Big Brother 17 Recap: Twists and Shout

Big Brother 17

After 16 seasons, CBS seems to have mastered the recipe for a perfect Big Brother season premiere.

Allow me to elaborate on the ingredients:

* 1 part contestants receiving their BB house keys (and acting convincingly surprised upon hearing they only have one hour to pack)
* 1 part contestants moving in and marveling at the idea that, yes, they really are in the Big Brother house
* 1 part Diary Room confessionals in which the houseguests comment on one another’s attractiveness
* 1 part contestants introducing themselves — and probably lying about their real professions (I’m looking at you, Clay and Da’Vonne!)
* 1 part Head of Household competition
* 1 part contestants trying to figure out what the season-long twist will be
* 1 part Julie Chen telling them what the actual twist will be

Wednesday’s season opener included ample amounts of all those factors, particularly the last one on the list: This season, Big Brother has done away with one lone twist, choosing instead to enact the “BB Takeover,” which will introduce a new surprise (and mystery guests) into the BB house every week.

Before we get to that, let’s review the eight houseguests we met on Wednesday’s premiere — the second group will be introduced on Thursday’s episode, airing at 8/7c — each of them accompanied by a brief description of what may or may not make them memorable throughout the summer.

* James Huling (Sumter, S.C.): Self-proclaimed “Asian hillbilly” with an affinity for quoting Taylor Swift songs

* Meg Maley (Collingswood, N.J.): Quirky waitress who calls her best friend her “gusband” — that’s “gay husband,” for the uninitiated

* Jace Agolli (Dunwoody, Ga.): Personal trainer who likes skateboarding in his spare time (as long as you don’t take away his grip tape!)

* Audrey Middleton (Villa Rica, Ga.): Big Brother‘s first transgender contestant, who suffered severe criticism from her family before transitioning into a woman

* Austin Matelson (Woodland Hills, Calif.): Professional wrestler with the stage name “Judas,” who also has a master’s degree in medieval romance literature — because wrestlers are nothing if not deeply sensitive

*Da’Vonne Rogers (Inglewood, Calif.): Poker dealer posing as a second-grade schoolteacher, who doesn’t mind being “covered up to [her] neck” in blood if it means winning $500,000. (Her 7-month-old daughter will be so proud!)

* Clay Honeycutt (Dickinson, Texas): Texas A&M graduate student who knows how to feed a goat and play football with his shirt off, about which no one has any complaints

* Shelli Poole (Marietta, Ga.): A self-proclaimed DIY guru, who immediately gets a crush on Clay, age difference be damned.

Early in the hour, Audrey senses some “real positive energy” among herself, Shelli and Da’Vonne, and, having learned nothing from previous seasons, the three women immediately form an all-girls alliance. (D’oh!) After hearing that one of the eight contestants must sit out the season’s first Head of Household competition, Da’Vonne chooses to remain on the sidelines, provided whoever wins does not nominate her for eviction. A fair trade-off, but one that I suspect will come back to bite Da’Vonne in the you-know-where.

Later, the HOH challenge proves very tricky, as the houseguests must stand on tiny planks of wood while attempting to catch 10 tomatoes. The slippery tomato juice being blasted at the HGs causes every single one of them to fall off their planks, but James is the last one to hit the ground, making him the first Head of Household. (Which he deserved, anyway; was he even flinching when those tomatoes flew at his face?)

As for the twists, Julie first reveals that last season’s Battle of the Block competition — which didn’t come off as a massive success — will be reinstated this year. For those whose memories need refreshing: Each week, two Head of Households will be chosen, allowing for four total nominees. The two pairs of nominated HGs will go head-to-head in a separate competition; whichever duo wins will not only become safe for the rest of the week, but will dethrone the HOH who put them on the chopping black in the first place.

Julie also informs the houseguests of the “BB Takeover” twist, which will bring a new curveball into the game each week (though she doesn’t elaborate on what twists they should expect… except for the unexpected ones, of course.)

But perhaps the most intriguing twist — especially for those who recall Big Brother‘s highly entertaining fifth season — is the Twin Twist: One contestant this season has an identical twin, and both siblings will play the game as one person. If they make it through the first five evictions without getting found out or eliminated, both twins will enter the game and compete as an individual contestants. (Refresh your memory on this super-fun twist, and marvel at the awful 2004 fashion.)

It won’t be until Thursday’s episode that we meet the remaining houseguests and learn of the first Takeover twist, but until then, hit the comments section below with your thoughts on the Season 17 premiere!

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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29 Comments
  1. Tom says:

    So annoying that they’re repeating a twist. Even more annoying that they’re not acknowledging the recycling of said twist.

  2. Ian says:

    If the next eight houseguests are as strong of personality as this first group, then I think all these twists are going to become too much. They should just be relying more on the house dynamics to get ratings than overdo it with gimmicks like this. By the end of the hour, I found myself liking most of them a lot, and I hope this 3 female alliance can go the distance. Da’Vonne especially actually ended up making me think she could outsmart a lot of these people.
    And forget about Clay, I like a real man, and Austin is 6’5″ of rugged hairy rocker hunkiness. Give it to me baby. He’s my eyecandy this season.

  3. LK says:

    Battle of the Block was an awful idea last season.. really sorry to see it back.

  4. Jen says:

    I’m not particularly feeling the twists this season. First off, since when is “Battle of the Block” a fan favorite? I thought this was widely known as one of the worst twists the show has ever had? Clearly Grodner loved it, wanted it back, and is disguising it as a “fan favorite.” She frustrates me. As the head producer, she knows absolutely nothing about the show. Second, let’s stop trying to disguise the “Twin Twist” as new, please? This was done back in BB5. Third, the “BB Takeover” twist is just an excuse for the producers to manipulate the game, throw in twists to benefit their favorites, and ruin all strategy that is going on in the house. I’m not feeling any of the twists this season, unfortunately. Although, not really a surprise considering that the twists have been lacking for a long time now.

    In terms of the first houseguests, I like most of them. Audrey, Da’Vonne, Shelli, and Austin were the standouts to me. Mainly Audrey and Da’Vonne, though. Audrey’s “Dexter Morgan” approach had so excited! If she can actually pull it off, I feel like she’s going to have some fantastic gameplay in store for us. The same with Da’Vonne. She seems like she can outsmart all of them. Audrey and Da’Vonne should definitely stick together. If they can do that, they’ll rule the game! The girls will fawn over Clay, but I’ll pass on that one. He is way too “pretty” for my taste and has as much personality as a doorknob. Surprisingly, I think Austin is the real hunk of the bunch. He’s tall, has a good beard, tattoos, and seems rather sweet. Meg’s personality will be fun for like 2 episodes, but it will get old. Chill out. James is the token “chill guy.” He has the fun personality that everybody loves, but I can’t picture him taking the prize. The same with Jace. He seems like a cool dude, but I don’t think he has what it takes to make it to the end.

    Out of these first 8 houseguests, Audrey and Da’Vonne seem like the 2 who will make it far. If the 2nd half of the cast has a few good personalities, then I think we are set in for a good summer. I have a feeling this is going to be a good Big Brother season!

    • Ian says:

      Oh my God, Jen! We agree on just about everything! <33333
      Audrey and Da'Vonne are clear frontrunners, I hate this overload of twists, and Austin would get me in trouble if I were in that house, lol. Talk about distracting. I'm lusting rather hard. Package aside though, he came off a bit reserved in the house, so I couldn't get a good read on what kind of player he'll be. Here's hoping he'll turn out to be a good strategist.

    • Jim says:

      I agree about the twists, I would love for Grodner to post now online what each weeks “twist” will be. That way it would not feel like they are cheating in anyone’s favor.

  5. Stephanie says:

    I’d like to see a season of Big Brother with no twists and no battle of the block. Let the houseguests compete without these gimmicks.

  6. abz says:

    I’m really hating how they only let half the contestants in at a time. It doesn’t really seem fair. They should let them all in at once like the usually did and have first impressions form naturally. And if they have the second half of contestants perform a different Battle of the Block that also doesn’t seem fair.
    When I first heard James’ voice, I instantly thought of Caleb from last season. They’re so similar.
    Twin Twist seems pretty interesting.

    • Ian says:

      The twin twist only puts a target on that guest and their twin’s back.
      And it might not be super fair, but bringing in 16 guests all at once isn’t very practical unless they were going to do a 2 hour premiere.

      • abz says:

        I figured. I only started watching BB in season 8 so I wasn’t familiar with the twist. I think if I had to choose among the twists, I’d pick the twin twist since I’ve personally never seen it before. The BB Takeover twist seems like just an excuse for them to bring Frankie Grande or Rachel back and I don’t know where this show got the idea that Battle of the Block was a fan favorite.
        I think a 2 hour or an hour and a half premiere on a Thursday would be a lot fairer. Let them all in at once and let the first impressions form among ALL the contestants naturally as well as friendships and alliances.

  7. Nana3 says:

    I thought this was a good first episode and I think this will be a better year than last years. I like the house guests so far. They all seem interesting so far. I never saw the twin twist so I had to watch the video. I started watching when BB10 was on. I just hope there isn’t twist overload that it gets confusing for us viewers. I think that hillbilly James is a hoot. Let BB summer begin.

  8. msb says:

    I actually liked BOB. It requires riskier and more thought out strategy, and allows them more chances to wise up and flip the house. I don’t see the twins getting far once they’re revealed but it should make for some fun tv the first several weeks. However, I hate the BB Takeover deal. It’s not much of a social experiment when the parameters are constantly changing in unknown ways. I think it will really take away from the strategy of the game and make it less likely that incredibly smart players like Dan or Derrick actually get the credit they deserve.

  9. mollytanner says:

    The twin twist was entertaining in Season 5, but that cast was not the brightest of the bunch. The episodes leading up to the reveal were pretty entertaining, but then the game became a letdown after it. It was Diane outplaying everyone, and then Drew outplaying Diane basically.

  10. John says:

    i believe they are only bringing in 6 more houseguests. This season there will be 14 houseguests, plus the twin in a few weeks, if they last that long. This is my second season watching so I’ve only known Battle of the Block. It seems like everyone doesn’t like that idea, so other seasons must’ve been better. My favorites so far are Audrey and Da’Vonne.

  11. Zachery says:

    Not off to a bad start. I do like the idea of Audrey, Da’Vonne and Shelli working together (I doubt it will last) especially if they roped James in. Meg is nice but annoying and as a gay man I guess I missed the newsletter discussing the term “gubby,” being a real thing. I hate Battle of the Block and they are delusional to believe it is a fan favorite. The Twin Twist is fun because of the reaction of the houseguests when it is revealed, though it isn’t original. I am hoping that the first BB Takeover will be that Da’Vonne and whomever doesn’t participate in tomorrow’s HOH will be given the title. The poker player in the other group tomorrow best hope that Da’Vonne doesn’t recognize her because she will immediately have a target on her back. Also Clay is pretty.

  12. Jennifer says:

    First of all I would like to say I loved how the first set of house guest welcomed and cheered on Audrey, they were even asking her questions about being a transgender. Asking how her family felt about it, how they took it and how they treated. I think Audrey is a woman of her word. She said that she was going to tell them when they moved in and she did. I only hope that the 2nd group is as welcoming. Now the part I don’t like is we now have to sit through the 1st set of house guest telling the 2nd half all about them. The twin factor I don’t think is going to last. Da’Vonne, Shelli, Audrey and Austin should all stick together. I believe that Shelli is the twin factor that is going to be played. She did state that she has a twin brother but she also told Audrey that her real name was Audrey and that it was a long story and would tell her later. Meg the young girl reminds me of the singer Debbie Gibson and she won’t last long. But then again we shall see. Right now if I had to pick a winner I’m going with Audrey.

  13. Gerri says:

    I appreciated season 5 for the simple fact that the right person won and enjoyed Drew Daniel. He was a twin, but it was the boring Natalie, Adria that was the twins with the twist. Hopefully they get a good set of twins this year. Not sure who it is, haven’t read anything about it.
    I know Clay is super good looking, but he also seems sweet. I like that DaVina is lying about dealing poker, while tomorrow a new actual poker player is moving in. Curious to see how that works.
    Battle of the Block. The sooner that is over the better.
    There are no villains yet. But give it time.

  14. Trenton neal says:

    Who’s going to do the twin twist ?

    • BrookeBS says:

      I think its going to be Liz. She’ll be on tonight’s episode. She has an identical twin. They have pics online.

  15. Renee says:

    I have been watching Big Brother since it begin. This season is the first time I do not care to watch it. It is so boring and I do not care for some of the people that are on the show this year. Not a good fit of people in the house. Boo