Yesterday’s episode of Big Brother featured so much of Rachel’s self-victimization, Brendon’s pathetic comfort, and Brenchel’s cruel commentary that I can’t justify liking a thing about them. I don’t care if Rachel is “a competitor.” So was unhinged Johnny Bananas from MTV’s The Challenge. So was American Idol‘s Danny Gokey. So is Fox News. I can’t support Brenchel’s brand of anxious self-righteousness, and I hope we’re in agreement there. It’s the other houseguests who are playing the more interesting game anyway, and I think we can expect gutsier, more impressive strategy from those snipers. For some reason, I expect to be impressed by Porsche. Don’t ask.
We begin last night’s episode in the throes of the HOH challenge, with nine houseguests standing upon a rocking ski contraption. Rachel looks on from the sidelines, clapping at Brendon like a less-coordinated Vanna White. As the competing nonet sway on the mid-air ski mechanism, it’s clear that lower-body strength is a major help and, in fact, upper body strength is a major hindrance. All the dudes are hurtin’. Jeff is buckling, Lawon is gyrating and writhing like a pained Sly Stone, and Brendon is predictably whiny. The first person to fall is embarrassed Adam, who wins the privilege of opening one of five loser “snowballs” located on a table near Rachel. One snowball contains $10,000, but the others bear dubious rewards. Adam opens one and reads a note that says he must wear an elf costume for a week. Aww, that’s not so bad. That’s like a kindergartener’s “Truth or Dare” dare. You wear that demoralizing troll costume, Adam! You can draw a Van Halen logo on it, if you like.
Lawon falls next, followed by Brendon. Both open snowballs containing “Have-Not” notes, meaning they’ll be eating slop and sardines for the next week. I love watching Brendon suffer. He’s like a beady-eyed, evil Nigel Barker, and I smize like a bloodthirsty Tyra at his demise. Be more editorial next time, Brendon!
Jeff’s the next to tumble off the ski-majig, and he opens up the $10,000 snowball. Yay! He can donate it to one of his many causes, like homophobia or loudness. When Jordan is the fifth competitor to fall off, she opens the last snowball and sees that she, too, will be a Have-Not this week. I’m fine with that. Jordan gets feistier with agitation, and slop will accelerate her feistiness process.
That means we’re left with Shelly, Kalia, Daniele, and Porsche. If Shelly or Porsche wins, the veterans’ alliance remains in power. If Daniele or Kalia, who were disgraced last week during a house meeting, win, they have a chance to strike back. And, oh, look: Porsche’s feeling weak.
“The pain’s not in my armpits, like it is for the others,” she claims in confessional. “It’s in my shoulder. Right here.” She points to her tricep. Teehee! That’s like a shoulder, if you’re new to the English language.
As Shelly, Daniele, and Kalia linger on their skis, Brendon tells us why he thinks Kalia is performing so well.
“I think this particular competition was suited for Kalia. It involved minimal movement and she kind of used her — I don’t know what they call it — muffin top to rest on that bar. So that might’ve helped.”
Nothing like cruel, misogynist comments from the sorest loser since Salieri. To Brendon’s chagrin, Shelly is the next to descend from the skis, leaving a beaming Daniele and a fast-crumbling Kalia to win the gold and silver. Shelly is angry with herself, and she tells her colleagues, “Two classless people up there.” Bad news, Shelly: If you’re on Big Brother, you’re inherently classless. It doesn’t matter who cuddle with in the Have-Not asylum.
Lo and behold, Daniele ends up winning. Honestly? Thank God. Say what you will about Daniele’s aloofness and general callousness, but she’s not a moron. She could stand to be funnier, yes, but she’s an expert on game dynamics and a true Big Brother craftsman. Besides, Cassi was eliminated, and Daniele’s the only available replacement for her backwoods brass. I’m a fan.
With glee, Daniele unveils her new HOH pad to the roommates, and they’re all less than gleeful about her digs. “It’s like having your ex-girlfriend calling you over to look at her apartment,” Jeff claims. Very funny. He’s that rare comedian who is the joke.
After the Daniele party concludes, we join Lawon, Jordan, and Shelly on the patio. Lawon opens up about being gay, and Jordan responds with the kind of intelligence we expect from Big Brother veterans.
“So, what is it you like more about men than women?” she asks. Yep, that’s how gayness works. You weigh the pros and cons of both sexes, decide which one is the heavier side of the Venn diagram, and proceed with humping that half. To Lawon’s credit, he doesn’t hurl Shelly — who is the color of an aged Spalding basketball — at Jordan. Instead, he relays how his grandmother said to him, “I want you to be the best black gay man you can be.” OK. Slight tears in my plasticine robot eyes. I’m starting to dig this Lawon, even if he dresses like a direct-to-VHS star of an Undercover Brother sequel.
HOH Daniele lets the panicked veterans try and appeal to her. First, she assures Jeff and Jordan that she won’t attempt to eliminate them that week (a promise that Jeff nonsensically believes is a trick), and then she sits back as Rachel and Brendon instruct her not to nominate them. It’s an uneventful plea that concludes with chilly hugs, but when Daniele tells us, “I’m not afraid to get blood on my hands,” their fate is clear. After a quick nomination ceremony, Daniele reveals that she’s nominated the odious Brenchel for elimination. Oh, joy. I’ve decided not to check up on the P.O.V. competition results, but I’m planning on sleeping better knowing that Rachel or Brendon may be invited to an intense interview with Julie Chen this Thursday. Pardon me as I enact the Cha-Cha Slide in front of an open window. I’m even adding some hip-popping Lawon flair!
What did you think of the episode? Are you psyched for Brenchel retaliation? Mad? Do you hate Daniele and Kalia? And what about Porsche — is she a sock puppet in a tank top? Hit me in the comments, read me regularly at Movieline.com, and follow me on Twitter at @louisvirtel.