If you’ve watched any of the past 12 seasons of CBS’ Big Brother, you probably appreciate how the show revamps its rules at will, brings on insane personalities, and doesn’t mind being dumb. Yes, dumb — that refreshing, saintly word.
On The Amazing Race and Survivor, we suffer through admirable activities like world travel and outdoorsmanship. On Big Brother, we get dumb drama in a dumb house full of dumb keys and dumb manipulation, and it edifies us more than any flaming torch in Vanuatu could. Bring on the braindead good times, Julie Chen! Jeff Probst, read a book.
Thursday night’s premiere introduced us to the household’s eight new residents. Before we discuss all the twists and tribulations of the episode, let’s break each newbie down into his/her best (and most offensive!) soundbites.
DOMINIC | He calls himself “an adrenaline junkie,” but at age 25, the cocky San Mateo, Calif. model still lives with his mom. So he’s more of an actual junkie.
CASSI | Cassi is a model, but she doesn’t admit her occupation to her housemates. They can’t figure it out either, because she’s a perfectly symmetrical knockout with fan-blown Emancipation of Mimi hair. Just your average mortician.
LAWON | This Californian wears loud green suits! Sometimes they’re blue. And watch this: He also likes brown. “I feel bold!” he declares. “No one can resist me!” Well, no, not if you force the entire visual spectrum into their corneas, Lawon. You’re right, in a sad way.
KEITH | I have no reason to believe the young preacher (who runs a matchmaking business on the side) is morally corrupt, but he hails from Bolingbrook, IL, the very suburb where police sergeant Drew Peterson is dealing with those annoying murder charges. Fix this, Keith. “God wants us to be fruitful and multiply!” he claims, justifying his horndoggery. Oh, the amount of disgraced televangelists who could’ve used that line.
SHELLY | My single favorite cast member, because she looks like a cross between Jerri Blank and Charlize Theron as Aileen Wuornos. Heavy! An avid hunter, Shelly lives by the motto, “Look like a lady, act like a man, work like a dog.” Excepting the anti-feminist implications there, what a firebrand!
ADAM | Adam is a gruff dude with a metal god beard who loves Beverly Hills 90210. He keeps bringing it up. He keeps thinking it makes him special. Dylan should throw him in the pool.
KALIA | The first words out of spunky, young Kalia’s mouth are “I’m like Carrie from Sex and the City!” I wanted her to end that sentence with “…from Carrie!”, but no: She’s just a regular old columnist with a “gift for gab.” And an intense gift for cliches, it seems. Mr. Big should throw her in a pool full of thesauruses.
PORSCHE | This “VIP cocktail waitress” also won’t own up to her modeling career and claims to be a student. Shelly quips, “I gotta be honest, Porsche sounds like a stripper name.” This is why Shelly is the new mascot of my life, TVLine, and many third-world nations. We all believe in her.
Chen wastes no time unleashing a big twist. (The word “twist” will be used thousands of times in this post, so stay strong with me.) The eight housemates have to pair up in four teams for the remainder of the season. Eek! They’ll be competing as duos; if one team member wins an HOH challenge (Head of Household, for you newcomers), his/her teammate is also HOH. Together, they nominate another duo for elimination, but only one member of that team will end up leaving the house. It sounds confusing right now, but it will get easier to understand once you realize this show is aimed squarely at great imbeciles like me. For now, just know that Shelly pairs with Cassi, Keith pairs with Porsche, Kalia pairs with Lawon, and Dominic pairs with Adam. Kalia’s the most worried about her match-up. “You definitely don’t want the flamboyant guy as a partner in a game when you’re trying to lay low,” she says. That sounds like a great column, Carrie!
Of course, four teams of two is hardly a competition. As soon as Chen’s monologue about the new HOH system is over, the doorbell rings and in come the six remaining housemates. Surprise, girls, we’ve seen them before: They’re three “dynamic duos” from past seasons. Loud-ass Rachel and her boyfriend Brendon from last season arrive first, yipping and hooting and awkward-laughing. (Seriously, how awkward is Rachel’s laugh?) They’re followed by Big Brother 11 winner Jordan and her power-partner Jeff, then last — and best — BB8 winner “Evel” Dick and his again-estranged daughter Daniele. You can tell they’re estranged because Daniele dyed her hair quite dark. Very telling. Dick still looks like Tommy Lee’s great-uncle who was once pronounced dead in the ’80s, in case you were worried.
So that’s 14 houseguests, including six veterans and two previous winners. A strange brew, yes, but I like the mix of celebrated camera whores and nervous new personalities. It has that trainwreck Thanksgiving feel. Mmm! I want to throw a basket of Pillsbury crescent rolls on the table and see if it sparks an argument, then a brawl, and then a couple of pregnancies.
Before the episode closes, we’re treated to the first HOH challenge. In “Going Bananas” (not named after the Madonna song, unfortunately), each duo clings to a gigantic, plush banana suspended in midair. The title of HOH goes to the last-clinging houseguest and his/her partner. You’d think after 125 years of Real World/Road Rules Challenges, these absurd endurance tests would prove pedantic, but no! I hereby confirm that banana-hanging is a fine spectator sport. As the newbies (beginning with Shelly, unfortunately) started tumbling off the gargantuan fruits sprayed with chocolate and whipped cream, it became apparent that the veterans came prepared. In a final duel, dark-and-estranged Daniele squared off against Rachel, who assured Daniele that if she dropped from the game, she’d be safe from elimination. And thus, loud-ass Rachel and her awkward-ass laugh won this suggestive-ass challenge.
One last twist: Now that Rachel (and her partner Brendon) won HOH, they have one last issue to consider when nominating another duo for elimination. Chen explains that the surviving member of the nominated duo wins an automatic entry to the Top 10. Dun, dun, dun! What! That’s kind of senseless. But that’s kind of Big Brother, you know? Sense is replaced with giant prop bananas, and bananas is delicious. That’s the reasoning.
(If you want to see the duo that Rachel nominated after the show, click over to the Wiki page. We’ll discuss it following Sunday’s episode.)
So, what are your feelings about the season’s potential? Do you dig the new cast? Are you happy with the returning rascals? And are you truly capable of handling another season of Evel Dick? Enlighten me in the comments, follow me on Twitter at @louisvirtel, and read me regularly at Movieline.com!