Friday, July 9, 2010

Searching For Signal: #133 - “Big Brother” - Season 12, Episode 1

Fair disclaimer: Up to this point, I still haven’t decided if I’m going to blog each episode of “Big Brother” like I have in past years. It’s a huge commitment, with three shows a week. On the flip side, I know that some of you have a lot of fun with my twisted take on idiots locked in a house. (Shout out to JC in Cedar Hill, Texas. Sup, girl?) So, I’ll start with the posting, but if you want them to continue you need to show me the love. Know what I’m sayin? Good. Now, here we go…

We start things off with Julie Chenbot, standing on a stage and looking way less pregnant than we’ve seen her lately. As usual, she’s in some really stylish outfit that isn’t too risky, and there’s not a hair on her head that is out of place. I’ve never been a great fan of Julie, because, at least for me, she always comes across as cold, with her monotone and her obvious disregard for the emotions of the contestants. “So, you’ve just been stabbed in the back by people that you’ve slept with. What are your thoughts on Velcro?”

Anyway, Julie runs through her carefully scripted intro. It’s the usual stuff, with the only teaser being her announcement that “one of the houseguests will be playing a little differently.” That’s nice. So, does this mean that someone is actually going to apply intelligence to the situation? Or should we not aim that high? Don’t toy with me, Julie.

The announcer dude then comes on. 52 cameras, 95 microphones, 13 people. Blah, blah. We get it. You can’t scratch your butt without the nation seeing you do so. But at least we get some shots of the interior of the house. Somebody really loves bright colors and repeated patterns.

Back to Julie, fresh from the auto shop where they changed her motor oil and checked her tires. She’s brimming with news. One of the house guests is actually “The Saboteur”, a murky character with dastardly motives. And hey, America gets to help this person wreak havoc. Great. Because the common citizen is so dependable when it comes to strategy decisions.

Then we get to meet the house guests, a mix of interviews and reaction shots as they learn the news. I’m just going to record my impressions without any editing. Sound like fun?

Some guy flies by really fast, and I don’t really catch anything because I’m trying to get my pen to work.

Then Wynona Judd appears, with some startling cleavage that would make even Mom Naomi pause. She babbles something about being a chemist. Really? She says her name is Rachel, but in my heart she’ll always be Wynona. Love can build a bridge.

A younger version of Dolly Parton, at least from the face perspective, parades across the screen, yammering about being from a really small town. I believe her name is Britney.

We have Kathy from Texarkana, Texas, which throws me for a bit, because isn’t that the town where they did that “Legend of Bogey Creek” movie where Mary Anne from “Gilligan’s Island” found herself in peril? But hey, if she survived a serial killer from the swamps, she might do alright on this show. Plus, she’s a sheriff. That can’t hurt.

Some girl named Monet, who makes it immediately clear that she has a princess attitude. I instantly don’t like her. Why do the producers on this show insist on finding diva women who ain’t street at all? I want me a home girl that’s gonna come in and kick ass, then bake everybody a peach cobbler that will make you slap your momma. Sayin.

Then we have a guy (Andrew?) who can’t wait to tell us he’s a member of Mensa, like I’m going to hear that and go “well, hell, just give him the money now”. Nope. It’s amazing how the few really smart ones that make it through the selection process are usually the first ones to drop by the wayside. Smart don’t mean nothin. You gotta TALK to people, bro, not just do algebra in the bathroom. Oh, and he also makes it really clear that he’s Jewish. Fine by itself. Not so fine as things progress.

We have Annie, who seems to be a free spirit, and is the first one that remotely captures my interest. She’s bisexual, and thinks this may assist in her game play. True dat. Work it, girl.

There’s Lane, a cowboy from Decatur, Texas. Right away he tells us that he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed. And right away my suspicion radar starts beeping. People who fess up to being stupid are a lot more dangerous than those who don’t realize they are.

Enzo is an Italian guy from New Jersey, and he makes sure that he displays all the stereotypical traits of someone such as that. Attitude and self-love. Oh boy.

Brendon is a swim coach from California, and judging by the carefully prepared “home video”, he qualified for the show because he looks good wet, climbing out of a pool in tight trunks. There’s a slo-mo shot of him caressing his chest in case the trunks didn’t do it for you.

Next up is Kristen. We don’t really learn that much about her, except that she has the natural ability to dance drunkenly on top of a bar at her local hangout.

Then there’s Ragan, the requisite gay boy with enough flamboyance to power a mid-size city. (He’s from West Hollywood, CA, natch.) Within two seconds he is telling us that he is really attracted to big, dumb guys. Well, then. This should be like shooting fish in a barrel for you.

I think I left someone out. Doesn’t matter. They’ll start thinning the herd really quick.

Julie, in a securely remote location, then invites the new house guests to finally meet each other in front of the Big Brother house. They can’t officially talk to one another yet, so they all just stand there and try to appear photogenic.

Julie allows the flexing and breast-thrusting contestants to enter the house in small groups, and I made the following notations:

Rachel likes to squeal a lot, as well as jump around excitedly, which probably takes a lot of effort considering the continents she has depending from her chest. If she can lug those things around, she’ll probably be pretty damn good in the physical challenges.

Andrew the Jewish guy makes doubly sure that we understand that he is Andrew the Jewish guy.

Monet is part of the last group that is allowed in the house, and her pouting face indicates her dissatisfaction with the producers not understanding that she is royalty.

Annie runs right for the champagne and pops a cork, so she’s already my best friend.

Matt is very proud of his genius ranking.

Rachel has a very annoying laugh that could be a game-changer.

Ragan is already hot for Brendon. This won’t end well.

Andrew lies about his profession, not wanting people to know he’s a doctor. (Okay, he’s a podiatrist, which is not exactly “heart surgeon”, but still. You lie right away, you get in trouble eventually. Word.)

Kathy is 40 years old and has a 22-year-old son. What the hell? She doesn’t look it. But why did you spill those beans to the rest of the house? The older people never make it. It’s some kind of rule.

Annie loves Enzo’s accent. Honey, he’s from Jersey. They all talk like that. It’s not a special skill. Reach higher.

Then we have Britney, who explains in the Diary Room that she instantly recognized Ragan as a gay man. She proclaims that “flaming homosexuals are MY PEOPLE.” So I have to love her for that. Straight girls who love the gay boys are just the best people, I’m tellin’ ya. But not necessarily the best players.

Then we have Julie Chenbot again, speaking to the house guests from her remote location in the Hampshires. “One of you is lying,” she proclaims. The cast members quiver appropriately. We have a saboteur, and this person’s goal is to sabotage an individual, a group, or even the entire house. Their goal is NOT to win. If this person makes it to the halfway point, they will get $50,000.”

Quick shot of several house guests looking around for a dictionary. “Saboteur?” Was that the bad guy in “Iron Man 2”?

Then Julie plays an odd video, where Darth Vadar is speaking through a scratchy microphone and warning everybody that he or she is bad. People tremble and wonder if they’ve brought enough Xanax.

Several filler shots of people pondering who The Saboteur might be. Or at least making sure that they sit in chairs that are close to cameras.

Julie is back on the monitor, announcing that it’s time for the first Head of Household competition. Everybody claps, because they at least understand what THAT is. We’re breaking into two teams of six, which means that one person is left over. Anybody want to not play and just be the mascot?

Andrew raises his hand so fast that the G-forces shake the house. Okay, he’s the mascot. And he’s also the first person on everybody’s suspicion list. Why would you NOT compete for Head of Household? Hmmm.

Anyway, the house guests split into teams, then run put on their color-coordinated outfits. (Andrew gets a special outfit, dressing up as a hot dog on a bun. When Kathy the sheriff gets a gander of him wearing that, she busts a gut with a hearty round of laughter. This gets points from me. It’s the small things that count.)

Everybody stumbles out into the courtyard area, and we learn the playing field is basically a giant barbecue grill, and there are two enormous hot dogs hanging from the sky. (Rachel in the Diary Room: “I definitely wanna jump on those big wieners.” No surprise.) We also have what looks like giant mustard and ketchup dispensers, so we know that people are going to get wet.

Juliebot is on the monitor again, ‘splainin things. First, the mascot (Andrew) is automatically safe from the first eviction. (He makes a victorious hand gesture. The rest of us think, dude, that just makes you more of a target down the road. People don’t forget this stuff.) Then Julie explains that the goal of the game is to get your team from one end of the grill to the other by riding the dangling weenies.

Oh, and the FIRST person to get across on the winning team wins $10,000. The LAST person on the winning team becomes HOH. So you have a choice to make, go for the money or go for the power. (Pssst. Anybody who goes for the money instantly gets a target on their back. It’s part of the mythology of Big Brother.)

Anyway, off we go, and the people in the first round get across rather easily. (This would be Annie and Monet, now vying for the 10K.) Then the giant condiment squirters get turned on, and it’s a different game. Apparently it’s very hard to cling to a giant weenie when it’s slick, and people are plummeting to the earth left and right. It’s actually pretty funny, until Britney lands wrong and starts squealing like a stuck pig. Most of the house guests just stand around and watch, torn between “I hope she’s alright” and “I hope they send her home and I get closer to the big money”. Only Kathy, who is on the opposing team, rushes over, saying soothing words in that cute Texas accent while Britney wallers and grimaces.

Britney in the Diary Room: “I lost my dignity on a slippery wiener.” Haven’t we all, sweetie.

They send a medic out to inspect the damage. (Isn’t it always weird when you see staff people wander in front of the camera. It just doesn’t feel right.) He proclaims that Britney shouldn’t keep playing. Julie proclaims that Britney must now switch places with someone on her team that has already made it across. The opposing team proclaims that this person will be Kristen. The reaction on Kristen’s face proclaims that everybody sucks.

Things fire back up, and people are once again leaping on weenies. Kathy, on the yellow team, just can’t seem to get her act together, and she slams to the ground about a hundred times. The red team is more successful, eventually winning, and Hayden is the last person across, making him the first Head of Household. Happy red people jump and clap, while sad yellow people frown in defeat.

While people get cleaned up, the Announcer Guy tells us that America can vote for who they think The Saboteur might be. The results will be announced next Thursday, and we’ll also find out the actual identity of The Saboteur.

Julie again, telling America that we can send in sabotage ideas, and The Saboteur will pick one of the suggestions and then try to carry it out in the house. I’m already getting a little tired of this Saboteur thing, and it’s only the first show.

Julie’s still talking, because she’s no longer pregnant and doesn’t have anything else to do. The producers are going to mix things up a bit, by doing something that the house guests will most likely attribute to The Saboteur, assuming that they can pull this stunt off and the house guests understand what “attribute” means.

We’re back in the house, with the cast all assembled in the big room with the couches, babbling about nothing because they’ve just met and everybody is still being polite. Suddenly, the house is plunged into total darkness. They can’t see a thing.

But WE can, because the cameras apparently have fancy night-vision capability. (Just like on “Survivor”! Also on CBS! Watch that show, too!) And we see Brendon decide that he’s just going to go brush his teeth in the dark, a completely stupid and guilt-associating move. Then Andrew wanders a bit down a hallway, and starts throwing pillows and such at the other house guests, also a stupid move. Guys, you never do ANYTHING dumbass during the first few days in the house.

The lights come back up, and Kathy immediately starts yelling at Andrew, because she’s a police officer who has been trained in the prosecution of pillow-throwing perps. Her actions are interrupted by Darth Vadar again appearing on the monitor. He tells the confused children that the food pantry has now been padlocked (the camera zooms in on the evil lock), but hey, there’s enough Big Brother Slop in the kitchen for everybody. Have a good time! Bye!

No one is happy about the non-access to real food. Angry discussion ensues.

And the names “Andrew” and “Brendon” keep popping up. Big surprise.

Roll end credits.


  1. “I lost my dignity on a slippery wiener.” SHE STOLE MY LINE!!!!!

  2. This is hysterical! Big Brother is one of my guilty pleasures--every season I say "oh, I'll just watch the first episode and not get into it" and within 3 episodes I've got a Tivo season pass and am settled on my couch 3 nites a week drinking wine with my new "friends"--who, of course, I talk about behind their backs! Thanks for this and keep it comin'!

  3. Hi Cathy,

    Yep, I always start out every season pretending that I have no desire whatsoever to watch the show. Next thing you know, I'm on the Internet arguing about who made the better move and yelling at the TV like those people can actually hear me. Thanks for your comments!