The thrill never grows old. Julie Chen recently talked to Larry King, host of Larry King Now on Hulu and Ora TV, about her nickname, The Chenbot, which we coined back in the TVgasm days. In the clip above, Julie references the infamous “but first” video that yours truly made in 2006 — one of the very first “supercuts” in the YouTube era. I’m not going to lie: I totally cheese out in the interview when Julie alludes to “this person” (because “this person” is MEEEEEEEEE).
Anyway, we love The Chenbot, and while I’m sorry that she took offense to the nickname at first, I hope she sees it came from a place of love and joy. And, if I may be so bold to assert this, by embracing The Chenbot persona, one might even say that Julie herself became MORE HUMAN.
Well, the decidedly great Big Brother 14 season has drawn to a close, and while there was never really a clear-cut villain (some people pegged Frank, others Dan), the sheer amount of backstabbing, scheming, and ever-changing strategies truly put this cycle in the upper echelons. Sure, it can’t compete with the brilliance of season six, the characters of season eight, or the general lunacy of season ten, but 14 was a great return to form after two lackluster, go-with-the-flow seasons.
Best of all, we were given one helluva finale. Between Dan, Ian, and Danielle, I didn’t truly know who would win. Ian was likable and skillful, Dan a master gamer, and Danielle and expert social player. All three deserved to win in their own ways, and I would have been happy if any of them had won. A strong part of me was actually rooting for Dan, just based on the brazen schemes he’s pulled off in the past three weeks or so, but when Ian ultimately took home the prize, I was just as happy. After all, I had been pulling for him for the majority of the season (until my allegiance swayed to Dan in the final stretch). My only gripe about the finale was the ridiculous multiple choice round that capped the three-part Head of Household competition. It’s the same thing every year, and it always feel totally arbitrary. Normally I’m okay with it, but I really wanted Dan to win, if only so that we’d have to see him choose between Ian and Danielle. It would have been a phenomenal moment on par with Drew deciding between bros (Cowboy) or ho’s (Diane) on season five. Minor quibble though.
A few years ago, my fellow blogger Ed Hill wrote some theory he had about reality TV. It was something called the “golden corridor” or the “golden stretch” or something like that. Basically, his theory was that certain reality shows peak midway through a season. In the beginning, the shows are awkward, finding their footing. In the middle, the scheming reaches a fever pitch. And by the end, the colorful villains are mostly weeded out, and there’s a rote quality to the order of eliminations. Big Brother has more or less followed these rules for the last few season, with the final six or five being a rather predictable sequence of events.
Last night, however, proved otherwise.
Will the Quack Pack ever be able to get Frank out of Big Brother 14? Hard to say, but that doesn’t mean they won’t give it another college try. Yes, on Sunday’s episode of Big Brother, Ian pulled out an easy victory in the endurance competition, landing him a week in the Head of Household room (a far more luxurious reign than his previous 10 minute stint). Despite all the craziness that unfolded last week, Ian decided to get the whole gang back together and reunited the Quack Pack, which meant that Frank’s new alliance with Dan and Danielle now had as much worth as the soiled bikini bottom that former cast member Jesse wore into the house as part of this week’s Pandora’s Box. Yes, Jesse was back and did little more than flex his arms, toss some junk food, and show off his well-greased pecs. It wasn’t nearly as entertaining as Rachel’s furious return two seasons ago, but I suppose it was good enough. Ian, meanwhile, earned himself a host of new toys and gifts, none of which seemed to excite him as much as a small rock of bismuth that he received upon ascending to the Head of Household throne.
Anyway, the episode more or less played out the way we expected it to: Ian nominated Frank and Jenn, who continues to amusingly pat herself on the back for having used the veto last week. There was some talk of Ian giving Frank a break, but we all knew that was merely misdirection. Unless Frank wins the veto, I’m not sure he can get out of this one. He’s used up all his Hail Marys. I guess we shall see……
I’m back! For the moment. Sorry everyone, I’ve been working on some non-blog stuff that has totally monopolized my time. Despite that, I knew I just had to write something about this week’s double eviction episode of Big Brother, which was AH-MAH-ZING. I tend to love these “Big Brother Fast Forward” shows. They’re awkward, oddly-paced, and totally low-rent, but there’s a rustic charm that always prevails — like watching some hog tackling competition at a country fair (full disclosure: I’ve never been to a country fair or seen hog tackling).
Anyway, as herky-jerky as these episodes are, the fact that it all unfurls live leads to some pretty spectacular fireworks, and this year’s “Fast Forward” was no different. In fact, this may have been my favorite of all time. From the eviction videos to the HoH results to the Veto competition — it was all high drama and comedy. The only letdown was the second ouster, which sort of ended the great hour on a sad, deflated note — like a balloon slowly weezing out air. Minor quibbles though. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. An excellent capper to a stellar week of strategy and drama. It’s so nice to have an interesting season again…
Ummmmmm… I’m fully aware that by the time I publish this Big Brother photocap, the next episode will have aired already on the East Coast. Oh well. Here’s all that really matters: Zingbot 3000 made its return, and this time, his spawn — Baby Zingbot — made an appearance too. Not going to lie, I was TOTALLY SMITTEN by this adorable baby bot chirping “Zing! Zing!” I am just a big ol’ softy after all. How glorious.
In other news, Wil is an idiot.
So much has happened since my last photocap of Big Brother 14. I took two episodes off, and I’d like to say it was to protest the ouster of Janelle, but honestly, I was just being lazy. I was, however, quite QUITE mad about Janelle’s eviction, but at the very least it came as a result of some massively compelling strategy; so I can’t complain too much. Last Tuesday’s episode was probably the best of the season, even if it did imperil my precious Janey.
The real surprise has been the emergence of Danielle as a power player. Dan was right: she has graduated from his school of Big Brother, and now she is no longer some forgettable wallflower with spackled on makeup. No, Danielle has become rather strategic. No more Mr. Nice Guy. Or, Lady Nicety (she IS a woman after all). That being said, I kind of hate Danielle because she did set up Janelle, and while I have to respect the move, there’s nothing about Big Brother that ever states we should have rational, non-contradictory opinions about anyone or anything in the game.
Actually, I hate Boogie more right now (which is odd because I have a friendly relationship with him outside of the house — I just compartmentalize the two and pretend one is Real Boogie and the other is BB Boogie, the latter of whom I really don’t like). Boogie has been gloating about Janelle’s ouster, which makes me want to strangle him through my TV, but at the same time, he does realize the importance of a villain, and he’s doing the best job out of anyone of assuming that role. So I guess I can’t hate THAT much. And yet, it’s my duty to hate the villain massively. So I DO hate that much. I’m not even sure what I’m writing anymore. Just words, people. Filler until the photocap.
Pictures after the jump… Continue reading
Well, the coaches are dunzo on Big Brother 14, and I have to say that while I thoroughly enjoyed the idea of teams competing against each other, the ensuing chaos in the household has been a perfectly lovely alternative for me. The show has more or less been reset — as Chenbot happily declared on Thursday — and now we’re back to twelve people vying for the half million dollar prize. Some might see this as an annoying step backwards but no — no it is not! This will just lead to greater chaos. Think about it: normally when there are twelve people in the house, it’s the first week of the season. Tension is usually low (unless someone like Willie Hantz is around to stir the pot) and people generally vote based on polite popularity contests. Now, however, we have twelve people who are all starting to truly hate each other. They have no idea how to align themselves, and better yet, they don’t want to work with each other. Take, for instance, Frank and Boogie, who trust no one. Or Britney, who trusts no one. Or Wil, who trusts no one. They’re all a disaster, and this twist has done nothing but make them all bonkers. I’m a little bonkers myself. I’m not even sure what I’m typing at the moment. I just know I have to keep typing or else I might pass out.
Anyway, Boogie has officially cast his pall on Frank, who I still like, but admittedly, he is picking up some of his mentor’s bad habits. Those habits include paranoia and bitterness. No good. This has thus transformed Frank into public enemy #1, which is a shame because I really don’t see what the guy has done to annoy everyone. He’s certainly no Joe, who yells at the top of his lungs in a church confessional I’m sure. And he’s definitely no Wil, who seemingly rehearses his Diary Room lines for hours on ends. There’s also this notion that Frank is strong and a fierce competitor, but last time I checked, he’d only won one competition (right?). Shane is the real threat on that front. Nevertheless, the scrambling has been great fun to watch, and I hope we get some old-fashioned screaming matches in the coming days and weeks. Someone at the very least better inject some life into Jenn, the quietest grrrrrl band member I’ve ever seen.
On to the photocap…
In a MOST. UNPREDICTABLE. AND SHOCKING way, the Big Brother house was turned upside down last night. Yes, America voted on whether or not the coaches would be allowed back into the game, and I can assure you that indeed America / CBS has declared it so! Memo to Big Brother: time to change the tagline to “Expect the Expected.”
But before we get to that most obvious of twists (so obvious it was sniffed out by players in the first weeks and even included in an episode or two), we had some fun shenanigans to deal with. First off, as the show began, we were promised some daring act of treachery, an incident so dramatic that it threatened the humble assumptions that Frank would be going home. That breathtaking moment: Wil getting a little bitchy about Janelle. That’s it. Basically, the long and the short of it was that Wil didn’t like that Janelle was taking credit for saving his ass (which she did). Her response: she called him a “bitchy, bitchy man” and then cried some crocodile tears to assuage his ego. It was classic Janelle — so classic that Wil saw right through it. However, he maintained a charade of friendship, despite knowing that Janelle was feeding him a huge line of BS. Little does Wil realize, however, that we love Janelle, and if he backstabs her, we’ll hate him.
The gameplay sure is fast and furious on Big Brother where even the most minor interaction (usually stemming from Ian) seems to send huge ripples throughout the house. I won’t spoil what happened in last night’s show, but needless to say, we certainly aren’t facing the listless go-with-the-flow mentality that plagued the past two seasons.
That being said, this year’s cast is not perfect. While the strategy has been thick since practically day one, the fireworks — save for Willie’s grand meltdown — have been lacking. This season sorely lacks a villain to take Willie’s dumb place, and without a villain, a hero can’t emerge The closest thing we have is Boogie, but he doesn’t really annoy me that much anymore. That’s probably because he wears a Dartmouth jersey all over the house (not my alma mater’s proudest moment, but I’ll take it). Continue reading