Ranked: Every US Big Brother Winner (1-19)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

This is a qualitative ranking, not based on entertainment value. Any ranking like this largely reflects the edit received by the player, as even a longtime After Dark/Live Feed watcher can't catalog reality game play as can he a baseball game (I do watch live feeds; it's not that I unknow what I know, it's that there can be a tendency of feed watchers to give outsized importance to a conversation they happened to catch).  Nonetheless, here's the ranking of every Big Brother winner, updated through conclusion of BB19.

1. Will (2)
2. Dan (10)
3. Derrick (16)
4. Mike Boogie (7)
5. Maggie (6)
6. Andy (15)
7. Evel Dick (8)
8. Jun (4)
9. Hayden (12)
10. Drew (5)

11. Nicole (18)
12. Ian (14)
13. Rachel (13)
14. Jordan (11)
15. Steve (17)
16. Adam (9)
17. Lisa (3)
18. Josh (19)
19. Eddie (1)

Will and Dan, in some order, have long been 1-2 in every serious list.  Both were front men in an alliance, both had multiple decks stacked against them in making improbable runs in their return seasons.  Dan's second appearance is arguably the best performance of any non-winner; Will's first place is a tough perch to leave, as its largely based on creating the BB gameplay template - minimizing the importance of competitions and creating a narrative that production is incentivized to follow.  BB isn't rigged, but it's a tv show, and giving it a story to tell is part of advancing through the game.  Derrick played the best ever single game and by an amount so wide that were you to rank him first overall, even without benefit of the strong return game, that would not be unreasonable.  My view of Derrick takes a little bit of a hit upon benefit of seeing the advantage that Battle of the Block gives to a large alliance in a second season.  Had Vanessa won her season or Paul won his second season, they'd join this top tier.

It gets harder after that.  Mike won what was maybe the most competitive season; Dick controlled the house through previously unseen force. Maggie's not viewed as a particularly engaging player, but she marshaled a successful alliance essentially throughout the entire game.  Jun actively chose a midgame alliance with maybe the only player less popular in the house than she was, aiding her at the final vote.  Ian, like, for example, Hayden or Adam was a subordinate figure in a large alliance, but won a very competitive season and got the vote over an all time great reality competitor. Bumping Ian back makes sense given that, like the case of winners during seasons dominated by Vanessa or Danielle Reyes, he was not in control of a game that was in the control of a superior player. Andy was both unable to be universally liked across the house and to constantly lie his way to position himself with the majority. His game wasn't particularly entertaining and it wasn't an especially competitive season, keeping his ceiling at 5. Nicole was a middling player in her first season and a half, but (sort of like Jun) was probably the best player in her house in the closing weeks of the game.

Rachel was a subordinate member of a large alliance in her season, less strategically successful than was Ian; personal likability really drove the win for Jordan (Jordan's success the second time bumps her above Drew; Rachel having beaten Jordan puts her first in this subgroup).  Drew, Adam, Hayden were essentially numbers wins - they were in groups that had house control and won as the more likable of the options at the end. Adam's season suffered from not particularly competitive gameplay. Lisa gets a Danielle Reyes penalty, jury nullification gives her a not entirely on the up and up win. That penalty is multiplied by the one given to Josh; his beating Paul is the worst decision by a BB jury ever (possible exception of the OTT jury, which was the public, who awarded the lesser Willett sister over Jason Roy. Paul dominated the game like no one but Derrick, he should have gotten every vote against every opponent.)/ Steve also stands in the shadow of a significantly better player who completely dominated the game; Vanessa losing the toss up final HOH to finish third (she and Danielle, and now Paul, far and away, are the best players never to win; Vanessa played a game insufficiently appreciated by an audience not as smart as she is). Eddie is listed just for completion, but BB1 was a different game.

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