Monday, July 12, 2010

Searching For Signal: #134 - “Big Brother” - Season 12, Episode 2

We have the requisite “last time in da hood” montage, where we are reminded how clueless people are completely willing to engage in questionable behavior as long as a camera is running or there’s a potential that Julie Chen might grace them with an insipid question. They show us Rachel laughing at least 3 times, so we can remember how annoying that is, and there’s lots of body shots to remind us that everyone in this house can apparently afford a personal trainer.

The first new material involves Ragan in the Diary Room, where he’s whining about the padlocked pantry. “We are all hungry and freaking out!” Then he does something dramatic with his hands, and Judy Garland turns over in her grave. If she’d only known that my people could be so flighty, maybe she wouldn’t have aimed for that market segment.

Annie’s also in the Diary Room, providing breaking news about The Saboteur. “It could be anybody!” Really, Annie? How in the world did you figure that out all on your own? Perhaps you should put down the champagne bottle and focus.

Scene with Andrew and Enzo trying to figure out who the Saboteur might be. It’s fairly clear by this point that Enzo is a bit scholastically challenged, and that Andrew’s favorite subject is himself. So this conversation doesn’t really get very far.

Then we have a bunch of the girls and Hayden sitting on this weird corner couch thing that I hadn’t noticed before. There’s lots of giggling for no reason, of course, because this is Big Brother, and simple laughter often is considered actual conversation. But the consensus is that Andrew is the Saboteur. Then they all stare dramatically at each other and wait for a commercial.

Then Hayden comes wandering in, swinging his new HOH key and wanting everybody to come see his Head of Household room. Everybody races upstairs, because it’s officially suck-up time. Hayden removes a velvet crowd-control rope from in front of the room. (What is THAT? Have they ever done that before?) Then everybody piles in the room, frantically looking for something cute to comment on in the hopes that this action will keep them from being nominated for eviction.

During the love fest, Hayden makes the startling statement that “I can swing rope a little.” In my community that means one thing, but in Hayden’s case he’s supposedly referring to the fact that he has performed in a rodeo or two. Everybody claps and worships him for this, still trying to be his best friend and thereby save their ass, but you can tell a few of the slower girls are thinking “Rodeo? Isn’t that the street where Julia Roberts went shopping when she played that hooker?”

Then we have Rachel, Brendon and Annie crammed into the hammock in the courtyard, because it’s Big Brother and three-ways are part of the rules. Brendon: “We’re the smartest people in the house.” Oh? That would be news to Matty, who has underwear with MENSA on the fly. Rachel, out of nowhere: “I’m so in love with science!” (She also mentions that she went to “Western Carolina University”. Wait. Aren’t there TWO states with “Carolina” in the name? Do they share one university? Is it a budget thing?)

Anyway, once Rachel and Brendon start talking about the 47 graduate degrees they’ve earned between the two of them, love blossoms. (Rachel in the Diary Room: “I wanted to jump his bones!”) So those two are immediately in lust, eyes glazing as they babble about string theory and black holes, while poor Annie is left in the cold. (Annie in the Diary Room: “It was like watching my parents have sex.”)

Then there’s a bunch of people up in the HOH Room (I’m thinking there must have been a buffet or something), wondering once again about who The Saboteur might be. Kathy: “I think it’s a girl.” Monet: “OMG, me too!” Matty: “We need to focus on getting the girl out!” Um, okay, but do any of you have a name to go with that? You can’t tell Julie Chen that you choose to evict “The Girl”. Well, unless you get to a point where there’s only one left.

Side note to the fine citizens of Texarkana, from which Kathy hails. In the last post, I mistakenly mentioned her as being from Texarkana, Texas, when she is actually from Texarkana, Arkansas. I understand that this is a big thing to you folks. My bad. Now please stop calling the house.

Hayden in the Diary Room: “Who do I get rid of?” Dude, I can’t even begin to focus on that when you hair looks the way it does. I realize that hairstyle has been really hip since they started that whole “High School Musical” thing, but how in the hell can you even see? Are you allowed to drive?

Scene with Annie dragging Ragan off to a private room, and then telling him “I have a girlfriend.” It’s actually very touching, tears and all as they bond over the trials of being gay. But the little Big Brother demon in the back of my head is wondering: How long before flighty Ragan turns on Annie and uses this intel against her? I’ve watched this show too many seasons. Word.

Rachel and Brendon are in the hot tub, talking about quantum physics and flirting. (Random thought: At least Rachel should never have to worry about drowning. Just sayin.) Hayden, in another part of the courtyard and trying to think of something that would require him to take his shirt off, spies the mating dance in the hot water. In the Diary Room, he lets us know that a “showmance” is not a good thing. Ominous music plays on the soundtrack.

Then we have Hayden and Enzo bonding over the fact that they both have muscles. After this bit of gay subtext, Enzo suddenly proclaims “We could run this thing!” I’m assuming he means the house, but I’m not ruling anything out.

Hayden and Enzo then corner Matty, because they need someone in their outfit who can actually think, then they run to get Lane, because they need large Texans who can kill people and not understand that this is wrong. All four guys seem to think this arrangement is the greatest thing since sliced pumpernickel. Matty: “This will be the strongest alliance in Big Brother history!” Oh, please.

But wait, it gets even better.

The four meet in the HOH room, where Enzo is so stoked about this development that he decides that they all need code names. He points at the others. You can be “Beast”, and you can be “Animal”, and you can be “Brains”. Then he smiles triumphantly. “And I can be ‘Meow-Meow’!”

Seriously. Meow-Meow? What happened to this person as a child?

Then they decide that they will call their alliance “The Brigade”.

Lane in the Diary Room, sharp as a tack: “I don’t even know what a brigade IS.” Poor Decatur, Texas. Not being represented very well, I’m afraid. I’d hold off on renaming any streets in Lane’s honor just yet.

Time for the Luxury Competition, wherein you can possibly win interesting things or it might just be a time filler while the producers work on something else more important. You never know.

We start off with Hayden prancing out of the house in a Tooth Fairy costume, looking far more comfortable in tights than his bros would deem acceptable. He’s especially fond of waving his princess wand around. Anyway, the house will divide into three teams, with the losing team becoming “have nots” and thereby living a life of suckiness for a week. (Note to Lane: suckiness = not good.)

The object of this competition is to crawl through a “caramel pool” and then dig for giant teeth in a pile of popcorn. First team to find eight teeth wins. Second team to do so… gets second place. Third team goes on slop, can only take cold showers, and has to sleep in unsatisfactory accommodations.

Off we go, and right away Brendon has an issue with the caramel and his shorts get pulled down, resulting in an irritating blurry spot on the screen. (Oh come on, Big Brother producers. In Europe, nobody would blink an eye. Is this why we don’t have universal health care?) Anyway, people are wallering in caramel and then coating themselves in popcorn, all in the greater good of finding fake teeth.

Kathy proves especially unsuited for this activity, and doesn’t seem to have any sense of urgency about the whole matter. As Ragan explains in a Diary Room excerpt, she seems to think she’s on a leisurely picnic, lying facedown in the caramel for hours at a time. Even when Britney accidentally kicks her in the head, she just lays there without a pulse while the youngsters race past her.

In the end, the green team wins, the pink team comes in second, and the blue team (which includes the lethargic Kathy, still stuck in the caramel) is now on slop, destined for bad housing, and most likely will not feel good about themselves for the next week. It takes six of the houseguests to drag worthless Kathy out of the muck.

On the good side, Hayden presents the other teams with a bolt cutter, so they can now have access to the pantry room. On the bad side, we go visit the new sleeping quarters for the blue team. Based on the facial expressions of the observers, the room reeks of something awful, perhaps due to the jars of maggots placed lovingly around the boudoir. The beds are actually cheap deck chairs. And, worst of all, the lighting is not model-worthy. The blue team cries.

Then we have a scene where worthless Kathy semi-attacks Britney, saying Britney had it easy in the competition because Enzo found an extra tooth and hid it just for Britney to find so she wouldn’t have to search. (Um, that tooth was out in the open for anybody to find, especially since Enzo was yelling “there’s a tooth right THERE!”) I’m beginning to wonder if the jails in Texarkana (either state) are filled with people who actually didn’t do anything wrong, courtesy of Kathy and her blame-shifting.

Britney in the Diary Room. She expresses non-loving sentiments about Kathy.

It’s the next morning, or at least some point after the Luxury competition, hard to tell in a house that doesn’t have real daylight. Andrew wanders in, having most likely just completed some type of self-love ceremony, and he notices that someone has taken green tape and made X’s on Kathy and Britney’s pictures on that wall where they have all the contestant photos. He then makes a beeline for Hayden in the HOH room, making him come look.

Hayden is suspicious. Why point this out to ME? Then he catches a reflection of himself in a mirror, and time stands still.

The rest of the house slowly wakes up, and each notices the green X’s. Kathy pretends to not care and goes off to a place that sheriffs go when they are not on duty. Britney, because she’s not one to just lay around in caramel and wait for people to save her, marches up and rips off the tape on her picture. Monet and Annie console her in a sidebar, telling her “don’t make a big deal out of this.” Chill.

Suddenly, Darth Vadar is back on the monitor, telling all that “sometimes the smallest competitor can be your strongest threat.” Kathy looks confused, because some of those words had more than two syllables. Britney looks irritated, like the dry-cleaning was not satisfactory or somebody dared to say that the color periwinkle was out of style.

Britney goes on the offensive, running up to Hayden in the HOH room. She suggests that he should put Brendon and Kathy up for eviction, but that “I’ll vote with whatever you say.” This is what you do in the Big Brother house. You try to save your butt, instead of waiting for someone to do it for you.

Shot of Kathy looking haggard in the kitchen.

Time for the Nomination Ceremony. Everyone’s piled around the table, all looking tragic and pale, because it’s the first nomination of the season and who knows what the hell is going to happen. Hayden and his High School Musical hair wanders into the room, and after the usual dramatic pulling of the keys, we learn that he has nominated Brendon and Rachel.

Hayden to Brendon: “You were unaccounted for during the blackout.” (Okay, fair.) Hayden to Rachel: “You haven’t tried to connect with me at all.” (Sorry, that is SO weak.) Hayden to yet another mirror: “You’re so fine you blow my mind. Hey Mickey.” Oh wait, was he even born when that song came out?

Quick shots of Brendon and Rachel in the Diary Room, both expressing outrage and a determination to conquer all odds. Of course, that’s what you have to say, it’s in the contract. Then we have Hayden in the Diary Room, explaining that Brendon is the real target.

Okay, but what happened to this “get the girl out” thing? Just asking.

Finale scene is Enzo in the Diary Room. “I’m a genius! I’m a mastermind!” No, you’re not. And you and your code-named buddies are already on my nerves. Somebody needs to break up The Brigade, sooner than later.

And Frank Sinatra needs to be the first to leave the building.

Roll credits.

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