The Funeral Explained

by Dan Gheesling


After playing Big Brother the first time on Season 10 the most asked question I received was:

How do I get on Reality TV?

This inspired me to create the website and podcast to help answer that question.

The second time around playing Big Brother the new question I get all the time is:

How did you come up with the Funeral?

Since I have just finished all of the commentary for each of the episodes, I can take some time to finally answer that question in detail.

Creating The Funeral

While I was trapped in solitary confinement I knew two things for sure:

Number one: I was in trouble, a lot of trouble. After seeing that everyone not only wanted me out of the house, but were also so well accepting of the fact and not willing to debate it, it made me realize something drastic had to be done.


Number two: No matter what, I was going to be trapped for 24 hours and I wouldn’t be able to talk to anyone effectively through a door. Instead of trying to force conversations through the bottom slit of a door, I wanted to keep silent until I had a plan figured out.

Those were my only two absolutes. I was willing to accept the truth that I was going to be locked into a room for 24 hours, but I wasn’t willing to accept that I was going to get evicted.

When thinking of the best way to get out of the bind I was in, I thought back to what was successful for me in the past: talking to the entire house all at once.

In my mind, when trying to plan my way out of this situation, that was the only foundation I had to work off of.


Seven Funeral Targets

From the foundation of needing to speak to the group as a whole, I came up with seven targets. These seven targets were the basis for the entire Funeral. The only chance I had to survive the week was if I could hit all seven targets in one shot.


Target 1 – Involve Everyone

dan-gheesling-big-brother-funeral-everyoneIn the Big Brother house, a normal conversation can get twisted, turned around, and misconstrued within five minutes of the conversation ending. The reason this happens is because there is room for it to happen in the game. Conversations need to be rehashed over and over for people to make decisions for themselves in the game.

The reason the conversations get twisted is because whoever is usually rehashing the story, twists it to the listener for their own selfish interest in the game (Big Brother 101).

Because of this reason, I knew if I wanted any chance to stay in the house, the message that needed to be delivered could not afford to be twisted around.

The only way to prevent this from happening was to involve everyone in the conversation, thus requiring a the house meeting.


Target 2 – Disarm

Some of the Houseguests left in the house had seen what I did during Season 10. They would surely be expecting me to attempt to cause chaos so that I could stay in the game. Because of this, I had disarm the Houseguests of their skepticism.


The best way in the game I know how to disarm people is through acknowledging them, complimenting them, and being authentic. I decided I would go around the room and thank everyone for something they (truly) did for me. I wanted to mention something I learned, enjoyed, or realized from just being around each person during the Funeral.


When I said something about each Houseguest (for the most part) it was me being completely honest. Ian really did make the experience a lot of fun for me, and I really did relate to Britney since we were both the newly married in the house.


Target 3 – Wrap An Act in the Truth

Sometimes the best way to lie in the Big Brother house is to wrap your lie in the truth.


For me the truth was how much I enjoyed being around everyone in the house, the lie was that I was done playing the game. Essentially this allowed me to hide my true intentions (of desperately wanting to stay in the house) by distracting people with my true emotions.

Yes, some of the tears were real (pulled from the thought of me leaving the house, sad I know ;) ) and some were fabricated. The truth is, if you go back and watch the Funeral it is even hard FOR ME to tell which of my tears were real and which were forced.


Target 4 –  Hide The Relationship

I attribute my success in winning Big Brother 10 to the fact that I had a secret alliance with Memphis Garret. The key word is SECRET.


From the beginning of this season, from a strategic standpoint, I was always uncomfortable with the fact that the alliance between Danielle and I was public knowledge. It makes everything in the game more difficult. Ducking nominations, acting weak, and portraying a facade of being alone is impossible when everyone in the house knows you are in an obvious alliance.

The only way to hide an alliance that has been made known to the entire house is to fracture it publicly. This would only be convincing if it wasn’t pre-planned (like a fight).

Of course this was a huge risk in jeopardizing the trust of Danielle. Not to mention the chance of bringing the alliance back together, but this was my best out. Driving the point home was essential to leave no doubts with the other houseguests that Danielle and I were done. (hence the strong words, “you’re dead to me”)

Out of the seven targets, I felt like this was the one that the entire Funeral hinged on. If people didn’t believe it they would see through the whole speech. If they did believe it, I had a window of opportunity within the game to strike a deal.


Target 5 – Cause Chaos

Mass chaos in the game is like launching off fireworks in a quiet neighborhood. It will bring the neighbors out of their houses to talk, complain, and figure out how to stop the fireworks as a cohesive group. While the neighbors are figuring things out, the robber is sneaking into the backdoor of their homes and going to work.

In essence, chaos can be the greatest diversion in the game. The risk is, you can’t always control what the chaos will grow into.

Lucky for me, EVERYONE in the house was very compassionate towards Danielle, which allowed me to do what I needed to do.

I was banking on the fact three things would arise from the chaos.

One: people would now strongly dislike/hate me in the game.

Two: Danielle would occupy everyone’s mental energy and capacity to see what  potentially could be going on around them.

Three: Create confusion amongst the houseguests as to exactly why I was “mad” at Danielle. (Questioning each other as to “what did Danielle do?” Opposed to “what is Dan up to?”)

This was the most unpredictable and risky part of the funeral for me. Although it led me to my next target (#6) it also isolated and brought together everyone in the house. If they started to compare notes on what they thought I was doing, it could have backfired completely.


Target 6  – Opportunity to Mend Fences

In a situation where people encourage enemies to stay enemies, opportunities to call a truce are few and far between. People will feed into this type of disconnect between two people, especially when the presence of opposition benefits them.


While the fireworks were going off, it was important for me to build in a reason to meet with Frank (my enemy at the time) alone. Taking the high road of having to “apologize” for something (of which I had nothing to apologize for) gave everyone a reason to understand why I wanted to talk to him alone.

Getting one on one time with anyone in the house is a tough thing to do without any sort of suspicion. Even if you proclaim loudly that you are not talking game with someone one on one, it makes things seem even more suspicious.

To get through the Funeral to even have the chance to sit down with Frank was tough. So much had to go right to get to this point, mending the fence with Frank was almost the easiest part.


Target 7 – Playing Possum

The final target of the Funeral was to trumpet out the fact that I was dead in the game. No more scheming, no more alliances, no more game talk.


Having people think that I was no longer willing to compete in the game took disarming the houseguests one step further.

When people think you are surrendering, naturally they want to expend less energy.  They drop their guard feeling safe in their enemies defeat. Keeping up the charade of lying dead by the side of the road lasted well beyond the Funeral. This happened for the next 24 or so hours.

I was cautious of having people see me talk to Jenn alone.  We only talked briefly very late at night and very early in the morning to confirm any questions she had.

How I approached these two critical conversations with Jenn (reminiscent of the conversation I had with Memphis in Season 10 the morning prior to him using the veto on me) is a whole other blog post.

The bottom line: when people thought I was dead, it allowed me to continue on very carefully undetected.

Further Funeral Explanation?

Dan-Gheesling-Big-Brother-14-Commentary-Pre-OrderBehind every move I made in the game, there was a thought process.

I rarely shot from the hip throughout the season. If you enjoyed this analysis of the Funeral and want more, you’ll definitely enjoy my Big Brother 14 Commentary.

Today is the official launch of the Commentary!

While creating the Commentary, I wanted to provide some additional value to those who purchased the 30 Audio Episodes, so I added two things to it!

1. Exclusive Members-Only Website

A community has been created for you to interact with other Big Brother fans who are has hardcore as you, myself included!

In the community site you can post questions on each individual episode.  I actually go on the site to answer your questions along with other members of the community.


2. Video Episodes

During the recording of the audio commentary I video-recorded every Episode. So if hearing my first reaction to the Funeral wasn’t enough, you can also see the look on my face when I’m laughing. ;)

I had a ton of fun creating the Commentary and those who pre-ordered currently are enjoying it (based on their feedback!). If you’re interested in purchasing it, you can click here to watch a video on how it works, or click here to buy it directly.



The completion of Coach Dan’s Commentary also marks the end of my Big Brother 14 blog posts and videos (I may release 1 or 2 more posts, but that’s it ;) ).

Some future posts may tie Big Brother related scenarios to new content I will be posting, but for the most part the Big Brother 14 content is over.

Of course I will still be answering questions regarding Big Brother 14 in the Members-Only site, but that’s a given.

dan-gheesling-big-brother-thank-youIf you’d like to help shape the future of this blog take a quick minute and e-mail me what you would like to see me cover or write about in the future on this blog.

I really appreciate all of the feedback, because at the end of the day, I want this blog to be of value to you.

It is not just my personal sounding board. ;)

Oh and one more thing, if you hadn’t noticed I moved all of my Facebook activity to one page. I no longer have a private page, or a Fan page (yuck). You can connect with me on Facebook by clicking here, once and for all.

Take care!

  • Danielle

    Great blog post Dan. Coming up with and successfully executing the funeral was pure genius. You should have won the game based on that alone :) I am really enjoying the commentary the videos and the members only site are a nice added touch. You always give more than expected!

    • Dan Gheesling

      Thanks so much Danielle! I’m glad you are enjoying the commentary thus far! :)

  • Andi Wernke

    This is hands-down the single best episode and move of BB ever. As you know, I am a longtime supported from season 10 and even I was beyond impressed with this one. Love the explanation!!! Thanks for sharing!!

    • Dan Gheesling

      Thanks Andi!

  • C.J.

    Well done Dan, loved how in depth you went with the explanations!

  • BBMania4ever

    For years, I have been wanting to see a move which hasn’t been done before. I cannot even think of a better comeback move. You exceeded expectations during both of your seasons. Because of this and your “Mist”, you deserved to win. Thanks for making this season fun :)

  • Destiny

    What an epic blog post! You are truly a Big Brother genius. Thanks for sharing what was going through your head during the Funeral.

  • Marty Dowell

    Great theater and well executed. Probably the best play in BB’s long history.

    • Dan Gheesling

      Thanks Marty, I do my best to move forward in the game and make a show. :) Not many people like the theatrics, but if possible I enjoy doing such. ;)

  • Ashley

    I know you probably had to explain it a billion times.. :) thanks though … does it feel like it was a year ago? haha I remember thinking that Joe was going to ruin everything hahaha were you worried?

    • Dan Gheesling

      Yeah I thought Joe might inadvertently blow things up.

  • Brett

    After this episode, I actually had an adrenaline rush like it was a sporting event… that was incredible! It is an absolute sham that you didn’t get the votes against Ian.

  • Daniel Sherriff

    When you told Danielle she was dead to you, in your mind, how likely did you think it could be that Danielle would stop trusting you and stop wanting to work with you? Obviously the risk paid off but what were the odds that the plan may backfire on you and jeopardize your alliance with Danielle?

    • Lurdes

      I would like to know this too. For me one of the best parts was your conversation with Danielle in the arcade room afterwards. Poor girl, you definitely took advantage of her loyalty at times (not that I blame you, you did what it took, such is the game). She also had a huge part in convincing Jenn to use the veto (don’t know if you saw that deleted scene), maybe you should buy her something for Christmas. :)

    • Joan

      Hey Dan, me 3 (or is it 4)… Several of are asking
      this question abou the chances of Danielle’s reaction after the funeral… what were the odds that she wouldn’t trust you again? Don’t ignore is, we’re here!!

  • Mike

    I found all of your casting tips very helpful & would like for you to continue that content as well!

  • Colleen Kelly

    Hey Dan,

    I knew you were being truthful with them when you were thanking them for something they had taught you, given you, or shared with them.
    The tears, I couldn’t exactly tell. I knew it was all planned but I was confused about that. I felt so bad, I guess because I knew some were real. I didn’t like seeing you upset but like I said I knew it wasn’t ALL real. Still got to me though.

    I can’t tell you how happy I was when it worked!!!!!.

    I can only say…. there MIGHT have been an embarrasing hour long happydance that night that took place in the living room here in NJ. But like I said, I can’t be sure ;)

    (Oh yea, it was way longer than an hour) Shhhhhh. :P

    I was never so happy, or completely stunned.
    I am ashamed to say I was afraid you might go home…

    But…. It WAS ……..a thing of beauty.

    The commentary I still have to listen too. Like I said, 1 and 2 I did hear. The website, I have to get on there and see more of it!
    I’m going to send you an email about your blog as well.
    Great post!
    I knew 99% of this stuff though. :)
    You see, “The Mist” and I… go wayyyyyyyyyyy back!! :P :)
    C’ya, hugs,
    Coll :)

  • Voneey

    The *genius began before the funeral. Itwas imperative that you (and Danielle) not be “back-doored” . You went to Frank to ensure that your would be nominated up front! … When you went to HOH and told Frank that you understood and had no hard feeling about it, and that you hoped to work with him in the future. – You wanted yourself and Danielle nominated because you knew that somehow, you would come off and whomever was replacement nominee, would be evicted (Brit)!

    *On The Block was The Safest Place To Be* – but, it took *Brains to know that and *Guts to request it!

    That isolation with that music playing was real Torture! .. Military Torture! .. BB should Know better than that! (LAWSUIT)!

    1 thing : If I were a houseguest, I Never would participate in your “funeral”. I would have been sneakily listening in the other room, but I would not have been there.

    Excellent game Dan! – You are MISTifying! :-)

  • Jose

    Love this post! I was excited, hopeful, and in awe when the whole thing was going down. I was so lucky to watch the whole thing live in the feeds. I agree with the other poster, possibly the best move in BB ever. I’ve been a huge fan of yours since Season 10, so your gameplay in Season 14 solidified by enthusiasm for you as a player!

    One of my hopes in life is to be able to play Big Brother, or Survivor, and be in an alliance with you (and with Sandra from Survivor, but that’s a little different!).

  • Sarah

    Dan’s funeral= Most epic move in Big Brother history :)

  • Renee

    I love it! Best Big Brother move thus far, no doubt. You have set an unreachable bar. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and motives behind your moves. Your insight in human behavior and this game is amazing. #TeamDan4Life

    • Dan Gheesling

      Thanks Renee! :)

  • Malissa

    Well this whole funeral bit ruined BB14 for me Dan. Britney was the most entertaining HG ever, and you’re little “funeral” bit sealed her fate. Why did you have to target her? Thankfully she didn’t give you her vote in the end. So thanks Dan for ruining BB for alot of fans, Britney was by far the best!

    • Dan Gheesling

      She was going to win the game otherwise. :)

    • Dwane

      you are full of shit Dan is the all time best bb player ever

  • Mikey La France

    Another great post, Dan! :)
    Are you thinking about writing another one to explain the conversations with Jenn? I’d love to hear about them.

  • Katrina

    I can’t even think… you’re just a genius. A pure mastermind. I’m taking notes so that when I go in the BB house, I win. And it will all be thanks to your inspiration. :) <3

  • Katrina

    This is why you’re the best player in BB history. My hero!! :)

  • Tina

    Dan, since you asked for feedback on what we’d like you to blog about, I would love for you to make a post about the funniest moments of the season (now that you’ve finaly finished it). For me it was Boogie and Shane reacting to one of Jenn’s guesses in the competition with the lolipops (I don’t remember the name, but it’s the one Danielle hosted.) The look on their faces when Jenn reveals her number, which is like 5x higher than it should be, is priceless. I love Britney’s goodbye to Boogie as well, Ian kicking himself in the face and some others. I’d love to know yours.

    • Dan Gheesling

      Hahahah, I’d have to go back and watch. Nothing overly funny sticks out in my mind, although I do remember laughing a decent amount during the commentary. :)

  • @AnneLuvz1

    Hiya Dan :)
    I had to take a little break from the commentary to read your blog (I can’t be missing out on anything) :)
    The funeral in MHO was absolutely the BEST move in BB history, probably in future also! Was I surprised you found a way to save your game? NOPE Was I surprised you got yourself off the block NOPE not surprised at all, what did surprise me was how much genius you were able to put into it in only 24hrs..yes I know 24hrs when you’re alone is a long time but WOW hon you really do have brain power above and beyond! Kudos to you Dan!
    While watching the live feeds I’d say there was a handful of us who KNEW (in the live feeds chatrooms) you would get yourself out of the mess and of course you did. I think I can speak for the handful and say “we had no idea how you were going to pull it off but knew without a doubt , you weren’t going home yet :)
    Those of us who are part of the “Team” know you are the best BB player and from seeing you coach you are one of the best coaches also but I think I’ve said this to you before (maybe in an email) you are a born writer!!
    I sincerely hope you start to focus on that because I know for a fact that EVERYTHING you write will be over the top!! You absolutely have what it takes!
    Fabulous blog as usual Dan, thank you again hon :) Love always to Chelsea :)

  • @AnneLuvz1

    oh and btw…movies like ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ and ‘The Karate Kid’ require writers..hmmm now there’s something to think about :) I know you can do it!!

  • Jenny R

    Loved reading about the thought process. I knew from your first season that you had it in you. Hate that it was a bitter jury that decided your fate in the end, but happy for Ian too.

    • Dan Gheesling

      Thanks for reading Jenny!

  • Brii Kortum

    Twitter and Facebook practically blew up after this episode. Everyone was in awe of the funeral idea and it definitely makes for a great argument for best houseguest of all time. You not winning is still so insane to me!

    • Dan Gheesling

      Hahaha, would have like to have seen those hashtags flying. ;)

  • Lazzi

    You got lucky with Danielle ~ Without her your plans would have gone poof! She even turned down Jenn’s suggestion to save her instead of you ~ Unbelievable! I guess you can thank casting for it.

    • Sarah

      Though I do agree that Dan was lucky that he had Danielle, I think that it was definately in her best interest to keep Dan in the game (especially over Britney). Britney had so many people wrapped around her finger (Shane, Ian, ect) that Danielle would have been just another one of her many allies; however, the same cannot be said about Dan (at the time) as Danielle trusted Dan 100% and believed that she was, exclusively, his strongest ally and it’s because of this sense of exclusivity that made keeping Dan around all the more appealing for her game. Also, Dan was a great shield for Danielle because in no situation would she ever be voted out before Dan (if they were both on the block together). Lastly, she knew that Dan was a great player that could keep her safe. Bottom line: I think that Danielle had plenty incentive to keep Dan in the game and I’m glad that she was smart enough to realize that (at this point, at least) sticking with Dan and staying loyal to him was in her best interest.

      • Lazzi

        Shayne was a moron for keeping Danielle over Britney. I hope he knows that now :)

        • Sarah

          lol Yeah, Shane made some really moronic moves in the game (I bet he’s still kicking himself for agreeing to go on the block at final 4–I really don’t know what he was thinking). However, I do understand why he wanted to keep Danielle over Britney and I think it’s because of the same reason why Danielle wanted to keep Dan in the game: exclusivity. Shane knew that Britney had a final 2 deal with Ian and so there was no point in Shane keeping Britney around, especially over Danielle who, in his eyes, was now alone and no longer working with Dan (which was a major goal of the funeral–making it seem like Danielle and Dan would never really work together and therefore, would be able to work in secret). In the end, I think that he made the right move in keeping Danielle over Britney…but his naivety at final 4 was just sad and ultimately, led to his downfall…

      • Katie

        I totally agree Sarah, well explained. Danielle knew she would stay over Britney, that’s why she told Jenn to use it on Dan instead of her.

  • Gregg Weldon

    My sister and brother-in-law (also huge BB fans) happened to be in town staying with me the week you had The Funeral. Watching it together was like watching a fantastic Mohammad Ali prizefight. You were bobbing and weaving like a pro! We were cheering you all the way, and were exhausted by the end of the episode!

  • Michelle

    Hi Dan – When I watched the whole funeral go down on the live feeds…I literally could not believe what I was seeing (in a good way!).

    While you were playing sick, I was waiting to see what you were going to do and I could not have imagined that. It was really brilliant. I realize we are talking about a game, but seriously I have never seen anything like it. I kept using the word “masterful” and that is what it was.

    Pretty much everything that you did was a master class on how to play Big Brother. Except for telling that you were going to vote out Frank and telling Joe it was you and not Shane, of course! :) But those just showed you are human! I even loved how you promoted your book Punch It In, when the coaches entered the game (and now you have me promoting it for you too, I’ve been misted!) – Chelsea RT’d my tweet about that the moment it happened! Anyway…Ian seems like a nice kid but there is NO way that he should have won. He fell into his success and you worked hard for yours.

    • Dan Gheesling

      Thanks for all the kind words Michelle. Glad you enjoyed the season…and the Mist. ;)

  • Reese

    This is why I love Big Brother, strategy and plays like this is what keeps me so interested in the show! When players are willing to do whatever it takes strategically to advance in the game, the drama it causes, the impact on the game, love it!

    But my question is, was there any specific reason you pitched Britney to be the replacement nominee as apposed to Shane or Joe? Was it just an easy pitch to make to Frank or was there your own reason for wanting Britney out? I definitely see the logic in axing Britney at that point but I’d love to hear the strategy behind it from you!

    • Dan Gheesling

      Yes because Britney was in position to win the game! :)

      • Lazzi

        I thought you said you were scared of her? Rightly so and very apparent watching the feeds but I still think that taking Brit to the end over any Newbie would have given you your 2nd win.

  • Carl

    Dan, you have to listen to this podcast:

    The BB portion starts at 23:50, and it’s all about the funeral. It’s a must listen because the hosts are so excited about it and they have a great grasp on your game. You might have to download it, but it’s so worth it!

  • Anik

    hey Dan!
    I was wondering.. I tried to buy the BB14 episodes through itunes but we dont have them in Canada.. is there another way to buy them ? cause I really want to buy the audio commentary .. :(
    *sad panda here**
    Great season btw!you should have won! rewatching season 10 just because!!


  • David

    I want To get Your Coach Dan’s Commentary On ITUNES What DO I Search?

  • Amrutha

    I am a huge fan of yours and I love every part of your game play. Thanks for explaining it all! :)

  • Chris (Dirtyapples)

    My man! This was one of my questions on how you came up with this plan in the ask “Ask Dan”. I’m sure you have been asked a bunch of times so thanks again Dan for the detailed explanation. Keep up the good work! BB2 Canada here I come! ;)

  • Martin

    Your summary of it reminded me of this scene from Gladiator.

    Falco: I have been told of a certain sea snake which has a very unusual method of attracting its prey. It will lie at the bottom of the ocean as if wounded. Then its enemies will approach, and yet it will lie quite still. And then its enemies will take little bites of it, and yet it remains still.

    Commodus: So, we will lie still, and let our enemies come to us and nibble. Have every senator followed.

  • brian

    Dan you was a blat to watch but as much as I liked you in the game…Ian in the end would’ve won over just about anyone I believe. Great game tho and look forward to hopefully seeing you on the next all-stars..

  • Nattie

    I just watched Big Brother 14 for the first time (I skipped 13-16) and I can honestly say that you are my favorite player to ever enter that house. I admire your gameplay and strategy. I think you might have played just a tad too hard in the very end and ultimately dug your own grave, but you so carefully thought out every single decision and made sure all your bases were covered to at least make it to final 2 and I think you definitely deserved it.

    Of all the seasons of BB I’ve seen (all but 3 of them now, working on that) 14 was by far my favorite and watching you scheme was a big reason for that. I know how unlikely it’d be for you to return for a 4th time but I’d absolutely love to see you back. You are a force to be reckoned with, Dan Gheesling and I feel bad for anyone who stands in your way of achieving what you want in this life.

  • Alex Black

    This was the biggest Big Brother move in the history of Big Brother… Like, damn.. It was genius.

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