Karma can be a devilish foe.
The most debated and talked about Big Brother 15 houseguest was finally sent packing on Thursday night. Mixed emotions are a tricky thing: on a personal level I'm glad that someone who said ignorant comments (regardless of claiming them as jokes) won't win but as a Big Brother fan and a competitive person, it's sad seeing someone playing the game leave instead of a floater. While I don't condone any of the vile things she's said, the two months since then has helped to focus on judging only her gameplay.
The tenth person evicted was Aaryn Gries, the 22 year old college student from Texas.
Let's Meet Aaryn...
Aaryn is the challenge champion and snarky former leader of the Blondetourage alliance (i.e. the 'Mean Girls'). In the first week of the game, she lost her showmance partner David to a last minute blindside and continued to lose allies like Nick, Jeremy and Kaitlin the following weeks in a row. Aaryn proved to be flexible as she made deals with several of the houseguests and won challenges ensuring that she would be safe beyond the target of the first few weeks. In week 8, Aaryn sided with Amanda, McCrae and Andy to form the 3AM alliance to evict Helen by nominating both Helen and Elissa. This proved to be her undoing as Elissa won the following Head of Household (HOH) competition and nominated both Aaryn and McCrae. While the target flipped between both nominees (even with a potential blindside of Amanda), Amanda won the Power of Veto (POV), removed her showmance from the block and Andy went up - ensuring Aaryn as the next person to be evicted. On Day 70, she was evicted by a vote of 5-0.
Why Did She Lose?
Aaryn had a bumpy road this summer to say the least. In a normal Big Brother season, Aaryn's early alliance would have dominated the game but the Big Brother MVP twist created opportunities for the opposing players to band together against targets. Being almost on her own resorted her to offer up any alliance and deals she could to survive - enter Amanda and Helen. Both took her under their protection if she did their dirty work. The offer looked good at first to get rid of targets like Howard, Candice, Judd and Jessie but once it turned toward the leaders, she was in the middle. All the backstabbing and deals she made were held against her as the house opinion turned against Amanda and Aaryn couldn't shake the image of being Amanda's "puppet" any longer.
How Could She Stay?
Aaryn needed a serious overhaul with her social game. Not just about the rude and ignorant comments but her approach with several of the houseguests. Elissa couldn't stand Aaryn since the beginning of the game but a majority of the animosity stemmed from Aaryn turning against Elissa first. Aaryn needed to get back on Elissa's side and prove that Amanda was her target too. GinaMarie and Judd were already on board to break up Amanda and McCrae - she should have pushed harder that bygones were bygones. If Aaryn had buried the hatchet with Elissa the week before when Helen pushed for the idea, she wouldn't have been nominated.
Aaryn learned the life lesson that is Big Brother: no one is above the game. She most likely came in expecting to dominate and be America's Favourite but the twists dramatically changed how everyone had to play the game. Luckily for her, she proved to be flexible and lasted an extra two months but poor decisions and a backbone lead to her eviction. Do I think she's racist and a homophobe? No. Being either of the two is to be full of hate and malice that the individual couldn't tolerate being around, let alone living together in the Big Brother house. Ignorance is to blame and hopefully she learns from this experience to grow into a mature, respectful person. I don't expect Aaryn to ever come back on the show, partly due to Julie Chen and I'm not sure Aaryn would gamble with the post-show backlash again. However, if she were looking to gain some redemption with her image, it could happen and we may see her return when the veterans come back in a later season. Until then...