Is Big Brother 16’s Derrick Levasseur a mastermind or simply mastermindish?
There is no doubt that Derrick has, by far, played the best game of any contestant in the Big Brother house this summer and, at this point, his win seems inevitable…
But, does that, by default, make him a Big Brother Mastermind?
For weeks, we have watched as Derrick has effortlessly manipulated his fellow houseguests as if they were his personal pawns in an uncontested chess match. Forever the cop at heart, we have seen Derrick regulate player’s choices of nominations, renominations and use of POVs. Pondering a game-changing move? Derrick was there to stop it dead in its tracks well before it had a chance to take flight.
There will be no personal decision-making, on anyone else’s part, on his watch!
For us feedsters, it became obvious to us fairly quickly that we needed to look no further than Chief Wiggum to determine who would be leaving each week. While this has obviously been great for Derrick’s game, he has almost single-handedly stripped the entertainment from this year’s competition. Things that normally make for an exciting Big Brother battle has been glaringly absent this season and it is largely due to Derrick’s presence in the house.
Entertainment value aside… Does having complete control over so many players make Derrick a Mastermind?
D E R R I C K’ S… F O G?
While one may cite many instances of Derrick’s manipulation (ie, having allies like Cody, Christine and Frankie take out players who would have benefited their long term games, while simultaneously protecting his own numbers from being nominated/evicted) one particular eviction especially illustrates his mental “prowess” over those he is playing this game with. That was the week of this season’s first double eviction.
That week, after being conned (yes, CONNED) into making Zach her target by Derrick, and Zach’s other “allies” in the Detonators, Nicole nominated both he and Jocasta (the pawn) for eviction. After the votes flipped, and Jocasta was evicted (blindsiding both Nicole and Hayden) as soon as possible, Derrick went to Nicole and told her that they simply did not have the votes to evict Zach; he and Cody had no choice but to change their votes.
The week of the double eviction, there were 11 HGs remaining in the game. That means that, with two people on the block and the Head of Household only voting in the case of a tie, there were 8 HGs voting. As previously decided, Hayden and Donny voted to evict Zach. If Cody and Derrick would have voted to evict Zach as well, the vote would have been a split.
Logically, after the vote, one would think that the question would have been, “How did we not have the votes? I WOULD HAVE BROKEN THE TIE!” But, not once did Nicole question Derrick’s “the votes weren’t there” excuse. Not once did she say, “Weeeell… if Zaaaaach had twooooo votes to evict, and youuuu and Coooooody would have voted him ooooout… and two plus two equals foooour and eight divided by twooooo is… HEEEEY! WAITAMINUTE!”
And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, in one succinct moment, sums up how these houseguests have played this game with Derrick all season long. Basic math and all sense of logic seems to evade them when he is involved.
Dan had his mist… Is this Derrick’s fog? Just about everyone talks game with him, ask for his opinions, and accept his advice without questioning or considering how it will impact their own long term game; or better yet, how it impact’s DERRICK’S long term game. Will he really give you advice that will hurt his game? As your competitor, will he give you advice that will actually help yours? And, really, why is
Veronica Victoria still there? Realistically, every week someone is going to be a tougher competitor and a bigger threat than she can ever hope to be. So… at what point does she leave? Oh, and by the way, do you realize that she will vote with or for Derrick 100% of the time? Getting Violet Victoria out of the house is not directly about how she threatens your game, in terms of winning comps, but it IS about how she votes when given the opportunity; and, let’s not forget that just because she has not won anything, it does not mean she never will (see Amanda, BB15 and Sabrina, BBCAN2).
Clearly, this “fog” that comes over the contestants, when they are interacting with Derrick, makes him a mastermind… Right?
D E R R I C K’ S P L A Y G R O U N D
Keeping it real: Essentially, Derrick has been professionally trained to play Big Brother. What is an undercover cop but someone who infiltrates groups of people in order to gain their trust with an ultimate goal of taking them down? Truthfully, had Derrick been bad at manipulating a bunch of petty, emotionally stunted people with underdeveloped frontal lobes, who are mostly all in their early and mid 20s (or who act like it, ie Frankie) I would have two questions:1. How were you an undercover cop? 2. How are you still alive?
Granted, I do not know how dangerous Derrick’s undercover work was, but at the very least, I would expect someone with his skill set to be able to heavily influence individuals just a few years out of their teens who, collectively, have the street smarts of a labradoodle. That is a gimme! Couple that with his knowledge of Big Brother, and the fact that he actually has watched live feeds regularly, at a base level, Derrick is the perfect Big Brother player. With him in a house with a collection of recruits, casual viewers and “outsiders,” who do not fit in, why would it not be his playground?
Read: BurtThisMedia’s incredible breakdown of how being an undercover cop has benefited Derrick’s Big Brother game.
With his knowledge of how to fit in with the crowd, even changing his appearance overtime to present as being younger and just one of the guys (you know, like going from a fresh faced cop to a rock bottom “drug addict”), all Derrick had to do is keep the people he could manipulate close, and paint targets on the backs of those that he could not mindfuck.
If you take a look at Derrick’s two closest allies, they are both young and quite impressionable; especially
Conversely, if you take a look at the people who who have already been evicted, you will see that most showed the propensity to think for themselves as well as resistance to simply going with the flow:
JOEY, DEVIN, BRITTANY, AMBER, HAYDEN, ZACH, DONNY…
All of these people showed signs of having the capacity, or at least the desire, to think for themselves and to question actions, versus just dutifully accepting what they were ordered to do.
Did they use that ability well? Well, obviously not! Some of them were recruits, lacking in the knowledge of how to play the game. One did not fit in with the frat boy atmosphere. One DID fit in with the crew, but also was the closest intellectual rival (with a decent social game) to Derrick. Another was a complete moron. (I will let you take your guess on who the moron is in that crew. Hint: he has a daughter!)
None of these people gave the sense that they would be easy to manipulate or control. Especially not as easily as those who still remain in the house. Those people went first because Derrick had no control over them. Donny only lasted as long as he did because of Team America and the fact that he he did very well in competitions. Derrick planted the “Evict Donny” seeds for weeks before he was evicted – he thinks we feeders have forgotten that. Derrick finally decided that he could not risk Donny being in the house one more day, let alone one more week, so he had to go.
ATEOTD In the end, Donny never bought what he was selling and it visibly bothered, if not angered, Derrick. I mean, how dare someone throw any obstacles in his way to certain victory? The nerve of some people…
The players, who remain, have all shown a willingness to sacrifice their own endgame in order to make it another week in Derrick’s Big Brother house.
Caleb: Manipulated into agreeing to backdoor Amber, someone who would have been an actual ally if he was not so mentally unstable.
Cody: Manipulated into backing down from backdooring his targets – first Caleb and then Frankie.
Christine: Manipulated into backdooring and turning against her closest ally in the house, Nicole.
Frankie: Targeted one of his closest allies, constantly, under the belief that he and Derrick are much closer allies than they actually are. (Tonight, he decided not to save Christine with his POV, losing his last hope of an ally, in lieu of making Derrick choose between losing Victoria or Cody/Caleb.)
Vacancy Victoria: Evicted Zach’s hat. Total waste of a pretend HOH in her head. I mean if you want to get rid of something, destroy one of Crayleb’s scarves.
S T E A L T H M O D E D E R R I C K
Looking at each eviction individually, you will not always see Derrick’s direct hand on players leaving the game. That is because, as an Undercover Cop, you are trained to read your targets and coerce them into giving you what you want. That is what Derrick does. He reads people’s insecurities, their weaknesses, their flaws, and their overall moral character. He also observes the way that they react to certain situations; and he uses all of the above against them in one way or another; to get what he wants.
Most importantly, Derrick knows when to be subtle, and he knows when he can press a little harder. He knows how to plant seeds without being overbearing and he knows how to make people feel like his idea is their idea. He is also quite skilled at double-talking.
With someone like a Caleb, he knows he just has to constantly feed into his ego and narcissism; and tell him what he wants to hear.
With someone like
Vera Victoria, he knows that he has to constantly be there for her to “talk game” with, to listen to her childish concerns and comfort her when she is spazzing out and having crying fits; and tell her what she wants to hear.
With someone like Cody, he knows that he has to just treat him like he is an equal in the decision making process and that he has just as much say in what happens as Derrick does; and tell him what he wants to hear.
With someone like Frankie, he knows that it does not matter what he says because Frankie lives in his own delusional world. Just laugh at his overacting and lame jokes, cuddle with him occasionally and, of course, tell him what he wants to hear.
With someone like Christine, he knows that she just wants to be a part of the cool kids’ clique, and especially loves it when there are no
pretty girls around to rival her. He also tells her what she wants/needs to hear, ie “You are a DIME.” Sadly for her, Derrick also knows that, with her attachment to Cody, she is a number for him and she needs to go sooner than later. Preferably, this week during the Double Eviction. He has been planting the seeds of her eviction – specifically her needing to go prior to Valencia Victoria. Good luck Thirstine! (Update: Indeed, Christine was evicted to a rousing chorus of boos tonight. Derrick has already set the plan for Frankiana to go this week. It remains to be seen if the Golden Button twist has an impact or not. Good luck Frankie!!)
Derrick’s go to is, “I will support whatever decision you make… But, let me tell you how wrong your plan is and why mine is better.”
D E R R I C K’S “C O M P E T I T O R S”
While, as a viewer, we can pick up on several situations that should have given Derrick away, his “competitors” are not quite as perceptive. They also do not have the benefit of seeing what he is saying to everyone in the house, but I again refer you back to Jocasta’s eviction. Even things that are blatantly obvious are completely overlooked.
For instance, not one person has discussed placing Derrick on the block, even as a PAWN, although everyone else has been on the block several times. In past seasons, that was seen as a warning of how dangerous someone is to other players’ games.
WARNING! MAY-MUTHAFUCKING-DAY!! WARNING!
WARNING! MAY-MUTHAFUCKING-DAY!! WARNING!
Despite how much he is liked and loved by other houseguests, no two people have had a conversation about how Derrick needs to go before he gets anywhere near the Final 3; because, if he wins the final HOH, everyone in the house will vote for him to win in the Final 2. You know, because they just love him so much. A large part of this is due to Derrick’s ability to stroke egos. Caleb, Cody and maybe even Frankie actually believe that they could beat Derrick in the Final 2, although they have gotten the most blood on their hands, by far.
Hello Houseguests: Remember when Judd was evicted last year because everyone loved him??? And, of course, because of Amanda’s psychosis-driven paranoia and Helen being Helen… but, still…
To top it off, everyone in that house holds Derrick to an entirely different standard than they do others.
Here is how:
Example Numero One-0: Despite how little Derrick has actually won in competitions, and how subtle (to these idiots) his manipulation of each players’ eviction has been, no one in the house regards him as “not doing anything” in the game. Derrick, who has won two competitions all season, has even had the gall to question what Christine, who has won more competitions than him, is still doing in the game. And, no one thinks, “Well, when you put it like that… Why are YOU still here?” Both he and Christine have been in the same alliances together, but he is viewed as being more valued than she. I happen to agree with that, but – this is from their perspective, not the perspective of the viewers. What have you, as players, observed that Derrick has done for your endgame?
Derrick won HOH and evicted house foe, Devin. Christine wins HOH and evicted her last remaining ally, without even talking to her to hear her side of the “backdoor Christine” plan. Devin is not in jury, Nicole is. Whose hands are bloodier in that scenario?
(Update: The above was written prior to tonight’s Double Eviction and Derrick’s HOH win. Personally, I think he was trying to throw that HOH because everyone else thought it was massages as well and we all know that Derrick does not actually have to win to stay in the game.)
Example Numero Two-o: When Caleb sits back and says, “I am going for the money,” it gets under everyone’s skin, but Derrick goes for $5K during the last HOH, and it is like, “Oh, Derrick… You are going for that? OK… I won’t then.” Yes,
Verna Victoria ACTUALLY said that she did not go for the $5K because she saw that Derrick was going for it. Oh, how foolish the sweet, innocent little dove will feel once she realizes that he has been making extra money all season long; and he did not so much as suggest that she should also go for the money, since she was never going to win HOH. You know, like a real friend.
Example Numero Three-O: Way back when Brittany and Devin were still in the game, they both cited their children as reasons why they needed to continue on. We all know well the “Devin Has A Daughter meme.” At the time, no one wanted to hear about that nor did they want to hear about how Brittany was going through a divorce, has three kids and needed the money to support her children. The general consensus was that winning Big Brother is not about who needs the money the most, but who plays the best game. They all shut down both Brittany and Devin on those merits. Enters Derrick in his exaggerated claim that Zach was taking food out of his daughter’s mouth, as if he would be the sole reason his child were to starve. (insert eyeroll here) Discussing his desire to make his life better for himself and his family did not spark any discussions about how he is using his family as part of his game. Derrick could and can talk quite freely about how much he needs the money for his family’s future and it is viewed as honorable. But that Brittany bitch and her children??? Eff her!
It is examples like the above that give me the sense that everyone in the house believes that Derrick should be in the Final 2. No Final 3 is even contemplated without him in it. Cody has said that Derrick going to the Final 2 would be like him going to the final 2, so even if he is just top 3 it is okay. Um, what?? Would it surprise anyone if
Veronica Victoria made it to the Final 2, with Derrick, and instead of making an argument for her winning, she makes one for Derrick? Is that scenario so farfetched? It is, legitimately, as if these people would be honored to lose to Derrick and it will be as good as a win in their eyes! Are these serious Big Brother players???
Given how blindly devoted his
followers fellow houseguests really are, Derrick has not been remotely concerned with winning comps; because he knows that no one is after him. He knows this as a fact. It is a factual statement to say, “Derrick is not on anyone’s radar!” – and he knows it!! So, surely… This means he is a mastermind! Right???
We do not hear talks about how badly these “competitors” want to win Big Brother. We hear talks about being most popular, about winning America’s Favorite Player, about how much they will be loved and adored once they get out of the house, about how many new instagram and twitter followers they have, about how much fame they will gain from the show, about how people will come up to them in droves, fainting at their feet, going into cardiac arrest on the spot, pissing themselves just to get one, single solitary glance from Beastmode. Okay, the last few may be a bit of a stretch, but it is not that far off for the delusional.
Yes, these people actually think that they are going to blowuptuate like no Big Brother contestant has ever blowuptuated in the history of all Big Brothers combined. You know, because they are all just so awesome!
Do you think that their priorities are just a tad fucked up?
… and these are the players that Derrick has to beat?
THESE people are who are standing in the way of a 31-year-old undercover cop winning half a million dollars? A bunch of fame starved, 20-something-year-old attention whores who don’t know if they are playing Big Brother or if they are just on a really intense season of The Real World?
D E R R I C K’ S E G O
Of course, Derrick very well knows the power that he wields, as evident by his comment that he could flip the house (if he wanted to) in regards to the eviction of Donny Thompson. Despite what he states in his Diary Room sessions, and what he attempts to manipulate the live feeders into believing, it is clear that Derrick knows that he is always the deciding factor in who will or will not be evicted each week. So, any claims of being unable to get the votes to save, or evict, someone is always a lie; a lie that we viewers do not appreciate when directed at us during Diary Room sessions or while he is talking to us on Live Feeds.
The Diary Room is supposed to be the place where players reveal their true game to the public, but Derrick has decided to use his DR sessions as a way to manipulate viewers when he makes decisions that may not be popular with us; and, in that sense, we have become an extension of his game. Insulting, right?
In-game strategy aside, this blatant attempt at pulling the wool over our eyes may ultimately make it difficult for super fans to respect his game.
I mean, let’s be honest…
“Big Brother Superfans” is the group that Derrick should be looking to be on good terms with the most. We are the people who will turn to him for his opinion on the game in the future, who will go out to meet him when he makes appearances, and who will tweet about him and his game, keeping his name alive in social media and Big Brother circles for years to come. TV only viewers are the masses, but they are also the people least likely to go the extra mile to seek out players after their season has ended. The live feeders, and those who follow updates throughout the season, are who make former contestants relevant and notorious for years far beyond their stay in the house.
So… Why would Derrick want to insult us?
It is quite possible that he believes that we are all just a bunch of Veronicas and Codys, and that we will buy his bullshit as much as they do; you know, as long as he says it convincingly enough.
Sorry for ya… Boo, we can actually SEE (and hear) what you are doing!!
This is a question of respect. Are the masses (among superfans) happy with Derrick’s choices, or the ease of carrying those choices out? Of course not… but, one does not have to like a player’s game decisions to respect them. After all, Derrick is only doing what he has been allowed to do.
D E R R I C K’S L E G A C Y
It is obvious, from many of the comments that Derrick has made on the feeds, that he is hungry for that Dan Gheesling recognition. He wants to be known as one of the greatest Big Brother players of all time. If there were a Big Brother Hall of Fame, he would want to be inducted into it. He wants to be a Rachel or a Jeff in our expansive Big Brother universe; known by only one name – Derrick. In short, he is craving our praise of his masterful control of the game. Will we give it to him and regard him as a Big Brother Mastermind?
My prediction: Derrick’s strategy will be regarded as a great one, however his ease of executing that strategy will result in a nice, fat, bold asterisk being placed right next to it.
How hard is it to win against young, naive, easily manipulated, petty, immature people who are more hungry for fame and popularity than the title of Big Brother Winner? Their heads have not been in the game; not in a way that has had an impact. While Derrick’s strategy is one that is meant to get him to the Final 2, and is a LONG TERM strategy, he has been playing with people who lack the ability to think or see further than one or two weeks ahead. After all, one can not be expected to see that far around their own egos.
So-called Superfans like Nicole and Christine went against every strategy that females playing this game should employ, and instead settled for trying to be the last girl standing. As of tonight, that girl is
Valerie Victoria. So, even in that sense, they both failed. My own early year prediction had them making it to the top six or seven, but it was quite obvious that there was no way that they would make it any further than that. And, yes, I do love being right! (although Nicole tried to mess that up by being evicted earlier, the first time! So, from that standpoint, I guess I am glad she came back into the house?)
Yes, Derrick has utilized a great strategy, staying under everyone’s radar, playing a great social game, while still manipulating the way that others have played their games. While not entirely ingenious, his is a brilliant strategy and one that most players should want to borrow from when coming up with their own Big Brother strategy. The problem remains that he used it against a bunch dolts and duds. This is not a case of a player being the most driven, focused, smart, cunning, persuasive strategist among a group of others who are equally on, or near, his level. It is a case of a true Big Brother Superfan, who is professionally trained to snow people, doing just that against people who are not emotionally, intellectually or intuitively equipped to counter it. This fact makes it difficult to be impressed.
With ALL of that said, it is not Derrick’s fault that this is the cast he was given to play with. It is also not fair to place the ultimate blame, for how boring this season has been, squarely on his shoulders. He went into that house with the goal to win $500,000 so that he could better his family’s life. He cannot be faulted for that. It is what he was supposed to do. Everything he has done is what he should have done. He is playing the game!
Of everyone, who stepped foot in that house, Derrick is the most deserving winner, (imho, of course.) I know there are those who are still waiting for him to be targeted, because it is so obvious and that is how the game should be played, but at this point it would almost be a shame if he did not win.
(Sadly, expressing my desire to see Derrick win probably means that he will not, given how this season has gone!)
In the end, at the end of the day, quite frankly, it remains to be seen if anyone left decides that winning $500k might actually be kind of cool. Maybe they will figure out that going with Derrick to the Final 2 may not be the smartest idea. Let’s not hold our breath for that one, okay?
Finally, the casting process for Big Brother is what needs to be looked at. For some reason, there is a belief that people will not watch the show if there are not a bunch of hyped up, 20-something-year-old, hormone driven people in the house to steam it up with showmances. Grown people, in their actual 30s, 40s and beyond, can be entertaining as well!! (See: Utopia)
Will BB17 also have a cast heavily driven by this demographic? If so, I will not be watching. I will simply get my Big Brother fix from Big Brother Canada from here on out. Maybe the fact that it is a young show will keep it interesting and fresh for a few seasons! For right now, I will be watching the aforementioned Utopia and just following BB16 updates and watch the live evictions. More difficult than watching boring feeds is watching boring feeds with people that I do not like, so it truly makes the decision quite easy! For those of you sticking it out, you’re the real MVP!
The true joy of Big Brother 16, for me, has been Wil Heuser’s Big Brother 16: The Saga videos. Enjoy!
As always, THANK YOU for reading!!
I have wanted to write this entry about Derrick for a couple of weeks now, and decided to go ahead and devote a few of hours to this; because, let’s face it, my motivation to blog about him would have only declined even further in the coming days!
I do plan, at least, one more blog post before the season ends, though… So, stay tuned!
I will see you all on the twitters: Follow me @KraziliaLove