There’s been an emergence of late of Rockstar on Big Brother 20, the multi-hair-colored stay-at-home mom whom, on another reality program (say, The Bachelor) would have been alternatively dubbed by another line item in her resume (say, Former Zoo Animal Handler). In the beginning, she was quiet, holding her cards close to her chest, in smart Big Brother player fashion. The woman Julie Chen tapped her bet to win this season wasn’t making any overtures about her intention to do so.
Until last week. During the live eviction, Brett, on the block with his fellow bromance member Winston, accused Rockstar of lying to the house to hide her true voting intentions. A bald-faced lie, of course, to which Brett quickly owned up — in the diary room. His reasoning? Well, he doesn’t particularly like Rockstar. Whatever. *Shrug.*
Rockstar, for her part, wasn’t about to take it lying down. She tore into Brett not long after the ceremony, openly calling him out for lying. Later, in a tear-filled conversation with Bayleigh, she explained her emotion.
“Guys like that always win. They always win.”
By saying those words, Rockstar revealed (perhaps) that she was less upset about the damage Brett had done to her Big Brother game, than his ability to do so. She was triggered, probably from past experience. In the real world. Where her words are completely true. But let’s be clear about one thing: when she says “guys like that,” she probably doesn’t mean white males. She means people who are in a place of stability and comfort (popular, easily moving through social circles) who choose to lie, cheat and demean without conscience. Yes, in the real world, those people tend to get away with it. Perhaps without even really realizing what they’ve done or the damage they’ve caused.
That’s not to say that Brett is like that in the real world. Big Brother is a narrow view of humanity, skewed through the lens of a television show where people’s behavior is in large part determined by the fact that they are isolated from the outside, they are playing a game, and they are filmed 24/7.
It’s interesting — and probably planned by a smart editing team — that Rockstar’s outburts was intercut with the argument and later reconciliation between Bayleigh and JC. Bayleigh, who self-identifies as a member of the black community and JC, who self-identifies as a member of the gay and Hispanic communities, created some friction by the use of words. It started, interestingly, over discussion of JC’s stature. He objected to the “M” word, and things went from there. The two argued, then — to their immense credit — came back together to discuss what happened and the roots of their respective “triggering.”
So let’s all take a moment to congratulate Big Brother 20 and the maturity of its contestants. We’ve all moved a little bit, one can hope, from the disgusting spectacle that was Big Brother 15 where, as you might recall, a few stray racist and homophobic comments turned into an entire season of identity disparaging. Those contestants left the “safety” of the Big Brother 15 house to discover they had lost their jobs. Notably, without anyone inside the house to offer a check on their behavior, they were clueless as what they’d done wrong. They needed to read the media reports to realize what they’d done was unacceptable.
Kudos for the producers for not taking the radical step of kicking out houseguests for discussing controversial topics. And Kudos for the players, for realizing that we all have to live together, so we should all take a moment and try to understand one another.
That might include “those guys,” who yes, even if they don’t see it, always tend to win.