My Utopia POV

This is MY UTOPIA!

Big Brother Screen Caps and Commentary


Utopia Screen Caps and Commentary


let's make a brand new start

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posted Sunday, 2 November 2014

Um, okay, so....irony alert. I was literally putting the finishing touches on this post when the feeds went to highlights, and news started going around that the show has been canceled. So the brand new start I was hoping for never had a chance. But at least I went out an optimist.

I don't think you can talk about all the recent changes in Utopia without going back to the launch of Bri's Project Love. It was Bri's turn to experiment with government, and she either forgot about her idea to have "a dictatorship, you know, like Hitler, that could be fun" or she was talked out of it. Instead she went with a benign dictatorship, ordering everyone to live a life of "love, unity and community." Livefeeders and UTs a like sort of rolled their eyes, but mostly agreed to give it a shot.

But before we could all hold hands and sing kumbaya, the Big Announcement arrived. No longer would the UTs be voting for nominees to go home; America would choose all 3. The UTs were devastated. They believed we would vote solely on who we liked, who got the best edit, and not objectively look at who was making the least contribution. The viewers on the other hand, were thrilled. It was the power we'd been asking for. Sure, people picked up their pitchforks and went charging after their least favorite Utopian, but there was some unity to the charge. The major point of disagreement all around seemed to be over Rob. Ever since the wedding, Rob had really had one foot out the gate. And by the time the rule change was announced he was already saying that he wanted to go home to Jess. He started acting like a full-time ass (rather than the part-time one he has been all along) in an admitted attempt to get voted out. Before the rule change, the UTs were on-board with supporting him in that. Well, some were anyway. But the viewers were divided. Some said, if he wants out, let him take himself out and someone else can go through the vote. Others said, he's intolerable, vote him to go.

When the nominees came out as Aaron, Bri and Rob, the most surprising to many viewers was Bri. The active Bri hate had died down since she had stepped back on the animal care, though there were still some who were mad at her over that. Then there were those who said if she's not the animal person, what is she there for? But Bri was hurt. Being twice nominated by America, she forgot all about Project Love, declared that "this project (Utopia) is a fucking joke," handed her mic to Rob and marched straight out of the gate. And the sad thing was, no one really cared. The cynical part of me wonders if production wasn't just as glad to see her go. I can't imagine the headaches she must have caused them with the animal care issues, and her underage drinking.

Next out was Mike, after getting some mysterious message that something "really bad" had happened to his mother. Since we were later told that it was not life-threatening, many are suspicious that this was all a ruse to get Mike out of Utopia with his stipend intact. If it was, he either wasn't in on it, or he's a better actor than I gave him credit for. I saw and heard his entire exit, and to me, he was clearly concerned and shaken. If it was all an act, I just say more power to him. I would never wish any ill on anyone, but I am just as glad to have Mike out of Utopia, as I really felt he contributed almost nothing positive.

And finally, the vote-out. After about a week of doing everything he could to be sent home, Rob had a last minute change of heart and stated telling people he wanted to stay. This certainly increased the drama. There was a lot of vote switching, and for a second it seemed Aaron would go. But then in an almost "12 Angry Men" moment, a speech from Chris convinced Josh to flip his vote, and Napoleon Rob was sent packing. Taylor stormed out angrily and Hex dissolved into hysterics. You would have thought someone had died.

Though there's still plenty of crazy and lazy left, clearing out three of the more problematic pioneers gives a lot of potential for true change. And there's another viewer vote in progress already. It's a little soon, even on the new 2 week schedule, but I think it was important for the show that they let the TV viewers vote right away after announcing the change on the show, just like they did for the livefeeders. It's not entirely clear who will go up this time, but I'm thinking if Aaron is nom'ed he's pretty much sure to go. Nearly half of them voted for him last time, a lot are so over him, and getting a third nod from the public (they were told he was the 2nd choice after Bri in the 1st viewer vote) will be the nail in his coffin.

Two Newtopians have been brought in, James, the first openly gay UT, who is also a stylist; and Jeremy a tea-party, ex-military, plumber from Michigan. Jeremy seems more like the direct Rob replacement, but James has been more of a hit with the UTs. He's been making friends with almost everyone and is likely to be the one to stay. But even if he goes, he's provided makeover services to quite a few already, so he's left his mark.

Utopia itself also got a makeover, with a fresh coat of paint on the furniture and walls of the house-barn. And the grounds were completely re-sodded, new plants were planted, and some general structural repairs were done. It does look like a brand new place. They also got mattresses through a "trade" of the reward bed that Josh won as "hardest worker." It was pretty clear to most of us livefeeders that this was complete setup by production. The stunt bed was never even removed from the flatbed it came in on (and who delivers a fully constructed and "dressed" bed unless it's all for show?) and coincidentally was worth the exact right amount for every UT to get a mattress. Not to mention the twin mattresses and bedding arrived within hours of the stunt bed being returned, proving they were clearly prepared for the trade. I don't really care that this was all for show....the show is what it's all about anyway.

Finally, the show itself is getting a bit of an overhaul. They've added in DR type moments, with the Pioneers speaking directly to the camera. They don't feel as scripted as BB DRs, and there's not a producer prompting them with questions. But there's still an awkward feel to a few of them. It's a moment when they know they're on TV, and it's definitely not as true and organic as most other interactions. But it's probably a really good thing for the TVOVs or even the more casual livefeeder. It gives an opportunity for the show to include some exposition and explanation in a short time span that could be really hard to encapsulate otherwise.

So there have been a lot of changes, but has it really changed anything? There are still fights about food, religion, money, etc. Out here there's still complaints that we don't have enough say, that it's boring, or that they're not getting anything done. But it still seems to me that the changes are good. Progress is progress, and I see it....both inside and outside Utopia.

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