Lynette Rice
September 13, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

The ”Big Brother” finale: Where is the love?

Well, that certainly wasn’t the finale I was expecting.

Oh sure, I figured Boogie would win. (We all did, didn’t we?) And I knew Janelle would take home the $25,000. I even expected the Chen 3000 to bust out some crazy new outfit (though certainly not one involving the latest evolution of origami). But did I expect to feel a tremendous amount of empathy for Erika when BB replayed the video of Boogie calling her a ho, followed by a self-righteous Alison imploring her to buy some dignity? No. Did I think I’d see more video of someone calling Janelle either fat or a bitch? Nooo. Did I really think someone like Danielle would have the cojones to tell Julie to ”shut up” after giving a ridiculous, it’s all-about-me! speech before casting her vote? Well…yes, but my jaw dropped just the same.

And who’da thunk that Jase and Diane would earn the biggest laugh by mocking Will and Boogie’s memorable phone routine while admitting that their rumored Mr. and Mrs. Smith alliance was actually real — even though it did little to advance them in the game? Perhaps that was a blessing in disguise; after last night’s train wreck, it hardly looked like a privilege to be a finalist in Big Brother: All-Stars.

The night did have its moments, though.

While I have mixed feelings about allowing the sequestered jurors to influence each other’s votes, I gotta say that taped deliberation was pure money. Danielle — who served as a de facto moderator — was brilliant in her argument that sexism too often plays a role in who wins, so one shouldn’t necessarily devalue Erika’s game. Ditto for Marcellas, who chided Will and Boogie for using the promise of sex (and love) to manipulate the gals. Janelle, on the other hand, argued passionately that Chill Town really ran this game (though girlfriend could have dialed down the anger; jealousy and resentment ain’t attractive, even if you’re wearing a red dress and a tiara). Even Will was in top form, giving props to Boogie for both riding coattails and winning competitions when it was necessary.

I honestly felt a convincing case was made for each finalist — that is, until Erika and Booger had the chance to speak for themselves. All Erika could muster was how she persuaded Janelle to evict Will, while Boogie called the jury out for its hypocrisy while at the same time managing to thank and compliment them all. And it certainly didn’t hurt that Boogie — quite literally — stood his ground, while Erika seemed to disappear in her pleather chair. No surprise, then, that Boogie won it 6-1, with Marcellas casting the lone vote for Erika. All was not lost for Bone Rack, however; she did win $50K, money that should be spent on carbs, Kleenex, and a one-way ticket out of Los Angeles — because, judging by the body language between her and Boogie, she sure as hell ain’t making a beeline for Dolce.

[Read Jessica Shaw’s interviews with Mike and Erika.]

Ah, so many other highlights to call out from last night’s finale (like Howie’s self-promotion and the return of Kaysar’s hair), but I’ll leave it to you, dear readers, to light up our message board. Instead, we have some last-minute business to cover. Last year, I asked you readers to post any improvements that you wanted producers Allison Grodner and Arnold Shapiro to make to this beloved franchise — a tradition that I’d like to continue today (and just like last year, I’ll do my best to make sure they get your suggestions). What would you like to see done differently? I for one, appreciated how the new rules governing the veto competitions reduced the possibility of backdooring — but I would have preferred more video from the sequester house. Loved how we saw fewer luxury competitions, hated the slop. Loved the drunken stupors, hated the random bathtub pairings. (Marcellas and Janelle? No, no, a thousand times no!) Love Neil Patrick Harris; hated seeing him slum it in the house. Ah, the list goes on. What about you?

Time to commence the five stages of grief now that BB is over — but not until you cancel your Internet feed with Real Player! Damn thing charged me for months last year before I finally figured out it wasn’t just a three-month deal. (Who’s the colossal tool now, I ask you?)

As always, you’ve been swell, guys. Until next summer…

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