Adam Samrov, a self-proclaimed "Big Brother" superfan, is following Mount Anthony Union High School graduate Shane Meaney as he goes for the $500,000 grand prize on the CBS reality show.
In this column, Shane has been in the house for two weeks and has proven to be a strong competitor -- maybe the strongest in the house. After two weeks in the "Big Brother 14" house, Bennington’s Shane Meaney is looking very strong en route to the $500,000 winner’s prize.
"Big Brother," on CBS, puts strangers in a house with no contact with the outside world for the summer, voting out houseguests one at a time until two are left standing. Then a jury of evicted players votes to award the half-million dollars.
On the first show that aired June 12, a film crew came to Bennington to film some of the area as a lead-in to Shane receiving his invite to the show. They filmed Shane (identified on the show as a "house flipper") and his friend, Ron Dwyer, tearing down a house in North Bennington they are trying to flip.
Shane entered the house with 11 other competitors on July 7 with a game plan on how to win the money, an idea made tougher by the addition of four coaches -- players who have been in the game before. The coaches -- Dan Gheesling from BB10, Mike "Boogie" Malin from BB2 and BB All-Stars, Janelle Pierzina from BB6 and Britney Haynes from BB12 -- chose teams on the first night the show aired on CBS.
Shane was Britney’s second pick for a Head of Household competition called the "Big Brother Slumber Party." The challenge required houseguests to run across beds to collect teddy bears and the first team to get three would win. Along with teammates Willie (Hantz) and JoJo (Spadafora), Shane was a part of the winning team.
As coach, Britney picked Willie as the first Head of Household, keeping Shane safe as one of the members of the winning team.
As HoH, Willie had to pick two houseguests to be on the eviction block, choosing Frank (Eudy) and 2006 Playboy Playmate of the Year Kara (Monaco). After a few days of campaigning to remain in the house, on Wednesday’s show, Shane was chosen to play in the veto competition. The Power of Veto allows the winner to either take a nominee off the block, saving them from eviction or leaving the nominations the same.
For this competition, called Big Brother Washing Machine, contestants had to dig through laundry detergent and soap bubbles to find coins for their vending machine. The total had to come to $1.30.
Shane, while not finding any of the rare dollar coins hidden in the soap, was accurate with all the quarters, tossing them into the BB vending machine. Down to the wire with Willie, Shane won the veto, giving him the power to change a nomination.
He won even though he was picked as a Have-Not after the coaches competition two days earlier. The four coaches play a separate game with the winner choosing to save a member of their team. Boogie won, giving Ian (Terry) immunity, but Shane was a have-not -- allowed to only eat Big Brother slop, no hot showers, have horrible beds and few amenities.
At one point during the week, Shane said he had lost 12 pounds as a have-not, but that didn’t stop him from winning the second-most powerful thing in the house. And he still represented his hometown, saying in a Diary Room segment he planned on bringing the money back to VT, making the letters with his fingers.
As veto holder, Shane heard the nominees campaigning for him to use the veto to save someone but he made the smart play by not using it, doing "what’s best for his individual game."
On Thursday’s show, Kara was evicted 5-3, and Frank won the HoH, going from the block to the most powerful player in the house. This may spell bad things for Shane, especially as a physically strong player, one that has already proven he can win competitions.
A key to doing well in the Big Brother house is having a good social game to go along with the physical and mental challenges. Shane, despite not being a big "superfan" before going into the house, is doing a nice job with his social game, getting in good with most of the guys in the house as friends.
Where Shane is strongest, however, is with the ladies, which isn’t all that surprising, considering he’s a handsome 26-year-old single guy.
He’s put his personal training to good use, giving back massages to JoJo and becoming close with Kara and Danielle (Murphree), the southern belle from Alabama, a type that Shane himself admitted he could fall for in the house. Danielle said after the show on Thursday night that she’s "crushing" for Shane.
They’ll get at least one more week together as he is safe until next Thursday (July 26) from leaving the house. It will be interesting to see how Frank plays it. Shane has stayed mostly in the background, while Willie has lied and played a tough game, even in the first couple of weeks. That strategy will bode well for Shane to stay in the house.
Adam Samrov is sports editor at the Banner.