Hi, there. My name’s Paulie, and I’ve harbored a dark secret for an entire year. The time has now come to bare my soul. Yes, I must confess to all of you that I watched the entire season of Big Brother 4. I didn’t tell anyone about this because I feared nobody would understand. It’s a fruity, broken game that is in many ways the polar opposite of my favorite show, Survivor. Surely a cultured Survivor enthusiast like myself could avoid the inexplicable madness that is Big Brother. But no. I always find time in my frantic schedule to watch three hours a week of this giggle-inducing lunacy. I blame the bikinis. Whatever the reason for my continued interest in this bizarre little show, I have joined the Big Brother recapper pool this season. Perhaps I’m seeking some closure here, some means of coming to grips with my jarring addiction. If I do that, maybe I’ll find a way to finally let go. *dramatic pause* Nah! I’m having too much fun! There’s just nothing juicier than watching a houseful of divas smash their egos into one another. I’m looking forward to it.
The customary black-and-white recap footage at the beginning of the show is a pale substitute for the full written account provided by Stargazer right here on the FORT. If you missed any of the last episode or you want to be entertained by a superb summary of it (or both), please go check out her recap. You’ll be glad you did.
It’s Day 14 in the Big Brother house, and Mike has just made his exit, prompting Scott to raise his arms in victory. At full extension, his fingertips nearly reach the top of his hair. In the Diary Room, Drew brings things into focus by informing us, “It’s definitely weird having only twelve in the game now. It just makes everything more realistic.” I look at that swarm of people in there, and I have serious doubts that the absence of one isolated and outcast man would change the overall atmosphere of the place. It certainly wouldn’t make the whole situation more “realistic.” You still have to eat peanut butter and jelly three times a day and shield your eyes from being stabbed by Jase’s hair. We must forgive Drew, though, for his stunned confessionals. He’s just trying to find his way through a haze of confusion. No doubt he’s unaccustomed to being “outcooled” by those around him, and he has no idea how to contend with his new status as the Delta Male.
Marvin is the new Head of Household, a fact which Jase celebrates joyously in the Diary Room. Marvin, you see, has bonded with Jase from Day One…according to Jase. This special association entitles Marvin to special status as an “outer Horseman” to the core group of four. Now I have to admit that I’ve missed a couple episodes this season, but last I saw, the original alliance was referring to the themselves as “The Knights of the Round Table.” While that nickname is not as evocative as The Four Horsemen, it does have two distinct advantages: 1) there actually is a circular table in the house where important matters of state are conducted, and 2) you can be vague about how many Knights there actually are, which facilitates adding people to your alliance and covers you when people start to get eliminated, which they must. You don’t go arbitrarily adding a fifth Horseman just because your guys lost the Head of Household Competition. Each Horseman has a specific role, for heaven’s sake! War, Famine, Death, and Victory. If you’re going to establish a new “outer Horseman,” he should at least stand for something, shouldn’t he? Peanut Butter, maybe. Well, anyway, Jase is pleased with this new development, even if I am not.
Others in the house aren’t quite as excited about Marvin’s ascension to power. Karen fears that he “might do anything,” which is an absolutely unassailable argument. He sure might, and he probably will. Do something, that is. Jase points out in the diary room that many of the women in the house are probably understandably nervous about the new power structure. Lori, Diane, and even Holly are probably feeling the pressure. Holly admits she’s concerned, but she’ll continue to be nice to Marvin. She won’t overdo it, though, because “then he’s going to think I’m being fake.” Holly, no! That’s insanity! Why would anyone think you were anything less than perfectly authentic? Perish the thought!
We quickly check in with our resident switcheroo twin, Adria/Natalie. She tells us how stressful it is to do the switches and how she likes to put giant water cups in front of her face all day so nobody gets a good look at her. It also helps to explain why she’s not saying anything at that moment. She wants to be seen and not heard to give herself a chance at fooling everyone. As Jase proves later in the episode, this should not be a problem. To be found out, somebody would actually have to be paying attention to her and not completely focused on themselves. Not likely with this gang of narcissists.
Marvin tells us in the Diary Room that he’s happy to be Head of Household because that means he won’t be on the block for this week. That kind of ordinary comment annoys me with its stunning lack of insight, but I suspect CBS prompts players to remind everyone of the rules so I’ll cut him some slack. I do have to point out, however, that Marvin has quickly established himself as the master of run-on cliches. “You’re seeing how far a dude can make it in this house,” he says, “by keeping it real (*ding*) and not kissing butt (*ding*)”. That’s two in one sentence! But hang on. He’s just getting warmed up! There are more to come! Oh, and incidentally, the answer is fourteen days. That’s apparently how long a single dose of keeping it real and not kissing butt can keep one dude in the house.
Marvin continues to keep it real by inviting the other house guests into his HOH Room. This is obviously not kissing butt, either, since it’s expected behavior from the HOH. He’s got all the amenities from home: a picture of him and his mother taken through the window of an SUV, a picture of his dog Ice Cube, and a basket of “Southern-y kind of snacks,” as Holly puts it, such as “pork ROYNDS.” God, can someone give this woman a voice-ectomy?
Following the big HOH Room invasion, Karen discloses in the Diary Room that she “can see through every single individual in this house,” which I think is actually more of a hindrance in this game than a help, unless you can turn that skill on and off. Otherwise, you’re in a big empty house and you keep bumping into people you can’t see. She thinks it’s a major asset, though, and she discusses what she’s seen with Will. They’re hoping Marvin won’t be fooled by The Four Horsemen but are obviously unaware of his new status as outer Horseman. Shouldn’t Karen be able to see that?
Speaking of our fifth Horseman, he summons the gang for the next Food Competition. In preparation for the big event, each house guest receives a big colorful gen-yoo-wine barnyard-style bandanna. This sends Jase into a frenzy of excitement in the Diary Room. “The Four Horsemen and then we get bandannas?!” he squeals. “Come on! It’s a sign from God!” His revisionist take on The Bible, with its Old West bank-robber-looking Horsemen of the Apocalypse, further demonstrates the strain their nickname is under at all times. I just can’t see the nickname surviving all the way to the end of the game. Surely it will collapse under the weight of all these metaphor-bending bastardizations, right?
The crew steps out into the backyard, which has once more been completely re-jiggered for the competition. It’s now a dramatic barnyard scene, complete with a big chicken coop and the ever-present giant slingshots you see on most modern chicken farms. The game is called Cata-Poultry, even though I looked and there are no catapults, just the slingshots. The object of the game is to fire as many chickens into the chicken coop boxes as possible. Each box is labeled with a different kind of food that will be added to the house larder for the week. There are also some “Bad Egg” compartments which will cause all of the chicken boxes to empty their contents, forcing the house guests to start over with however many chickens (they start with five each) and time (the group starts with five minutes) they have left. These aren’t real chickens, mind you. They’re your standard rubber chickens with some feathers glued on and a tiny colored bandanna to match that worn by the house guest. If you haven’t seen a standard rubber chicken, just head on down to any convenient “trickster store” to find one. That’s where Holly said you could get them. In my part of the world, there are as many as half a dozen trickster stores to choose from. I’m sure you’ll have no trouble where you are, either.
Before the competition begins, Scott turns to the group and reaches WAY back for some college-age enthusiasm. “We gotta focus on that beer!” he urges his housemates through clenched teeth. “’Cause…gotta get messed up!” If Scott had simply remembered to wear his “I love alcohol” shirt from his own “Scott’s Thoughts” line of original clothing, he wouldn’t have had to say anything, but as usual, he forgot to wear a shirt at all. From the deafening roar of crickets after he spoke, I didn’t think anyone had heard Scott’s plea. But Lori got her chicken in the beer box on the very first shot so maybe his passionate speech did have an effect, after all. “You totally redeemed yourself from last week!” he exclaims, which leads me to wonder if he’s intentionally channeling Harry Dunne from Dumb and Dumber or if his brain just happens to be wired in the exact same way. I’ll just say it didn’t look like he was quoting.
The group is doing pretty well gathering some tasty options for the upcoming week, even with Holly firing chicken lasers into the bottom of the fence every time. Three minutes and forty-five seconds into the contest, though, Will draws the ire of his housemates when his chicken catches the edge of a food box, flips upside-down in a dramatic beak somersault with a back twist, then settles in one of the Bad Egg boxes. Bad luck! As promised, the boxes drop down and spill their hard-earned chicken bounty to the ground. Marvin tries to inspire the group by cranking up The Run-On Cliché Machine: “Come on, we gotta dig down deep! (*ding*) Warm it up! (*ding*)” Karen gets in the spirit, too by yelling out, “Every chicken counts, people!” No ding there from the Machine. She obviously doesn’t understand what a cliché is or how to use one.
The group responds to the challenge by claiming a few goodies (milk, butter, seafood, and two doses of bacon and sausage) in the last 1:15, but it’s clear that folks are still pretty upset. Scott reminds us he wanted beer, which really drives home the tragedy of the Bad Egg blunder. “Will,” Marvin says, “You will be drawn and quartered (*ding*) at the stake (*ding*).” Technically, that’s two executions, which you don’t really need unless you’re planning to lightly toast Will at the stake before tearing his limbs off. However, the point is made, and young Will is appropriately shattered, crying bitter tears behind his retro 70’s FBI guy sunglasses when the House guests go back inside.
After the commercial break, we cut to a horror movie starring Jase and Holly. He’s nibbling on her toes in the bathtub, shaving her legs, and calling her (*shudder*) “Buttercup.” For her part, she thinks he’s amazing and fantastic and scores “Super Points in my Holly Book” for wanting to be a fireman. I’d like to see The Holly Book’s scoring table to learn how many Super Points a person can get for wanting to be an astronaut. That’s gotta be worth more, doesn’t it? Personally, I think the volunteer firefighter business is as calculated as his phony first name (it’s really Jason, right?). Seems to work out for him, though, because he says he has older women “fighting to buy [him] stuff.” It’s Jason aka Jase’s Golden Rule: “If you’re a good-looking guy, forget it.” I don’t know where I was going with that. What was I talking about? Forget what?
Anyway, the rest of the Four Horsemen (minus their outrider, of course) are worried about Jase and his lack of focus. Scott informs us of this in the Diary Room, where he appears wearing a golden snakeskin smoking jacket and his ubiquitous super-tall head band. At least I think that’s what he said. I was dazzled by the hilarity of his outfit and didn’t really take good notes. He must not be too worried about things, though, because a little bit later, the Horsemen are seated around the circular table, whooping it up about their dominance of the house. Even Drew says something, with Scott and Jase’s gracious permission, of course. “We’re The Four Horseman…at The Round Table!” he gushes, tapping the table for emphasis. See, I thought we’d abandoned The Round Table part. I’m telling ya. The nickname is doomed. His comment does get Scott all fired up, though. “We are untouchable!” he exclaims. “Fab Four, Michigan, 1997! Perfect!” The others giggle in delight at his mangled pseudo-reference. None of them, of course, have any idea that the University of Michigan’s famous basketball club, nicknamed The Fab Five, lost NCAA Championships in both ’92 and ’93. Their coach was fired in ’97. Is that an omen? Gosh, I hope so.
Of course, Scott could say anything to Cowboy, and he’d buy it. We’re treated to a disturbing sequence of hero worship clips where Cowboy lets Scott do everything from ironing his hair with some hot, steaming metal thing to shaving racing stripes – racing stripes! – into his leg hair. After having his hair “all cutted up and dryered up,” as Scott puts it, Cowboy is ready for another bath with his “daddy,” where he blows bubbles at Scott’s face. Nope, I’m not making this up. I just report what I see, and I’m seeing Cowboy getting all dressed up as a pawn for the cool kid “friends” he’s never eaten with before. I think this is going to end ugly for our pal, the Cowboy, but I hope I’m wrong.
The last interesting thing that happens before the nomination circus gets underway is the big fight between Jason aka Jase and Holly. Well, one of their many endless fights. You see, Holly gets mad at Jason aka Jase because he’s shallow and has gigolo tendencies, so she runs to Diane, who tells her that Jason aka Jase told her that he was just trying to mess with Holly’s head from the very beginning. Holly takes it back up with Jason aka Jase in a virtually incomprehensible exchange of “like”s and other inconsequential filler words. She does very clearly say that Diane told her this, however. I did notice that. That’s relevant later when Jason aka Jase confronts Lori on the treadmill for saying that about him. Lori runs to Holly, Holly chastises Jason aka Jase for getting it wrong, Lori takes a verbal shot at Jason aka Jase herself, and the whole thing concludes with Holly delivering a sandwich to her man with a message inscribed on it in her trademark mustard font: “Liar U Suck.” See what I mean, Adria? Nobody’s listening to you or anyone else. You’ve got it made, sister.
When the big TV in the living room informs the group that nominations will be taking place, Outer Horseman repairs to the HOH Room with the rest of the Horsemen. Oddly enough, Scott’s already there, listening to music. “Sweet!” he shouts when he learns of the scheduled activity for the day. He really doesn’t seem to have any ability to calibrate the intensity of his outbursts, does he? I cringe at his overreactions. Anyway, the group decides to try to gather support to oust Lori. She has $10,000 in her war chest, anyway, and she’s a powerful player, apparently, although I don’t know how you tell that. The Horsemen need help from some of the ladies to pull this off so Scott and Jason aka Jase head off to convince Cowboy to sway Jennifer aka Nakomis, his half-sister. They wake Cowboy from a nap, and Scott excitedly holds up a high-five hand when the news of the nominations is shared, but it’s an overreaction to the situation, of course, and he is ignored, which is funny and painful to watch. Cowboy rounds up Jennifer aka Nakomis and demonstrates his woeful game skills by requesting her assistance in the vote without sharing with her who the candidates for eviction will be. He just doesn’t seem like he’s making good game decisions to me. He might last for a while with his Horsemen, but I don’t think he’s riding Victory.
Meanwhile, back at the HOH Room, Marvin summons Adria to stand beside his throne while he lays out the plan to evict Lori. Adria appears to consent to the new strategy, but Marvin thinks she’s lying and rapidly (between scenes) throws a Wisconsin sweatshirt on over his tank top to indicate his knowledge of her duplicity. Or wait. Maybe there was editing. At any rate, all seems to be in order for the big nomination ceremony, which is kicked off with footage of a crow flying off in slow-motion while creepy music plays. Diane tells us in the Diary Room that she’s “shaking in [her] panties” and is “scared to death.” Seems to me that if you’re going to show your fear anywhere, that’s an excellent place to do it because none of the other House guests can see you being afraid there during a typical Nomination Ceremony. The Four Horsemen apparently show fear in their necks because they’ve all elected to wear their ridiculous oversized bandannas to the event to conceal their fear. Jason aka Jase has also chosen to wear his phony “Festus from Gunsmoke” straw hat while Drew has fallen in line with a camouflage baseball cap. Why did everyone bring so much camo, anyway? Were they expecting to have to do combat drills? Or bowhunting? Or – hey – is that cool now? Ah, kids today.
Prior to revealing the nominees, Marvin takes an opportunity to riddle us with cliches about the process itself: “It’s kill or be killed (*ding*) in this game. You gotta strap it on (*ding*) and be ready to lock and load (*ding*) and just do it (*ding*).” He brings the little cylindrical key holder thingie out to the group and addresses them. I thought he was quite eloquent in his opening speech, dropping such phrases as “personal indictment” and “debt of respect.” It’s only later, after the nominations are revealed, that he trips the Run-On Cliché Machine by repeating his own catch phrases over and over and wrecks his credibility as a clever orator. Meantime, just prior to commencing the ceremonial removal of the keys, he mentions that he nominated two of the most powerful and influential people in the game, an assertion which sends shock waves through Scott and Jason aka Jase, who can’t think of anyone else besides themselves who would fit that description. Wily Marvin even leaves Scott’s key in till the very end to make him sweat it out as much as possible, a potentially lethal strategy from the looks of things, since Scott doesn’t appear to breathe the entire time. He watches the whole ceremony with a fixed death’s head smile, the skin of his face stretched taut over tense muscles. In the end, however, his life is spared as the nominees are the two women at the table with the largest hoop earrings, Lori and Holly. As is customary, both take a moment in the Diary Room to share their thoughts about being nominated. Lori feels confident that the votes will break down across gender lines, giving her an excellent chance against Holly. But she fails to take into account The X Factor (wait, that was last year!): Holly reveals that she is expecting to stick around a little while longer because she has made a promise to herself and to her cats. As we all know, a bond sealed with your pet – especially if it’s a cat – cannot be broken once made. Lori had best watch her step. It’s a stunning disclosure and a fitting end to another tempestuous episode of Big Brother 5.
Come back next time, when Wayner will inform you of the results of the fabulous Golden Veto Competition and the effects of The Cat Oath therein. Until next time…please, everyone, make every chicken count.