Julie Chen Embraces One Last Chance To Make Live Telecast Awkward
By B-Side|Wednesday, September 22, 2004 | 2:54 am | 19 Comments
We knew tonight’s much anticipated season finale of Big Brother 5 was going to be a doozy when Julie Chen managed a fantastic flub within the very first ten seconds. I mean, this wasn’t just the standard slurring of the words or minor stutter. The Chenbot algorithms actually fizzled on the spot, and Julie spewed forth a bizarre guttural sound that sounded like she was momentarily being choked by some unseen attacker. The closest I can come to spelling the sound was “Plahgh”. Oh, but what fun is me describing it when you can just hear it for yourself? Click here to get the full Chenbot experience. The more you listen to it, the funnier it gets. When you’re done, follow me after the jump as we dive right into this snark-inducing finale…Tonight’s finale might very well be remembered more for Julie Chen than anything else. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but the Chenbot threatened to distract us from the game itself with her unusual antics and crazy attire. It was bad enough that she made a weird sound at the top of the show, but then to top that off, she pranced around in a pin-striped leisure suit that was reminiscent of Madonna during her “Vogue” days. However, just to show that the Chenbot wasn’t some rigid automaton, the wardrobe people made sure to keep the top button of her blouse open — and same with the second and third and fourth button too. This sassy lady had an open shirt almost beyond her boobies. Oh Julie Chen, you sexpot. Of course, this is the season of Project DNA; so do not assume that this outfit had already reached its threshold of lunacy. The last touch to this noteworthy ensemble was a pair of giant cuffs that appeared to be as sharp as knives. The image of Julie Chen striking karate poses and then slashing a man’s chest with her cuff immediately sprung to mind. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not, but I thought it was damn funny.
You know, I make fun of Julie, but at least she acts like a rockstar. Literally. After she was done introducing the show, the cameras pulled back, revealing a live, sign-toting audience. Julie plowed her way through the masses like Tom Cruise on the red carpet. She shook hands, slapped five, and performed other functions that we never knew existed in her CPU. I guess the madness was too much though because after the opening credits, Julie was safely sequestered away in the studio, sealed off from the audience which quietly and distractingly sat outside the windows, looking off to the Big Brother doorway.
The show finally got underway as Julie segued us into a clip from the vile-tastic sequester house where Will and his unrelenting bitterness continued to eat away at the chipper jurors. Marvin – whose likability plummeted this episode – led a round table discussion about the final two guys in the house, Drew and Cowboy. It was sort of like the McLaughlin Group, except without the educated opinions. Natalie seemed to be the only one not overrun by personal emotions as she wisely commented “We’re here to not be jealous. We’re here to be just.” Unfortunately, I think what the rest of the group heard coming out of her mouth was “Blah blah blah blah Jesus blah blah blah Adria.”
Amongst the many unsubstantiated or self-serving comments being made, Nakomis noted that she and Michael had different strategies. She believed that blood was thicker than wine, she said. That would therefore explain why Nakomis put Michael up for eviction twice. Apparently Karen’s wine is actually thicker than Cowboy’s blood. Then again, Cowboy is only half-blood.
Hypocritical comments aside, there were a lot of compelling reasons why either Drew or Michael should have won, but the most convincing came from Drew, who in response to a question from the jury, noted that he had been Head of Household four times. He didn’t deserve to win because he won so many competitions. He deserved to win because he had to put his neck out on the line and take care of a lot of people’s dirty work in the process. Normally, I would credit someone like Cowboy who gets someone else to make the difficult decisions, but I must say that I never felt at any point that Michael was truly scheming or plotting that far ahead. He did have some shrewd moments, and he seems like a truly good and honest person, but based on game playing skills, I thought Drew deserved it.
Meanwhile, back to the jury. When cross-examining the final two houseguests, everyone asked fairly standard queries, and the guys had fairly standard answers. The only one who truly embarrassed himself in the process was Marvin who asked two spiteful and stupid questions. First he tried to call Drew out by rehashing some anti-Diane comments from the first week. But even more deplorable was his accusation that Michael was a racist. Marvin noted that Cowboy voted for him to leave three out of the four times he was up. Thankfully, Michael anticipated this question, and instead of stuttering or apologizing, he actually provided solid reasoning for his voting patterns, effectively making Marvin look like a complete idiot. Even his fellow jurors were offended by the dumb question.
Later, Julie asked Michael about winning the Grand Prize, and he responded that even if he loses he’ll still have $50,000, to which Julie responded with a little singing. Yes, she sang – sort of. Julie did a little “Nah nah nah nah nah” childhood taunt as a joke. The Chenbot was on fire. At that point I thought surely her wires have been short circuiting. If only I knew her greatest awkward moment was still to come.
But first – as she is wont to say – Julie had to haul the jurors into the studio for some live voting action. The front row of women – Adria, Natalie, Karen, and Diane – dazzled all with their emphasis on pink and turquoise variations on Southwest designs. And when I say “dazzled”, I mean “repulsed.” Nevertheless, everyone voted in a somber process that momentarily transformed the Big Brother studio into the Weakest Link. After voting was over, Julie then ushered in Big Brother losers Mike, Lori, Holly, Scott, and Jase. Scott rambunctiously bounced through the crowd wearing his patented mandana. Two months ago, i would have spent two paragraphs bashing him and his silly clothes, but ever since his final episode, my opinion of Scott has drastically reversed. Now I actually like Scott, and as he raised his hands in goofy triumph, I couldn’t help shaking my head like a 1960s sitcom character and saying “Oh, that Scott…” Honestly, I believe that Scott in the house is a different creature than Scott in the real world. Now that he’s out of the game, he seems to have dropped his persona to some degree, and we can see why the other houseguests always seem to affectionately tell stories about him.
Jase on the other hand is a whole ‘nother story. For all this guy’s talk about playing a character and making good TV, he certainly doesn’t know when to drop “the act.” He was all humble on talk shows like Regis, but subsequent Big Brother appearances, including this final episode, prove that he is unwilling to depart from his on air persona. Maybe that’s because his on air persona is actually his true personality. Well, lucky for America, there are blogs like TVgasm that are ready to take him down a peg.
Let’s just settle this once and for all. Jase truly sucks. It was bad enough that he waltzed on camera wearing yellow rouge and more makeup than is required for televised appearances. And it was bad enough that he had plucked his eyebrows and chose a scarf/blazer outfit for the occasion (it was in the 90s today in Los Angeles. Not exactly scarf weather, unless you have malaria). But the worst part about Jase’s return was the bitter, childish, and overly rehearsed demeanor in which he conducted himself. First he tried to rankle Will passive-aggressively with a battery of vague insults that seemed more appropriate for the seventh grade school bus. Of course, his rushed and excited delivery ruined what had clearly been a carefully planned out attack. Jase might dress gay, but he’s still got a ways to go before he can hone that catty humor.
Jase continued to shame the genes that bore him as he turned his wrath towards the very diplomatic Scott. Julie asked why they don’t talk anymore, and the three became awkwardly quiet. Holly donned her usual puzzled face, which made me think that Julie might have slipped her a little arithmetic question. You know, like “What’s 4 + 5?” or “What’s 1 +… I don’t know. Just say 1.” After the moment passed, Jase once again resurrected his flawed logic that Scott had betrayed the Horsemen by voting out Holly. But Jase, she was getting in the way of the alliance, as evidenced that the alliance imploded after she wedged her way in and… oh forget it. You suck, Jase.
Anyway, Jase accused Scott of being jealous, which may or may not be true. To really stick it to him, Jase embraced Holly in a gesture that seemed to say “This is my toy!” It was really quite lovely. Actually, it was awkward. Not lovely but awkward. Moments later, Julie put Scott on the spot by forcing him to come clean about his feelings about the Santa Monica Van Boys, and the lovable oaf confessed that the alliance was a sham. Marvin tried to play it off as if he knew, but you could see him slowly trying to calculate how much money he had wasted in making “Santa Monica Van Boys Forever!!!!” T-Shirts.
Meanwhile, Holly tried to explain her relationship with Diane. She insisted that she was a very genuine person, but Diane apparently just didn’t like her. Maybe that ultra-sexy Kathleen Turner voice was just too pleasant to listen to. Diane accused Holly of stealing her clothes – typical Diane retort – and Holly and Jase countered that they had had the last laugh by bestowing Holly’s kitty of bad luck onto Diane and – nevermind, it was too ridiculous to rehash. Needless to say, the three cumulative brain cells between this couple thought they had found the feline equivalent of the Karma Boomerang. Eventually, the bickering had to come to an end as Julie channelled her pin-stripe power and moved the show back to the final vote. Truthfully, I could have sat through an hour of these people arguing. I loved it.
Anyway, Julie slowly read the votes, which excitingly came down to a 3-3 tie. Will’s key was the deciding vote, and much to my happiness, Drew won the Grand Prize. SPLAT! Once again, Drew’s brain exploded.
That’s okay. If I won $500,000, my brain would probably explode also. After recovering his gray matter, Drew and Cowboy exchanged a series of hugs and handshakes. As the two slowly headed to the front door, Julie engaged in possibly her most awkward moment of the season. She happily proclaimed “The winner of Big Brother 5:” and then… nothing. She inhaled as if to make a big announcement, but then just stood there smiling. Classic Chenbot stuff. And yes, we do have a video of it:
Of course Drew and Cowboy exited the house to the cheers of the in-studio audience (which featured TVgasm friends Marcellas and Erika). Curiously, Cowboy emerged with some sort of cardboard sign that was illegible. It sort of looked like a homeless person’s curbside plea for change. Maybe he was soliciting money for the dude ranch he said he wanted to build. Either way, he was soon tackled with hugs from fellow players, and before Julie Chen could even finish saying “Chason”, the emotional cowpoke burst into tears. The moment we had all been waiting for finally arrived. Cowboy planted a sloppy one on his, uh, full-figured fiancé. Honestly, it was the oddest sight since Brigette Nielsen and Flava Flav consummated their relationship. Meanwhile, as the cast put aside its grudges and congratulated the new winner, Jase and Holly continued to prove that they are massively self-absorbed by embracing… each other. Yes, a wide-angle shot of the crowd revealed the two making out, most likely as an annoying gesture of disapproval. It was either that or just Jase’s latest attempt to hide his glaring homosexuality.
As Drew and his family celebrated in the background, we though we could finally put our feet up and pat ourselves on the back for sticking through another intense season, but there was one last bit of awkwardness to deal with – and amazingly, it wasn’t the Chenbot’s doing. No, it was the aforementioned Michael and April who proceeded to passionately make out during Julie’s parting words. In fact, it almost looked like Michael was going down on her (although truth was that he was just hugging Chason). Take a look:
So I guess that’s it. Another season has come to an end. We’ve exhausted our supply of Jase and Julie Chen jokes, and now it’s time to move on to Survivor and Apprentice and all the other fun offerings of the Fall. Thanks for reading the Big Brother commentary this summer. Rest assured that TVgasm will continue to provide whatever Big Brother news it can over the next nine months. And if we run into Jase again, we’ll make sure to act passive aggressively. It’s the least we can do.