy as her crew.  When Malia was on the show, she constantly brought news of the actions of the crew to Sandy who relied on her as her eyes (or spy).  The most talked about incident was when Malia went to Sandy about Hannah having illegal drugs on the yacht.  Granted that is a no-no, but to some, it appeared as a vendetta of Malia against Hannah.  Hannah had done several cruises for the ship and here she was out of a job.  Malia was bosun but I honestly think she thought she was first officer.  Sandy could have warned Hannah and sent her to a doctor for help due to her service to the yacht, but what Malia wanted, she got.  A Hannah free ship.

While I don’t have much to say about the interior (except excessive gossiping), the deck crew during the last outing needed help.  They just couldn’t seem to dock the boat. Yes, it was a new port and almost new crew, so I was glad when things finally came together for them. 

Below Deck Sailing Yacht

Next up is Below Deck Sailing Yacht.  I like Captain Glenn.  He’s my second favorite captain of the five.  The main concern I have with him is that he never lets the chef know when he’s going to move from engine to sails.  As soon as the sails go up, the dishes in the mess go flying.  I know that is what the guest paid for (and at least they know it’s happening), but how much damage has he done to the mess (not including injuries to the chef) has occurred when this happened.  Just get on the walkie and say “Sail.”

If there is one concern I have with Captain Glenn it is that he allows Gary King to get away with, shall we say, sexual approaches to the females on crew.  Gary, or the hound dog as the engineer calls him, just must have affairs with someone on every cruise.  The good news is that Gary keeps it to down time (unlike Camille mentioned above).  The bad news is that Gary seems to like all women and that causes friction within the interior staff.  At least, Gary can work it out and it doesn’t seem to affect the running of the ship.

Below Deck Down Under and Adventure

Now, let’s look at the newest editions to the Below Deck family.  I have to say I liked Below Deck Down Under and see that it may become a vital part of the franchise.  Captain Jason in the commercials is nothing like the real Captain Jason on the show. Yes, he’s a hunk but he’s not a pushover or looking for a love hookup.  He’s a family man and it comes across in everything he does.  The show has only had one season, but I will definitely watch it again to see just where they let it go.

The final edition is called Below Deck Adventure.  It’s still in its first season and had the promise of being good since it was going to the Scandinavian area.  I thought—great!  More beautiful scenery and extreme sports.  Instead, the first episode had one of the deck hands trying to figure out which stew would be his bedmate.  The good news is that he got kicked off the boat early in the show.  The bad news for the show is I’m still not sure how I feel about it.  Extreme sports for them is not what I would consider extreme.

Don’t get me wrong, we do get scenery but I’m not warming up to Captain Kerry or his crew.  He’s able enough and has proven he can do his job and that of the deckhands but I’m having trouble with the crew.  Both the chief stew and bosun haven’t proven themselves capable to job with the stew worrying more about make-up and appearance of her staff and the bosun who does very little assisting on deck.  It may just be my opinion.  After all I loved Eddie from Below Deck and more than tolerate Gary from Sailing Yacht.

My Opinion

This is just my opinion, but I wish Bravo would keep more of the original higher staff in place.  I miss Eddie from Below Deck.  If he was there, I don’t think Sandy would have the problem she has had.  I love Captains Lee and Captain Glenn.  I see real potential with Captain Jason.  I won’t judge Captain Kerry as it is his first outing. My advice for Sandy is to stay on board and learn from Captain Lee.  I think you will find you see much more than learn through gossip.

The other piece of advice I would offer is that Bravo make the crew aware that their actions on off duty hours affects the view of the port toward the yacht and yachting in general.  Their antics at the restaurants, bars and clubs get out of hand.  Eddie could handle them.  Gary has control over them.  The rest just seems to let it happen.

If you want more on the Below Deck franchise, let me know!

Food Network:  Is It Too Much “Guy”?

I love the Food Network.  The Food Network often gives me a spin on dishes that I’ve never thought of before.  But, for the past few years, even before COVID, I have wondered if the network is focusing too much on one of its stars and hurting others.  Have they changed too much as part of Discovery Plus.  Let me lay out my thoughts and you help me decide.

Let’s start with the elephant in the room – Guy Fieri.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I like Guy.  But is there too much Guy on the network.  Many of you may not know that he actually has hosted a primetime game show on NBC.  The show, Minute to Win It, had two contestants do crazy stunts like spinning around a baseball bat much like his Guy’s Game Night (more on that in a minute).  I loved him as that host and was surprised when he won Food Network:  The Next Food Network Star

It seems that Guy’s become the “face” for the Food Network.  He’s on at least two (or is it three nights) a week (depending on the season).  While I love Guy’s Grocery Games (and applaud what Guy did find a way to do new programming during the pandemic), I have to wonder if his success has gone to his head.  While his first success as a star for Food Network was Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. it never resounded with me because of being the same thing over and over.  I wish he had taken other Food Network stars with him.  I get bored when he doesn’t switch it up any.  His Tournament of Champions looks like nothing but his friends going for approval.  I have to wonder if it is rigged sometimes.  As for the new Guy’s Game Night, I see it as nothing but a food version of the Ellen de Generis game show (or Minute to Win It)

With Guy’s rise to fame, now he has an heir apparent in Hunter.  Hunter is beside his dad in all new episodes as his sidekick.  Hunter may be into food, but his personality is not as flamboyant as his father’s.  Will Hunter’s career be in jeopardy  in comparison to his dad?

On another note, I have to wonder if Guy is the reason why such favorites as Bobby Flay, Anne Burrell  and others are reluctant to renew their contracts.  While both Anne and Bobby have renewed, I hate that the negotiations were long and drawn out.  Both Beat Bobby Flay and Worst Cooks in America are two of my favorite shows.  Also, many of the up and coming chefs are being pushed to the fringes.  There needs a place for established chefs to have a voice.

Now on to Discovery+ take over.  When Discovery+ was created, I thought that it would be a good residual place for old favorites while giving us new programming  Then I discovered I was wrong.  Discovery Plus promotes their shows to the detriment of for cable networks (like Food Network and Discovery).  Yes, it gives them future programming but it also is a detriment to those of us who already have more than enough streaming services.  I won’t list all the shows that they changed and put only on streaming, but let’s just say that the Discovery has pervaded all other networks under their brand.

Take as a case in point:  Halloween Wars.  I use to love this show because of the zany. Light-hearted host, the special judge from horror movies and/or television, and the zany comments made by the contestants.  Zac Bagans is not my favorite ghost hunter.  Yes, he has a show that Discovery loves called Ghost Adventures but I am of the Ghost Hunters fandom and can’t watch it.  Zac is now the “host” of Halloween Wars.  His appearance via those television screens are boring, annoying and dumb.  To make matters worse, he just doesn’t want to do anything but call in the theme for the show based on one of his ”adventures”.  The contestants are too serious and while the judges are okay (not great), I miss the celebrity and make-up artists.  Who wants to see a serious cook (Aarti Sequira) and former football player and chef (Eddie Jackson) host and judge a Halloween competition?  Aarti is good as a judge on Guy’s Grocery Games but looks uncomfortable walking around looking at the contestants creations.    Eddie just doesn’t have the levity or personality of the former host, Jonathan Bennett.  I miss the comrade and joking of the teams and panel as the work is done.  Last, but not least, why do the themes have no imagination and seem to be based only on Zac’s investigations.

Sure, there are other shows that seem to stay the same.  The old standards like Chopped is still around but it has lost some of its luster.  Beat Bobby Flay is still good but I wish they’d find Anne Burrell and Worst Cooks in America a permanent time slot.  Both have lost their magic since the flashier Guy shows have taken over.  The one thing I am thankful for so far this year is Outrageous Pumpkins.  Some of my favorite pumpkin carvers are there (instead of Halloween Wars) and the host is fun.  But still it is not as what it used to be.  I wonder if this happened due to COVID?  Are we facing a lost of humor and good will on Food Network due to a pandemic which has slowed.  If so, we need to revisit this trend.  I’ve seen it happen once before and it all but destroyed television as I knew it.

Big Brother Final (Maybe) Changes

Big Brother!  Are you listening?  Have you taken any of my suggestions to heart?  I doubt it (for a variety of reasons) but I am only going to deal with four issues this time.  These issues would be easy to solve if you only apply your mind.  And, in the course of time, might save this show. 

Issue One:  What about spoilers?  This year, Twitter has been alive with spoiler people with some more vicious than others.  All claim to have insider information.  All claim to want to keep the fans entertained.  And yes!  But at least one has gone so far as threatening other spoiler people to stop. (Sometimes, these arguments have been more entertaining than the show.)

In regard to spoilers, CBS you need to answer this question.  Do they help build your audience?  The answer there is yes.   Some people read the spoilers (and feeder updates for that matter) and decide to tune in or out.  Look, we have too many other options to watch.  The issue is how the spoiler person treats the reader.  If they make fun of the reader or asks for adulation, they just want a fan based.  If they are knowledgeable and treat readers with respect, they are respected.  We don’t ask for much!  Just the tidbits of competitions and if everyone is okay.

I went to the debunker of spoilers (and spoiler people), N1L3 Cr4n3 (some think it is McRae, others a stan account) and asked him.  His reply was simple: 

Spoilers are fine and have been around for as long as I have been in the community.  The problem I have is when they have spoilers that can never be proven or disproven.  It’s an old medium’s trick.

His statement is so true.  How do you know who to believe?  Who really has contacts on a set that would be willing to risk their livelihood to help promote the show (RealVegas) or only uses them to make themselves look important?  Or who would dangle the odd rumor in front of someone and beg them to ask for more.

Issue Two:  What rating demographics does CBS want?  Sure the show bring in the 24-40 contestants and manipulate people for showmances and controversies but why?  This game started as a game of strategy.  This game started to show all types of people at all stages of life.  They’ve even tried to help families reunite in the early years.  If they think audiences want what we have seen this year, they are sadly mistaken.  Even the younger audience couldn’t stand the showmances that were established or the treatment of people which led to controversies of bullying and rage.  Maybe you need to monitor Twitter and not Meta and listen in on the discussions found on Twitter.

Issue Three:  The theme and sets have been lame lately.  Don’t you do market research?  If you did, you would know that backstage carnival areas (which this year’s began as) needed to be cleaned up and not look like it was pre-planned and a side show.  If you wanted a rock festival, then keep the house guests busy!  This crew was lazy.  The backstage workers, who should have been working, were the most lazy and back biting crew.  It didn’t look like any money went into production or was spent to build an interesting set.  Everything appeared to have come from earlier seasons of the show.  It was just thrown together with odd bits and pieces.  Maybe a futuristic theme would be better or high end/low end?

Issue Four:  This is a biggie.  I was asked to give my opinion on a Twitter discussion on how to improve the show.  I’ve thought long and hard about this.  My simple suggestion is to take it back to the grass roots of where the idea came from, the book 1984.  So, here goes:

Do away with the HoHs, the Have Nots, the Nominees.  Instead of the inmates running the house, have someone who is impartial to the cast run the house.  Bring in team of people to work eight hour shifts (non-production).  These people will decide what the house will do (theme, games, etc.).  In addition, they will assign chores.  If your chores get done, you get a “good” meal.  If they don’t, you get demerits and slop. 

Do not let producers become a voice from the sky.  Orders will be issued by the unbiased unseen being over house alerts.  Games and themes for weeks will be laid out well in advance and no changes will be made during the course of the show to help specific candidates.

If the “boss” sees bad behavior or bullying, the game is stopped instantly.  On 24/7 feeds, the houseguests will be called together, and the issue will be announced.  The cameras can then go to “be right back” as a court setting is held.  The person who has done the most work will become the judge and a jury will be determined.  If the situation is bullying, almost criminal (fighting), or if mental problems seem to be developing, the judge and jury can evict immediately. 

The mystery voice using the demerit system determines the two with the highest number of demerits.  They will be on the block for eviction.

These suggestions may never be accepted.  Granted they are just a quickly drawn up list.  But if a future seasons goes like the past few seasons of Big Brother, there may never be another Big Brother season.  Ratings are not what they were in the show’s glory days.  If gossip is leaked the way it has been leaked, fans who love the show may turn on the show.  If money isn’t spent to make sets more stylistic, people will think CBS is cheap no matter the prize money.

Big Brother 24 —  How to Improve BB – Part II

Big Brother this is the second part of my series on how to improve Big Brother.  Each year, you tell us to “expect the unexpected” but each year, it’s more of the same old, same old (especially in competitions).  From casting to set design, I must wonder if your production crew live in the real world or some imaginary world of the network or production company’s creation.

This week, I’ll try to limit it to five (again).  Let’s start with one I touched on last time and expand it.

Number One: The house guests.  I will straight up and say this.  The Big Brother 23 cast was the best you have had in a long, long time.  They came in and seemed to be aware of the “real world” outside of the bubble.  Their sincerity was evident from the first show.  They also had a smart cast.  There is no way I would have suspected that a group of six could come together and get as far as they did.  I don’t know if it was the splitting of teams or the “common goal” but it worked.

Let’s deal with this year’s cast.  On paper, for production and to present to the network, it might have appeared to be stellar (cough).  It wasn’t!  To me, it looked like you took a casting list and went down the line checking off characters.  I’m going to apologize to Turner here.  I compared him to a surfer dude from Fast Times at Ridgemont High.  Just like the character of Spicoli, Turner proved us wrong.  Turner, like his character at the end of the movie, showed that he knew what went on around him.  The other characters also didn’t play out as you planned, did they?  May I ask, what made you think that a “mean girl” would accept a “beauty queen?”  Didn’t you suspect that a “mean girls club” could exclude her.  And on the guys’ side, the “Pooch” should have raised alarms as he was so sure he would oversee the men’s team.  Then you made him the “back-stage boss.”  And by the way, did any of them do any of the “training” they were supposed to complete before entering the house?  This time, asking for the Twitter community.

Second, this leads me to the next issue.  The set décor.  You said you wanted a “fest” or “festival”.  If so , why did it look like a cheap carnival for the backstage area.  Your games to pick teams were stupid.  The selection of games looked so rigged.  And the dress that Jasmine wore?  I hope you paid for it to be cleaned or provided it to her as a costume.  This looked like one of those fly-by-night carnivals minus the rides.  And then you said that Pooch had won the “Backstage Boss.”  Well, he looked more like the evil lord on his throne from movies like Something Wicked This Way Comes.” (He didn’t look smart enough sitting there to be a character from Game of Thrones.)  Handing out the backstage passes also was problematic.  The backstage people at a carnival operate the rides or do grunt work.  The back stage of a music concert has them moving things quickly on and off stage and acting as security.  These stooges got away with no work and had a good week (until Paloma started to spin out of control).

Third: While we are on set décor, who came up with the cheap hotel theme and “Drye Fest.”  The décor of the hotel has been used before during various seasons.  Didn’t you have a budget to get anything new?  It looked like it was out the 60s and a rundown beach hotel.  This entire design set up was an alarm bell going off in my head.  Too much cheap color used in locations that needed some calm.

Now let’s deal with sticking half the group outside for a week.  I have friends in California who are complaining about the heat.  Who, in their right minds, would choose to send five people to live outside in heat of 105 degrees with no tents or cooling tents?  What would you have done if a storm had come up?  Oh, that’s right.  When the wall yeller happened, you supposedly moved the Broh-ella upstairs and the others supposedly came in.  I don’t know since we were blocked from 24/7 feeds.  Now, there has been wind (which supposedly messed up a competition) for the Drye side.  I’m sorry!  Why not announce there would be have nots and arrange something safe!  I’d hate to read that a contestant on Big Brother was taken to the hospital by extreme weather conditions while playing the game.

Fourth: The “twists” of teams.  I understand that week one threw you.  You had to come up with something unique.  Plus, you had someone that the whole house wanted out staying but really – “festie besties.”  If you were thinking this through, you would realize that Nicole’s plan could   have happened with any of them.  They could have chosen their target (Taylor) in the hope that their popularity would keep them.  Nicole though was so obvious in her scheme and Monte and others started to wise up about what the girls were doing to Taylor. Getting Taylor out that way didn’t work to Nicole’s cost.  And let’s not even deal with the Drye Fest which I listed in number three.  School yard picks seem fair but it always comes down to the last picks feeling like they didn’t count.  Back to bullying again!

Fifth and the worse: The gross treatment of Taylor.  Look, this has been said in many of my posts before.  There comes a time when the show needs to step in and take control.  You can’t let the bullying and insults fly like Daniel and Nicole did.  You can’t let a group of people isolate one!  If it was a misunderstanding (like between Nicole and Taylor), talk it out – not mistreat the individual or yell it out.  If it is game strategy, stop it from being used.  If it is just control (like I feel it was with Daniel), take the cameras down, call Daniel out in front of the house guests, and check on Taylor’s well-being.  A lesser person than Taylor could have been scarred for life by the attacks and isolation she faced.  Do you want to read that it led to attempted suicide?  You’re supposed to have counselors on hand.  Do you?  If so, did they talk to Taylor?  Did they try earlier than when Paloma asked to leave to talk the matter through with her?  Or did some producers see it as good television and let it run.

I have a few more issues, Big Brother, but I think this has given you enough to think about for today.  Next week, a new list and many more questions.  Actually, I may include a big issue that’s been simmering over there since Celebrity Big Brothers and spoilers.

Big Brother Needs Changes Part One

After this season’s Big Brother, I honestly think that Big Brother needs some major changes made.  The show had a good season in 2021 with players being more socially aware and understanding the “supposed” training that the producers gave them.  This season, they had a house guest leave the show during the first days of production due to mental stress. 

The blame cannot be placed only on the players.  It also must be placed on the network, the production company, the executive producers and production crew and the contestants.  CBS needs to decide if the program is worth the headache and bad press.  If so, Big Brother and Fly-on-the-Wall Production needs to make some changes and I’m going to list a few here.

  1.  All problems start at the top.  Since this is not a CBS owned program, we need to start with the people that Fly on the Wall put in charge.  The major player there is one Allison Grodner.  When hard decisions are made, it is up to the executive producer to make them.  Ms. Grodner seems unable or unwilling to call people out of bullying, racial slurs and comments and overall basic bad behavior in the house.  This year we have had Taylor bullied, three house guests (Kyle, Michael, and Brittany) who have discussed using race to get people out, and one house guest (Terrance) who has a deep hatred toward women (especially Taylor).   At times, I have wondered if Terrance would turn violent.  These are issues that she didn’t try to deal with or hide from the public.  With live feeds 24 hours, 7 days a week you can’t hide this type of ugliness.  If not seen, your button pusher isn’t always fast enough to kill the live feeds during production and the live-feed updaters hear what happened and report it.
  2. Predetermined winners.  While on the subject of Ms. Grodner, let’s add another issue, shall we.  The Celebrity edition of Big Brother in the Winter of 2022 leaned heavily toward the two finalists.  There were times that it looked like “production” stepped in to help these two make it to the finals.  Even they mentioned that they had help.  Producers should not play an active role in who wins and who loses.  This should be determined by the house guests.  Also house guests should not be allowed to “practice” before an event.
  3. America’s Vote:  Have you ever wondered if the results are true in any of the America’s Vote?  Speaking from the viewpoint of someone with large questions about telephone/internet polls, I honestly don’t think that the winners are determined by America unless we see the final poll results. A good example of this is what happened in my state during the Taylor Hick’s win of American Idol.  Many of us supported Chris Daughtry as he was a resident of North Carolina and very familiar to the clubs here.  When we called (and I do mean we as about 20 friends had this happened to them) to vote for Chris, we got “Thank you for voting for Hicks/McPhee.”  This happened on all of Chris’s lines.  We had the local affiliate call only to be assured our votes went to Chris but did they really?  The phone lines/tabulation was controlled by producers and fans knew they liked Hicks.  How do we know that we are giving the correct winner in the America’s Favorite vote?  Questions were asked after Celebrity Big Brother because the winner seemed off. Show the vote so no questions are asked!
  4. The Big Brother Bible.  The show makes so much of a thick rule book that the players have in the house to questions certain topics.  Have fans ever wondered just what the “rules” of Big Brother are?  I have and I know other critics have wondered.  If there is such an important element to the game, the least you can do is give the rules to those who cover the show so we can reply to questions like: “Is that in the rule book or did the producers make it up for their favorites?”  Hey, I’ve questioned if something was invented specifically for a situation a couple of times myself!
  5. The contestants:  All of fandom has heard that the casting directors have just walked into a restaurant and hired someone.  We know from contestants that some of them have no idea about the game.  Shouldn’t contestants be people who KNOW the game.  Shouldn’t contestants be fully screened.  Shouldn’t contestants have a mental evaluation before the game begins?  Shouldn’t contestants have training on racial/sexual biases and bullying?  Shouldn’t actual health concerns of the house guests and food allergies be a concern of production? The show tells us that they are but from this season’s cast, I don’t think so.

That’s it for this piece.  Next up is the actual content of the games/shows/etc. itself.