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Big Brother 11 – A Strategic Overview of Week 1

So what happened this week? Jessie’s in, and Braden’s out. A secret alliance was formed between the Brains and the Athletes with Chima going up against Lydia as a pawn. However, after a last minute plea to the Athletes, Lydia was saved by Russell using the POV, and Braden was backdoored.

With Braden being evicted on Thursday, Big Brother 11 has officially begun. And after just one week of game play the house has been completely split. Everyone seems to be there to play. So how do their individual strategies pan out?

Since Jessie is a new contestant, it is only fair that I give him the write-up that I already gave the other contestants:

Jessie – Athlete
Jessie was eliminated fourth in Big Brother 10. However, he overcame a lot in that short time; he was nominated three out of the four weeks in the house. In fact, the only week he wasn’t nominated he was HOH. So what does that tell us?
1. Jessie isn’t very good at flying under the radar.
2. Jessie creates drama.
3. Jessie is sure to make this an interesting season.

While Jessie isn’t the most strategic player, he manages to be entertaining, even when he’s not trying to be. I don’t see Jessie winning, but I’m sure he’ll go out fighting. Like last season, he seems to be playing too strongly too soon.

As for the rest of the cast, here’s my strategic assessment after one week of game play:

Braden – Popular
After he was put up on the block his game wasn’t over, but he decided to start fights, instead of solidifying relationships. And that is why he became the first houseguest evicted from the Big Brother house.

Casey – Offbeat
He’s a cool guy, very likeable. I have yet to see much strategic game play, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, not showing your cards right away is usually the best way to play. Coming out too strong can put a target on your back that you will then have to carry with you for the rest of the game. However, Casey’s decision to vote to evict Chima isolates him from the rest of his clique.

Chima – Brain
She has no chance at winning. No chance at all. I knew it as soon as she had a temper tantrum after losing the have/have-not competition. She started whining about how she is “way too diva for this.” Her complaints revealed that she was used to better things in life. Now, the final jury doesn’t usually have sympathy for a contestant who doesn’t need the money. And for those that vote based purely on good game play; well, good game play is not admitting that you’re a spoiled brat.

Jeff – Athlete
Jeff unknowingly put himself in a relatively good position. The athletes couldn’t nominate him because he’s on their team, and the rest of the house wouldn’t want to nominate him because they know he’s not aligned with the athletes. He is unlucky Ronnie won HOH, though, because he is the only person who would nominate him. I like Jeff; he seems like a nice guy, but I don’t think he’s cut out for this kind of game.

Jordan – Popular
Not in a very good position currently. She’s played slightly better than I thought with her last minute push to keep Braden, but she came up short. Also, her relationship with Jeff has become too obvious, and she will surely be a way for the athletes to hurt Jeff without nominating him.

Kevin – Offbeat
He has managed to stay under the radar so far. He’s not really in any danger right now.

Laura – Popular
Tried a little too hard to get on Jessie’s good side, rubbing him the wrong way in the process. She does seem to know what she’s doing, though. She almost was able to keep Braden in the house and did very well in the HOH competition. She has, however, been revealed as a major threat in this game, which is sure to make her a target.

Lydia – Offbeat
Smart to get herself off the block by getting the athletes to target Braden. She’s sitting pretty for the time being as she is not a major threat to anyone at this time.

Michele – Brain
She’s currently letting Ronnie lead the alliance, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Usually the leader of an alliance is the one who gets the blame. She just needs to make sure he doesn’t find a way to blame her for his decisions. I like Michele, and I think she could go far as long as she stays out of trouble.

Natalie – Athlete
What was she thinking? She lied about her age. She told everyone she was 18, even though she’s 24. I don’t know why she thought this would help her, but it definitely won’t. This lie isolates her from the rest of the house and creates an unnecessary lie that she will now struggle to keep contained. I expected Natalie to fly under the radar, but she has now made that impossible. I can understand people lying about their age to fit in more, but when you’re about the same age as everyone else in the house there is no reason to separate yourself. It’s stupid, dangerous, and I think an example of how we can expect her to play the game.

Ronnie – Brain
He feels the need to be constantly making moves and playing both sides, which can be entertaining to watch, but frequently leads to devastating results. Ronnie needs to be careful this early in the game. This leads me to Ronnie’s worst move of the game so far … winning HOH against Michele. His best move would have been to throw the competition to Michele. That way he could have remained safe without having to betray anyone in the house. As it is right now, Ronnie is forced to turn on one of his allies. This is one of the many problems with having alliances with everyone in the house. When you’re HOH you have to nominate two people, and if you’re aligned with everyone you must betray someone.

Had Michele won HOH, Ronnie would have slipped through without any direct responsibility. Now he is going to be forced to choose sides, which will cause him to burn some bridges along the way. It is dangerous to turn on allies this early in the game. He will come across as untrustworthy. Ronnie can’t really be planning on taking the athletes to the end; he has to turn on them at some point. But when he does turn on them, with whom will he ally? Who will trust him? Ronnie appears to be digging himself into a hole that he may never get out of.

Russell – Athlete
At first he seemed just like Jessie 2.0, but as the week has gone on I have realized he is actually pretty smart. The way he was able to get Braden to explode like that was very impressive. He also seems to have a certain amount of control over Jessie’s actions. Not to mention, Jessie’s presence in the house has helped to lessen the target on Russell’s back. However, the chaos caused by the athlete clique in week one has isolated them from the rest of the house. They will fall like the Roman Empire.

So how will these strategies pan out? Stay tuned to find out. I’ll be back next week with some more strategic musings.

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