Big Brother places houseguests from across America into a house where they must live for the summer, cut off from the outside world, and compete against one another for half a million dollars. Scheming, forging alliances, and voting people out is par for the course. But a major part of the reality show is also the competition games. And there are plenty.
Players compete to be the Head of Household (HoH) who nominates houseguests to be sent home each week. They compete for the Power of Veto, which grants the holder the ability to remove someone from the nomination block if they so choose (including themselves). There are competitions to see who has to be a Have Not for a week as well, which means sleeping in the most uncomfortable room, taking only cold showers, and only being allowed to eat Big Brother Slop (it’s reportedly just like oatmeal.) Other competitions have been introduced from season to season as well.
But there are some recurring competitions that appear in almost every season since they first launched. Some are great, and we look forward to them every season. But others are full-on snore-fests that we wish they’d cut from the line-up.
Here are five of the best and five of the worst recurring games from the show.
10 BB Comics: Best
Almost as fun as the game itself is seeing the cool comic book character drawings of each houseguest and names that the show comes up with for everyone. Players must look through a window at a series of comics, then try to replicate them. But they don’t just get to look: they have to slowly zipline across and take in as much detail as they can each time. Tiny details are changed in incorrect comic books, so they have to make sure to pay close attention. Watching houseguests climb then zipline repeatedly, unable to figure out what the heck they got wrong, is more entertaining than you might think.
9 Bowlerina: Best
Buff, macho men forced to wear tutus and tights, then spin around like crazy to lower a barrier so they can run – completely dizzy – over to an oversized bowling game and knock down pins with a ball? Yes, please! It’s complete hilarity as you watch players spin like they’re auditioning for Flashdance, then attempt to walk over to the ball, looking as if they just drank a fifth of vodka and would never be able to walk a straight line. Naturally, knocking down a few pins is a lot harder than it looks when you’ve just been spinning for a good 20 seconds or so. They have to keep doing this over and over, before a clock runs out, to gain time to try and throw a ball again until all the pins are down. It’s loads of fun to watch.
8 Zingbot: Best
Anything to do with Zingbot, an oversized robot who visits the houseguests each season to roast them, is the best. He only stays for a few minutes before waddling on his merry way. But a Power of Veto competition relating to him usually comes after. It has taken on many forms over the years, but it always has to do with Zingbot needing help to accomplish some task or mission. It’s the best because it means that Zingbot has visited to deliver his best “Zings!” before the houseguests play.
7 Hide and Go Veto: Best
Viewers look forward to this competition every season, which requires that each houseguest find the best hiding spot they can for their card somewhere in the house. Then, they take turns running into the house one at a time trying to find everyone else’s cards. Houseguests get creative, hiding their cards inside pillow cushions, in people’s clothing, in the oven – anywhere they think no one will find it. But the best part is when houseguests purposely wreak havoc on their way out, just for fun, dumping food all over the kitchen floor, emptying drawers, and flipping mattresses. Plus, when a houseguest finds a card, they have no idea whose it is, which adds to the suspense.
6 OTEV: Best
A fan and player favourite, houseguests must listen to a song or rhyme from the great being OTEV (“veto” backwards in case you hadn’t figured it out) then slide down a slippery ramp into a dirty pit of grossness to search for a card with the right person’s name on it that matches up with what he’s said. When they find it, they must run back to the ramp and climb up using a rope to sit on a platform. The last person to climb in each round has nowhere to sit, musical chairs style. Then, each player presents his answer to OTEV, who lets them know if they’re right. Sometimes, he just spits something gross into their faces.
5 Spelling Search: Worst
This game, which requires that the houseguests search for and accumulate hidden letters, then try to arrange them to spell the longest word in the fastest time, is hilarious to watch. Remember Jeff’s famous spelling of the non-word “technotronic?”
(While that is the name of an awesome ‘90s band, it isn’t an actual word.) It is head-scratching to see what some of the contestants come up with, making you wonder if they’d ever played a game of Scrabble in their lives. But the results are usually pretty sad. Unless you’re Shannon Elizabeth, that is, who, when playing Celebrity Big Brother, spelled out the longest word to date for a contestant: responsibilities.
4 Big Top Drop: Worst
In this game, contestants must navigate a course on one side, grab a ball, then run to the other and try to drop it down a thin tube. The concept itself is pretty boring, reminiscent of a kid’s game at a carnival. And while aim and precision are necessary, you can’t help but feel that taller people who can (and do) lean all the way over the ledge (we’re looking at you, Josh Martinez!) have an unfair advantage.
3 Slippery Slope: Worst
In this challenge, contestants must collect some form of liquid from a bucket in what seems like the tiniest of cups, then glide along a slippery surface to transport the liquid into a container. Bit by bit, the container fills up enough such that a small ball rises to the top and the winner can retrieve it. There’s lots of laughter as contestants with terrible balance slip, slide, and fall on their butts. Meanwhile, the athletes who clearly have a love for ice skating scoot back and forth repeatedly.
It’s one of those snore-worthy competitions that you wish would end much more quickly, especially when it’s usually pretty clear who will win from early on.
2 Caged Eggs: Worst
Ever heard the saying that something is like watching paint dry? That’s sort of what this game is like. While we usually only see part of the long-running competition in the live broadcasts, subscribers to the live feeds are left yawning as they watch the contestants try to navigate eggs through a wire cage, hoping desperately not to drop one and have to start over again. Sometimes, the competitions that run for hours can be interesting to watch. This is not one of them.
1 Punch, Slap, Kick: Worst
Sure, you can’t help but laugh as the contestants have to memorize a sequence of punches, slaps, and kicks then repeat it to avoid getting bonked. But the game, which has also been called “Chop, Bonk, Spank,” is just downright cruel. Contestants get repeatedly bonked in the head or on the butt, and even though the equipment is soft, I’m sure it still stings just a bit. Grueling competition is one thing. But no one should come out with bruises after a win (or loss) and feel that they were just beaten up.