Why you should try Big Brother 21 after Survivor: Edge of Extinction

Though Big Brother might not be your cup of tea, there is a lot of Survivor crossover features, characters, and gameplay you might like.

Tonight marks the beginning of Big Brother 21; an official confirmation that the Survivor offseason is in full swing. Though the houseguests filed into the house last week, giving us enough footage to begin a two-episode beginning adventure on Tuesday and Wednesday, the season will run right up until the season premiere of Survivor: Island of the Idols.

I never used to watch Big Brother at all, falsely attributing the show as pure trash television for a trash audience unwilling to do anything more than to relish in fights and drag people on Twitter. However, after watching a three-hour compilation of (spoiler warning) the season 10 winner’s gameplay, I saw the core of Survivor’s social manipulation with the mental fortitude of a marathon.

After a generally poor, twist-heavy season of Edge of Extinction, here’s why you should try to watch at least a little bit of Big Brother 21’s journey in the 92 days between its premiere and the next season of Survivor.

Survivor Edge of Extinction Finale Rick Devens laugh

Photo: Screen Grab/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

There are popular players, but no pre-determined edits

Even if you’re like me and appreciated the role Rick Devens provided in Survivor: Edge of Extinction, Big Brother 21 will feature, at most, a few days’ worth of footage per episode.

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That means each week, before the three or so episodes that include the Head of Household challenge, the nomination of two (or more) people for eviction, the Power of Veto (immunity competition, may force HoH to change a nominee) and the live eviction, there’s only so much footage, diary room confessionals and events that take place. Plus, it’s not guaranteed who’s going home each week.

Without knowing how the full season plays out, some players will see more prominence each week, especially Heads of Household and Power of Veto winners. This means you’ll likely get a more well-rounded edit for most players who aren’t purposefully laying low and waiting to strike in the second half.

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Nobody can steamroll to the end without earning it

Because of the Big Brother rules, nobody can win Head of Household (guaranteeing safety and picking nominations for eviction) two cycles in a row unless it’s the penultimate and final HoH back to back. Not only that, when you are Head of Household, you are effectively getting blood on your hands by naming two, three, or even more potential players that can be voted out each week.

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To be a very successful player, you need to mix in alliances, sub-alliances, Final Three deals and not becoming the Head of Household too many times. The only way to absolutely guarantee safety each week you’re not Head of Household is to win the Power of Veto, and even then you’re up against five or so others. There are no Hidden Immunity Idols, but there could be season twists.

Regardless, many strong competitors get voted out early (sometimes even before the jury phase), and even if you play a supremely great game, getting cocky and messing around with the jury members means there’s no winner in waiting in Big Brother.

Analyse Talavera Big Brother 21 cast photo

Sonja Flemming / CBS

There are Big Brother 21 players influenced by Survivor (right?)

This woman, pictured above, is Analyse Talavera. She is a California-based, 22-year-old college soccer player with long brown hair, and when I first saw her CBS bio, I had thought Lauren O’Connell was accidentally cast as the first Survivor player ever to compete on Big Brother after first competing on the island.

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So, if you’re a Lauren O’Connell fan, there’s yet another young Californian soccer player on Big Brother 21 who looks to use her social prowess to make her way through the game.

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Players can be older than 46 years old

Typically, both Big Brother and Survivor cast players that they know will be pre-merge fodder. However, Survivor has decidedly skewed younger casts overall, as they haven’t had a male older than 52 since Kaoh Rong. Even though David vs. Goliath brought forth Natalie Cole at 57 years young, she was so toxic to her tribes that her elimination was a foregone conclusion.

However, not only does Big Brother cast players older than 46, they are often some of the more memorable characters since BB10. Kevin Schlehuber from BB19 is one of the most humble, respectable storytellers in recent history, Donny Thompson from BB16 was America’s Favorite Houseguest as voted by the viewers, and Jerry MacDonald from BB10 made it all the way to the Final Three at age 75!

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This season, Cliff Hogg III not only looks like Boss Hogg from The Dukes of Hazzard, but he seems to be one of the more likable characters on Big Brother 21. It’s been since Joe in Survivor: Kaoh Rong that there’s been a rootable player in their 50s or older so might as well check it out for as long as it lasts here!