TV Review: Big Brother 18 (Round #1)

It’s not a summer without Big Brother. Three months of backstabs, betrayals, and backyard competitions are on the way to crown the latest winner of this year’s season. After the surprise underdog win of Big Brother 17, and the failure of that season’s main twist (the Takeover didn’t stand a chance!), this summer has been promised to be the biggest one yet.

Big Brother 18 Cast Julie

Before viewers are treated to the crop of new house guests, Julie Chen shares a first look at the new house the players will be living in. Just like the latest season of Big Brother Canada 4, Big Brother 18 is heading international; however, it seems to be in house design and competition themes only instead of bringing in international players. Everything from planes, tropical locations, the Eiffel Tower, and British flags are included in the house in some form or another. It’s possibly one of the most visually intricate of the Big Brother U.S. houses so far, but it does pale in comparison to some of the past houses, including the ones in the U.K. and Canada.

The season starts with 12 newbies receiving their keys and packing their bags for the Big Brother game. Each one of them are die-hard Big Brother fans who have come from every corner of the country and with a wide range of age, diversity and career fields… Who are we kidding?! The mostly 20-something attractive wannabe-models/actors/dancers/bartenders with little knowledge of the show enter the house and we see quick clips of the new competitors who will be living in the game. That’s not to say these players won’t be great on the show; some are poised to be great players and by the end, passionate yearly fans.

Big Brother 18 Vanessa Tiffany

Among the standouts of the cast include Bronte, the high-pitched student who has a thing for numbers, bearded Paul, ego-centric Jozea, and fish-out-of-water Glenn. Also included in the group are two house guests with a family connection: Paulie is related to Big Brother 16 finalist Cody, and Tiffany is related to Vanessa from Big Brother 17. Both are a little unsure about revealing their secret to the house as it will make the targets on their backs so much bigger. Unfortunately, they have no time to stew over this–Julie Chen is ready to drop the first surprise of the season.

The twist this week will be threefold, coming in different phases. Julie Chen reveals that four past Big Brother players will be returning to compete alongside the newbies. The four returnees include:

  1. Nicole, the geeky challenge competitor from Big Brother 16 who competed twice on the same season after being evicted once
  2. James, the quirky comic relief from Big Brother 17 who won America’s Favorite
  3. Da’Vonne, the outspoken houseguest from Big Brother 17 who got evicted second
  4. Frank, the challenge threat from Big Brother 14

Big Brother 18 Veterans Nicole Frank Da'Vonne James

Each of the returning house guests are fairly new and an interesting choice as returnees. Most have less than three years time since their original season and some have won a special prize, like America’s Favorite or the chance to compete again. But being a veteran doesn’t equate to winning the game. Rachel from Big Brother 13 may have clinched her victory with the couples’ twist. However, these newbies are already gunning for them, with house guests like Paul and Jozea being the most outspoken about wanting to evict them ASAP.

That type of determination only matters when there’s action behind it. Unfortunately, they’re already falling into the same traps as the newbies from Big Brother 13. They’re spilling everything to the veterans and giving them the ammunition they need to team up. This is a stupid move where overconfidence and ego clouds judgment. Big Brother is a game where ultimately only one person wins after three months; it’s a marathon, not a race. The game has barely started and already there are plenty of head scratching game moves.

Julie reveals another part to the première week twist: One houseguest will be evicted by the end of the Two Night Premiere. The house guests will be divided into teams, compete together for safety/prizes, and ultimately the one person who does the worst will get the boot. The challenges these house guests compete in are beautifully designed and new to the series. Big Brother has a tendency to reuse challenges from earlier seasons and apply a fresh coat of paint (or theme) to make them “good as new.” The four challenges–riding a rocket, balancing a pyramid, building a sandcastle, and balancing coconuts in the shape of S.O.S –feels refreshing! It’s something we haven’t really seen much of before. These challenges force the house guests to think on their feet and compete together while also individually. I can’t wait to see more of them as the game progresses.

At the end of the fourth challenge, Glenn is the unlucky houseguest to get evicted by photo finish. Am I surprised he was the one to go? No. Glenn was poised to be an outsider this season and would’ve had to work extra hard to team up with a couple of the players to try to slide through the season. He seems like a nice guy, but luck (and a competitive aptitude) just weren’t on his side. It’s a shame he didn’t get a big send off like other evicted house guests, but eviction is a cold reality these players need to face.

Big Brother 18 Jozea

Someone else is getting evicted the following week and with Nicole as the new Head of Household (HOH), it’s a sure bet to be a newbie. Jozea should be shaking in his boots; though, with Paulie nominated as a pawn right off the bat, anything can happen this season.

Premiere Night: 7/10
Eviction/Nomination: 8/10

Justin is a fun-loving twenty-something living in downtown Toronto, Canada. He’s an avid TV buff, movie fan and gamer. In addition to writing for The Young Folks, he has contributed to EW's The Community,, ghostwritten for The Huffington Post and The Globe and Mail, and he runs his own blog, City Boy Geekiness. When he's not writing about his latest favorite guilty pleasure, he's working in the Comms and Social Media field. Follow him on Instagram & Twitter: @JustinMC16.