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.
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…
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.
Well, an explosive week in the Big Brother house has come to an end. It was fun watching Willie get kicked out (did y’all hear he got arrested just days after leaving the house?), but at the same time, I’m going to miss having a full-fledged villain to kick around. As we all know, the best seasons have loathsome enemies, and Willie was certainly shaping up to be one. In the wake of his awfulness, I became a Frank fan and am still a Frank fan, but I’m surprised to hear that people are hating on him. I guess it’s the Boogie effect. Say it ain’t so!
Is it too early to say that Big Brother is back? After two seasons of cast members who just voted with the majority and were afraid to make ripples, we are back with a household of schemers and hot heads. In last night’s episode, we saw a meltdown, an insurrection, and battle of egos. THIS is what we sign up for every season. Fingers crossed that it will only get better, not fizzle out like a shooting star.
Oh, Big Brother – how I love thee.
And suddenly, just like that, our summer has once again fallen under the spell of Big Brother. Yes, Julie Chen and her beguiling sartorial decisions were back last night with the premiere of Big Brother 14, which saw the return of many of our favorite things: idiots, silly challenges, and, of course, an epic twist. This time around, the producers again called upon four of our favorite cast members of yore, but unlike last year, they wouldn’t be competiting with the newbies. Instead, the All-Stars would be serving as coaches — the new trend in reality TV. Waltzing back into the house were Dan (winner of season ten), Mike Boogie (winner of All-Stars), Janelle (winner of MY HEART), and Britney (winner of biggest idiot that we still loved anyway). Actually, Britney’s not an idiot, but she was rather naive in her season to have been bamboozled by the Brigade — the most successful and least charismatic alliance of all time.
Anyway, the vets each got to pick teams of three, and then in a cruel twist, the Chenbot made one of the coaches oust a member on the spot (well, after a lengthy mattress competition which managed to lure me in despite its ridiculousness).
The confetti has fallen. The seats have emptied. The house has been cleared out. Big Brother 13 is over, and another season is behind us. It’s taken me a day to get around to this photocap — not because I’m curled up in a ball of sadness, but because in the wake of the finale, I realized I simply needed a day to rebound from thirteen intense weeks of Big Brother. When Julie signed off for the last time, it was like my brain quietly signed off also. My mental ability to think, write, or talk about Big Brother ceased to exist. We spend a lot of energy on this show, and when it ends, it feels good to just… release.
Oh, but how could one truly release when there was so much good stuff on display? There was Adam hilariously thinking he could have ever won this game. There was Porsche wearing what appeared to be a tablecloth from a Boca Raton yard sale. There was Chenbot stumbling over every fifth word. And there was Rachel, decked out like a mermaid waitress, ready to earn her place in Big Brother history.
What more can be really said about the finale? I sure as hell can’t think of anything (although I’m sure there’s plenty to discuss). Consider this blogger officially tapped out. One last lengthy photocap after the jump… Continue reading
Every season, the Chenbot dazzles us with an outfit so unconventional, so bizarre that it becomes instantly legendary. There was her sparkling astronaut pantsuit one year. And there was her orange jumpsuit another year. Last night, Julie defied expectations and busted out her first ever cape. That’s right: Chenbot wore a CAPE. As in, the thing that Superman wears. Except we weren’t looking at Superman. We were looking at Julie effin’ Chen. In a cape.
Oh, but Julie didn’t stop there. She took the cape ante and she raised it one Bindi Irwin by dressing in all khaki. About a dozen J. Crew enthusiasts must have fainted on the spot.
Yes, Chenbot was going on safari in a cape. It made no sense. Or did it? Perhaps we were witnessing a new side to Julie. Maybe Chenbot had entered the Captain America Chris-Evans-bufferizer machine and had now emerged as a superhero. Behold: Super Safari Chenbot! (Other welcome variations: “Safari Super Julie” by Hamsterwatch and “Khaki Caped Crusader” by PatrickGomezLA.)
I’m not exactly sure what Super Safari Chenbot does, but I imagine she can fly and that she often appears in jungles to ward off poachers and treasure hunters. Clearly she has a loyal giraffe that she rides (when not flying). She can also speak to the giraffe, who both gives her sage advice and also crafts weapons out of twigs and dried dung. I imagine Lynda Carter playing a role in this too, but it’s still a bit murky.
Either way, it’s clear that someone has uploaded SaveTheAnimals.exe into Chenbot’s mainframe, and I’m just thrilled to see how all will pan out.