Big Brother Premiere Recap: Couples Retreat (and Repeat!)

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.

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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.

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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!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. CHRISTOPHER says:

    anyone know how the premiere did in the ratings? thanks.

  2. Sam says:

    Isn’t the twist that people whose partners leave end up in the final 10 kind of obvious? The whole point of pairing up is to nominate couples. If a person has no couple, they can’t be nominated. Seems to me like this ‘golden key’ is really just the producers way of making the obvious seem special.

  3. Dawn says:

    Just to clarify, Julie said only Rachel is HoH and only she will make the nominations, although Brendon, like Rachel, is safe from nomination.

  4. dfasfaf says:

    I love shelly and danielle (loved her since her season) !!!

    • 8daysaweek says:

      Danielle looks TERRIBLE. She was so pretty and now she looks awful. The dark hair is not doing her any favors but seriously, what is up with her skin? It’s awful. It looks like she’s been doing meth.

    • chloe says:

      i love shelly but danielle is strange like evil dick

  5. What?! says:

    Shelly is the new Kathy (from last season), she won’t win any challenges and will skirt her was to the final 6. Then the house guests will gladly vote her out (with much jubilation by past floaters that weren’t so obvious with it).

  6. WB Frog says:

    Gag. Rachel is back. Won’t be watching until she’s gone.

  7. JohnDoe says:

    First of all, Dick is epic, love that dude’s nonchalant attitude about pissing people off. I hope he makes both Brendan and Rachel cry. Adam seems pretty cool. I lol’d at the description of Cassi. How in the hell do those people not figure out she’s a model? It’s pretty clear, even from a mile away.

  8. Scott says:

    Dick’s in, I’m out. He’s what made me bail last time

  9. Gen says:

    Great recap. I like the season so far, though I was hoping Enzo and Hayden were coming back instead of Brenchel. Brenden is fine, but Rachel drives me insane. I find Adam really annoying right now. Shelly seems pretty normal, which is a nice change. I love Jeff and Jordan. Jordan is the dumbest woman I’ve ever seen which is just hilarious because she makes Jeff look smart. I think Dick is great. It should be a good season. There wasn’t enough arguing last season with the brigade because most of their moves were so obvious. I think these people will argue a lot more.

  10. mandy says:

    I may be Brachels only fan but I admit they are freaking great entertainment. Not to mention they are pretty damn good at challenges.. Oh and if Brendon can take his shirt off every episode then I will be a happy girl!

    • Michael says:

      I know! Everyone hates Rachel but she’s quite good at the game — except for her laugh, if she wasn’t so loud she could probably win the thing but oh well.

      Oh, man. This review was hilarious! Please do all the recaps, thanks.

      • sorry says:

        I’m sorry but empirically, objectively she’s HORRIBLE at the game. She can win a competition here or there but that’s kind of overshadowed by the fact that she spends the rest of her time looking for fights, burning bridges and generally trying to get on no one’s good side.

        • Michael says:

          I suppose I used the word “game” in the wrong context, I really meant to say that she’s good at competitions but can’t really work the social aspect of the Big Brother Game in its actual sense.

    • Kim says:

      You are not benchel’s only fan! I squealed with delight st the prospect of jeff and brendan on the same show all summer long!

  11. Laurel says:

    I was REALLY looking forward to the show this season until news broke today that Evil Dick had to leave the show.
    No reason was given and Daniele was given a golden key.
    This sucks !
    Seeing ED compete again would of been a great season of BB.

  12. Andrea says:

    Ugg..I am sooo over Evil Dick. I don’t care that he messes with other guests but that he thinks he is such a big deal. I must admit I am intrigued by the fact that Daniele said about 1 word the entire show. Adam annoys me..he doesn’t need to scream every time he talks. Rachael is entertaining but she doesn’t need to laugh every time she speaks. I will,however, watch all season and we shall see how it goes!

  13. Sourabh says:

    People aren’t going to think it’s fair that the veterans get another shot at it. Especially since they are even better prepared this time around.

  14. Taylor says:

    I LOVED Shelly. She’s just amazing.
    That face she made when Rachel left the room for the first time was priceless!!

  15. sadtroll says:

    “I hereby confirm that banana-hanging is a fine spectator sport.”

    Somehow Louis Virtel has managed to make that sound classy. Like some pronouncement from the Physical Education General of the U.S.

    “After exhaustive studies and countless fruit trials, I hereby confirm that banana-hanging is a fine spectator sport.” Bravo.

  16. JD says:

    i think Shelly and Cassi are the only ones in the new crew that are going to be any good. Love Danielle, Jeff, and Jordan, and will tolerate Brenchel if they team up with the other alumni and if Rachel can keep her mouth shut a little more often than she did last season. she is a great competitor, but just horrible to listen to. the new crew should be ashamed that someone as clearly out of shape as Dick beat all of them in the first HOH. i predict that Rachel, Jeff, and Danielle will win just about everything until one of them turns on the others. at which point all heck will break loose.

  17. boyd crowder says:

    I love how Evel Dick still has his own theme music! Love it!!

  18. darclyte says:

    I’m not in favor of mixing old and new players, but alas.
    I would have liked to have seen Evel Dick vs Evil Dr Will vs Dan, but c’est la vie.
    I figured that Brenchel would be back because, what else do they have going on?
    I figured that Jeff & Jordan would be back because apparently Reality TV is their (or at least Jeff’s) career.
    It was a toss up between ED & Danielle and Hayden & Enzo as to who I figured would be available.
    I didn’t think Dr Will & Boogie would be back for a third time, and I also didn’t think Jessie would be back for Round 3 either.
    Also, Will & Boogie were on The Talk yesterday, so I knew that weren’t going in.

    I don’t like the “forced pairs” as that reminds me too much of that HORRID Season 9 abomination.
    ED & Danielle have not been speaking at least as of an interview ED gave during Season 11. Who knows since then if they really still aren’t or it’s just something that he said, but Danielle comes across as a misanthrope that it’s entirely possible.
    I also didn’t like her hair, too dark for her, but I read a LOT of compliments on other sites/blogs.

    I’m not sure what to make of the Golden Key. I’ve long felt that an interesting twist would be that the person who survives the chopping block should get immunity the following week, but for up to 4 weeks? Hmm.
    Most people on other sites/blogs seemed to like the Golden Key twist.

    I did not care for Porsche, but I did like Cassi.
    I wonder if anyone in the house will also think she looks like Olivia Wilde and nicknames her “13.”
    I kinda liked Adam, but his “rocker growl” could get old quickly. He looks a little like comic Louis CK.

    BTW, they label ED as a website developer or somesuch. He and some partners recently launched a website where former reality show contestants video blog, chat, or recap about the current season of the show they were on.
    For instance, 4 former HGs will be discussing this year’s BB via video conferencing.
    ED even left a video message to air once the show aired. He claims that he had just been notified about a day or so prior to having to be put into sequester prior to the start of the season.
    Click on my name for the site.

    Jeff seemed to understand that the 8 new would be out for the 6 returning, so I would guess that he’d pull the 6 together and get them to try to oust the newbies. If Rachel noms one of the other returning couples, she may be making things harder for herself instead of easier.

    I read that the ratings were up from last year and that it “won the night.” Kewl!

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  20. chloe says:

    i thnk dick should automatickly leave the big brothers house!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!