Greetings fellow Big Brother likers, lovers and snickering cynics! The Universe has brought us together again to commune and to celebrate our voyeurism and our love of summer-wasting stupid human shenanigans. Let's find our center, feel the peace, hold hands now and sing Kumbaya for the first and very last time because this is the only moment any of us will ever again agree on anything or anybody about this season. You know it's true, so don't give me that look!
As I gear myself up for another season of the crazy, I'm trying very hard to remember who won Big Brother 10. Google could help me out - hell, I could just dig up my own recaps from last season - but do I care enough to be reminded? Frankly, no, I don't. There's fresh meat on my TV and my feeds and I'm wiping the slate clean. Let's go see what's cooking at the insane asylum this season, shall we?
First day of school
The Chenbot is back and she's looking elegant in a one-shouldered LBD which brings me to my first big dilemma: deliver weekly Chenbotic hair height and volume updates as well as cameltoe status reports or give her a break? Puhleeze, as if it's even a question! As soon as she dares to don a pair of pants you'll be hearing all about it from me. Hair stiffness compared to last season (or as much as I can remember from it): mediocre to slightly elevated. I'm guessing Big Sexy Hair's “Spray and Play Harder”. It's what I'd use if I wanted to explore that kind of helmet-like, mega fluffy feeling on top of my head.
The cue card queen of Big Brother says that twelve strangers have been tapped for this season of High School themed hijinks and there will be a new twist too. Unless the twist is that Julie is moving into the HoH suite to hold court and get high on hairspray fumes, I doubt it's going to be as exciting as she thinks it will be. At least not for this crowd of jaded FoRT BB junkies.
The same old, same old but newly revamped house looks decent, decorated with the usual schizophrenic flair we've come to expect, and it will be soon occupied by our newest hamsters and a “mysterious 13th houseguest” too. That's the big twist for tonight, folks! I hope you're all impressed. The other development is that the twelve hamsters will be divvied up into cliques straight out of your worst High School nightmares: the Brains, Athletes, Popular and Off-beat. Since I didn't go to High School in the US, I suspect this arrangement will be marginally more entertaining for me than it will be for most of you. And by that I mean that I'll be on my high horse the whole time laughing like a maniac at the oddly conformist, apparently law-like compartmentalization that is American High School culture. Since it will all be so stereotypically served up this season, I refuse to feel guilty about my point-and-laugh attitude. Back to the show.
This year's lab rats are each presented with their house key in different and creative ways which I won't waste space describing. They're as follows:
- - Chicago pretty-boy, Jeff, who promises to be cutthroat if crossed and is open to showmancing.
- - Hardcore video game geek, Ronnie, who owns a cool computer with see-through sides.
- - Jordan is a Southern girl and says she has charm. Bet on her being obnoxious as hell then. She also won't either “boogger” or “bugger” depending on whether you're down with her thick accent. She says it means sex – why, thanks for that explanation, twit! - and she won't be having any of that. Thanks again!
- - Martial arts tough chick Natalie who supposedly packs a punch. Instant searing hate! Can't explain it, but there it is.
- - Every landlocked High School needs a surfer dude and Braden is the one for this bunch.
- - Graphic designer and scarf enthusiast, Kevin.
- - Chima who looks like a well Botoxed and carefully face-lifted 50 year old, describes herself as having the looks and the brain.
- - Michelle is a neuroscientist with a PhD and unkempt hair.
- - Representing for the muscle-bound crowd is Russel the Love Muscle who is bald, thick-necked, ripped and ridiculous. Expect him to charm the ladies, he says. If only he didn't remind me of Eric the midget...
- - Big-breasted Laura is a sweet bitch who thinks girls will hate her because of her looks. She's practically daring us. I can oblige but only because she sounds so dumb.
- - Lydia has more tats than an entire tattoo parlor demo book and wears bejeweled feathers in her short platinum blond hair. She'd hook up with either sex if it would be useful for her game. Oh, and she's packing blue glittered platform shoes.
- - Casey, teacher by day, DJ by night, looks about 65, does white-boy rap, has a one year old at home and will fill the grown-up niche on the show.
Each new victim is allowed one whole hour to pack for their three month summer escapade. They're also allowed to utter a few sound bites that aim to highlight some of their likes, dislikes and expectations. Of course everyone will find the exact pet peeve they complain about represented in the house because this is Big Brother and that's their whole shtick.
Finally, they're assembled in front of the big BB door and Julie lets them rush the house in groups of four. Amid the usual squealing and quick hugs, they all rush to take possession of a bed in the house. Accommodations vary from the relatively posh and slightly bordello feeling Red Room (I'm sure we'll be calling it something else later, but for now, it will do) to the bizarrely communal shower-like - actually, a bedroom that is decorated like the bottom of a swimming pool, complete with white and blue tiles, a plastic slide and colorful inflatable pool bed things instead of mattresses. There might be a couple of other rooms but I'm too lazy to rewind already. Get used to that.
Only 10 minutes in – can you believe it? - and the show is already dragging along. Next up is the customary champagne-and-get-to-know-you session in the Living Room during which some people lay down their early hairbrained strategies. Natalie, the tough chick who is 24, says she is 18 thereby proving a certain lack of brainpower and digging herself into a deep hole. I'll enjoy seeing her squirm later. She also stays mum about her tough martial arts and poker background because she wants to be seen as innocent and weak. The last time that strategy worked was... wait, never mind.
Chima, with lips the size of throw pillows, refuses to discuss her age – I'm telling you she's probably pushing 50 and is made up of spare parts. Michelle denies her PhD and downgrades herself to a lab assistant because nothing screams excellent strategist like lying about the basics. The girls all swoon over Chicago Jeff who has spiky hair and dimples. He will be either disposed off right away or kept around until he demonstrates a willingness to strip for his life. It could go either way. Casey is 40 and calls himself old. And so it goes, round and round, with each of them revealing a bit about themselves and trying to mold those all important first impressions.
Driving a wedge
Julie comes on next to inform the houseguests that they'll be sent back to High School and playing the game in silly cliques. Quite a few of them look more than dismayed at this abysmal news; you can practically see the hope dying on some faces. One brand spanking new rule is that even though they'll be playing as individuals, if one person in their clique wins HoH, they'll all be safe that week. Julie also reveals the names of the cliques sending them all into a frenzy of speculation about who fits where. Nervous looks are exchanged and some people are already sweating, such as Natalie who is afraid she might end up an Athlete after she said not a peep about being some sort of big shot martial arts fighter. Others, like Kevin and Lydia, immediately recognize themselves as Off-beats.
After a commercial jump, the hamsters are back, dressed for competition – did I forget to say that this show is not live? The houseguests have been in the house for about 5 days now, so this is all from tape – and they're sent to the backyard to find out their cliques. Out there, it looks like a big High School gym complete with lockers and 12 toilet seats with hamsters' names on them, hanging from ropes in four different sections divided into the respective cliques. These are:
- Athletes: Natalie, Jeff and Russell
- Offbeat: Kevin, Lydia and Casey
- Popular: Laura, Jordan and Braden
- Brains: Michelle, Chima and Ronnie
Now to the HoH competition, which is called “The Wedgie”. The hamsters are told to climb into big pairs of suspended granny panties and hang on to their own toilet seats. They are then raised into the air giving them all uncomfortable wedgies. I'm sure somebody thought toilet seats and wedgies were amusing in a juvenile sort of way but if this comp is any indication of things to come, we're in for a load of painful, groan-worthy moments this season. Letting go of the toilet seat means elimination; a whole clique letting go means they're all eliminated. The winner is the clique with the advantage however the last person standing will not become HoH. Instead some mystery 13th houseguest will have that honor. Go ahead and imagine all sorts of horrors returning from Evil Dick's disgusting potty mouth, to Boogie to Eric the midget to Adam the nose-picking, bug eyed freak. I did and managed to gross myself out in the process.
Follow the leader
While the hamsters are squirming in their panties, Julie introduces four former houseguests, each of whom has a chance to return to the house and become the first HoH: Cowboy from season 5, whom nobody missed; Jessica from BB8, the one who hooked up with Eric the rat-faced America's Bitch; Brian the sneaky sort-of-cutie from BB10 who was eliminated first and we barely knew him and Jessie the musclebound pinhead with a tiny brain and annoying voice from BB10. They each represent one of the cliques in the house and if their clique wins the competition they will move back into the house and become HoH.
Can I just pause for a second to tell CBS right now that we as an audience do not like being taken for fools, thankyoverymuch. Jessie represents the Athlete clique, Brian the Brains (really? Really?), Jessica the Popular crowd and Cowboy the Offbeats and we have a strength and endurance based HoH competition. Now which one of these people does CBS really want to put in the house in light of that? Shame on you, CBS, for patronizing your audience from the get go. Not that it's anything new, that, I just felt like whining about it now at the outset and getting it out of the way.
I'll tell you about the whole competition but, I have to warn you, it's about as uninteresting and filled with groans and moans of distress as you'd expect. Various confessionals focus on how much pain it is to have a wedgie and how terrible it is. I'm focusing on whether I should just get a lobotomy now and be done with it because if this is how it's going to go, by the end of this season it will be all the same.
Do you really want to hear about the Super Wedgie which is just BB shaking the granny panties based on which clique the potential HoHs think should feel the pain for 30 extra seconds? No? I didn't think so. Do you want to hear about the extended Super Wedgie which is more of the same? In the end, the Brains wimp out first, sending Brian and his hopes for redemption straight back home; the Offbeats lose out next and we're rid of Cowboy, leaving the Popular clique facing off against the Athletes. After a lame battle of wills and words, Braden is the last Popular standing against Russell and Natalie and he finally drops, leaving the Athletes as winners. You know what this means! Pinhead is back! Thanks CBS, you bastards, you pretty much guaranteed that I won't be glued to my feeds after all.
Pinhead is greeted by cheers as he enters the house but the hamsters' fake enthusiasm won't be seen until the next episode. Get ready for food comps, nominations, vetos and all sorts of other standard BB goodies on Sunday and Tuesday with the live elimination coming up next Thursday. We'll be bringing it all to you in living color and with prodigious cutting and pasting. All because we love you like mad and want to spare you the pain of seeing Julie's cameltoe.
I know you're eager to worship me/us, so acceptable forms of gratitude and devotion to your recapper are poems (only sucky ones because I need a laugh now and then), tickets to Lollapalooza and gift certificates to Starbucks or Whole Foods. Please do not send any more pictures of Dr. Will. PM me for details. Thanks.