What just happened? That was a common reaction to last night’s episode of Big Brother. It all made complete sense until suddenly it didn’t make any sense. It was one of those live episode that will probably be retroactively explained in the next episode — and so watching it felt a little bit like watching the cold open to a TV series, with a flashforward to the most dramatic moment that will only be explained later. One thing was clear: Everyone really didn’t trust Judd. Another thing was less clear: Did Helen turn the house against the world’s biggest patsy — and in the process, did she just win the whole ballgame? Let’s take this in stages, fellow viewers, and attempt to understand the madness.
(ASIDE: I’m already seeing some buzz online about how what happened to Judd was incredibly obvious to everyone who was watching the feeds. As a Big Brother fan, I’m a pure TV viewer — partially because I prefer the filtered “reality” of well-edited television and not the slightly-less-filtered “reality” of 24-hour internet feeds; and partially because if I started watching the internet feeds, my natural inclination toward addictive binge-watching would transform me into an obsessive caveman during the sunniest months of the year. However, feel free to post some feed updates in the comments. I have a tremendous respect for feed-viewers. Watching the Big Brother feeds is kind of like being the Star Wars fan who read all the Expanded Universe books and getting into loud arguments with anyone who claims Boba Fett died in the Sarlacc Pit. END OF ASIDE.)
The Part That Made Sense:
Candice tried to launch a counterattack to save her own clownitarded skin. She tried to tell everyone that Amanda was the real nemesis in the house. She was just confused, honestly: How did everyone suddenly arrive at the conclusion that she was dangerous to anyone in the house? And she had at least one ally. Lonelygirl Jessie wanted Amanda out. She made a pitch to Helen. She referred to Amanda as “The Queen” — not realizing that, for Helen, keeping Amanda around as the Mad Queen of the Big Brother House was just about right for her gameplay.
And she made a pitch to Judd. “Sweet Judd. Innocent Judd. Beautiful Judd,” she whispered. “You don’t want me to go home do you?” “Duh, no ma’am,” he said. “I don’t want nobody to go home. I wanna live here forever. Look, my shirt’s got a bear on it!” “Oh! Kiss me!” said Jessie. Well, she didn’t say that. But there was a terrifying pregnant moment when she held her face up, and closed her eyes, and pointed her mouth in the direction of Judd’s mouth. Judd was terrified, and searched for a window to jump out of, and then he searched for a sharp object to stick his eye into. Failing that, he kissed Jessie. She fell backward onto her bed, ravished. He ran away, and hid under the table, and they say that Judd was never the same.
Helen, for her part, made an overture to Andy, who seemed scandalized by the very idea of taking on Amanda. He said he trusted Amanda and McCrae; he said that it wasn’t the right time to strike. It would appear that Andy struck a Final Four deal with McCramda and Judd. (Judd would later refer to this group as the “Goof Troop,” a continuation of the Disney Afternoon genre after last year’s Quack Pack. Personally, I’m holding out for the Rescue Rangers.)
I’m tempted to say that Andy is a gutless player — and he is — but the truth is, the dynamics of this Big Brother house are radically different from previous years. Gameplay is reserved, and almost entirely cerebral: There are a few players who are thinking twenty moves ahead, and a few players who seem functionally unaware of their surroundings, and the end result is a season of television that increasingly feels like a reality TV remake of Hamlet. Everyone constantly talks about how much they want to make a big move; everyone consistently refuses to make a big move, lest they upset the boat. (Elissa looks increasingly pained by every vote she has to make, and has taken to giving long speeches that sound a little bit like confessions.)
NEXT: Farewell, Candice