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Prior engagements once again kept me from pulling off a timely Big Brother recap. I would go into more detail but let’s just say one part of it involved prosciutto, arugula, and Rose McGowan. Anyway, on Tuesday, three women entered the ring, or at least stood on top of the ring, and on Friday night, one woman left. It was a modified version of a Thunderdome, and although the stakes were not life or death, millions of Americans would be watching to see if their worst fear, an all-Friendship finale, would actually come to pass.This will be my last Big Brother recap of the 2005 season, and although I am sad that our time together will be winding down, at least I do get to enjoy one last bit of Julie Chen madness before I sign off. But you know what? I have to say, ever since Julie pulled out the crazy fireworks poncho, it is as if her wardrobe people came back from watching Ron Burgundy and said, “You stay classy, Julie Chen.” She decided once again to go with an all-black ensemble, and she has looked a lot less hippy (as in she doesn’t have big legs like Maggie), and the fabric was such that cameltoe was nearly non-existant.
But with every good thing, there is some bad, and once again, we were all taken aback by Julie’s choice of jewelry. Last night, she sported the oddest bit of jewelry in the form of a pearl necklace/choker/collar. About the only thing good you can say about it was that it matched her earrings. She’s a big girl now, and married to a lot of money. She doesn’t have to go around making these huge uber-necklaces from the parts of lesser necklaces. Perhaps she twisted her neck doing a little reverse cowgirl, and this was some sort of fancy cervical collar the paramedics wanted her to wear just as a precaution? I just didn’t know what to make of it, except there was only one more day of this stuff that I had to look forward to.
Most of the first half of this episode was devoted to the first two parts of the HOH competition. We saw the opening part of the first competition at the end of Tuesday’s episode. All three women had to balance themselves onto spinning wheel that was supposed to represent a combination. While they tried to keep their balance, they also had to keep at least one hand on a key that was suspended in the air above them. As they were performing in this competition, April’s eviction was still fresh in their minds. I know it was difficult for Ivette to evict April, and I know that it’s no that unusual for the evicted houseguest to be made to look like a saint, but what was it with the April worship? Ivette said that her decision was something she didn’t wish on her worst enemy, and Maggie literally said “I loved her” and “God, I’m going to miss her.”
But when you stop think about it, the whole goal of the Friendship was to make it to the end together. Unfortunately, with Janelle still in the picture, there was a possibility that one of them was going to go home, and even an outside chance that neither of them would win the money. As Janelle said, she really “crushed their dreams to shreds.” I know she meant to say she tore their dreams to shreds or crushed their dreams into little pieces, but considering all she has been through these last few months, I am willing to forgive her a mixed metaphor or misspelled word or two every now and then.
Our dream has been that Janelle makes it to the end. A lot of things had to go right for her to even make it this far, so it seemed like it was almost destiny that she would win this final HOH competition. All of America was behind her, but it looked like our dreams would be crushed to shreds early on in the competition. Janelle was having the most trouble out of the three people left, and she complained that her back was hurting and she wasn’t able to concentrate. I hate both Ivette and Maggie with a passion, but I should at least give both of them props for encouraging Janelle to do her best and to keep fighting the whole time. Maybe they realized she was going to possibly vote on one of them to win and didn’t want to talk trash, but they seemed at least semi-genuine, which is more than I can say for them for most of the season.
Despite all of those words of encouragement, Janelle was the first to be eliminated from the first part of the competition, and it was quite the blow. Although she still had a chance to make it to the end, these tests of will were the ones that we though Janelle would be great at against Ivette and Maggie. Her departure also gave us a preview of what would happen should we be left with Ivette and Maggie as the final two. As predicted, the conversation was sickening. Maggie said “I love you” and Ivette said “I love you” back. When Big Brother 4 aired, I thought there could be nothing worse than seeing Jun and Alison compete for the prize, but at least they didn’t like each other. With Ivette and Maggie, not only do we have to deal with two people we don’t want to see win, but we’ll be spared most of the trash talk as well, which makes for a doubly boring finale. Hopefully CBS had some way of putting the fix in for Janelle, because nobody in their right mind is going to watch the finale and pretend that they wanted either of these two to win.
During the time following Janelle’s exit, neither person wanted to come down off of the spinning wheel. Honestly, I think that Ivette had the least to worry about. Janelle knew that her only chance was going to be taking Ivette, and Maggie’s whole existence is centered around Friendship, so there is no way that she was going to take anyone other than Ivette. Ivette was convinced that it would be Maggie that Janelle would want to take. She probably believed that since she and Janelle were at odds with each other so often, Janelle wouldn’t want to take somebody like her to the end. The most important thing for Janelle was winning, and she didn’t pretend to want to make friends with either of them.
Maggie continued to protest and said she wouldn’t come down and asked if Ivette wanted to stay in because she wanted what was in the last combination. Oh, did I forget to tell you? Trying to salvage something resembling Summer of Secrets (a term they gave up on much earlier than “Project DNA” last year), the winner of the first part of the competition would get the combination to the third safe in the gold room. Realistically, this prize should have come up much sooner, because the people that are left are thinking about $500,000 and not another plasma screen or trip to the Caribbean. Soon enough Maggie was eliminated, and we were going to figure out what was in that safe. Maggie stumbled, but Ivette thought that Maggie for some reason took pity on her and let her win. She thought that Maggie knew she would be going to the end, so why not throw Ivette a bone. Maybe Maggie knew what was going to be in that third gold safe and decided to throw the competition. When Ivette opened the safe, she learned that her prize would be in the backyard. When she made it to the backyard, she found out that she had won a pair of Vespas. In retrospect, it was the perfect gift for Miami Beach, or re-enacting your favorite scenes from “Weekend at Bernie’s,” but I think it would have generated just as much excitement as if she had won a year’s worth of free trips to Old Country Buffet.
Part two of the three-part HOH competition started the following morning, and continuing with the giant representations of combination lock theme, Maggie and Janelle walked outside and saw two huge padlocks. The padlock had an eight number combination, and on the top of the padlock were clues corresponding to each number with questions like “How often was the Golden Power of Veto not used” and “How many times did the HOH win the Power of Veto.” I was holding out hope that Janelle would do well because this is the type of thing she has been doing well at. Since they had to run up and down steps to get between the clues and the are where they could adjust the numbers, there was a physical component of the competition I thought would also help her out. I mean, let’s be honest, Maggie has been working out all summer, but has managed to go from orca fat to perhaps only walrus fat, but it still takes a lot of energy to get that ass in motion.
My confidence aside, Maggie and her big ass started to get me worried there for a bit. Even though she said she had trouble with the answers, it looked like she was able to eliminate a lot of the wrong answers quickly. The first time she tried to open the padlock, there were four questions incorrect, but she quickly cut that number in half, while Janelle was still struggling. At this point, I might have actually cried, but like she has done so often this year, Janelle mounted a comeback and eventually beat out Maggie, meaning she would have a chance against Ivette to decide the HOH, who would choose one person for them to continue on to the end. After they celebrated Janelle’s win, if you could call it a celebration, they came into the house and saw that their table had been downsized again, this time with only three chairs, but a very unique difference. It was clear plexiglass, and $500,000 was stacked neatly on the inside.
Once again, I was in a good mood. Ivette has been making a little bit of a run lately with some of the competitions, but I thought the chances of her being able to beat Janelle were remote. Janelle was not taking any chances, and decided to talk strategy with Ivette over a game of chess. Basically, Janelle made it very clear to Ivette. Her only chance of winning would be against Janelle. Janelle promised to take her to the end, and if she wanted to win the money, she would take Janelle to the end. Does she want to win the money or does she want to make a friend? To those of us watching from home, this was a no brainer, but it didn’t look like Ivette was going to be falling for it. I was hoping that seeing the money in the table would convince Ivette to be greedy, but for some reason this money she desperately needed was not of concern to her.
One of the things that does suck about Big Brother is that some portions of the game became absolutely comical towards the end, and I am not talking about Julie Chen cameltoe comical, I am talking Kansas City Royals comical, like why do you even bother showing up. The question and answer segments are a good example of this. At the beginning of the season, it’s fun to hear what everybody says, but at this point there is absolutely no surprise in what anybody is going to say. This week’s questions were which evicted houseguest you miss the most and which evicted houseguest you miss the least. Janelle went first and she said she missed Michael the most and missed Eric the least. Maggie went next, and said she missed Eric the most, because he is “a great friend” and James the least because “he was mean.” Ivette, of course, said she missed Eric as well, but kind of contradicted herself when she said she wished she had more time to get to know him. If this was a big concern of hers, don’t you think she wouldn’t have been worshipping him for the last fifty days? Then again, that sort of attitude is central to the hypocrisy of the Friendship. They all worship Eric, while only knowing him for a couple of weeks, but at the same time refused to get to know anybody in the house outside of their little cult. Oh, and Ivette missed Ashlea the most because she of course got to know her in one week and it took even less time to get to hate her.
After the question and answer came a little “where are they now” segment with the first five evicted houseguests, otherwise known as the people who didn’t make it to the jury. I was surprised they bothered interviewing Ashlea since I would think they would have distanced themselves from her after she left sequester, but maybe the interview was from a long time ago. She didn’t seem to know anything about what was happening other than Janelle was in love with Michael, and said she would kick his ass if he hurt Janelle. Not surprisingly, she complained that people in the house didn’t get a chance to know her.
Next up were Kaysar and Michael. Listen ladies, I know Kaysar is gorgeous and whatnot, but god, don’t light a cigarette after having sex with him, because all of that shit in his hair is likely to engulf the two of you in flames. The producers showed Kaysar and Michael surfing the internet, comparing how hot people thought the two of them were. Again, Kaysar won hands down, at least with the random internet bulletin board they were shown glossing over. When Kaysar talked about his 4 million votes, he said that he was happy because he really was hoping to change perceptions about Muslim Americans. That’s all great and all, but I am upset that CBS didn’t feature any of the websites that were actively promoting Kaysar’s campaign. *Cough* TVgasm *Cough*
Eric came followed Michael and Kaysar, who, if it wasn’t for Janelle, would probably become ambiguously gay and if there was any sweet justice regarding all of us having to hear Ivette say “Cappy” in every spare moment, it was that Eric was now being called “Cappy” everywhere, including his station house, and it seemed like he was slightly annoyed. Now, if he is called Cappy for the next, oh, six or seven millennia, it might make up for the last four months that we had to endure.
CBS finished up with Sarah. There was some question as to what she would do when she left the house and saw James call her stupid, say he would do better with her out of the house, etc, but I guess it didn’t faze her, because she said that she felt their relationship would be stronger than ever. I really want to make fun of them, but if they both sincerely think they are made for each other, who am I to deny their happiness? How obsessed is she? She made a scrapbook of their time in the house, composed entirely of what looks to be screenshots from the internet. It’s not as creepy as the Friendship altar to their fallen comrades, but if I were James, I would rent Fatal Attraction. And if there was any question whatsoever that Sarah was removed from the game way too early, and that she would have been a good ally to the Kaysar alliance, they were answered at the end of her segment when she held up a shirt that said “Bye Bye Bitches.” Stupid, stupid Howie, he had to ruin it for all of us.
We came back to Julie, and the show was live once more, and there was a little mini HOH competition set up inside of the house. Maggie was made to wait in another room. It was just a question and answer session, but I wondered why they were forced to stay inside. Whatever the case, I started to get nervous once more. Janelle is a clutch performer, but sometimes even a clutch performer has a bad game, and Janelle has had to play so perfectly, you know the pressure mentally has got to be mounting.
This final HOH competition was a multiple choice/fill in the blanks featuring the evicted houseguests. Julie would read a partial statement from one of the evicted houseguests, and would give the contestants two possible answers on how they finished their statement. There are six people in the jury house, so there would be six questions. Right away, thing started going badly for Janelle, she missed Howie’s question about what he hated most about the house. She guessed the Girl Scout troop, but Howie’s answer was different. Julie had a small flub while saying Girl Scout troop, but to take attention away from her, she told Janelle “please hold up your paddle” in a slightly more stern way than we are accustomed with Julie, even when houseguests don’t follow directions. It didn’t get easier for either of them from there. Julie messed up a couple of more lines, and it looked like Ivette would run away with the game, as Janelle took four questions before getting onto the scoreboard. With one question left, and Janelle down by one, Janelle and Ivette both gave the same question on the final answer, meaning if they were both wrong Janelle would lose, and if they were both right Janelle would lose. RIght before Julie read the final answer Janelle switched her choice, and it ended up being the correct one!
As excited as I was, I almost couldn’t watch the tiebreaker. The question was how many combined votes to evict have been placed in the game. Both girls took their time, and once again, right before Julie wanted the final answer, Janelle siwtched her number. When they both revealed their answers, Janelle and Ivette both wrote down 66. Another tie! Another tiebreaker. If you were like me by this time, you absolutely couldn’t watch. It was like a Superbowl that came down to a last-minute Hail Mary. It was like a NBA championship game 7 that came down to the last free throw. Thank god for Tivo, which game me time to regroup, and continue with the show.
The final tiebreaker question was how many total hours they had spent in the Big Brother house from the night they first entered to 5PM that day. With everything on the line, Ivette and Janelle once again took their time. I think Janelle is intelligent in the game, but I am not sure if she bothered with any calculus in her time, so this was probably a difficult question, and the same goes with Ivette. Besides, like Malibu Stacy says, “Math is Hard!” This question also really tested Julie’s patience. “Answers please,” she said at first, then after a few moments, put a little force in her voice and said “I need an answer,” and when there was still no answer, she almost screamed she needed one “right now.” These moments were made even more tense by the thumping music in the background. Listen for yourself.
By this time, Ivette had shown her answer, but Janelle was still a little pokey. Julie then demanded that Janelle write her answer down and finally Janelle revealed her answer: 1900. Ivette answered 1875. Both responses were higher than the acutal answer, but Ivette was closer than Janelle, and so she won. As if Ivette’s win was not enough, the celebration with Maggie was even worse. Not only did we see Maggie gloat, but she jumped into Ivette’s arms, wrapping her legs around her friend. Since it was live, the whole country got to see Maggie’s butt crack, and the sounds of millions of American’s retching could be hear all across the land. And much like Ivette a few weeks ago, each jiggle brought another rush of bile from our stomachs.
Now, there has been some questioning about the final question and did Ivette actually win. First of all, I think it is ludicrous to believe that CBS would have it fixed so anybody other than Janelle would win. She is the ratings of the show. Second, it could have been a Julie Chen error, and she made plenty last night, but that was not it either. I am a full blown conspiracy theorist, and I won’t discount anything, but people are simply misinterpreting what Julie said. The conventional wisdom is this. Julie said “It was day 76 in the Big Brother house”. Adding up 75 days times 24 then adding the 17 hours you get in the 76th day until 5PM, and you get 1817. But the house guests were living in the house about a week before any of the episodes aired. So 7 x 24 is another 168 hours, which puts it well over 1900, which means Janelle was closer.
Unfortunately, the math is off. Again, I am the first to shout conspiracy when I smell something funny; remember how upset I was about a fixed food competition? There is no way I would keep my mouth shut if I thought something was wrong. Count up the days since Big Brother first aired, and you get 71. Julie said it was day 76, meaning she was including the time they were in the house but no episodes had aired. Do the math again and you will see Ivette won fair and square. It doesn’t make it any easier, but nobody cheated.
I thought there would be a little suspense over who Ivette would pick to go with her at the beginning of the show, but after I saw Maggie’s ass, I realized the sick feeling in my stomach was not just the sight of her happy trail, but was the knowledge that Ivette’s embrace meant doom for Janelle. Through tears, Ivette evicted Janelle, and The Natural, as I like to call Janelle (since about five minutes ago), was sent out to meet Julie.
Julie and Janelle had a typical post-eviction interview. Janelle said she wasn’t surprised she was evicted, but was surprised she had been able to go so far. She once again stated that it was a poor decision for Ivette to take Maggie, because she doesn’t feel like she has a chance against her, but agreed that it said a lot about Ivette’s character that she chose friendship over money. In the end, Janelle said that her opinion really changed about Ivette, even though she couldn’t stand the sight of her at the beginning. During the exit messages, Maggie kissed a little ass during her speech which prompted a response from Janelle that I couldn’t quite make out. We were left with Maggie and Ivette crying, saying how much they loved each other, and Ivette admitting she was playing for second place saying that she “had won her family $50,000.”
So, I would like to thank everybody for sticking with us this entire summer. The two left over are almost a worse case scenario; the only worse for me would have been Ivette and April. That being said, I think I would have to vote for Ivette to win. A lot of people hate her for who she is, but I think that she has been a target more often, and therefore had to play a better game to stick around. On the other hand, Maggie was able to manipulate Howie during his first HOH which was THE pivotal point this season, and at the same time keep herself mostly out of the spotlight, which is a skill in itself. At the end of the day, I vote to give it to somebody with a personality, which is Ivette. Also in her favor are that her mom and Tushie hate the Friendship and like Janelle. If Maggie were to win, it would most likely benefit the Friendship lovers like Eric and not the Friendship haters like Tushie and Ivette’s mom. It’s a decision I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the vote is a lot closer than people think.
What did you think about the episode? Who do you want to win and why? Who do you think will actually win?