I will be the first to admit that I am not a Nicole fan.
When I first got into Big Brother it was during the airing of Big Brother 16 when the whole concept was new to me even though it was on its 16th season. Big characters stood out right away. Donnie the loveable groundskeeper, Derrick the undercover cop, and Nicole, the cute girl who talks funny.
During Nicole’s first trip to the Big Brother house, she was seen as an underdog and was one of the few people to see Derrick’s game for what it was. She got into a showmance for protection but was still on the outside of the monster alliance that bulldozed through that season.
Upon her return, Nicole played a similar game, getting into a showmance almost right away, but was a lot more active in making sure she knew where the votes were going and had a hand in many of the evictions. She played a cross between Nicole 1.0 and Andy but her end-game closer, getting Paul to take her to F2, was right out of Derrick’s playbook.
Paul losing to Nicole was a huge upset. He played a better game but didn’t know how to communicate it. He also had a bad read on the jury or else he would have known that he was automatically losing votes no matter what. Natalie stated openly she was voting based solely on the fact that she wanted a girl to win. Paul was in there long enough. If he had enough respect for Natalie as an opponent he would have picked up on the fact that he would never have her vote either way but taking James would sway less votes than taking Nicole. Paul’s mistake is Nicolel’s gain. She won the season but they were both deserving of the title.
Paul’s original story was how he rallied against the vets, had to fight an uphill battle the whole way, then lost to a vet. And now he’s returning as THE ONLY VET to change how his story ends. It’s a nice little one-two punch.
Many have criticized Nicole’s game
and I think that’s mostly due to the conversation of who deserved it more, her or Paul. Nothing will change the fact that she won. She won the game and was the first woman in Big Brother history to beat a male in the end.
You can’t knock her showmance strategy since some great players have won while using a showmance to their advantage: Dr. Will, Mike Boogie, Daniele Donato, Ika Wong, etc.
Seeing Nicole pop by in the Premiere Part 2 was a pleasant surprise because I forgot how much I like her when she’s not in a cringey showmance or lying in the most painfully obvious way possible.
With Ika and Demetres dominating much of Big Brother Canada 5 and Kevin using his early showmance to lay low the first half of the game (and it came in handy when it was time for a Secret Power of Veto to be played), showmances aren’t going away anytime soon and in a way, Nicole might have helped evolve the meat shield/showmance strategy that will complicate choices for future players. You can’t hide from the past and as the game continues to spin a complex web of history, future players will have to adapt to the new social dynamics that come with the new twists, mechanics and approaches to the game.
Looking back, Nicole played a good game.
She just didn’t play a game that was exciting to watch and as a Big Brother player, I lost the ability to root for her. I wouldn’t even be opposed seeing her play one more time. But it would have to be up against all winners and I want to make sure Andy is there because they could be a fun little devilish team.
What did you think of Nicole’s game? How has your opinions changed over time? Do you respect the showmance strategy or is it an easy cop-out to get you deep into the game? Are people in showmances at a game advantage?