‘Big Brother’ recap: Crazy meltdowns continue
I’d like to start out by thanking the Big Brother house. I went on vacation for two weeks, and they patiently waited for me to return to go utterly insane. God bless you, crazy bastards. God bless you.
When I returned and found out that Jessie had been bounced, courtesy of the Coup d’Etat, I thought I’d missed the big moment of the game, but little did I know that his eviction was just a necessary set-up for the excitement to come. It was as if his eviction was just the pin-setter coming down before the strike. Sunday’s show began with Jordan stating that she was utterly shocked by Jeff’s move, but to be fair, Jordan is shocked when the sun comes up every morning: she just never sees it comin’. Jessie was gracious enough to tell Jeff that it was a good move, a sentiment none of his surviving pinhead allies would allow.
A quick last note on Jessie because I didn’t have a chance to say it last week: Try as he may, that guy just can’t muster a personality. Whenever he talks, he sounds like he’s just been rousted out of another of his epic naps. Is carrying around his massive arms that exhausting? He keeps referring to himself as an ”entertainer,” but it’s pretty hard to entertain when you’re in a permanent state of REM sleep.
Okay, back to this week. One of my favorite parts in every season of Big Brother is the inevitable moment when a team once in power is suddenly marginalized, and they become so bitter that they start demonizing the other side as ”evil”, and proclaim themselves ”good.” And this year we got it right on schedule, with Natalie weeping, ”The ugly and the bad get rewarded in this game, and the good just seem to go down in burning flames even when they do everything right.” You can think of a lot of epithets to call Jeff and Jordan — all synonyms for ”dumb” — but ugly and bad? That’s like calling a Beanie Baby evil.
Then it was time to sit shiva for Jessie. Oh, the weeping, the rending of garments! It’s so hard to pick my favorite Lydia encomium to the Napping Wonder. Was it, ”He didn’t get in my head, he got in my heart”? Or was it, ”He had such a good spirit, such a present soul”? No, it would have to be, ”And you know he prayed for us all the time, do you know that?” Uh, Lydia, just because he had his eyes closed didn’t mean he was praying. That had to be one of the most deliciously stupid moments I’ve ever seen on this show: It put the BB6 grieving for Cappy to shame. It also gave me my first good feelings toward Kevin, thanks to his commentary on just how stupid his allies were being: ”They act like he was hit by a Mack truck…Please girls, the guy was an idiot.” Now there’s a eulogy!
NEXT: Chima ”drops” her mic in a long-distance accident
The bad feelings lasted into the Have/Have Not competition, as Chima snorted, ”Don’t talk to me” to Russell as he walked by. One note about this challenge — I suspect that whoever is in charge of developing the BB competitions got a really good deal on slides and goop. So many challenges seem to begin with people sliding into some colorful glop before getting to the real task at hand; the slide is arbitrary. I’m surprised they don’t have a mini slide down into a Jell-O kiddie pool up by the chess board. The producers love slides nearly as much as they love their giant rain machine: perhaps the rain machine came free if you bought 50 slides and 800 gallons of all-purpose ick.
And now two more quick digressions:
1) I did not need the introduction to Lydia’s unicorn, Dae Yum Yum. Does she think that cooing baby talk to a stuffed animal makes her look adorable? In light of her erratic, hair-trigger behavior, it makes her look more like a serial killer who takes orders from a fuzzy toy on which victims to off.
2) Are any of you paying one dollar to vote on which bad food the Have Nots have to eat? Come on, fess up. In my mind, if people are spending even one dollar to weigh in on how the houseguests should eat jalapenos and horses—, the recession hasn’t gone far enough.
Okay, back to strategy. Natalie lobbied HOH Michelle to remember all the bad things Russell did and put him up, but instead she put up Natalie and Chima. I’m not sure why everyone hates Michelle so much. Feedwatchers might be able to shed light on this, but I think her biggest crime is being self-conscious around the cameras. She’s actually a smart player, but she looks like she doesn’t know what she’s doing only because she seems a little nervous all the time. It makes her seem shiftier than she is. If she made the exact same strategic moves, but with supreme confidence, we’d all be hailing her as another Kaysar.
This all brings us to Tuesday: Chima day! It was a week of records — just as Usain Bolt was setting new track records, Chima was raising the bar of sore loserdom. She wanted to go home, purely because her alliance was no longer in charge. The show carefully laid out its case for kicking her out, founded on a continuing pattern of belligerence. But the capper came when she refused to put on her microphone, and then, when fetched it by Kevin, threw it into the hot tub. That was bad, but I was more annoyed by Natalie and Lydia later attempting to claim that she had just dropped the mic. Dropped it ten yards? And they realize they’re on camera all the time, right? Who are you gonna believe, producers: Lydia, or your lying videotape?
NEXT: Lydia grieves Chima in her own way: absurdly
Her behavior wasn’t physically threatening, a la season 2’s Justin, and so it seemed at first like a comparatively small infraction as grounds for expulsion. And yet, the producers are trying to make a television show, which is awfully hard to do when a housemate is refusing to do the bare minimum of what is required of her: allowing them to have sound and picture. I could go on and on about Chima, but I’ll leave it at this: You can demand respect all you want, but it doesn’t count as a dis when people don’t just let you win.
Upon her departure, the Blame Game began. Natalie blamed Michelle for driving Chima to madness by not helping her win, which is self-entitlement logic worthy of Paris Hilton. She also bitched that, ”It could not have gotten worse for her. They took her HOH power away!” Yes, being robbed of your HOH power on Big Brother is the most horrible thing you can do to a person. I think I read that in The Diary of Anne Frank.
Lydia was actually the voice of reason for a brief moment, telling Natalie that this was all part of the game. But then the HOH mini-golf competition began, Lydia was eliminated first, and she suddenly remember the benefits of irrationality. ”I just knew one of my housemates was gonna screw me over and take (the HOH title) away from me,” she grumbled. Yeah, those bastards! How dare they not suck more than you! Sitting on the sidelines, she began chugging mimosas, or as she calls it, ”crazy fuel.”
As she gassed up, Natalie was eliminated next and picked a Hawaiian vacation as her prize (it was a Yankee Swap situation, where everyone who went out picked a random prize, but you could trade with someone who had gone out before you). When Russell went out next, he yanked her vacation, giving her his phone call home, which she claimed to really want, and burst into tears. ”Thanks, Russell,” she said, to which he snapped, ”I didn’t do it for you. I took the trip so my parents could have it. Keep crying.” His rationale, he explained, was that he thought she was faking and trying to trick people into thinking they were friends, a notion he wanted to put the kibosh on. I think the real rationale is that Russell’s a bit of a dick. I often find myself liking him as he breaks away from the irritating alliances. And then I have to remind myself how he so often goes too far: He can’t break away from anyone strategically without trying to break them down emotionally. I don’t think he’s a misogynist, as some have accused him of. He seems to get joy out of berating all genders: His mouth watered just as much tearing into Jeff and Ronnie as it did Michelle and Natalie.
When Jeff threw the competition so Jordan could win and get the letter from home (all together now: Awwwwww!), Lydia yelled that Jordan was a ”ho puppet” and that ”some ho’s get cut up at the end.” Is this a game show or Caged Heat? Lydia finished the game having won only the right to wear Jen’s old red catsuit, and after Michelle baited her by saying, ”Wear your unitard, bitch,” Lydia really snapped, and ran to the kitchen, pouring out people’s beers and throwing away sushi with reckless abandon. I suppose that when you’re trapped in a house, your options for vicious revenge are somewhat limited; it was either that or put too much detergent in the washing machine. But it was still a pretty weak strike.
NEXT: Jeff wins a battle of wits! Alert the media!
But the real revelation here was Jeff. Jeff is not the brightest bulb in the bunch. Frankly, Jeff can’t spell “bulb.” But this blow-up proved that he is the only adult in this house. No matter what Lydia did, he refused to lose his cool. He really cracked me up when, as Lydia was slurringly demanding to be sent home, he just said, ”Get comfy, you ain’t going nowhere,” which only made her crazier. It brought back college memories of just how much fun it was to mess with really drunk dormmates when they’d stumble in late at night. (I also loved his crack, ”Take it easy, Mrs. Roper, you look real classy,” even if I didn’t quite get what she had in common with the Three’s Company matron. And yet, I think if we all try hard enough, we can all turn ”Take it easy, Mrs. Roper,” into a national catchphrase.)
Things finally calmed down enough for Jordan to put up her nominees, Lydia and Natalie. Dressed as Captain Unitard, Lydia high-fived everyone, and that raised arm made it clear that the unitard is not sweatproof. Lydia, Kevin, and Natalie realized that things looked hopeless, and hatched a plan to turn Jeff and Russell against each other. (They dubbed it, ”Operation Bosley and Two Angels.” What is with all the ’70s-TV references with this group?) Kevin lied to Jeff, saying that he heard Russell and Michelle conniving to take Jeff out. Ironically, of course, Russell and Michelle were actually doing that very thing, which just goes to show, even a broken clock is right twice a day, although it only cuts up ho’s once a day.
After this, the show finally addressed something that web watchers already knew about: Jessie and Lydia’s gropey scrums under the covers. All we (mercifully) saw of it were fleeting glances of an undulating blanket, but it did make me think that the only people turned on by this would have to be possessors of the most specific and rare fetish ever: Being into muscular guys, really skinny girls, Hello Kitty, and naps, but only all at the same time. Good luck finding a magazine dedicated to that.
In sharing this tender, sticky memory, Natalie and Lydia came to the conclusion that Jessie had been playing the two women against each other. Suddenly, Mr. “He prays for us” was Public Enemy No. 1. There will be no manual release for Jessie in the jury house, nosiree! Well, unless he pours Lydia a mimosa, then all bets are off. But until then, hands off! To be honest, I don’t think Jessie did really play them; that would entail a level of energy he doesn’t have. I think they drove themselves crazy over him all by themselves. But seeing as they are incapable of blaming themselves for anything, it’s no surprise that Jessie has become the bad guy.
NEXT: Lydia fakes classiness upon eviction: Psych!
There was a live POV competition, which Jordan won. Returning from commercial, Jeff, Jordan, and Kevin were having a fervent negotiation in the other room. I thought they were hammering out a deal to put up Russell, but instead Jordan kept the nominees the same, and Lydia went home, garnering only Kevin’s sole vote to stay. (Feedwatchers have reported that while the TV show made it look like Jordan and Jeff were snowed by Kevin, they had actually begun to doubt his story.) Lydia died as she lived: hypocritically. In her campaign speech, she said there would be no hard feelings if she was voted out. Then, when she was, she hugged Kevin and then stormed out without acknowledging anyone else. You stay classy, Lydia!
One last comment by Lydia caught my ear. When asked by Julie about her last-minute bonding with Natalie, she sighed, ”Yeah, that was tough. I got a kid sister I really didn’t want…It’s kind of like that playful puppy dog, and I’m like this old wolf going, Leave me alone, I want to sleep, I want to do my hair and makeup, I don’t want to play badminton with you.” I love how Lydia’s idea of the elder statesman is someone who just wants to do her hair and makeup. This is exactly what a ninth grader would say if she didn’t want to play with her sixth-grade sister.
We left off with a cliffhanger of an HOH competition, as the houseguests tried to drop — or ”recycle” — cans into tiny tubes. (BB is way too proud of its recycling this season. Have you noticed those randomly long, loving close-ups of the house’s recycling bins that have been a staple of the season? It looks like BB has a product placement deal with the Sierra Club.) I’d actually like to see Michelle win HOH, because that would add a crazy wild-card aspect to the direction of the game. Plus, I can’t keep track of whether she’s one of the good people or evil people, and this might help straight that out.
What did you think of Chima’s expulsion? Did she deserve it? And will you miss Lydia, or were you glad to see her go? And finally, why does Kevin refuse to cover his ears with his sweatshirt hood? So many questions! While pondering them, don’t forget to check out Julie Chen’s blog, as well as our video interview with Lydia, which will be going up later on Friday. (Until then, make sure to watch last week’s chat with an oddly bitter Jessie.)