First, an introduction: I’m taking over the Big Brother watch from Lynette Rice this season, and I can only hope that I prove half as knowledgeable a recapper as she was. Lynette has moved from impersonally judging the housemates to judging them to their faces: She’ll be doing interviews with all the evictees every Thursday on EW.com.
My credentials are as follows: I have only missed one season, BB4. (And yes, that means that I saw every episode of the atrocity that was let-us-never-speak-of-it-again BB1. I will hold my own against anybody on Chiquita the Pug trivia.) I love this show in the same way a meth addict loves the pipe: I know it’s killing me slowly, but I gotta have more. But this season is a little different: Usually, upon the premiere of a new season of Big Brother, I am totally giddy. My remote hand shakes with the d.t.’s I’m suffering from ten months without triweekly fixes of the International House of Pinheads. But I was all thrown off this year, because of the great national shame that was Big Brother: ‘Til Death Do You Part. I no longer craved BB. Instead, I wanted it to earn back my love.
I’m happy to say that after watching the premiere, I am reservedly optimistic. It’s too early to really judge a cast; their true pathologies don’t often bloom until week 2. But they actually seem like a smarter, more interesting bunch. Again, I suppose that says more about the low bar of BB9 than anything else: Anytime you call a cast that includes a mixologist, a ”natural” body builder, and a Hooters waitress ”smarter and more interesting,” your perspective has clearly been messed with. I’m hardly the only one prone to hyperbole about the new cast; Julie Chen (whose poses and struts become more rigidly choreographed every season — this year she did a walk toward the camera that looked like she was on a high wire) described this crew as ”the most diverse group of houseguests who have ever played this game.” That’s pretty faint praise for this show; throw in one person with an IQ above 73 and you’ve already blown the usual BB curve to bits. Julie did note their one commonality: ”A burning desire to win the grand prize.” This is also different — usually the housemates just share a burning sensation when they pee.
NEXT: Meeting the players