I must say this is my last article for a while. Thank you to Steve, Mel, the entire BigBrotherJunkies community, fans of the show, and readers of every article. I also need to say that Big Brother is always going to be first in my book. I just finished Winners at War and it was my first experience watching Survivor. I had never seen an episode before and it was incredible to watch the gameplay and characters unfold. I couldn’t stop watching, which is something I cannot say for Big Brother 22. However, Julie and the houseguests did a good job overall and Cody’s gameplay was flawless.
BIG BROTHER: ALL-STARS 2 VS. SURVIVOR: WINNERS AT WAR
It was the two words Big Brother fans had been waiting to hear for years: all-stars. 2020 marks nearly twenty years since Julie Chen welcomed us to the social experiment that is Big Brother. 2020 also marks a milestone for Big Brother’s sibling show, Survivor.
With 39 seasons, there was a plethora of champions to choose from to make up Survivor: Winners at War. It was exciting to see people like Boston Rob, Amber, Parvati, Sandra, Tony, Tyson, and Yul come back to the island. And the season did not disappoint. Here is why:
1. SURVIVOR IS A SHORTER COMPETITION WITH FEWER EPISODES.
There is nothing like Christmas bringing up talent shows from school to a disengaged Cody to show off her dance. Wait a minute… that is exactly what watching this season of Big Brother was like several times.
Big Brother is a long game with 16 houseguests and the dominant strategy in the modern game is to join a large alliance and maintain power in the house. When you look at Survivor, there are less days and is less time between eliminations. That’s why the edit for Winners at War may have seemed like it was going at light-speed compared to the marathon of watching BB22: All-Stars 2. There was far less need to fill in air time on TV in WaW. After challenges, the losing tribe members had to be on their toes for the tribal ceremony later that night or the following day, which led to several blindsides and constant scheming/paranoia. Big Brother gives its players the opportunity to strategize for a few days. On average, houseguests have a conversation or two about who they’re voting against, strategies, and future moves and then check in each day to see if that has changed. And not even every houseguest does that. The rest of the time is sitting around talking about life and waiting for competitions.
2. THERE IS NO HOH OR CHOPPING BLOCK.
Big Brother without a Head of Household competition would be crazy. Big Brother without an HOH or nominations for eviction would be ludicrous. The closest equivalent of the Power of Veto in Survivor is the Immunity power. Whoever gets immunity is safe. Everyone else is up for exile. So, what does all this really mean in regards to how the two seasons – WaW and BB All-Stars 2 – played out? With the Committee running this season, they targeted players on the other side while continuing to win comps to sustain power. Players like Janelle, Kaysar, Bayleigh, Day, Kevin, or Nicole Anthony never had any say as to who was going home. Survivor lets everyone choose who to exile. If immunities are played then the votes don’t count on those protected players and you just never know who will be sent to redemption island. So imagine in this season everyone could vote whoever they want. We would see more close evictions and possibly more fights. Battles could include Janelle versus Nicole F, Kaysar against Cody, Tyler against Dani(this eventually came, but would be a lot sooner in this alternate scenario).
Also, the Veto comp only lets 6 people play. When your alliance is 6 strong, it’s likely that at least 2 members or close allies of members will compete. Let’s say that the producers changed their mind and let everyone compete. You keep the HOH and chopping block in the game, but make this one adjustment. The balance of power is impacted the entire season. Now, Janelle and Kaysar have the opportunity to pose a stronger threat.
3. NEARLY ALL THE CASTAWAYS WERE OLDER THAN 35 YEARS OLD.
The youngest player, Adam Klein, in WaW was 28 years old. His dad came on family day, which led to Adam emotionally discussing how he and his mom loved Survivor before she passed away. Another castaway had her sister make the trip. The rest of the cast saw their husband, wife, partner, parent, and/or kid(s) travel to Fiji displaying why each former winner returned to the game. When you look at the BB 22 cast, most are in their late 20s or early 30s and still respectfully lack the life experience that WaW saw for the most part. I think older houseguests are more willing to play an aggressive style of game and don’t take things as personal. The castaways of WaW all stood up, clapped, and expressed how impressed they were with each finalist. The BB22 jury house stated they did not want to be remembered as a bitter jury. They voted the right way, but the drama within the jury still exists amongst some cast members after the show. This does not exist with WaW, or at least does not appear to exist.
We are in the age of BB where the meta-strategy is to link up with 6-8 people and then generate momentum, but what if we had more people in their 30s, 40s, and 50s vying for the half a million-dollar prize. I would guess that we would see more people competing and less people looking like sheep.
4. THE PRIZE MONEY DOUBLED.
In Survivor: WaW, the ultimate prize of 1 million dollars was increased to 2 million dollars. The castaways showed up on the beach and immediately cheered when Jeff Probst told them the news. I wonder if any players speculated producers would do something like that for season 40. Now, go back to BB and you’ll see the grand prize was not changed. Danielle Reyes has said that BB should consider increasing their winnings for all-stars and the future seasons. I agree with her. BB would have attracted better houseguests like Danielle Reyes, Vanessa, James Rhine, James H, Johny Mac, and more if the prize money went up (I’m pleased with a lot of BB 22 houseguests, but not everyone).
In conclusion, Survivor: Winners at War was the all-star season that BB fans had been longing for. Big Brother is a different show with many positives that don’t exist in Survivor and that can be said for the latter. Big Brother is the one show that I will always enjoy more. Although BB 22 did not live up to expectations, I am just thankful that a season did exist. Realistically, 2020 was the best year for an all-vets season. I hope that season 23 is better and thank you for reading!