By B-Side|Friday, August 5, 2005 | 4:54 am | 72 Comments
Going into tonight’s Big Brother, I felt a certain amount of dread and depression. This was, after all, my “Sophie’s Choice” of episodes. One that would force me to choose favorites between nominees Kaysar and Janelle. Surely I would wake up and discover it was all a hideous dream. My two favorite players forced to walk the plank together? It couldn’t be. And yet, by the episode’s end, even though one of my beloved nominees had already departed, you’d think I’d won the lotto. That’s because a divine mix of good luck and the Summer of Secrets had somehow brought the promise of justice and hope to this downtrodden viewer. Plus, everyone made fun of Eric, and we heard some pee-pee on the live show. How can you go wrong?We knew we had a busy schedule in front of us when the Chenbot received us in turbo mode. No sooner had our eyes gazed on her distractingly tattered jacket than she was already off and running to her studio, leaving but a trail of dust outside the Big Brother house. This was Chenbot speed we had never seen before. I don’t know if maybe she had a new micro-processor or a few extra gigs of RAM installed, but within the first five seconds of the show, Julie was already lowering herself carefully to the couch while suggesting, “Let’s take a live look inside.” That’s right. Two distinct Chenbot operations at once. This was gonna be a crazy night!
Unfortunately, in the Chenbot’s efforts to speed this intro along, we missed out on what was fast becoming one of my favorite awkward traditions of the week. You know what I’m talking about. Julie’s labored head-swiveling as she feigned looking at the plasma TV behind her. The unique combination of dead-air and robotic torque has an exhilarating effect, second only to Julie’s patented move of springing from the couch like a Jack-In-The-Box gone wild.
Anyway, with the helmet hair looking smaller and well-kempt (unlike last week’s cowlick minefield), the Chenbot alerted us that tonight would see another twist hit the household. “America will have a chance to turn the Big Brother game upside down,” Julie promised. Would a house guest be returning? It’s what Julie’s been hinting at! I had so much Chencitement built up in me that it was all I could do to resist fast forwarding to the big secret. BUT FIRST I knew I had to watch Julie Chen say, “But first!”
Well, she said it and segued into a segment about James, noting that the loss prevention manager had now found himself in the spotlight. What, pray tell, could this new scandal be?
Picking up after the veto ceremony, we found Kaysar struggling to accept his fate. “I’m used to the pressure,” he said diabolically. “I like it.” You know, if John Woo were to ever make a sequel to Face/Off, I think Kaysar would be perfect for the lead. But that’s only because I’d really like to see him grab at his face and do that little “Face… off. Face… off” thing. You know he’d be a natural fit.
Upstairs in the HOH room, The Friendship found themselves all huddled on Maggie’s bed as if it were a life raft in the middle of the Pacific. Actually, upon second viewing, April was cast off in a chair, but that’s probably only because Maggie didn’t want to get that old person’s smell on her sheets. Anyway, as The Friendship probably dreamed of running through a daisy field holding hands and talking to birds, Maggie noted, “How funny would it be if the four of them vote to keep Kaysar and we four vote to keep Janelle? That’ll let Janelle know ‘You’re f*cked too.’” That would be HILARious. It would be like the time when your alliance all voted you out of the house — also known as last week.
Anyway, as you might remember, on Tuesday, James swore on the Bible that he would put Howie and Rachel up for eviction if he were Head of Household. Of course, he reneged on his promise, thus prompting the scorned Friendship to go around and alert Kaysar and Howie and Rachel that James had sold them all up the river. “Someone from my end hasn’t been playing a clean game,” Kaysar told us. “Slowly but surely I started to realize it was James.” Way to go, Kays. James has been the most flip-floppy of all, and you just now suspect that he’s been playing dirty? Oh well. I didn’t really matter what Kaysar thought because it was so obvious that he’d be leaving tonight. This was reinforced by CBS’s foolish attempts at misdirection, starting with the suggestion that The Friendship would keep Kaysar around to help oust James. C’mon. We might be dumb, but we’re not Cappy Dumb. No need to patronize us with this segment.
Back up in the Royal Palace of The Friendship, Maggie told her buds, “I’m not here to tell anyone how to vote.” She then added, “But I’m gonna tell you how to vote.” Okay, she didn’t say that. But were we supposed to believe that she didn’t want to tell everyone how to vote? Just another example of the touchy-feely, faux-lovefest that is this alliance. Man, I just hate The Friendship. But as J-Unit has mentioned before in his posts, one of the most beautiful elements of this season has been the total disconnect between The Friendship and the viewing audience. Here is a group that’s so certain they’ve taken the high road, so certain they’re doing the right thing, and probably so certain that they’re beloved, that it’s pure bliss to see the collective hatred fans have for them. Most academics write Big Brother off as trash, and well, technically they’re right, but isn’t there something worth examining in this situation? I mean, why do we hate The Friendship so much? Is it that they all seem like sheep, incapable of strategizing and thinking beyond their emotions? Are we disgusted by their idolization of Eric, a righteous man who claimed to be fighting for good, but actually engaged in vicious character assassination, condescending didacticism, flagrant backstabbing, and bullish fisticuffs? Or are we just turned off by the reigning dullness of the group? I like to think it’s a bit of everything of the above, but I’m still not sure what this all says about us, the audience. Nevertheless, I relish the days after this season wraps as the contestants return to the outside world and slowly discover that everyone — from TVgasm readers to Entertainment Weekly writers to CBS.com poll-takers — all hates them.
Anyway, we returned to Julie Chen who now alerted us that it was time to check in on the houseguests. This clearly was not as exciting for them as it was for us because we instantly caught Jennifer yawning in the foreground. Apparently she had just visualized what it would look like to watch herself for four weeks. Well, Julie asked her what she would do with a million dollars, and Jennifer replied that she would use it to work with charity (Go Friendship Power!). You know what that means: looks like you’ve got a new helper around the nursing home April!
Speaking of April, Julie noted, “You recently celebrated a birthday in the house.” That’s right! 82 years young! Perhaps in an attempt to force April’s face into the strange contortions we saw on Tuesday, Julie continued to prod, asking the octogenarian about her letter from home. “Just to hear from him… just to hear that him and Pepperoni do support me,” said April, on the verge of tears and/or a crazy Crypt Keeper face. You know, I think it’s beautiful that April’s dog Pepperoni supports her. Other things Pepperoni supports: licking his balls.
The Chenbot then moved onto Sarah, whose hand was romantically intertwined with James’. Julie asked how relieved she was to have saved her boyfriend. “At this point, it doesn’t matter about making it to the end. I just want to spend a couple more weeks with him,” said Sarah. Wow. She’s so closet Friendship.
Just when we thought the Chenterrogation was over (ooh, I like that one! Patting myself on the back), Ivette found herself center stage, forced to choose her most inspired creation. After a few seconds of deliberation where we could clearly hear the hamster wheel squeaking, Ivette declared the ghetto slide to be her fave. I thought Julie would simply laugh it off with an awkward little comment like “Well, that is creative,” but instead the Chenbot pressed on in full stammering glory: “You want to just briefly tell us what that is again? You just cut up some plastic hefty bags, was it? Sprayed it down?” TELL THE CHENBOT ALL! She must learn the ways of the ghetto slide! We then cut to Julie Chen zipping down her very own ghetto slide. Seriously. Visualize it. Probably the funniest image that we’ll never see.
Later, after a commercial break, it was time to watch The Passion of the Eric. Julie asked us, “How is Eric’s partner and current HOH Maggie keeping his memory alive?” Okay, this is ridiculous. He wasn’t slain in a genocide. These women act as if some sort of divine being has left their midst. Of course, the first one to sound off about Eric was his loyal servant, Ivette: “When Cappy left this house, my heart left with him. This house is so empty without Cappy. And so Ivette is completely lost in this game without Cappy.” Also hurting Ivette’s game: SHE’S AN IDIOT! I will qualify that in some way, it’s admirable that she can be so loyal to someone she deems a friend, and that she can open her heart to someone so earnestly is sweet, I guess. But, yeah, total moron.
Sharing our sentiments was Janelle, as usual, who wrote off the Cappy followers as “So stupid.” Howie, for the first time, actually clocked in with a funny statement too: “That’s all we need is one of these looney tunes going on and winning it for Cappy. Who in the hell wants to see that?” EXACTLY! Ah, but dumb people always seem to find the spotlight, and sure enough, Ivette was back for more deifying of Eric. “Cappy is still here in spirit. And our keys that are up here in the memory board, mine is still in Cappy’s and everybody else’s is piled on top.” So Ivette put her key in Eric’s slot? And everyone else piled theirs on top of his picture? WHY???? WHY WHY WHY??? What is wrong with these idiots? Why was Eric so near and dear to them? All he ever did was enforce a strict 11:30 PM curfew and troll around (I mean that in all senses of the phrase) looking for things to ‘roid rage at.
James thankfully mocked Ivette, who you may remember called out “Where’s Cappy?” during this week’s Match Game food competition. “Oh. Okay. Just pick a word, dumbass,” sneered James in an interview. It should be noted that this caused peels of laughter to ripple through the TVgasm offices.
Click on Ivette to see James’ comments…
Even better: CBS was kind enough to watch the non-Friendship folk gather ’round and full on ridicule Eric and his lowly stature. James and later Janelle marched around on their knees in an effort to emulate the stumpy fireman’s turtle-esque nature. As for Maggie? James simply wrote her off as “Little Eric.” We then cut to Maggie power walking around the yard to condescending oompa music. Ah, if only she had been in lederhosen. Or better yet: Las Vegas Fire Department Lederhosen. Because you know Eric’s got those.
Oh Beau. I’m ready…
Anyway, as this Eric bit all came to a close, we saw The Friendship all bundled together in the Head of Household room, ready to go to sleep. Apparently they couldn’t be apart from each other for one second, not even when they slept. And just when you thought they couldn’t be any more intolerable, they all called out to their fallen leader just before beddy-bye. “Goodnight Cappy!” they all said. Unsurprisingly, this was considerably less charming than “Goodnight Moon,” a book which Ivette still struggles to comprehend.
Ivette’s favorite book.
We then returned to Julie Chen who carried on a rather forgettable interview with Maggie in the HOH room. Nothing new here. Just more gushing about Cappy. The only thing that made this small segment interesting was the camera cutting to Kaysar, who for some reason had his leg splayed up on the chair, thus making his crotch the disarming centerpiece of the screen. Luckily, the producers cut back to Maggie who said she was prepared in case any of the house guests came after her. I mean, she doesn’t have a strategy per se, but the almighty power of Friendship will certainly defend her from the big meanies of the house! Maggie then sucked on a juice box told Julie what she wanted for Christmas.
Kaysar’s version of Basic Instinct.
After the interview was over, The Chenbot “But First!”-ed us into watching the house guests deliberate on who they’d vote for. Unfortunately, we didn’t hear anyone’s votes, which meant tonight’s results would pretty much be a blowout. When we returned, Julie Chen happily announced that we would be taking a closer look at James and Sarah. Meanwhile, the cameraman must have inhaled a bit too much of the Chenbot’s exhaust because the camera began ever so slowly to creep away from Julie. Before she could totally seep off screen, we luckily cut to our next segment and watched as Sarah idealistically rattled off her life schedule. “I’m twenty three years old. I’ll be married right before I’m twenty five. I’ll have kids by twenty seven,” Sarah surmised. And by twenty nine she’ll be disillusioned, thirty one in Playboy, and thirty five on Kill Reality 12.
Luckily, this piece was one of those cool Meet-The-Fam bits, and we soon got to see Sarah’s folks. They were two affable looking people whose small-town pride glowed through their matching Pro-Sarah pins. We also met James’s family and their GIGANTIC hanging crucifix. Needless to say, Mel Gibson would have had a boner. Also eye-catching was the massive array of Virgin Mary items populating the house. I mean, this stuff was everywhere. I’m surprised James’ mom didn’t talk to us through a Virgin Mary sock puppet. But at the end of the day, both families seemed nice, and I feel badly mocking them, even if they all seemed a little goofy looking.
Is that a load bearing Jesus?
When we returned to Julie, she had some wonderful news: next week an evicted player will be brought back into the house. And better yet, we the audience will get to choose who! AMERICA’S CHOICE!! Fantastic! Sure, we had been predicting this, but actually hearing the words flow from the Chenbot’s mouth caused nothing less than a joyful, spastic flailing of my arms. Suddenly, tonight’s upcoming Chenviction seemed a little easier to swallow knowing that I might be able to reinsert Kaysar or Janelle into the house in just one week. And considering that the two nominees also happen to be the two most popular contestants according to CBS’s very own polls, I’d be optimistic that they’d win the America’s Choice over Cappy. But then again, CBS might reward the fireman regardless, just to up the drama in the household.
Nevertheless, the Chenbot once again directed our attention to the Diary Room where more house guests pondered their eviction choices. James commented, “For some reason, I feel like this is very important.” Hmmm… I wonder why that is? Oh that’s right. THEY’RE IN YOUR ALLIANCE. Beau, meanwhile, surfaced briefly to grace the episode with his potent brand of bitchy blandness. Regarding Janelle, he scoffed, “Sometimes she can get on my nerves because, you know, she’s all about me me me me me.” This comes from Beau, the reigning diva who wouldn’t let James borrow his bible. What’s actually interesting about The Friendship is how much they detest Janelle. As far as we can see, Janelle doesn’t seem to talk about herself that much. In fact, she seems relatively quiet. But in classic petty fashion, the women of The Friendship seem to project their insecurities on Janelle, accusing her of being self-centered or flirtatious. Hmmm… where am I trying to go with this? Don’t know. So in conclusion, Ivette remains dumb.
Well, before the voting results were read, Janelle and Kaysar addressed their roommates, with the latter noting, “I look forward to seeing you one day.” You know there’s a wrap party, right Kaysar? It’s not like you won’t see them for fifty years. Actually with a little luck, maybe he’ll be seeing them in seven days. Why? Because he was evicted by a vote of seven to one. Not very surprising, but sad nonetheless. Que sera sera, as they say (I almost titled this post “Kaysar-a sera”, but figured it would be too obscure). As he headed to the door, Kaysar’s alliance broke into a spirited, silly song that crescendoed with everyone yelling “Kaysar!” at the end. You know, maybe they should leave the dumb songs to The Friendship. I’m pretty sure April already has a tune about Pepperoni she plans to squawk out.
Anyway, ever the gracious fella, Kaysar gave each one of his roommates a big hug, even the people who had voted against him. Funny. Cappy didn’t do that. But I thought he was supposed to be this great guy who cared about everyone and had the power of compassion and could heal lepers. Huh. He must have forgotten about the other half of the house last week. Oh well. By the way, what are the odds that by the end of the season, we’ll see Eric peddling all sorts of annoying t-shirts and hats that say “Cappy” on them?
But I digress. Kaysar left the house, and for someone with such a stoic expression all the time, he was all smiles. I mean, the guy was on the verge of giggles. I think someone has a crush on the Chenbot! While Kays got his microphone all ready, we watched the house guests mill around the living room, reacting to the latest Chenviction. And then the most amusing, Naked Gun-ish thing happened. As the roommates babbled to each other, we heard the unmistakable noise of someone peeing. Yes, we deduced it was James who had escaped to the bathroom, and with his microphone still on, we could hear the toilet seat go up and the urine splashing down into the bowl. We here at the TVgasm offices crossed our fingers for a little flatulence too, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be. The image then dissolved back to the studio, and for a second or two, we could still hear James trickling away as the camera settled in on Julie’s interview. Thus marking the very first urine/Chenbot transition in Big Brother history.
Click on the house guests to hear pee pee…
Still smiling as if he’d just won a trip to Disney World, Kaysar seemed positively giddy to be in the presence of Ms. Chen. Then again, I would be too. The interview itself wasn’t very fascinating, but Julie did get her jollies when she all but winked at the camera by asking “If you could go back into the house, what would you do differently?” Oh Chenbot. So clever.
Later, we faced the Head of Household competition, and dammit if I was a nervous nelly. I could not, under any circumstances, face another week of Friendship rule. Luckily, as we gazed upon the contestants in the backyard, it was clear that this would be a quiz challenge, and since that implies some sort of intellect, we knew The Friendship would be severely impaired.
“Tonight’s game is called ELIMINATOR,” announced The Chenbot with full robotic intonation. The rules were pretty basic. Julie would ask a question. If someone rang in and answered correctly, that person could eliminate someone else. If that person answered incorrectly, however, he or she would be eliminated instead. Pretty simple.
Well, Sarah answered the first question correctly and knocked Jennifer out of the running. Amazingly, Jennifer resisted the urge to shriek and do cartwheels across the lawn (sorry, dark memories of Tuesday’s luxury competition filled my head). Anyway, as the game unfolded, Ivette took out James, Janelle took out herself (she was screwed with the question), Sarah took out Ivette, Howie took out Beau, and finally, Rachel took out April. Yes, The Friendship had been officially eliminated. Who else feels like dancing the Hora? Ultimately, Howie won HOH, causing his alliance to break out into a mosh-pit of euphoria that nearly sent Janelle tumbling to the ground. Maggie, meanwhile, complained “It’s not fair!” Where’s Cappy’s spirit now, BIATCH?
Ivette rolls with the punches.
After the break, we returned to the roommates who were now seated in the living room and hopefully sedated. Julie asked a pit-stained Howie about his win, and since this seems to be the Summer of Hat Spirits, the new HOH attributed the victory to him having worn Kaysar’s hat. Howie then went on to say that he was also wearing Kaysar’s shirt, socks, and underwear. Before he could go any further, the Chenbot — with wires shorting and smoke whistling out her valves — simply snapped, “ENOUGH!”
That was awesome. Julie should do that more often. ENOUGH!
Anyway, after much hype, Julie finally revealed the big America’s Choice twist to the house guests, causing them all to scream and dance with excitement. The camera, of course, zoomed in on Ivette who mouthed to her friends, “Cappy!” Yeah, no shit. I’m sure they didn’t already think about that, considering they dedicate every last event in the house to him. “This sandwich I dedicate to Cappy.” “This napkin I dedicate to Cappy.” “This turd I dedicate to Cappy.”
Nevertheless, Julie alerted everyone that America would be voting for either Michael, Eric, or Kaysar. As for Ashlea, well, she left her quarantine. A chilly “Oh” permeated the living room. I wonder what exactly happened with Ashlea. In my mind, I can’t decide if she broke free like Linda Hamilton’s mental hospital escape in T2, or if it was more like a Species scene with Ashlea disemboweling scientists in white lab coats. Either way, she’s on the loose, so be careful kids.