When it comes to Big Brother, there’s a little theory that J-Unit and I have devised: after sitting through three episodes, you’ll be hooked. I’m happy to report that after Saturday night’s installment, I’m officially addicted to this season (as if I wouldn’t be, right?). Yeah, the first three shows were decent, but any Big Brother fan knows the first week is essentially the murky start-up period; the time when people are still civil, alliances unformed, and the drama fairly tepid. Rarely does anything noteworthy happen during these early days. Occasionally we’ll get a dustup — Gerry’s salad mishaps on season three, Jase’s attack on Mike last year — but for better or worse, it can be rough going, especially for newbies. This season was no different. I’ve enjoyed the first three episodes so far, if only to see the Chenbot back in primetime, but I couldn’t say that I was wholeheartedly involved beyond my role as a recapper. But now… now things are different.
The first eviction always causes the knives to come out. Alliances become more clearly drawn, power-mongers rear their heads, and bitter outcasts begin rustling their feathers. Plus, the facades drop and the true personalities come out (anyone remember Marcellas during the first week of Big Brother 3? Imagine where we’d be had he not survived that first eviction.) This week’s discovery comes in the most unlikely of places: Janelle. We love Janelle.Last week, we spent a good amount of time giving Janelle the TVgasm treatment. We called her a man. We called her a whore. We called her an idiot. But now, after Saturday’s episode, we’re changing our tune. First of all, the girl seems to have more of a brain than anyone else in the house. Second of all, she pretty much hates everyone, which is awesome. And third of all, she’s funny (remember, we were lamenting that there’s no funny person). It just goes to show how much you miss if you skip the low-profile Saturday shows. (You can pay me later, CBS).
Anyway, the episode began with Janelle swearing to get revenge on Ashlea, her former ally turned breasty evictee numero uno. Yes, losing her ex-roommate was a harsh blow for the flaxen schemer, but having an even harder time was Maggie, who commented, “That’s so weird when someone walks out of the house.” Actually, it’s not that weird, at least for those of us who have a working knowledge of doors and such. Nevertheless, with Ashlea history, Howie made sure Janelle and her giant, erect nipples received plenty of attention. The meteorological student / comic genius (I hear he studies the work of Mike O’Malley) assaulted Janelle with a series of hugs that eventually sent her falling to the floor. I of course laughed because I always laugh when people fall over (unless they’re on America’s Funniest Home Videos, in which case I scowl), but while the fun times may have been rockin’ out here on the couch, the mood became extremely dire in the household as Ashlea’s photo turned black and white. Yes, it was like Schindler’s List all over again.
Later, after Eric won the second Head of Household competition, Kaysar and Janelle immediately registered anger and disgust. “He is so in bed with Beau and Ivette, it infuriates me,” said Kaysar. Man, he was so enraged he almost inflected his voice! Janelle had similar things to say: “I feel like throwing up in the pool.” Interesting. Whenever I get pissed off, my first reaction isn’t always to voluntarily pollute a public space with my intestinal spew, but that’s not to say I wouldn’t enjoy such a display from Janelle. By all means, yak away!
Seriously though, did Janelle just spend the past two days in a walk-in freezer? Those nips don’t show any signs of calming down anytime soon.
After Eric finally calmed down from winning the Superbowl, uh, I mean Head of Household (hey, just a few more primal screams for old timea sake. Whaddya say, Eric?), he and James decided to be tricky. You see, even though James had cast a vote against Kaysar during the last eviction, he and Eric were going to lie and say it came from Michael. Brilliant plan… Except Michael is Kaysar’s secret ally and would never vote against him. And Eric should know this since he and Maggie just babbled about the secret alliances on Thursday. My point? Eric’s an IDIOT!
But he was also Head of Household, which meant that we got to partake in that weekly tradition: the unveiling of the HOH suite. It’s so heartwarming to see the roomies scurry up the stairs with shrieks of excitement. Just wait until six weeks from now when the HOH room is met with bitter sneers and cold indifference. God, I love the ruthless ways this show claws away at its contestants souls (let alone its viewers).
Anyway, Eric’s gift bag featured low carb beer (pussy), energy drinks (high energy jerk), and a CD from home. We didn’t get to find out what the CD was, but I’m just gonna put this out there: Bruce? That’s not to say that every fireman listens to Bruce Springsteen ’round the clock, but honestly, you just know Eric puts a red bandana in his back pocket and dances away when no one’s looking. Afterwards, when he removes the kerchief, he probably gives it a pep talk: “Bandana, I’m removing you not because you were bad, but because you were a threat to me. Also, I need you to have your lights off by 11:30 PM.”
Aside from the low-carb this and that, Eric also received that most unctuous of gifts: a picture from his children. Cue the tears. “My family is everything to me,” said Eric, adding, “Which is why I’ve left them. So I can make them the laughing stock of their friends.” Seriously though, every season there’s always some weepy dad who claims that his family is his life. Sometimes these guys even go so far as to say they want to win the big prize to help provide for their kids (because apparently that crazy notion of a “career” is a just way too hard to grasp). Personally, I’m still trying to expunge images of season four’s Robert crying over his daughter’s paper butterflies. I shiver with disgust just thinking about it. Burrrrrrrr.
Anyway, as Eric passed around the framed picture of his family, Ivette gushed in an interview, “His kids are beautiful!” Oh yeah? Do they look like Eric — a.k.a. the giant turtle spawn of Vin Diesel? (Human koopa troopas, if you will). Side note: when Eric cries, his chin dimple does all sorts of weird contortions. It’s almost like his dimple has its own dimples — kind of like how Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors had mini Audrey II’s on its vines. That would also explain why Eric’s always singing, “Suddenly Dimple.” That was a little 1986 Rick Moranis humor. Anyone? Anyone? Is this thing on?
While Eric bawled and made concentric dimples on his chin, Janelle simply rolled her eyes and called him an actor. I told you, I’m likin’ this Janelle. Maggie, meanwhile, gave Eric a nice big hug and teared up. “I know tonight I’ll go to the HOH room, and we’ll have a really good cry over it,” she said in an interview. Why was she gonna cry about his kids? Was she the surrogate mom? SUMMER OF SECRETS!
As we went to commercial, James noted that the extra-long hug between Maggie and Eric seemed more than just mutual affection for fellow Third Watch fans. Maybe they were a couple, surmised James. Interesting theory, but when we came back from the break, the show had seemingly moved on to bigger and better things: slip-n-slide! Well, more like slip-n-slide-on-garbage-bags. I’ll let Ivette explain: “If you’ve been eating PB&J all week, and you want to beat the summer heat, you make ghetto slide.” Exactly how does the PB&J relate to the slip-n-slide? What if I want to beat the summer heat, but I haven’t been eating PB&J all week? Should I still make a ghetto slide? And by the way, Ivette, how about you shut up about the PB&J. Have you even SEEN Survivor?
Anyway, with garbage bags splayed out on the backyard, April proudly announced to us, “I was the water hose girl!” She then added, “Reminded me of the old days. Back in 1942, when the boys were at war, we worked in the factory making vehicle parts and such. We called ourselves the Water Hose Gals of Skokie, IL. Real good bunch of ladies we were. Real good.”
“In my day, we didn’t have slip-n-slide. We had a burlap sack and three twigs. AND WE LIKED IT!”
Now for all of you horn dogs hoping to see Janelle’s titties sliding across the yard, you’ll just have to wait. The VIP cocktail waitress abstained from the activities because, well, she pretty much hates everyone at this point. Fantastic. Michael, meanwhile, had unleashed his inner-manslut as he hit on the women with sleazy panache. Supremely disgusted by his antics, April grabbed her walker and immediately reported Michael to the Head of Household. Yada yada yada, Eric lectured Michael that his behavior was unacceptable, and soon after, Michael vented to Jennifer, saying, “He made it sound like I was some perverted pig.” Yeah, seriously, what’s up with that? It’s not like Michael had done anything like cop a feel of Jennifer’s breast while they were lying in the hammock. Honestly, if you told me Michael was a eunuch, I’d believe you. That’s how un-perverted he is!
In classic Big Brother fashion, Eric then walked in on Michael and Jennifer bashing him, which led to more discussion about appropriate behavior and whatnot. He finally said that Michael’s actions could be misconstrued as sexual harassment, causing Michael to balk in an interview, “When Eric brought up the term ‘sexual harassment,’ it insulted me… Eric’s failed to realize that I’m not his employee.” Or so you think! SUMMER OF SECRETS STRIKES AGAIN!
Later, Big Brother treated us to a fun little segment featuring Janelle and chess. Yes, it’s an odd combination, but there’s more than meets the eye. According to Janelle, she had been taught chess at an early age by her father (big deal. We all learned chess at an early age), but I think the implication was that she might be some sort of closet chess freak. Nevertheless, Janelle announced to us that she would play chess with the men of the house to gauge what their playing style would be. First she let James win, but when it came to Michael, well… “I don’t think Michael is good at all,” she laughed, full of contempt. And she was right. The two flirted and smiled over the chessboard (the most erotic of the parlor games — not including that slut, backgammon), and then suddenly, Janelle swooped in and called checkmate. By the way, this was highly more entertaining than watching players lug around those giant lawn chess pieces two seasons ago. Making a move here didn’t take forty five minutes of hauling with a dolly.
Up next on the show was my favorite of past times: reality star political debate. With Kaysar sitting quietly on the sidelines, Eric and James launched into a fairly uninformed debate on whether or not he Iraq war was justified. Eventually, James eloquently proved his idiocy by saying “I’d rather them over there blowing people up rather than over here knocking down buildings.” Oh, and did I mention that he said that RIGHT IN FRONT OF KAYSAR? Dumbass.
Of course, this led to a touchy-feely moment of growth and twinkly piano music as Kaysar informed James about the atrocities of war and how difficult it was for Kaysar’s family still in Iraq. Aw, we all learned something! Yay, stunt casting!
But if you thought the ongoing conflict in his home country was the most pressing dilemma on Kaysar’s mind, you’d be wrong. No, it was Beau, the wannabe Marcellas who apparently likes to spoon Kaysar when he’s bored and horny. Pause for Beau to say “Fabulous!” three times. Okay, we’re back.
Beau desperately tries to be interesting.
One of the campy perks of the Saturday episode is the food challenge, and this week’s romp was the “Snak Shack FROM HELL!” Sort of early on for the gross-out food challenge, but I welcomed it. Basically, everyone partnered up in teams of two and had to eat nasty dishes in order to win food items for the house. James and Howie attempted to down an “Iced Clam Sundae”, but the minced, raw clam sent them both hurling into a bucket… after two spoonfuls. With their failure, host Eric announced, “Beverages are not going to be drank.” And grammar is not going to be observisized.
Next up were Janelle and Beau, and when they learned they’d be playing for breads and cereals, Janelle quickly chirped, “Ooooh! My favorite!” RELAX. Anyway, the two of them had to eat a “Pepper Only Pizza”, and despite some occasional vomiting, they managed to win the food group for the house.
April and Rachel struggled with a sauerkraut cream pie, which, I must admit, looked fairly nasty. April noted that she hated sauerkraut in general — probably from some bad experience she had with it during the Eisenhower administration. Needless to say, they did not complete the task. Anyway, by the end of the competition, the household had won a few other foodstufffs (plus we got to see Ivette in her “Everyone Loves A Spicy Latina” t-shirt. So clever and original! Maybe she’ll even have a “Gettin’ Lucky in Kentucky” shirt too!), and just when we thought the whole game was over, Eric pulled a veritable But First! by announcing that any two people could pair up to try to win beer and wine. Janelle and Michael volunteered, but Eric booted the blonde waitress so that he could share some of the glory. “He’s such a spotlight stealer. I hate him!” complained Janelle. The more she hates, the more I thrive.
Afterwards, April — possibly reeling from the side effects of osteoporosis medication — felt depressed about her lame performance. Never fear though! Fireman Eric is here to boost your morale! “We win as a team, we lose as a team,” he said, adding, “We speak in clichés, we think in clichés.” By the way, I’m not positive about this, but I don’t think there are any teams in Big Brother. That’s okay though. Turning April’s frown upside down was enough to warrant a group meeting, courtesy of, you guessed it, Eric: “There are gonna be competitions where certain people are gonna be able to step up to the plate and certain people can’t. Such as Maggie, April…” That’s right. We’re all a team, even when MAGGIE AND APRIL (flashing arrows, buzzers, sirens) screw up.
Later, the houseguests all ran into the kitchen to retrieve all their new groceries, but of course Eric was the buzz kill as he said, “Remember, we have a limited supply here, so I would just be very careful here.” Hmmm… maybe he should call another house meeting. Sure enough, he gathered around the troops to remind everyone to ration. Seriously, what doesn’t warrant a meeting with Eric? “Hey guys, I was just clipping my toenails, and it occurred to me that when you’re clipping, be sure to really get the whole nail. We don’t want any hangnails on our feet. You know what I’m saying? Be real careful about that. Okay? Hands in the middle. Gooooo TEAM!”
Anyway, as nominations neared, it was time for people to strategize. “I went up to the girls, and I kind of tried to feel them out and see what people thought of the plan,” Eric said. Great. Looks like that whole guys-only alliance is working out real well.
Actually, Eric’s new plan was to put Michael and Janelle up, but the twist would be that he’d tell Michael that he was the pawn to get Janelle out, but in reality, Janelle was the pawn to get Michael out. Clever Eric. Too bad the pawn always goes home (in this case, that’s Janelle).
Because she’s too much of a good girl, Sarah divulged to Maggie that she didn’t want to lie or deceive Michael. Why she would tell Maggie (a.k.a. Eric’s clear ally) is beyond me, but I love that she did it. After all, what’s a season of Big Brother without the pseudo virtuous cast member who gets in over his or her head with alliances and double crosses. I can’t wait for the meltdown!
Anyway, Eric invited everyone into his Head of Household room one at a time to talk strategy. Ivette was more than happy to babble with her boy, if only to call him “cappy” twelve times in one minute. Surprisingly enough, Janelle left the meeting with moderate praise for the HOH. “He’s actually intelligent, so that actually makes me a bit more cheerful,” she said. I love that she’s such a snob. She better be around for the long haul.
Later, when Eric met with Michael, the tension was so thick, you could cut it with the Ikea brand knives down in the kitchen. Eric explained that he was scared by Michael’s relationship with Janelle, saying that he spent too much time with her. Wait, just one episode ago, Eric was paranoid about Michael’s relationship with Jennifer. Is there any girl that Michael can talk to? Apparently not. I kind of wished Michael had called out Eric for his ties with Ivette, but alas, he only noted it in the confessional. Someone needs to stand up to Eric, ASAP.
In the next meeting, Eric told Kaysar that he had lost trust in him because of the time Kaysar told Michael that he was hanging out with Jennifer so much. “I knew that you probably would use that against me,” started Kaysar in his patently quiet voice.
“Relax. No need to raise your voice,” interrupted Eric. Yes, Kaysar. Stop speaking above a near-whisper! My eardrums! They’ve nearly burst! Can you not control your rage AT ALL???
Okay, well, eventually it was nomination time, and while it was fun to watch the key box swivel around on the lazy-susan, we all knew it would be Janelle and Michael. I mean, the producers didn’t even bother trying to come up with a red herring (unless Kaysar counts, but I don’t think so really). I’m a little bummed that Michael and Janelle are up, only because they seem to be two of the more interesting personalities in the house.
What do you think? Who do you hate? Who do you love?