Even if you don’t think that Ian is one of the best players in Big Brother history, you cannot deny that Ian’s story makes for one of the great narratives in reality TV history. He walked into the Big Brother house, wearing fifth-grade glasses and a seventh-grade haircut, dressed like a high schooler pretending to be a college boy. He was babbling about how much he loved the show; when Mike Boogie walked into the house, Ian greeted him by exclaiming, “I watched you when I was 10 years old!” He vibed lightweight. CBS flailed for a storyline, and Mike Boogie obliged by convincing him to go on a freakish slop date with Smashley.
Then the coaches hit the Reset Button, and Ian was on fire. Dressed in a self-inflicted dog outfit — he chose that punishment over a Maui vacation — he walked into the triple-couple alliance of Team Britney and Team Dan and announced that he wanted to join them. He named the Quack Pack; he was the Quack Pack’s spy; he was, in fact, the whole reason why the Quack Pack was the Quack Pack. From there, Ian’s record speaks for itself. Four Head of Households, including the final three-part competition — which he won after throwing the first competition, the rough Big Brother equivalent of Casey at the Bat, if Casey wound up hitting a grand slam. He won two veto competitions. He opened Pandora’s Box and got $1000 and a new hammock.
Ian took down one of the greatest players in Big Brother history and had the weird courage to say that to his face; his exit apology to Boogie, which seemed like such a horrible misstep at the time, looks in hindsight like evidence of Ian’s strong moral code. (He couldn’t let Boogie walk out that door without saying he was sorry.) And he sat next to one of the other greatest players in Big Brother history and beat him in a final Jury vote 6-1. And remember: Ian chose to sit next to Dan. He won because nobody hated him — not the players he backstabbed, not the players he frontstabbed. He took the hard path and won.
We should be talking about what a great season Ian played. We should be talking about how Ian’s summer in the Big Brother house turned into a genuine coming-of-age story — how you could see him becoming more confident with every passing week, how he seemed to physically age five years in two months, how right Boogie was last night when he said: “He’s gonna leave a man, one way or another, tonight.” We should be talking about how Ian could be the beginning of a whole new generation of reality show contestants — kids who grew up on these shows, who will take the accumulated knowledge of the Mike Boogies and Janelles and Dans of the world and push the genre into a whole new stratosphere. Or maybe not — maybe Ian’s victory in Big Brother marks the end of reality TV’s frontier era. Either way, we should be talking about Ian.
But it’s difficult, because Ian was sitting next to Dan. And if you think that Ian deserved to win this season of Big Brother, then you have to confront a simple fact: A few days ago, the man you think deserved to win Big Brother was running around the house mumbling “What! What! What! What!” like a hobo madman. The man who came in second place never had a moment like that — not once in the entire second half of the season, maybe not once since he walked into the house back in July. If you think Ian deserved to win Big Brother, then you have to acknowledge that he only won because of Dan. Ian might have won the $500 thousand, but Dan won every single day of Big Brother.
But which one of them really deserved to win? Let’s take a look back at the episode and figure it out together, shall we?
NEXT: Dan owns the final competition