11 August 2008
Without question my 2 current favourites on Big Brother are Memphis and Dan. Just in reading a bio or surfing a fun facts page, there is no way in hell that I would like Dan. He’s close-mindedly conservative, preachy, judgemental, vain, slightly misogynistic and tries too hard to be macho. Memphis, on the other hand, comes off as fun, strong, respectful, down to earth and interesting. Dan’s strategy is to play the weakling and subtly suggest strategy without letting on that he’s doing so. Memphis is playing it completely straight; he doesn’t seem to throw competitions but he doesn’t play to win or die either, he gets his strategies across and makes his alliances but he’s neither sneaky nor brazen about it.
I’m rooting for Dan because a) I felt that the whole Brian thing went down unfairly and it would be nice to see him fully rise from the ashes and beat the smug know-it-alls who targeted him early on and b) I think his strategy (though many may disagree) is really admirable; it’s smart, easy to execute and will most likely take him far. I can’t stand the people who think that if you don’t win competitions you’re coasting in the game, or “floating” as so many contestants of the past have liked to call it. In fact, many of the best players in BB history will tell you that to win competitions is to throw the game.
More so, however, I’m rooting for Memphis. I’m doing this because I actually like the guy (he’s the only house guest of whom I can say that 100% truthfully) AND he has respectable game play. He makes sure his voice is heard without ever losing his cool (with the one exception of when he was personally attacked by Jerry), adapts remarkably well when things don’t go his way (see his entire alliance being evicted and him being nominated) and somehow manages to strategically stay on the good side of almost every house guest (an amazing feat).
What these 2 vastly different but similarly subtle players have the most in common that makes me want to take their side is not only the fact that they are 2 of the only remaining house guests (alongside Ollie) who’ve never been in a stupid screaming match (the aforementioned Jerry incident was provoked and completely understandable) but the way that both of them are playing a house game and a TV game.
Much like Danielle (seasons 3 and 7) and Dr. Will (seasons 2 and 7) before them, both Memphis and Dan make the audience an active participant in their game. Memphis does it on a more personal level; when he vented in the diary room about how out of control the house was to attack Dan on a religious level or how much it bothers him how people fake interest in the HOH room, Memphis made his personal feelings and issues clear to the audience at home (who loves him for it) but was judiciously protective of his own place in the house by keeping his mouth shut outside the personal interviews. This lets the viewer in on the fact that what the house sees and who Memphis is are not necessarily the same thing.
Dan’s relationship to the camera has a lot more to do with strategy. He spends little time discussing his personal opinions and beliefs (a wise move since I most certainly would like him less every time he did) but rather makes a point of letting the audience know exactly what he is up to through glances and nods not unlike the Jim’s iconic “ironic looks” on The Office. Every time Dan puts on an Oscar-worthy performance as a guilt-ridden traitor, a weak and innocent non-threat or a melancholy long-distance boyfriend, and the other house guests fall for it, he gives the camera a little wink to remind us that we’re in on the joke.
Danielle and Dr. Will, two of the house’s greatest schemers, would similarly use diary room sessions or private moments with the camera to engage the audience in their game play. Only the audience knew about Danielle’s secret alliance with Jason, only the audience knew who the only real members of Chilltown were, we knew who Danielle truly trusted and exactly how Will felt about his all-star showmance Janelle; we knew these things because they would tell us, and no one else. And that’s why we cared more about them- we were involved in their game.
While Memphis and Dan may just be the best players in a bad group, they’re the ones I’m cheering for now. Who knows who may step up as worthy of my fandom next week (after all, season 8’s Jen didn’t win me over right away but ended up as one of my all-time favourites) but for now I choose to cheer for 2 men: the best man (Memphis) and the best actor (Dan) who add up to the best players.