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Can you believe this is the tenth season of Big Brother? It seems like just yesterday that a bunch of naïve strangers were doing laundry by hand, threatening to “go all Cuban” on people, forming time-honored alpha male alliances, wailing pitifully about insults directed at their precious dog, having orgies in the hot tub, setting up shrines for bald midgets, conducting imaginary lightsaber fights and letting Dr. Will walk all over them. Twice. Now we're on to a fresh batch of strangers who are ready to embarrass themselves and all their relatives in front of a national audience for $500K before taxes. Although inflation has affected every aspect of our lives in the past few years, it seems the price of personal dignity has remained shockingly stable and disturbingly low. Good to know there's at least one thing you can count on these days. Tonight, one self-absorbed exhibitionist with a complete lack of common sense and a huge ego - just the kind that Big Brother normally prays on recruits – will be kicked to the curb and I will try to squeeze out a tear for them... I said I'll try! Let's get to it.

Memories, light the corners of our minds...

My first glimpse of the Chenbot brings a tear to my eye already (no doubt caused by this new eye cream I'm trying that may not be good for me after all). She looks almost human tonight in a black dress with white straps, and in my head, I'm starting to formulate a letter of thanks to the wardrobe department at CBS when the camera pans down to her shoes. Her white shoes. Never mind then. Oh, did I mention we now have a live audience? Yup, it's true. Ye olde Big Brother eviction nights seem to be back.

As usual, there's much to rehash about events in the house in the past week. Jerry won HoH, allowed Brian to talk him into nominating two of the most obvious hamsters, one of whom subsequently won the veto, took himself off the block, and placed Jerry in the unenviable position of having to replace him with the very person who suggested the nominations in the first place. Throw in massive group pressure brought to bear on Jerry from a newly formed voting block comprised of everyone and their mother, and we now have Brian and Renny on the block.

Et tu, Brute?

Did you miss those dramatic black and white recap segments? Ne neither, but sometimes they're useful, like at the beginning when I can't remember anybody's names yet. CBS reheats the Veto Ceremony to refresh our memories and because the aftermath is always where the action is. Brian confesses that he got “sold down the river”, Dan is shocked and Jerry says he just wanted to save his own hide. Up in the HoH room, Jerry tells Brian that a committee of eight people, led by Ollie, came to him and presented him with an ultimatum: if Jerry puts Memphis up and they evict Renny, next week they'll be getting rid of Jerry. Brian moans in the Diary Room about Ollie's word and how it's not worth much. Boo freakin' hoo. Jerry is quite broken up himself saying that he even chose not to wear his military get-up for the Veto Ceremony because he didn't want to besmirch “that organization” with lies. Ah, so backstabbing is okay as long as you don't have your Marines cap and wife-beater on! Got it. Not surprisingly, Brian is not impressed by Jerry's flimsy excuses and runs over to commiserate with his showmance boyfriend best friend Dan. Dan thought Ollie's loyalty was solid and even imagined Brian would've betrayed their sweet threesome sooner than Ollie.

Singed by the cruel flame of betrayal, the suddenly lonely twosome take their gripe to Ollie, confronting him in the backyard. Ollie talks in circles, blames a nebulous entity called “The House” (quite a popular scapegoat for countless previous house guests as well) and the fact that April, Keesha and Libra forced his hand. Ollie babbles some more, something about the numbers and his word and some more about “The House” but it all boils down to the fact that Ollie is a wuss. Dan maintains that he'll never break his word for money. I guess this one didn't watch Big Brother before either. I love it when they're this stupid! Makes it so much easier on me. After a bit of talk, the two forlorn brothers in arms realize April was the “mastermind” behind this cruel scheme. Dan muses that Ollie better watch his back lest he finds a stiletto wedged in it one of these days. A six inch clear plastic stiletto heel with a three inch platform sole and an metallic blue faux-leather glittery upper, I bet.

Love me tender

As night falls in the Big Brother compound, April and her sweet lover Ollie are cuddling and kissing in one of the bedrooms. Turns out it's their first kiss ever in the house. Aww! The conversation goes something like this:
“You have beautiful lips.”
“You do too.”
“I like you.”
“I like you too.”
I'm dabbing at the corner of my eye, hoping to wipe away a non-existent tear because I can't be so cynical that thoroughly fake TV shlockmance leaves me absolutely stone cold. Can I? For his part, Ollie believes he might just be dumb enough to be strung along by a girl even though he knows better. At least he's got good insight into his own weak psyche. April feels superior game-wise to Ollie and is prepared to use him to her advantage. Looks like April went to the Mike Boogie School of Showmance and Deception and graduated with honors. Attagirl! I say no good sleazy tactic should be left untried if we're to have a decent season this time around, so I'm all for April sleeping romancing her way to the top two.

Staging a campaign

With a new day, comes new plotting and pot-stirring in the backyard. The three unholy Graces, Libra, April and Keesha, are eying Brian and Dan with suspicion. April takes the reins and says that she feels Brian will go after them because he can see that they girls are allied. So sharp, that April! Libra says that the three of them are “solid”. That's BB speak for we're-in-this-like-alliance-like-here-and-it's-going-to-like-last-till-I-like-stab-you-in-the-back-probably-next-week. Brian plans to rock the boat a bit and turn the girls against one another in hopes of staying in the house. Talking to Steven, he is optimistic that The Eight can be persuaded to keep him after all. Steven agrees. They like each other, but like alone won't get them far. Brian needs five votes to force a tie and even then he'd need Jerry to break the tie in his favor. Provided Jerry is not wearing his military hat right at that moment, of course. I think he might just throw that thing over the wall pretty soon because if things go like this, he won't be able to honestly wear that hat for any amount of time in the house.

What do you do when you need a gazillion votes but don't have any? Why, you put on a puppet show! Brian hopes that sacrificing his socks at the altar of theatrical entertainment will prove his value as a funny man in the house and people will not want to vote him off. Sigh. I know you want to know every excruciating detail of this fabulous show so I'm not going to fast forward through it, no matter how much I'm tempted. See the things I do for my readers? First Brian makes a Renny sock and gives a last speech as Renny, which is really pretty funny, he then watches as Dan, Memphis and Angie, sitting behind the backyard sofa waving different sock puppets, painstakingly reenact an imaginary Eviction Ceremony. The bad news for Brian is that he gets evicted at the end of his own puppet show. Ouch!

Meanwhile, in the kitchen, Keesha - BB8 Dani's doppelganger, complete with vacant stare and annoying whiny voice - and April are saying that Angie is “digging herself a hole” by taking part in the puppet show. As the action winds down and the laughter dies, Steven thinks Brian should stay in the house because he's funny. Brian says if Memphis were on board, they'd be set in the game. He would bring Jesse with him too. Over all, Brian feels he's made inroads with Memphis and he plans on working on the girls next.

How to manufacture drama in two easy steps

Seems the puppet show really did work its magic, because Angie abandons all common sense and approaches Keesha, trying to get her to keep Brian in the game because “he's funny”. Is that really reason enough? April casts suspicious glances toward them as they speak, although I don't know how she can do that through walls, seeing as they're not even in the same room. Either that or I'm missing something and I just don't feel like rewinding. Angie talks about eliminating drama in the house, Keesha asks dumb questions and they spring apart guiltily when Jesse approaches. Subtlety, thy name is neither Keesha nor Angie. April takes her suspicion about those two to Libra, who mumbles something in response.

Things finally boil over a bit later in the backyard while April is playing pool with some of the guys and telling them that Angie is campaigning for Brian. Keesha thinks the talk is about her and and the two bottle blondes suddenly get into a yelling match. April needs to be restrained, Keesha whines in a high-pitched voice, Michelle tries to intervene, even Jessie gets involved, and pretty soon Keesha is bawling her eyes out and crying “I'm not stupid! I'm not stupid!”. I'm laughing hysterically because now that the bawling has started all we need are prayer sessions in the sauna room to make our nightmare complete.

The contagion spreads to the bedroom where it's April's turn to cry dramatically over nothing. Renny comforts her but Libra says that this all might mean that Renny is going home after all. Dun, dun, dun!

Going once, going twice, going eight times. Gone!

Going live to the Living Room, Julie tells the houseguests that Big Brother has dug up an old tradition from BB1, so there will be a live audience in the studio for every eviction night. The houseguests cheer on cue as if it makes a difference to them since they can't see said audience anyway. Jesse is asked whether he and Renny have “buried the hatchet” and he says that since Renny hasn't “shown respect”... Renny feels Jesse has a lot to learn and expects respect as well. Allrighty then. Libra gets to answer the burning question about how she was able to leave her baby twins behind to go live with strangers for money. She says something about how her husband is in her corner and supports her need to provide a perpetual future source of embarrassment for her children and such.

Talking to Jerry up in the HoH room, Julie wants to know whether he regrets being put in such a tough spot during his HoH week. He says there's nothing to regret as this is the nature of the game and he did what he had to do to survive. He talks about how hard it was to betray Brian as a Marine but he feels safe in the house now because of “Jerry's Angels” who gave him a heads up. For heaven's sake! By the way, Jerry wore his Marine hat during the whole interview so it's safe to assume he told the truth and nothing but the truth so help him Jerry's Angels.

Niceties over, we're finally getting down to business. Renny, wearing a royal blue outfit complete with a knitted beret that would have looked outdated even in a 20's era silent movie, is invited to make a speech first. She says she's been on the block “a long time” and it was not good for her but she wants everybody to keep her around because of how she behaved while on the block. That's one I haven't heard before! Keep me 'cause I was docile! Yeah, very persuasive there. Next up is Brian who talks about his fun times in the house and calls on them all to remember that this is a game which will only get nastier from now on. I'm sure they'll remember that, Brian, when they start cannibalizing each other starting next week.

Finally, we're on to the big vote and everyone except Dan votes to evict Brian. He takes it well, and after much hugs all around Brian quietly leaves the house and joins Julie on the loser's bench amid loud audience cheers. The houseguests, sober and quiet, continue to needlessly hug each other for the cameras. You'd think their favorite dog just died when in fact they've just bettered their odds. However, this is a venerable Big Brother ritual that pretty much means: we are so happy he left but we can't show it because everyone will think we're heartless bastards, so we pretend we're all broken up, but really, we'd rather drink Champagne and party. This bunch is just too green yet to dare breech the sacred tradition. I give them a week, two if they're unusually disciplined fame whores.

Outside, Brian waxes nostalgic about his short-lived BB career as a master manipulator and overzealous alliance-making efforts that ultimately backfired. He hopes that Dan can make it in the game but thinks his conscience might get in his way. The goodbye messages range from Keesha calling him arrogant, Jerry and Steven being sorry, Ollie telling him that “this is how the cookie crumbles” and Dan confessing that he thought of Brian as his big brother. So it wasn't a bromance after all? Damn! Brian names Memphis as the one person to watch out for due to his intelligence and strength before fading into the gentle LA night. I can't even muster up a fake tear.

House majority leader

Now that the first hamster is out enjoying his life again, the house is in need of a new HoH. It's a familiar setup in the backyard, probably recycled from some previous season, with narrow booths separated by divider walls. Jerry sits out of the competition entitled In Crowd. The houseguests need to answer each question according to how they think the majority would answer, either A or B. Whoever gets it in the minority is eliminated. At the end, if needed, there will be a tiebreaker question. After eight questions*, Libra, Ollie, Steven and Jesse are still in the game and Julie is forced to go to a tiebreaker. The question is: “At the start of the competition “Sweet Dreams, Honey” how many total pillows were on the giant bed?” The answer is 300 making Jesse the winner with his answer of 200, making him the new Head of Household.

I still can't decide whether this crop of neophytes will be worth following on the feeds or even Big Brother After Dark, however I'll sure tune in just to see what Julie is wearing. As we all know, it has often been the only fun thing on the show, especially last season. Too lazy on Sunday nights to catch the nominations? Have better things to do with your time than watch paint dry at the Tuesday Veto Ceremony? Read all about it from my clever cohorts iguanachocolate and Yardgnome, then see me back here for our weekly eviction fun!! I promise to cut more fat from the show next time and fast forward through any and all future puppet shows.

If you're feeling masochistic and can't get enough of the Chenbot reading from a teleprompter, by all means, PM me for those 8 freakin' questions that would have made this recap about 800 words longer, and I'll gladly supply them to you. This is a one time, exclusive offer!