The reality television show we have chosen is called Big Brother, more specifically the United States version. Episode 28 of season 12 is subject of our analysis. Two groups are being displayed: the so-called house guests (Enzo, Hayden and Lane) and the jury, which consists of the former house guests who were forced to leave the house after the lost several challenges and then, were evicted by vote of the other participants. The objective of the current team of Enzo, Hayden and Lane was to work together to make it up to the finals as an alliance. However, now they are mainly focusing on their personal goal: winning the show as an individual and thus winning $500,000. The environment is highly competitive, as they have all spent over 60 days together. Losing at any given point would leave them without the money. Therefore, the team members are all constantly anxious and interpersonal tension is constantly noticeable.
This interpersonal tension can be explained if looking at the goal of the individual team members: winning the prize money and avoiding an eviction from the Big Brother house. There is no question in that, as it is the general concept of the Big Brother format. Furthermore, we noticed that all team members had secondary reasons for winning. For instance, Enzo wanted to make his family proud by performing well on national TV. The main strength of the group is motivation; motivation is what drives them to do what they are trying to achieve. We all agreed on the environment the team operates in – a highly competitive one – and its main goals. Moreover, we also noticed that the three men interact with each other by making use of a very friendly and polite tone. Nonetheless, when the prize money is discussed, they change their attitudes. During a normal conversation, they all get along fine but when the money is at stake – for example during a competitive game – they are not afraid to verbally attack each other. This accentuates their will to win, the competitive nature of the show and, again, the
true reason these three men are participating on the show.
One some points, though, our views differed. Some team members thought the three remaining team members had previously worked together by forming an alliance and thus ensuring them all of a place in the finals. Others of us did not think of it this way: they rather thought even this cooperation was merely to fulfill the final goal of each individual member. Even more, one of us stated that these three do not trust each other at all while someone else thought the team members are friendly and polite to one another because they do trust each other.
The perception is of course subjective and differs from one another as we based our evidence on our personal perception of the participants’ attitude, expressions, outer appearance and their interactions with one another. Nonetheless, we agreed that Hayden is showing a very confident attitude. He won the challenge and he is convinced that he will win the competition. Lane on the other hand is gaining confidence not by referring to the first challenge but by his physical strength. He is off the opinion that it will lead him to victory. Surely, he was physically the strongest person and very muscular. To our minds, Enzo was the weakest and the least ambitious of the three. He was the first member of the group who was eliminated during the first challenge and during the short interviews that are held during the show, he made a rather introverted impression on us.
Very interesting is also how prejudice and the use of stereotypes becomes important by observing the show. But let’s look at this more specifically. The three guys formed a conspiracy and voted out the last girl. According to them, women share less commonality and women are for instance physically weaker. Lane and Hayden also depicted Enzo as the weakest of the three. They perceive him as weak and not confident enough, as he was the first to give up during the first challenge, where the three men had to hold on to a rope as long as they could
without falling down. When Enzo eventually fell off the rope Hayden even said: “This dude has zero intestinal fortitude, show some guts man. Hang on the rope.” This was to us clear evidence that Hayden and Lane are making use of stereotypes, in this example the belief that men are always physically strong and muscular. Even more, Lane believes that only true men can win challenges. In the jury house, we found another example of prejudice and stereotypes. The members of the jury came to the conclusion that Ragan, another participant of the show who was voted out earlier on, was gay because he acted like that. Nonetheless, they found their commonly held belief and their assumptions to be wrong. We did not notice any evidence discrimination in the selected episode of Big Brother.
As a team we came to the conclusion that the strengths of this group can on a long term also be their weaknesses. This reality show started off with 13 participants who were all eager to win the prize money of $500.000. So in order to ensure that Enzo, Lane and Hayden get to the finals they formed an alliance against the remaining contesters. Due to this alliance they were insured of a place among the last three remaining competitors. The key aspect of this idea was of course that they would not vote against each other. This can be seen as the strength of their group. But there is always a “however” and as stated before their strength becomes their greatest weakness in the long run. The fundamental idea of the show is that only one person will be able to receive the reward of $500.000 so even though they are a group, they also have to compete with each other. The alliance they have formed will change into betrayal and conspiracy in the hope to send someone home and get closer to the money prize. Enzo also said during the challenge where they had to hold on to a rope: “If one of you falls (on purpose), I’m taking you to the finals”, meaning that if one of the other two competitors loses the first challenge on purpose he will in return vote for them so that the person will be in the final together with him. This depicts the weakness of this group to an even greater extent. One could almost say that Enzo is bribing his teammates in order to ensure that he will be in the final.
As a result, we found the major conflict of the group to be that they are competing for the same goal. Only one person can win the $500.000. So even though these members have formed an alliance, in the coming episodes it is inevitable that they have to vote someone out. The erstwhile alliance will come to an end and the team members will turn out to be rivals. Betrayal and bribery will in all probability be the next step to win the money prize. Every team member also felt like it was every man for himself.
We included the following list to this report as first ideas of how to solve the difficulties the group is facing:
· More variation in forming the coalition. (for instance not only men but also woman)
· Ensuring there is more trust within the group
· Keeping the alliance a secret from other contesters
- Work together and split the money prize equally
We believe that the strategy of working together and splitting the money prize equally would be the best solution. This is due to the fact that these three men have formed an alliance at the very start of the program, they have been friends for a long period and have earned each other’s trust. They always had each other’s backs but because only one person can win, they have to eliminate one person each episode. The friendship they had will turn into rivalry so it will be a win-lose-lose-situation. However, if the three members work together as they did for weeks and decide to divide the money prize, they can all be satisfied. This means that Lane, Enzo and Hayden will each win $166.666,67 and at the same time will remain friends. This is the ultimate win-win-win-situation and this is why we believe this is the best strategy.