The Fun “Big Brother” Bromance of Derek and Travis

Every summer, I always start the new season of Big Brother before eventually losing interest about halfway through the season. I’m well on my way there again this year. But one of the most unexpected things about this 23rd season of the summer staple was me actually caring about a bromance.

Usually, I’m not much a fan of bromances or showmances on Big Brother since I prefer big explosions and fierce battles. But the friendship between houseguests Derek Xiao and now-eliminated Travis Long was one of the few exceptions.

To be quite frank, there was a lot of discriminatory vitriol (both direct and indirect) hurled toward Derek in that first week. And it’s hard to believe him being Asian-American did not play into why that happened. Whether it was him being isolated and targeted by the majority of the house in Week One for no other reason than being the odd one out or fans disregarding and belittling his ethnicity in a flippant manner that wouldn’t be tolerated if done toward anyone else.

Derek and Travis were a fun, wholesome duo who provided a bit of levity in the midst of some pretty uncomfortable moments both in the house and in the Big Brother fandom that first week.

It affected me more than I ever expected. As an Asian-American, seeing someone like me on a major network television show is still pretty rare. Even more so on any of the big reality shows. So it’s been great seeing Derek and rooting for him on Big Brother. And it kind of hurt seeing him being treated so horribly, especially in the house. (Don’t let anyone try to conveniently forget how the other houseguests treated him like crap that first week.)

But really, watching Derek and Travis for that first week (and seeing Derek missing him pretty much every day since his eviction) has been some of the most fun I’ve had watching Big Brother in years.

It was a shame the show decided to ignore their friendship on television. But we won’t!

Here are some of the most memorable Travis-Derek (no official couple name since Travis didn’t last long enough for one to be chosen!) moments from the #BB23 house. Including scenes of Derek missing Travis post-eviction.

One of my all-time favorite Big Brother moments:

Derek and Travis with a valid assessment of a former houseguest:

ETA (9/30/21): For the sake of completeness, Derek and Travis have one last on-air moment during the finale:

And it’s been really strange to see some loud BB fans so disgusted by any potential friendship between them. The violent reactions whenever anything Travis-related pops up with relation to Derek on BB’s social media are weirder than how those same commenters like to portray Derek and Travis’s relationship. Like, I’m sorry, but you don’t get to dictate who houseguests are friends with in or out of the house. Forreal.

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