If you could shove your head through your computer screen and pop out through mine, you would peek in my coffee cup and laugh like a madman. Or, you might scratch your head and ruminate on how you performed such a feat. Either way, you should see the syrupy black sludge I’m calling coffee right now. Yes, it may be almost noon, but it feels like the crack of dawn to a live feed recapper because, much as I resist, the hamsters are forcing me to conform to their twisted sleeping schedule. Next thing you know, I'll be sleeping in random beds in my house with no thought to whose sheets I'm on. Luckily, I don't live with a passel of frat boys, Greek girls, Bible-quoting fitness gurus, bandana-wearing football dweebs, small-town hicks, foul-mouthed morticians, gay medical students, high-strung artists (Goth or otherwise), or cold-sore-bearing washed-up actors. I guess I'll be okay.
Showtime at the Apall-O
If you’re like me, you watched the live eviction show Thursday night, then scampered over to the computer to continue the voyeurism. Since I’m on the West coast, and I scamper slowly, this means I missed almost three hours of an endurance challenge -- and frankly, I’m grateful for the fast forward. These endurance challenges wind me up tighter than the bobbin on my sewing machine. Watching people being forced to stand rigid for long periods of time makes me dart around in a frenzy doing the things they can’t, like go to the bathroom, hop like a bunny, or take a break for pizza. If they make it long enough, there’s a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie in the freezer with my name on it. But how long can these lightweights last? In past seasons the endurance challenges have ended with rapid-fire deals exchanged when the hamsters get hungry and bored.
If you missed the live show, take a gander at the Big Brother Show forum, where a witty and wacky site administrator has treated us to a recap. Go on now, scoot! Meanwhile, here’s a quick and dirty review of the competition - the houseguests are standing on lighted blocks, facing a life-size cardboard cutout of themselves looking sassy. In each cutout, a tooth has been removed and replaced with a button. The hamsters must keep this button depressed, even though they are at arm’s length, can only fit one finger in the tooth hole at a time, and must keep their feet behind a line on the lighted block. The first five hamsters to drop off can pick an envelope off a board, which they will open to find a list of foods they can eat this week, along with a complete lack of suspense. Handily, this makes the competition a two-fer. Son-of-a-gun we’ll have big fun, don’t you think?
When I join the live feeds as a shameless lookyloo, it is about two-and-a-half hours along, and Nakomis is the only hamster to have dropped off the lighted block. Craftily reasoning that the envelopes in bright, pretty, popular colors are the ones most likely to read brussel sprouts or cow pus, Nakomis goes the with a “less popular” color and scores “Little Italy.” The hamsters will be pasta heaven this week, so it’s lucky no one is watching their carb intake. But it also includes all the staples needed for Italian cuisine, including spices, vegetables, tomatoes, mozzarella and parmesan cheese, as well as pork chops and potatoes. There’s no explanation if the foods will be for everyone, and the hamsters suspect that there will be a division in the house. Will the twist be that the final five hamsters get PB&J, or will the first five to cave be in third grade lunch hell?
The sun in the back yard is dwindling, and Karen, in a mini-dress, is freezing. Diane takes the clip out of her hair and shakes her curls down for warmth. Jase, ever the cuddle bunny of joy, taunts Karen about being cold, and urges her to scrap the contest and just go in the hot tub. A baits him back, telling him to warm it up for the rest of the group. Whatever scraps of hope that the Horsedudes had that Adria is begging to be in their alliance is starting to evaporate. It’s clear her game is on, she wants that HOH and is not about to let Jase or Scott win.
To Pee or Not to Pee
By now the houseguests are wishing they had stopped drinking liquids for the previous twenty-four hours, but if wishes were horses, we’d all be Horsedudes. If you’re a female hamster, you’re out of luck in this competition. At least in last year’s cage competition you could squat, but when you’re stuck standing with one arm out, you don’t have a lot of options. I apologize if you’re squirming by now. The title should have warned away the squeamish, but it gets worse, so feel free to skip the next paragraph.
Jase, Marvin and Scott whip it out and take care of the problem with ease. Jase fulfills every ten-year-old boy’s dream of aiming for a target, in this case, his own sock. Luckily, it was not on his foot at the time. Cowboy should be so lucky. It turns out the “loveable” cowpoke – if you only watch the show you might find him loveable, but if you watch the feeds he’s more dopey than anything else – has a shy bladder. He tries to drain the lizard on the sly, but Marvin spots him and shouts with glee. Unnerved, Cowboy cuts off the flow, dousing his own pants in the process. Yep, it’s that kind of night for Cowboy, and we’re just getting started. With the other hamsters laughing it up each time he make the attempt, it takes several aborted tries for Cowboy to get relief.
Slapped Rumps and No Pumps
Adria mentions that she’s glad she’s not wearing high heels, and Diane laughingly says that she almost wore boots that night, but decided instead on her sensible cross-trainers instead. Sure, she says it’s because they’re a shout out to her sister, but I smell a Big Brother nudge. By this point, three hours in, the talk has faded, grins are gone, and Cowboy has begun slapping his rump rhythmically. It might seem like a small thing when you read about it, but it’s surprisingly irritating.
When BB delivers pizza and Drew brings it to the yard, Karen gives in, done in by the cold and the fact that she’s standing in wet underwear. On a side note, when I mentioned wet underwear a few recaps ago I did not mean to foreshadow an actual event. I’m just lucky that way, I guess. Back on the topic of food, Karen’s envelope contains an invitation to Japanese cuisine - rice, soy sauce, various types of fish and vegetables. In a flash, she’s all over the pizza and changed into her suit for a long soak in the hot tub.
A little negotiating goes on, as A and Diane say they would agree to step off and let Cowboy win the competition. Jase and Scott agree to let Cowboy have the event, and it looks like they might be ready to step off…but no. Marvin flat out refuses, never having heard of a bluff before, apparently..or has he? Maybe he knows better than to believe A and Diane, because despite all the mouth flapping that goes on in this place, nobody loves Cowboy that much.
Portrait of the Crypoke as a Broken Man
With a title like that, it can’t be looking good for the Cowpoke. At four hours, a twist is announced: the hamsters can no longer switch their arms. Diane and Scott lament that they got stuck on their bad sides. Jase makes lots of pumped up I’m-the-man comments, such as comparing the competition to “survivor training” and pooh-pooing this fluffy endurance challenge. Marvin looks uncomfortable and ready to drop off, while Will looks like he’s coyly leaning on the wall of his favorite night club, checking out the scene. Adria is doing flamingo stretches and looking strong, while Scott is looking pretty uncomfortable. Cowboy is shaking with effort, and wow, even with the incessant butt slapping to get on my nerves, I feel for him. It’s not easy to watch someone in this much pain.
Inevitably, Cowboy gives in to his shoulder, which he says was previously injured and is a weak spot for him. He is visibly upset and not taking his defeat well. He’s not comforted by the breakfast bonanza in the food envelope he chooses, but my stomach is growling at the mention of pancake mix, syrup, bacon, juice, eggs, bagels; in other words, all the fixin’s of a lazy Sunday morning feast. Jase and Scott, just to remind us of how rotten to the core they truly are, openly jeer at Cowboy for losing. They are sick of carrying him along while he does nothing for the group, and wasn’t this going to be Cowboy’s event? A big sarcastic thank you follows, and Cowboy retreats to the house.
Drew and a camera follow Cowboy, who is sobbing over the toilet as so many hamsters have done before him. However, my sympathy wavers a bit when Cowboy comes out and voices his complaints to Drew. Apparently, Cowboy was operating under the assumption that this was his event. He naively thought that the deal to save A meant that everyone was going to throw the competition. He’s mad at all of them for not holding to their word, especially Marvin. But even when Marvin refused to deal, Cowboy still expected everyone in his alliance to step off so that he could battle it out with Marvin, mano a mano, or at least, finger-o a finger-o. Drew doesn’t point out the obvious, which is that Marvin is still on the block, so maybe that would have been a dumb thing to do. You have to point out these things to Cryboy, as he doesn’t catch on too quick on his own.
Cowboy goes back to the yard, ostensibly to cheer on the rest of his alliance, but more likely because Big Brother is forcing them to be outside until the competition ends. I bet he’s thrilled to hear more Cowboy putdowns from his rock solid alliance. Jase, who days ago flattered Cowboy by calling him “110 percent” and thereby single-handedly causing mathematicians everywhere to roll their eyes, now tells Cowboy in a disgusted voice that he’s “110, but not 120.” On a roll, he tells everyone that the first three to be eliminated were girls – oops, sorry Cowboy. I marvel at Jase’s amazing propensity to dig his own grave, which far exceeds that of the professional mortician in the house.
Let’s Speed Things Up, Shall We?
It’s a good thing Diane is facing Scott, because she notices what slips past the BB cameras - that Scott touched his cardboard cutout with both hands for a time. She points it out to the powers that be, and a disembodied voice buzzes Scott and tells him they reviewed the tapes, and yes, Scott had both hands on the cutout for about thirty seconds. Scott is out, but he soothes his bruised ego by bragging to all that it was a “technical violation,” which somehow makes him less of a loser in the competition. If we already didn’t know that Scott doesn’t understand the definition of the word loser from his mom announcing on air that he doesn’t really have an NFL card, we are now certain he’s unclear on the concept as he brags that he didn’t lose the competition. You get the feeling Scott must have spent his childhood getting self-esteem trophies for showing up, trying his best, but most of all, having fun out there.
Scott wins foods from jolly old England; you know, all the blood pudding, bubble and squeak, bangers and mash the hamsters can stomach. Scott’s enthusiasm as he reads the list (which includes marmite, a substance my Scottish sister-in-law drools over but looks like dead yeastiness to me) is underwhelming. I guess if it’s not a Philly Cheessestek, it’s not in Scott’s diet.
We’re at the five-hour mark. Next off is Marvin, who at least tries to take A with him by crashing unexpectedly off the podium and startling her. A flounders but recovers, her button safely depressed…but only for the next ten minutes, when she succumbs as well.
Now it’s down to Will, Diane and Jase. Jase endears himself to women everywhere by declaring he refuses to lose an endurance competition to a “girl.” He’d never be able to walk back in the volunteer firehouse, apparently. And here I thought his massively swelled head would prevent entry into most buildings, when all along it was his fear of looking like he’s weaker than a woman and a gay man. This particular gay man has looked cool and confident throughout, and I’m not surprised, knowing the kind of do-or-die schedule expected of medical students. Will, still possessing a brain capable of strategy, avoids the headache of obtaining HOH by cutting a deal with Diane and Jase - keep him off the block next week, and he’ll take a dive. Done deal.
De Agony of De Feet
Jase is faced with the former cocktail waitress who probably carried trays of heavy drinks with her arm extended just so, and he falls back on desperate negotiation. He tells Diane she would be surprised at who he wants to put up, implying that he owes it to Holly to take revenge on a Horsedude or two. He never actually names who, and Diane pretends to be impressed, but she’s obviously not buying it and is determined to keep on. And so it goes.
At seven and a half hours, give or take five minutes, a missive from Big Brother appears, albeit off camera. The remaining hamsters must now keep their feet firmly planted on the ground with no lifting of toes or heels. After a brief fish tank break, we come back to two cameras devoted to Diane and Jase’s feet, and someone has rolled their jeans up for the clearest view possible.
Somewhere along the way, Jase removed his socks and peed on one of them, so his big clompers are bare. We learn that they’re sweaty, too, as he can slide them over the glass to shift his weight without lifting a pinkie toe. This may be a slight advantage, but I think Diane is sitting prettier in her tennis shoes. Marvin scathingly points out that she could be lifting her toes non-stop and it would be invisible. The jibes and cutting remarks continue against Diane, but she is looking like a Greek goddess, strong and invincible with a white scarf draped over one shoulder, which combines with her strapless white top for a breezy toga look. Even after hours stuck on the lighted pad, she pulls it off in a way Julie Chen can only dream of. But then it’s not skin tight and tacky, so it will never grace the Chenstress’s form.
Play along with me for a moment, won’t you? Close your eyes and try to imagine spending two hours listening to Jase imitate Goatboy. Intersperse a few chicken imitations, some digs at chicks who do endurance challenges, and Cher-like singing of a Jase original about Cowboy and April. Now you know how I spent the wee hours of the morning. Somewhere in there the Ben & Jerry’s disappeared, but I’m strangely unsatisfied, since my hubby is the one with the chocolate ring around his mouth, curse him.
The sliding feet continue, and by now some of the FORT transcribers are trading “did you see that’s?” with each other, because Jase has lifted a toe or two. At nine hours, twenty-three minutes the buzzer goes off. The disembodied voice of a Big Brother elf tells Jase that his heel is off the edge of the platform. Diane actually jumps to defend Jase, saying, “It’s been like that all night.” The elf replies that they’ve been giving him lots of chances to correct himself, but they’ve reviewed the tapes and decided it’s over at least an inch and he’s violated the rules. Diane, channeling her goddess namesake, has prevailed. Naturally, Jase complains to all who will listen that he’s being cheated, and the elf has to argue with him to let go of the button, already. If it were up to me, the sweaty feet would have been an automatic DQ, but I will bow to Big Brother’s wisdom in this case.
Shower me with coffee, comments and carefully-crafted queries at firstname.lastname@example.org.