'Big Brother' Endurance Comps Are a Big Deal and the Pressure Cooker Is an Iconic One

What is the Pressure Cooker on 'Big Brother'? It's an iconic competition that can last hours, depending on which houseguests play.

Chrissy Bobic - Author

Aug. 24 2023, Updated 9:09 a.m. ET

Hisam and Cirie in the backyard on Big Brother
Source: CBS

There comes a time during every Big Brother season when viewers must make a choice. Do they watch a 14-hour-long competition on the live feeds or do they wait to see a condensed version of it in an edited episode? Some fans do opt for the former rather than the latter and competitions like the Pressure Cooker will do that for you.

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It's an intense endurance competition that hasn't been played much throughout the series. However, it's back in Season 25 and plenty of fans are curious about what it entails. Long-winded competitions in general typically start during a live eviction episode. And when the episode ends, viewers can flock to the live feeds and continue to watch the game play out in real time. Even if it lasts literal hours, which can be the case for the Pressure Cooker.

Big Brother houseguests compete in the Pressure Cooker comp in Season 6
Source: CBS
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What is the Pressure Cooker competition on 'Big Brother'?

Before Season 25, the Pressure Cooker competition was played in just two seasons of the U.S. version of the show, Seasons 5 and 6, and Season 1 of the Canadian version of Big Brother. It's unclear why producers haven't brought it back more over the years, but its return for the monumental twenty-fifth season makes sense.

The idea behind how to play Pressure Cooker is simple. Everyone in the house, except for the outgoing Head of Household, remains in a makeshift room outdoors with clear panels on all sides. They each have to keep a button pressed down without sitting on the floor. The last person standing, literally, who does not take their hand off the button, wins.

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But, while the idea is simple enough, the competition involves remaining enclosed with everyone and barely being able to move. And back in Season 6, the last time it was played on the U.S. Big Brother, the rules stated that no one eliminated could leave the room until three players lost the comp.

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Whenever someone takes their hand off the button or they fall or sit, or even kneel down, they get to open a mystery box in the middle of the room. Sometimes, the box has a reward, like a box full of alcoholic drinks or a cash prize, if we're looking back to Season 6. But something tells us that punishments are also a possibility in these mystery boxes. Because of how intense the comp is, in the sixth season of Big Brother, the Pressure Cooker lasted 14 hours.

There are other endurance competitions on 'Big Brother' that can last hours.

The Pressure Cooker is an intense competition because of the physical toll it takes on houseguests. In that regard, it's not unlike the wall competition that comes around at some point each season.

During that one, the houseguests stand and hold on to a wall that is frequently lowered forward more and more while the houseguests get water or slime sprayed at them.

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Big Brother 24 houseguests compete in a wall competition
Source: CBS

Big Brother 2 featured a simple, but difficult, competition where houseguests had to remain in a bed with their hand on a key. If they removed their hand, the player was eliminated from the HOH comp.

Not every competition has the most complicated idea behind it, but clearly, the endurance competitions don't have to be in order to bring on the pressure for the houseguests.

Watch Big Brother on Sundays and Wednesdays at 8 p.m. EST and Thursdays at 9 p.m. EST on CBS.

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