Hell In A Cell: Review/Recap

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Alberto Del Rio Defeats John Cena to win the United States Championship:

So, if you’ve been reading the dirt sheets for the past couple weeks you’ll know that John Cena is set to take some time off, supposedly until close to the end of the year, so it seemed like a foregone conclusion that whoever was Cena’s mystery opponent they would take the belt from him, and that he did. And, also, if you’ve been reading the dirt sheets over the past couple months you’ll know that Del Rio was heavily rumoured to be coming back to the WWE, seemingly sooner rather than later, and that he did. Realistically, he was probably the best person they could’ve got to do this, outside of Daniel Bryan, but nobody truly knows his condition anymore it seems and I’m sure WWE would want to promote the hell out of D-Bry returning and not just have him randomly appear. I really don’t like the idea of having Del Rio returning with Zeb Colter as his manager, it doesn’t seem needed at all, besides the fact that I can’t stand Colter, and Del Rio can more than work by himself. I just hope they don’t give him the short stick, even with his probably stipulation heavy contract, Del Rio can still fill a top role in the company, especially with Cena out. As for the match itself, it was anti-climatic the whole way through, it was some, like, barely over seven minutes and Del Rio just did a couple random kicks to Cena’s head and pinned him, because of course Cena isn’t tapping to Del Rio with his regular finish. It was like Cena wanted to start his vacation extra early and, hence the quick match and that it was the first match on the card. Anyways, it was pretty dumb that Cena is built up as never losing and when he does cleanly like this it’s so pointless and doesn’t make much sense continuity wise, but eh, that’s just par for the course really.

Roman Reigns Defeats Bray Wyatt in a Hell In A Cell match:

This was probably low-key the match I was most looking forward to of the night, and unlike the other Cell match actually had some current build-up to it. Plus, Bray and Roman are great young talents who have some nice chemistry together. The match was a good brawl fest, with some nice use of kendo sticks and tables and positioned both men quite strongly, even if it was constantly clear that Roman would come out on top. I just really hope this is the end to the Reigns/Wyatt family feud that seems to have stretched for a year basically when you throw Ambrose’s feuding with Bray from late last year. I like Bray Wyatt and think he has sooo much potential, but it’d be nice to see him come out of a feud on top for once, I know he never was going to against Reigns, but it seems like Vince and co. like him and the Wyatts, yet they’re always stepping stones for others. We shall see.

The New Day Defeats The Dudley Boyz to retain the Tag Team Championship:

Man, I’m so sick of this feud already, and with the thought that they’d culminate it at TLC in December with a tables match, I don’t know if I can last that long. This thing is dead in the water, especially when they gotta keep up dumb finishes so that The Dudleyz don’t win and so that there’s a limp thread of a reason for them to keep feuding with The New Day continually retaining. They did some fun stuff with a framed DQ job from Kofi, but everything else largely falling flat, especially when The Dudleyz look so sloppy with their wrestling, missing out on simple moves, that take away from the supposed fidelity of the match. I prey they inject some new blood into this thing, or just cut bait early and have The Dudleyz work somebody else and The New Day do something else as they’re consistently part of the main event picture on RAW’s, so who knows.

Charlotte Defeats Nikki Bella to retain the Divas Championship:

This match was pretty uneventful and seemingly just Nikki’s rematch that she loses to get her out of the picture so probably Paige comes in and feuds for the belt next. Nikki looked really good in the match, and even though people were rightfully sick of her, she’s underratedly one of the best female wrestler on the roster, even with all the new NXT influence. I like Charlotte, too, and she might actually be my favourite overall, but I’m curious to see how long they keep the belt on her, even with the Flair pedigree and I wouldn’t be surprised to see her getting screwed out of it or something sooner than later.

Seth Rollins Defeats Kane to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship:

This was a pretty meh match and really exactly what was expected. It’s pretty telling when the World Championship match is a distant afterthought behind the two Cell matches. Hell, this thing probably could’ve been spiced up by putting it in the Cell, but here we are. I’ve never really like Rollins and Kane’s chemistry in the ring, they’re different styles obviously, but everything often seems so clunky and hemmed down with the two, and Seth’s been pulling out great matches with everybody, but this was a down moment for sure. At least this limited to a one PPV feud, we hope.

Kevin Owens Defeats Ryback to retain the Intercontinental Championship:

Damn, and I thought the Cena match was short just to get the belt off him, this one was the semi-reverse where Owens retained in, like, five minutes because I can only assume that’s how quickly they wanted this Owens/Ryback feud to be over so they can move Owens on to bigger and better things. I’m glad they didn’t stretch the feud out because Owens just murders Ryback in the ring and on the mic that Ryback never even seemed close to being a formidable opponent of Owens, even though they tried to make the story of how Owens cheated to win each time. There’s really not much of Ryback I can stand, he’s terrible on the mic and a poorer wrestler than he thinks he is and as much as he thinks otherwise, he just doesn’t have a good look. I’m looking forward to an actual feud with Owens and someone who can hang with him believably.

Brock Lesnar Defeats The Undertaker in a Hell In A Cell match:

Now I was pretty sure that this was going to be a good match, seeing as how their SummerSlam match was pretty fantastic (minus the finish) and that it’s supposedly the last time they’ll ever fight (this is the WWE, though, so you know to never fully believe anything they promise.), but damn if this thing exceeded expectations. Now, of course, this Cell match was going to be in the shadow of their classic blood-fueled duel inside the Cell at No Mercy in 2002, and this one being in the PG-era how could it compete, but oh, man, was their blood. Now, who knows if we’ll ever know if Lesnar and /or Taker purposely bladed (I’m going to guess no), but this match was as bloody as I’ve ever seen in a long time. I really think Brock’s just a bleeder and has some thin skin, because he’s constantly getting busted open, and pretty early in the match. It looked like they were working pretty stiff, too, so the unplanned blood seems pretty likely that way. But, otherwise this was a great match with a ton of brawling and and a kick-ass ending that most importantly saw Lesnar going over cleanly and getting the win as he should have. This is definitely a match I’m looking forward to going back and watching and if this is indeed the end to their decade-plus of feuding, it was a pretty worth conclusion. Generally, that would be it, but it’s no secret that Undertaker’s 25th Anniversary is coming at Survivor Series, the next PPV, so the Wyatt family (also in need of a new feud to start) come out and beat the hair extensions out of Taker and abduct him. Which was actually kind of badass for the Wyatt family to do, especially with their history. Obviously, this will lead into some kind of match, probably a Survior Series elimination match somehow at the PPV. Unfortunately it’s hard to see the Wyatt’s coming out on top again this time, but maybe Undertaker’s fully in his “putting others over” phase, but we’ll see. I’m cautiously optimistic.

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Night Of Champions: Review/Recap

Night Of Champions BannerSo, I’ve been back in the WWE and wrestling game for officially a year now after my decade or so of an absence. Technically it was marked by SummerSlam, but Night Of Champions last year was the first PPV I specifically set out to watch and saw the build towards. What’s that old joke about wrestling, you never stop being a fan, you just go through periods where you are completely smothered by it and others where you can’t stand it, it’s like a life-long disease. So, it’s a year later and I still watch so much it from WWE each week, TNA, ROH, NJPW, Lucha Underground and not to mention my whole Attitude Era watching and various other stuff. I don’t know what I did with all my time before I got back into wrestling, oh yeah, just watch other random TV. Anyways, I ramble and go on wayyy too long in these wrestling articles, so basically I’m gonna write about each current pay-per-view each month as a way to get my thoughts out about the current product and such. Let’s see how this goes.

Kevin Owens Defeats Ryback to win the Intercontinental Championship:

I am just the biggest Kevin Owens mark and love everything about him. He’s Canadian, has a unique look, prides himself on his family, is a badass, has a brutal moveset which also features a ton of agile moves for his build, is fantastic on the mic, and so on and on. He’s probably my favourite thing in wrestling right now. And Ryback… let’s just say I feel the complete opposite. Ryback just seems like a child, he has this ridiculous physique that is so far gone that it’s comical, he is horrendous on the mic and it’s hard to take anything seriously with him. It was destined that Owens would take the belt off Ryback once they got into this feud, but I’m surprised they did it this quickly, although it was the right move. Ryback’s reign has been dreadful and was barely treading water and doing the title a major disservice. Owens is gold and him having the belt will definitely help its credibility and provide a better angle for their feud. I’m curious to see how it’ll play out since Owens promos murder Ryback and it makes him look not even in his league, but I’m looking forward to it, mainly as a way to see more Kevin Owens.

Dolph Ziggler Defeats Rusev:

WWE’s version of what they think is a juicy soap opera tail. Where nobody knows who the “good” guy is in this and pretty much everybody in this is awful. From Rusev’s treatment of the women by his side, to Ziggler playing two women even though he’s supposed to be the good one, to Summer and Lana’s cattiness and TOTALLY STEREOTYPICAL WOMEN STUFF WHERE THEY’RE ONLY GOOD FOR ONE THING. It just needs to end and has no drawing power and people just don’t care. Lana, one of the few good parts, generally, is off TV with a legit injury, so I don’t even know what’s happening here anymore. It seems like there might be some kind of swerve with the Ziggler turn or whatever, but it’s so far past caring at this point.

The Dudley Boyz Defeats The New Day:

The New Day are at peak overness and The Dudleyz are a perfect foil to combat their goofiness. The match wasn’t that great, but we all know it’s leading to a tables match, whenever that may be, such as Hell In A Cell, or however long they stretch it for. The Dudleyz will obviously get their tenth reign sometime during their return, but I don’t know if it’s the right move to do now since The New Day are so hot and capable of getting such a reaction no matter who they’re with. And The Dudleyz are an easy team to help put over others, given their history and in-ring skill so them working to strengthen the tag divison in other ways would be great. The Dudleyz feuding with the Wyatts would be so much fun.

Charlotte Defeats Nikki Bella to win the Divas Championship:

Nikki gets her record and then drops the belt less than a week later so now everybody’s happy? I thought they would give Nikki the win here, just so it totally didn’t seem like she got the record then the belt taken off her as quickly as possible, but eh. Can’t say I really enjoyed the match, even though I love Charlotte and am actually a pretty big fan of Nikkie Bella’s in-ring work. They had Nikki work Charlotte’s leg, continually going after it and largely dominating the match by targeting her leg and making it the focal point of her offense. It was a fine storytelling move, but one completely obliterated of credibility when Charlotte without having put much offense in gets the figure four (a leg submission) on Nikki then bridges into her figure eight modifier, putting pressure on Charlotte’s legs which are the main source of the move and she pulls it off effortlessly with no pain and Nikki taps out to lose. A body part that had been worked the whole match just magically healed and was of nothing to Charlotte and she showed no signs of struggle. This just bugged me so much when they put such an emphasis on Nikki working that leg, and it was just thrown out the window and thus the storytelling became pointless. I’m optimistic to see what happens with the title picture in the wake of the ugh Divas Revolution ugh and with Paige’s heel turn. There’s a ton of talent there to give good matches with Charlotte, Nikkie, Paige, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch and even Naomi in spots. So, in theory the future should be bright, but let’s see if the booking agrees.

The Wyatt Family Defeats Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Chris Jericho:

This is another feud I’m sick of, even though I individually enjoy Ambrose, Reigns and the Wyatt Family, but it just seems like it’s been going on forever, especially when it just seems like yesterday that Ambrose had his singles feud with Wyatt. Chris Jericho was the mystery partner, and eh, I like Jericho but I wasn’t to moved with him being the partner, especially because it doesn’t really push that particular story. Sure, he cost them the match, but he isn’t booked seemingly to continue this and really just seems like to set up a possible feud with Ambrose somewhere down the line when Jericho wants to come back to TV. I didn’t really like the ending especially when they’re not going to continue that storyline with Jericho immediately, so why even book it like that. I honestly don’t know how much longer they can stretch this thing, because everything just gets repeated. It’s the same Wyatt promo every week, the same Reigns or Ambrose match that gets interrupted by the Wyatts each week. Like are they going to try to push to Survivor Series for an elimination match, because I can’t handle that. I’d love to see Reigns, Ambrose and Wyatt moved on as they’re all great talents just getting bogged down now. I also wish Reigns and Ambrose split and maybe they even did go with that rumored Ambrose turn. I just want all Shield members separate from each other, so they’re eventual feud and then reconciliation will be that much more special.

John Cena Defeats Seth Rollins to win the United States Championship:

John’s gotta get back his win and title, of course. It was fun while it lasted with Rollins being the dual champ, but by whatever way they weren’t going to have both titles on Rollins for that long. Cena’s good as the U.S. Champ, he has great matches with everybody and can pull good matches out of lesser people and at least provides a vessel where other superstars can show off their stuff on the John Cena level of attention, not that they’ll ever win, but yeah. This was another great match between the two, not as good as SummerSlam, but surprisingly high energy given Rollins had another match right after this.

Seth Rollins Defeats Sting to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship:

Unfortunately this match is now overshadowed by the injuries sustained to Sting when he took those turnbuckle powerbombs, but it was a really great match between the two and Sting gave it his all and did not hold anything back, which I guess unfortunately lead to his injuries. I wasn’t sure if it was scripted or not when the doctor was attending to Sting, but I was surprised to see the bumps he was taking especially the turnbuckle powerbombs that he took twice. I don’t think it’ll be the last we’ll see of Sting, but it’s really unfortunate for a seemingly great guy and one who even in injury put Rollins over exceedingly. And then, oh yeah, Demon Kane comes back to start the long-gestating and inevitable Rollins/Kane feud that we’ve all been clamoring for. That’s what’ll turn around the plummeting ratings! Now Demon Kane is fun and it’s nice to see him again, but I don’t have that much hope that the story will be that justifiable, plus a Rollins/Kane match just doesn’t inspire much from me. I hope it’s done with Hell In A Cell and Rollins gets to move on, someone mentioned it and I agree, a Rollins/Sheamus match has the potential to be a lot of fun. It kinda seems like Rollins days as champ are numbered, given the slumping ratings, the need to switch things up and a general malaise on him it seems nowadays. I always just assumed it would be Reigns to take the belt off him, now that he’s gained a lot more luster versue earlier in the years with the chorus of boos that greeted him, and he’s definitely a lot better on the mic now and is underratedly a good in the ring. Now that I think about it, they haven’t really done the Rollins/Reigns feud one-on-one especially due to the WrestleMania aftermath, so that very much could be a direction they go to soon, which would be a lot of fun. I think WWE is just counting the days to have Reigns, a strong babyface champ, go have a long run as Heavyweight champ and be the face of the company.

Overall it wasn’t that great of a show and has no matches that I’m fiending to rewatch, outside of possibly the Rollins matches because everything he puts on nowadays is usually gold. And of course the biggest news to come out of the event was just the randomly booked, oh, hey, by the way Undertaker/Brock Lesnar are blowing off their feud at Hell In A Cell inside the steel structure. No big deal. I was dreading them setting up their blow off match for WrestleMania 32 and it wasn’t something I was looking forward to seeing them waste on the event when there is so many better options for both of them to do at the biggest event of the year. And putting it at Hell In A Cell obviously is a response to the slumping ratings to book possibly the biggest match you can nowadays, Taker/Lesnar in a cell, and thus frees them up to start new feuds. I just hope they put Lesnar over cleanly like he deserves and should, there’s no reason for Taker at this stage to come out of this on top, especially since the Brock as that illustrious Mania victory over him. Undertaker does not need this feud victory to remain strong, neither does Lesnar since he’ll always be a beast, but Lesnar is still probably wrestling for a couple more years and is a legitimate option for the title picture and longer feud, while Taker is a special attraction once or twice a year and though seemingly on the brink of retirment, he seems content with working sporadically for the foreseeable future, which is good for WWE as long as his health stays up.

65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards Predictions

NPH 2013 Emmys

Alright, so the Emmys are tonight, and I’ve been pretty sparse on this here blog, which I’m trying to change, so let’s predict some Emmy winners! I’ll pick two, the one who I THINK is going to win, and the one who DESERVES to win.

Also, I should say that I’m uniformly pretty terrible at predicting awards show winners, and this year is especially tricky where I could see things going either way and I wouldn’t be surprised in the least with whoever wins. This is also a clever little fallback disclaimer that I can rely on when come Sunday night all my picks are wrong. Let’s do this.

Outstanding Drama Series:

This is a prime example where I could see it going multiple ways and not being surprised. Mad Men was a king crusher until Homeland came along and won last year. Mad Men’s as good as its ever been and I wouldn’t be surprised if it won. Homeland won last year for a terrific season of TV, but season 2 was pretty lackluster in spots and a definite step down, but, hey, sometimes the academy is dumb and just votes on name. Breaking Bad is what everybody’s obsessing over now, its never won one of these, but its got that acting category on lock. It’s good as well, and deserving, so, maybe. The new kid on the block, House Of Cards was pretty much tailored to win Emmys, and it’s alright, but not deserving, but again, it’s the type of show that the academy LOVES. Game Of Thrones was good too, but still a little too out of the Emmy wheelhouse to actually win. So, yeah, I’m gonna say House Of Cards wins, while I personally would give it to Mad Men to win. It could go so many ways, though.

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series:

I’ll come right out and say that Kevin Spacey wins this, and I feel semi-pretty good in that. He’s got the name recognition, everybody loves him and he was pretty good. Most deserving? I’d say Damian Lewis, a lot was demanded out of him in season 2 of Homeland and how he was able to flip the script and shift into different modes and sides of Brody was some awe-inspiring work.

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series:

Claire Danes deserves it and wins it on Sunday. No real competition here, she was fantastic yet again. Robin Wright was good, if never given much to do, and I guess Elisabeth Moss is the next threat, but, nah, Danes got this thing. If I had my way though, Connie Britton would win, because I love her more than most of my family members, and she’s awesome and everything positive should go her way. Connie 4 lyfe.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series:

I think Peter Dinklage wins this thing again, but Mandy Patinkin is the most deserving. Dinklage is great, and although not as good in this last season of GoT, I still think he gets it again. Patinkin is arguably the best part of Homeland and he’s just fantastic. Plus, that fedora and beard. The man knows old man chic.

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series:

I’m going to say Anna Gunn wins this, but I’m not really that confident in it. Nobody else really jumps out at me, even while I enjoy every single nominees work on their show. I don’t even know who’s most deserving, so, hey, Emmys, just make it a six-way tie. Emmys for everybody.

Outstanding Comedy Series:

We all know Louie should and deserves to win this thang, but that just ain’t gonna happen, because we live in a cruel and unjust world. So, say hello to The Big Bang Theory or Modern Family winning. Modern Family is not a good show, but it was slightly better this year. I’ve stopped watching The Big Bang Theory for awhile now, but people tell me it’s on kind of an uptick and doing good things, so it wins tomorrow. You guys can all wear your totally awesome BAZINGA! shirts in celebration. You know you want to.

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series:

Do you think Alec Baldwin is gonna win this thing for the 395th time? I don’t know, but I think there’s something in his contract that even now with 30 Rock off the air, he’ll continue to be nominated into eternity, a forever reminding cloud that makes you question your life just so, because what kind of world would it be if Alec Baldwin had to cease being nominated in this category. What kind of world I ask of you. Anyways, Jim Parsons wins, but Louis C.K. is most deserving.

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series:

Strong candidates abound and I love them all, except one. I’ll let you figure out which one that is. JLD ain’t gonna win this again, though I love her so. I don’t think they give it to Tina Fey even though it’s her swan song. No on Dunham and Falco. So, Amy Poehler wins and Laura Dern is so, so deserving of it. Writing this just reminded that Enlightened is gone, and I’m so sad now, guyz. You should watch it if you haven’t, it’s such a beautifully poignant, sad, funny and uplifting show. Please, someone give Mike White another show.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series:

Ty Burell wins this, and yeah, I think he deserves it. I absolutely loved Burell in the first seaon of MF, but just got tired of his schtick. I’ve come around, it is what it is, I love Ty Burell, he’s funny, so give him the Emmy.

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series:

Sadly, I think Sofia Vergara wins this. I can’t stand her because the show only derives two outlets of comedy from her, her nationality, and how hot she is (I’d argue against her perceived attractiveness, but, hey, that’s just me a sane straight male). Jane Krakowski deserves this to the world’s end, because she’s been my favourite thing about 30 Rock since it began. She is so great, I can’t even function how good she was on that show and never gets any recognition for it. Krakowski 4 lyfe.

Outstanding Miniseries or Movie:

I’ve only seen a couple of these, but knowing things I’d say Behind The Candelabra wins and deserves it.

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Miniseries Or Movie:

Emmys just can’t wait to give Michael Douglas an Emmy. Wins and deserves.

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Miniseries Or Movie:

Again, the Emmys love their old, distinguished and creditable thespians (am I using that word right?). Jessica Lange wins, and deserves because the only other one in the category I’ve seen was Laura Linney in The Big C, and no, just no.

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Miniseries Or Movie:

I’m gonna say the American Horror Story love doesn’t leave Lange, so Scott Bakula continues the “Candelabra” love. I don’t know, maybe the Emmys might really love Zachary Quinto. Who knows.

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Miniseries Or Movie:

Man, I have no clue. I think Political Animals was bad, I don’t know, I didn’t watch it. So, lets say Ellen Burstyn wins because she’s an OG and just great and kinda looks like all of our grandmothers. Sarah Paulson was cool and had commitment for days in AHS, so maybe she pulls the rug out.

Outstanding Variety Series:

The Daily Show, are you even kidding with other nominees? It’s the don mega of variety series. Which is, like, the most broad category ever.

Outstanding Reality – Competition Program:

Where’s Big Brother? Hahaha, I’m a jokester, but seriously I don’t watch any of this. The Amazing Race had the crown for awhile, until Top Chef screwed it up a few years back. I don’t really care, but we’ll say Phil Keoghan and company retain the award. I haven’t watched it since, like, Reichen and Chip just totally Jordan/Pippen’ed the entire show.

Let’s keep going, because why not, I have nothing better to do on a Saturday night

Outstanding Directing For A Drama Series:

You’ve gotta be dreaming if you think David Fincher doesn’t win this. An A-list director directs one of the most anticipated and Emmy bait shows of the past year? Get outta here. I think my girl Michelle MacLaren deserves this, though.

Outstanding Directing For A Comedy Series:

“New Year’s Eve” is such a beautiful piece of television that C.K.’s gotta win. I’d like to think that the academy has started to turn even more towards C.K. after last year, and less towards the perennials of Modern Family and Glee and such. They probably haven’t, but I’m gonna stick with C.K. winning.

Outstanding Directing For A Miniseries, Movie Or A Dramatic Special:

Steven Soderbergh is the boss and he wins this. Hahaha, you actually thought dude was retiring to paint?

Outstanding Directing For A Variety Series:

Man, I don’t know. None of these have real unique directing styles except for Portlandia. Maybe, it wins because of this. But, lets just give it to The Daily Show because they haven’t won enough. I don’t know.

Outstanding Writing For A Drama Series:

I was going to say that one of those Breaking Bad episodes was gonna win, but I completely forgot about “Q&A,” because I’m an idiot, with it being a jaw agape hour of television written by the late and forever great Henry Bromell. He’s gotta win.

Outstanding Writing For A Comedy Series:

Louie, Louie, Louieeeee. And Pamela Adlon. They’ve got this in the bag, with a decidedly weird and inventive episode.

Outstanding Writing For A Miniseries, Movie, Or A Dramatic Special:

Behind The Candelabra, please come and accept another award.

Outstanding Writing For A Variety Series:

The Daily Show, please come and accept another award.

Outstanding Choreography:

What? You think we’re not gonna talk about choreography? Of course we are. Some would argue that it is the most important category, and I cast myself as chief among them. Some would also say that I always forget how many goddamn Emmys categories there are, and I’m just reading these off the Wikipedia page. That could also be true. Good thing I also always forget that the Creative Arts Emmys are a thing, as well. Anyways, my girl cousins like that So You Think You Can Dance show, so one of its four nominees wins. Let’s say the “Sonya Tayeh” one wins, sounds like a cool enough name.

So, I hope this was all informative. No real need to watch the Emmys now I guess, sorry for the spoilers, but whatever, watch Breaking Bad instead or the sure to be cracking Dexter series finale. All the props to you if you read this far, but I think my own eyes glossed over this thing about halfway through. Happy Emmys watching, I’m gonna go watch some hockey.

‘Big Brother Canada’: Is It Necessary?

Big Brother Canada Banner

After three weeks or so, ten episodes, and countless hours of the live feeds for your pleasure, I think it’s about time to start drawing some conclusions from Canada’s inaugural edition of Big Brother. I’m not going to get into my crazy Big Brother fandom here, but you can read about it in an earlier post I did on BB if you’re interested, or bored, or both, (https://evankirby.wordpress.com/2012/07/31/big-brother-the-perfect-summer-show/). When Big Brother Canada was first announced I was pretty pumped for it to come here, a little less so when it was revealed it was going to Slice, but thought, hey, I can finally apply for Big Brother! But, then I remembered I’m not an awful, awful human being and decided I’d just let Big Brother scoop up all the stock reality cliché’s of the past, and boy does Canada have an abundance of those! I guess more exposure on a channel like Global (who carries the American Big Brother) would’ve been nice, but we’re still in the prime TV season, and I doubt there’s much room to carry this much Big Brother that usually airs in the barren Summer. Though Big Brother is nice in that it allows Slice to build their image around it and promote it as a semi-original series, but it’s not like their image is that different anyways, with all the Real Housewives shows and Women’s oriented programs (Nothing wrong with that, just commenting on their niche). So, basically what I’m saying is that Big Brother fits in pretty perfect on their network.

But, I guess the question I’m asking after these first couple weeks is, is this really worth it? Also, what’s the point? I was excited for this Canadian Big Brother because I hoped that they would be able to create their own mold, stray away from the repetitiveness and blandness of the last several iterations of the American version and have their own twist. Unfortunately they haven’t, besides the different looking house and the rampant Canadian cliched contests, themes and symbols, this looks exactly like your typical American Big Brother. The same boring competitions are back, the cast is exactly as stock and cliché as you’re used to, filled with the dumb blonde, the flamboyant gay guy, the meatheads, the old guy (even though he’s only 38), the nerdy guy etc. etc., you get the picture. The past few American Big Brother’s have tried to introduce one big twist every year, but it’s always so predictable and usually doesn’t have all that big of a bearing on the game as a whole, “game-changing” as they like to bill them, they are not. The Canadian version tried to give the audience the veto, which was fine, but overall did nothing, sending out a weak player, and keeping two other weak players destined to float around ‘til they get evicted, or probably dumbly win. The sins of the American version are too rampant here within the structure of the game itself, who knows what can happen, but I’ve seen this pattern many times before.

Unfortunately do to school, and more important things like watching other TV shows, I’ve been playing catch-up with the show and haven’t been watching the live feeds much, that’s why Summer Big Brother is a prime slot. But I’ve have been keeping as up-to-date as possible through internet and Twitter means, but my views are largely based off the actual episodes. But, as is well known, Big Brother is crazily edited so much so that the live feeds are a COMPLETELY different show than what you see on TV (not swearing, sexual content etc. wise, but…) as they edit and frame stuff so much, and cut out and shape story lines and narratives. Basically what I’m saying is that my opinion is formed from the episodes alone, but I hope to be more faithful to the live feeds soon. Also, no matter what happens with the quality of the show, ultimate kudos to Slice for putting the live feeds up for FREE on their website, instead of the subscription you have to pay on the American side of things. Great gesture and something that the American version should do, but I highly doubt it, CBS loves their money. I hadn’t heard about that much complaints about them cutting out the feeds at first, but it seems like of recent they go in and out more randomly.

When it comes down to it though, whatever machinations the Big Brother staff fits around it, it doesn’t really build to the quality of the show, no, that’s fully left up to the cast. The cast of any reality show makes or breaks the show, and Big Brother is a prime example. Now, the cast, as mentioned above, is always going to be the same mix of incredibly dumb and cringe-worthy people. I get that, I’m over it, and I’m at the point where after all these years I just try to enjoy them as best as I can. Even through all their banality, I kinda like this cast, and the constant alliance flip-flopping and shifting.  I think there’s about 457 interlocking and shifting alliances between the cast-members, to the point where I’ve seen a picture floating around the internet trying to breakdown and segment each overlapping alliance. People like each other one day, hate each other the next, nominate you the day after, and then save you the following day. Of course, we’ve seen this before, but this cast is ramping it into over drive. I also don’t think I’ve seen this many “showmances” (I hope you could feel my whole body cringe through the computer as I typed that word…) in a game, and especially this early. I think there’s at least four or five. Let’s just say that these people aren’t afraid of showing some affection, or kissing, or lap-dances, or nakedness, you get the picture.

All these things I’ve been describing that I like are all just a recipe for the one thing I like and the ultimate success of every Big Brother season, SHIT GOING DOWN. These alliances and “showmances” and “bromances” and whatever are great because they are destined to fail, people will lie, cheat, steal, girls will cry, a guy will cry (actually just happened), and people will go insane. I want my Big Brother cast to hate each other, I want threats of violence, name-calling, boasting, back-stabbing, pretending, playing each other, making false promises, attacking strong competitors, I want this to be personal. Big Brother should be a blood bath, and the last few American seasons haven’t had even close to that. The casts have been boring, where last season I rarely watched my purchased live feeds because it was a bigger waste of time than watching a Calgary Flames game. I have hopes for this season/cast, I really do, so please don’t fail me and burn this baby down!!!

So, is this all necessary? Do we really need a Big Brother Canada? No, of course not, but Slice isn’t going to pass up guaranteed money along with an established premise. Nope, they’re going to just start stamping CANADA all over it and then wait for the money trucks to roll in. Now, I doubt they’re making Bernie Madoff calibre money, but the ratings have been good, as far as I can tell, and they have a nice little cornerstone to help further their brand, and it’s a nice little show and product to have in your pocket. Sadly, this is literally the same product we get every Summer on CBS, just with some glossy and aesthetic changes to fool you into maybe thinking different. I understand why CBS doesn’t want to mix things up, well, first because they’re CBS and change to them is like global warming to the dumb, they refuse it even exists. And things are rolling along smoothly, so don’t break something that already has decent ratings? Or something. I would’ve hoped for Slice to make Big Brother more their own and shape a new identity through it, but maybe they were held back by the American production ownership who didn’t want their brand tampered with, I don’t know. It’s just disappointing to see it form and function the same as the version to our south. We can always hope for the cast to be entertaining, but they’re following the same blueprint of Big Brother and reality shows of the past. It remains the ultimate roll of the dice, lets just hope when they come to a rest that the numbers are on our side.

‘Big Brother’: The “Perfect” Summer Show

‘Big Brother’ is a lot like Summer. It comes around the same time each year, it’s mostly boring, albeit with some sporadic high points spread throughout, and it’s over before you know it. ‘Big Brother’ is the perfect Summer show for both good and bad reasons that echoes its strengths, but also it’s tedium.

I’m a huge ‘Big Brother’ fan, although not as BIG as I once was, now that I’ve had the live feeds for the past few seasons, my fandom is back on an upswing. I’ve been watching ‘Big Brother’ ever since the fourth edition way back in 2003, and looking back I can’t believe I’ve been watching this show for almost a decade. Not even too sure why I started watching in the first place, besides being a intrigued by the conceit of putting a bunch of strangers in a house and not letting them out. I think coming out of the reality boon in the early 2000’s being sick of ‘Survivor’ after the first three seasons, ‘Big Brother’ seemed more up my alley. Still a lot of what drives my passion for the game is my arrogance of how well I would do inside the ‘Big Brother’ house, which would be no doubt shot down quickly if I ever did manage to make it on the show.

As I grow older and social media expands, there’s more opportunity for me to engage in the show and follow it like I previously never have. My Twitter feed this time of year is completely filled with live updates and such (So, basically my Twitter feed = mid-September to June, 100% filled with hockey tweets, and July to mid-September, 100% filled with ‘Big Brother’ tweets). Now that I have actual money I can purchase the live feeds, which seemed like the holy grail when I was younger, “You mean I could actually watch this 24/7!?!?!?”. That’s what’s so great about ‘Big Brother’, it’s going on right as I type this and you maybe read this. No tape delay, and thus creates a more engaging online experience and connection to the game and show. It’s such an interesting and platform rich show that you can interact with it on two wholly different levels, depending on your commitment. There are fantastic sites like hamsterwatch.com and jokersupdates.com which provide fan hubs to talk and follow the show as well as providing constant update on the goings on of the house. You could solely watch it on TV, ignore the internet and enjoy the show just as well, or hate it just as much. Or you could follow every Twitter feed, watch the live feeds, read daily recaps, visit fan sites, read forums, know what’s happening before the TV broadcast AND watch the tri-weekly shows. It’s two different shows, one that’s guided by a network and shaped for your viewing and other where you can engage how you like and watch the show and cast unfiltered. Let’s make this clear though, you see about 90% of the actual show on TV than actually happens. The editing CBS does is incredible and all the gameplay and drama you don’t see on TV that actually happens without you being the wiser unless you follow online is staggering. You think people go back and forth in alliances and liking and hating people on the show, it’s about 150x that in actuality.

I like to think that CBS airs ‘Big Brother’ only in the Summer and at the same time each year because they know exactly what they have. ‘Big Brother’ is like the Hollywood movie system in the Summer, they release all the big fluffy, dumb popcorn movies in the Summer, and all the Oscar pictures in September – November. That’s what ‘Big Brother’ is, a big, fluffy, dumb show with bickering instead of action. People just want cheap entertainment in the Summer, and ‘Big Brother’ provides it in spades. Just like as in the movie industry, all the outcast, dumb shows are in the Summer, while in the fall comes the legitimate good shows, a place where ‘Big Brother’ doesn’t. Of course, we’re speaking in generalities where there is some good shows/movies in the summer and bad in the fall, but you get my point. Interestingly enough though the casts and the show have been going downhill ever since the writer’s strike induced ‘Big Brother 9’ which premiered in February of 2008. I don’t know what that means, except that ‘Big Brother’ should probably just stay where it belongs in the Summer.  Sure, CBS could put ‘Big Brother’ year round like ‘Survivior’, it gets pretty decent enough ratings and all, but I think they believe ‘Big Brother’ to be some sort of “event” like TV to put in the Summer, just like big Hollywood action movies.

‘Big Brother’ is somehow simultaneously the best and worst show at the same time. It’s premise and scale of engagement is unlike any other and provides a framework where some great TV and can be created from. But, as most recently the cast members are pretty awful and dumb and reluctant to make game moves that would make the show interesting. It’s just like Summer, long droughts of boredom and tedium, that randomly pick up through some interesting event, then dies back down into a familiar pattern. It’s never been perfect, far from it, but it’s a break from the normal and something to look forward to each year. It can be both loud and quiet, penduluming from great highs to great lows. It provides a break from the seriousness of everything else and allows you to enjoy it at your own pace through whichever avenue you’d like. I forgot, was I talking about Summer or ‘Big Brother’?