If the warm weather and mosquitoes aren’t enough to signal summer’s arrival, a new season of Big Brother certainly does the trick.
As is June tradition at CBS, the reality competition is back for a fresh cycle, with Tuesday’s episode kicking off a two-night premiere. (Part 2 will air Wednesday at 8 pm.)
And Big Brother has its own big shoes to fill this year: Season 20, which aired last summer, was arguably the show’s most entertaining cycle in years, with an unpredictable cast and compelling twists — including the surprise introduction of Julie Chen Moonves. But judging by Tuesday’s premiere, Season 21 could be equally as fun to watch, seeing as the backstabbing is off to an early start.
Before you give us your initial thoughts on Season 21, let’s recap what went down in the first hour:
* As you might expect, the houseguest introductions come first (via cheesy, semi-staged video packages, naturally). Some notable moments: Kemi Faknule describes herself as a “reformed mean girl” whose New Year’s resolution to be more empathetic “didn’t even last two weeks” (fun!); the quirky Nicole Anthony, who strikes me as a younger version of last summer’s Rockstar, seems to be getting this season’s most unflattering edit (“Thanks for always hanging up my Pegasus drawings, Dad!”); and Isabella Wang, who was raised under super-traditional Chinese parents, plans to win $500,000 and break her mom’s heart by revealing she’s actually pretty wild when she’s not around her family. Also, in case you didn’t notice, Jack Matthews looks like Jason Momoa. But you probably noticed.
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* Christie Murphy informs us that she recently ended a long-term relationship with a “significantly older woman” — and it’s later revealed that the woman in question is a member of Tommy Bracco’s family. It’s been a long time since Big Brother relied on a people-who-secretly-know-each-other twist, so I’m interested to see if these two will end up forming an alliance.
* Since Big Brother has allegedly been called “the craziest summer camp ever” — a quote that’s not attributed to anyone in particular — this season has been dubbed “Camp BB,” and the show is really leaning into the theme. Case in point: the summer’s first big twist, which asks all 16 houseguests to elect a Camp Director. This person will be safe for the entire first week of the game, but they will impact the first Head of Household competition and “could single-handedly put your game in jeopardy,” Julie warns the group.
Cliff, David, Jessica and Jackson all volunteer for the position, though Jessica and Jackson emerge as the only real contenders. A bunch of houseguests tell Jessica they’ll vote for her, then a lot of the same houseguests tell Jackson they’ll vote for him. In the end, Jackson emerges victorious with 10 votes, and Jessica is stunned to learn that “a lot of people lied to me!” Uh, yes. Welcome to the show, girl.
* Of course, Jackson’s celebration is short-lived after he learns the extent of his Camp Director power. Although he’ll be safe from eviction, he now has to choose four houseguests that he wants to “banish.” Those four will face off in a competition of their own — and only three of them will continue their stays in the BB house, with one unlucky player getting evicted if they lose the competition.
Jackson’s decision won’t be revealed until Wednesday’s episode, but the premiere ends with him apologizing profusely to all of his fellow houseguests… until he reminds them that “there’s only confetti for one person,” and it’s clear he doesn’t feel too badly about the banishments to come.
With that, I turn it over to you. What did you think of Big Brother‘s return? Any early favorites or least favorites? Drop a comment below!