Big Brother Season 2 was a breath of fresh air after the infamous first season of the most talked about reality game show on television. The Big Brother house opened its doors to its new housemates on July 5, 2001, and ended 82 days after. Its premiere’s audience share was at 8.2 million – lower than the first season’s stats– but gained peak after the first 30 minutes on air. It was well received by the show’s fans, as well as the critics from the alleged game debut fail. It also blasted the internet with its online success.
Most of the reality show’s diehard fans considered this season as their all-time favorite with its many firsts in the history of the Big Brother franchise. Unlike the initial installment, CBS this time had the creative control over what was going to happen. They cast 12 completely diverse houseguests, all of which were described by the fans as more wicked and vicious compared to the housemates from the maiden season. Let us reminisce one of the best American Big Brother seasons.
Big Brother Season 2: A Fresh Game Format
Big Brother Season 2 became a game of strategy, with more activities for the housemates. In the previous season, the viewers had the power to choose who to evict every week and who would eventually win. It was done through text voting. This time around, the power was given to the houseguests themselves.
There were more game challenges during this season compared to the first. It was designed for the players to think of ways on how to survive the week without being evicted. It was also during this season that houseguests formed the first alliance in an attempt to control where the game would lead to and who were the housemates to be evicted.
The main house rules were still applicable for this season. The housemates have restricted any means to communicate to the outside world. They were in total seclusion until they were told to leave the house or if someone already won. Family emergencies or deaths were exempted, in which the producers would notify the player. This was to make sure that none of the housemates would feel so much pressure from the issues of the outside world while staying inside the house.
Meet the Houseguests
Each season produced very controversial people and Big Brother Season 2 was no exemption to that. One person worthy to be remembered was Shannon Dragoo. When Hardy Ames-Hill won the third week’s competition, he voted for Shannon and Will “Dr. Delicious” Kirby. To Shannon, Will must stay in the game so she verbally abused the housemates and washed the toilet using Hardy’s toothbrush. She was evicted with 6-0 votes.
Speaking of which, Will was said to be one of the greatest houseguests of all time. He was romantically linked to Shannon, who went to the extent of sacrificing herself just to keep Will alive in the game. Known as a smooth talker, Will used psychological tactics to deceive other players without being noticed. It eventually led him to the top of the game.
How Justin Sebik Got Served
Season 2 produced the best player – and the worst. Justin Sebik became the first expelled housemate in the Big Brother history. It all started when he held a knife to the neck of a drunken Krista Stegall while they were making out. The segment was edited out for the TV version, but netizens with 24/7 online access witnessed the whole incident.
Since then, he had broken a series of house rules and put up a lot of shenanigans against his fellow houseguests. The show’s psychologist deemed him unfit to continue so he was kicked out of the house on Day 10. He was not invited to be a part of the jury during the Season Finale.
Nomination Discussions Allowed
In contrast to the other franchises across the globe, nomination discussions were allowed in Big Brother Season 2. The contestants were given enough time to vote in a majority against one potential evictee and discuss the reasons for their choices. This was a chance for alliances to take the reins and attempt to drive the other players to their ultimate goal of eliminating possible threats.
Discussing the nominations was a great way for strategists to come up with ideas on how to influence each houseguest’s decision. This was a useful advantage for the players who had great convincing powers – much to the dismay of the nominees. It helped the schemers to keep themselves safe from eviction and manipulate the others on who to choose.
However, this could also be a chance for the nominees to appeal to their housemates and do whatever it takes to stay inside the house. There were many ways to do it like bad mouthing the other nominees, which had been a tactic used by future houseguests. It was considered an effective way to get rid of one’s target opponent.
The Game-changer: Head of Household
It was in Big Brother Season 2 that the Head of Household (HOH) concept was introduced. The houseguests would compete each week and the winner of the games would be the HOH for the following week. This was an advantage for some of the houseguests who became HOH because they were able to throw out the peers they disliked. The head had the power to nominate two competitors to be evicted out of the house. The houseguests would then vote for the one they wanted to be kicked out.
But, there’s a catch. A player was not allowed to hold the position for two straight weeks; he could not enter the following week’s game play. This gave the others a chance to steal the position and to get back to those who wanted them out. If a member was a part of an alliance, this was their time to bring the other team down until they competed against each other.
Getting the HOH title had its perks like getting your laundry done for free and having a bedroom for yourself. Although he was tasked to nominate two possible evictees for the week, he did not have the right to vote unless it was to break a tie. This was one of the reasons the game became intense because the HOH’s tactics were not always foolproof.
Survival Route: Houseguests Vote Evictees
Unlike before, the new process indicated that the houseguests vote to know who to evict and eventually win. The HOH and the nominated housemates were not allowed to cast their votes for eviction. These votes reset each week during game plays that determine the next HOH.
Being nominated would leave a stigma, that’s why previous nominees pushed themselves hard to become HOH and to seek revenge. This ignited sparks within the group; they ended up plotting against each other. Consequently, the survival concept helped in gaining more television viewers and online followers.
The twist to the voting rights also added drama to the reality series. A player connived with another to go against a housemate – ending up with the former deceiving the latter. The fact that the world could see everything – thanks to the cameras everywhere – further infused conflicts inside the house. The houseguests had two options: be completely honest with everyone or just play the game with the intention to win.
The Jury: It’s Payback Time
The jury was introduced in the new game format. It consists of the evicted housemates, not including those who were totally expelled from the game. Instead of the voting public, the jury was the body who would determine the grand winner. Unlike the eviction voting, the jury was tasked to vote for the winner.
It was the first time that a jury was formed in any Big Brother shows worldwide. The decision relied heavily on the relationship of the last two housemates to their peers. This season had a jury with nine members. The decision of the jury would be based on how the last two housemates treated them in the past; and yes, it’s payback time.
The Final Two were given the chance to appeal to the jury and let them know why they should choose him or her. It would be really tricky at this point because if you had issues with the jury while there were still inside the house, the conflicts would be held against you.
The Chilltown Alliance VS the Other People
Strategy brewed very early in the game when Mike Malin, together with Shannon and Will, created the first Big Brother alliance they called the “Chilltown Alliance.” Their goal was to control the voting system and evict those they want to be kicked out of the house. They wanted to make sure that they had a better chance of winning – at least, it would end up with just the three of them.
The alliance was conceptualized after Mike won the first HOH challenge, which gave him the power to nominate two people. In this case, he nominated Nicole Nilson Schaffrich and Sheryl Braxton. Mike did not like Nicole so he thought that she would get most evicted for being rowdy and manipulative. He chose Sheryl because he thought that she was less likely to be thrown out.
However, the alliance’s plan ricocheted back at them. When the rest of the housemates heard of it, they formed their own group called “The Other People” or TOP. The goal was to break all possible Chilltown Alliance strategies, which was quite easy since TOP was the majority. Given this advantage, they were not lured on the bait and voted out Sheryl. She became the first evictee in the new format.
The 9/11 Effect Inside the Big Brother House
The 9/11 incident happened during the filming of Big Brother Season 2. Since the houseguests were isolated, they were completely unaware of the incident. It was during this time that a house rule was ever lifted – when the producers were informed that Monica Bailey’s cousin was one of the missing people in the horrible attack.
The producers broke the rule which stated that the houseguests were not allowed to be informed of any news from the outside world. The tragedy happened when there were only three left in the house: Monica, Will, and Shannon. The management initially gave the housemates basic information.
The producers opted not to show any videos to the three finalists, but they were considerate enough to talk to Monica personally regarding her cousin’s situation. She did not ask to leave; instead, she requested to make a call to her sister. The housemates were shocked when they heard about it but they took it in a mature way. The full details were provided to them during the season finale.
Surprise, Surprise! Who Won Big Brother
It all boiled down to a head-to-head battle between annoying Nicole and smooth talker Will – with Dr. Delicious bagging the $50,000.00 grand prize. The evicted housemates were invited back to the house to serve as the jury.
When the Final Two were given the chance to talk, Nicole appealed to the jury to vote for her and pointed out the lies and deceit Will did all this time. The jury was left unshaken and unconvinced. They knew that Nicole was playing the victim so they enumerated the times she actually thought only of herself. Her plan backfired at her.
Will, on the other hand, talked to the jury using his charm and wit. He reminded them of his charisma. He finished the game without winning any of the HOH competitions, as it was his strategy. He chose not to win the challenges because he did not want to become a huge threat to the other players, which would have ended his stay early into the game. Well, it proved to be a wise strategy as he won five votes against Nicole’s two from the jury.
The Epic Season of Firsts
Big Brother Season 2 was indeed the season of firsts, with fans regarding this as one of their favorites. I, for one, consider this better than the first one as it became the standard of the following seasons. The revamp of the network made to the program suited well with the taste of its audience on television and on the internet. It was a success because it targeted the market straight to the heart – catching their attention and sticking to the series up until the end.
It was definitely risky and challenging to turn the Big Brother concept into a completely different package, but CBS was able to pull it off with flying colors. The season finale got 12.3 million TV audience share, 14,000 online audience shares for the live feed, and 25,000 RealPlayer subscriptions. All in all, this season became an inspiration to those who dream to become a part of the Big Brother house.