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Big Brother recap: Amber and Caleb's unhappy split

Caleb and Amber’s fauxmance officially explodes with multiple betrayals, and two innocent bunnies are caught in the crossfire.

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Big Brother

TV Show
Reality TV
Julie Chen
Current Status:
In Season

Sometimes when I watch Big Brother, I like to imagine that I’m coasting through a very successful game of The Sims, except without the pain and stress that actually comes with playing The Sims. It’s more like I’m watching over a friend’s shoulder and seeing him deal with the drama of “quick breakfasts” that take an hour and people who take 25 minutes to undress for a shower. It’s Day 42, and whether we’re in The Sims or the Big Brother house, things are getting testy and needs are being depleted. Some are in need of Love (Caleb) or Fun (Zach) or Hunger (also Zach) or Hygiene (probably Victoria). That’s why everyone’s in a bad mood and paradise is fading fast and there are little speech bubbles above the angry players with bold punctuation and angry emoji.

Fresh off the veto meeting, Jocasta is weeping (because she’s Jocasta) and Amber is peeved, having just been put on the block in place of Victoria. She thinks the alliance planned for her to go up, contrary to Frankie’s feigned declaration that he didn’t think a veto would happen. Amber demands to know Frankie’s reasoning for putting her up instead of basically anyone else, and Frankie tries to maintain that he doesn’t know what’s going on. It’s the brilliance of Frankie, as my colleague Darren Franich so adroitly puts it, to simultaneously be doing the most dirty work and appearing as if he’s doing the least. He’s reverse-janitoring us! Frankie throws the blame to Caleb and says it’s the cowboy’s fiery, impassioned plea to put Amber up that convinced him to do it. Sure, Amber may be mad, but at least she’s now a member of what Christine likes to call The Club of Zach Yelling at You, where the headquarters are located in the alley between a liquor store and a Bennigan’s and the membership fees are paid in individual goatee hairs.

So we arrive at The Ballad of Caleb and Amber: Part 1—You Got Something to Say!? in which Amber confronts Caleb while he’s just minding his own business and reading the Bible in the weird brown honeycomb room that looks like a Mario Party minigame that’s been paused too long. “You had me go on the block,” Amber groans. “So you want to give me your reasoning?” Caleb turns to the Holy Book for a passage on trust that is conveniently perfect for the situation, but Amber has no interest, so Caleb instead decides to use actual human conversation and tells her he’s upset that she’s been hanging out with all the girls instead of them (read: him).

It’s so blatantly personal for Caleb, and based on how much he purports to trust Amber, he surely doesn’t actually believe it when he accuses her of aligning with the girls. It’s just Caleb’s obnoxiously large ego that’s made him believe he made a right move scaring Amber. But, like… why did you need to scare her, dude? Herein is the ick factor in Caleb’s already icky obsession with Amber: He’s one of those alpha males who insists his woman be a damsel in distress, the Ann Darrow to his King Kong. And thus it seems that Caleb genuinely believes that if Amber is safe, she’ll come off the block clinging to Caleb’s meaty bicep as he forages for her and pets her hair and buys her pretty things because she’s so frightened of the big bad world without his protection. Ugh. Amber’s a smart girl, so she storms out, saying it’s a big slap in the face. Her beautiful, porcelain, will-probably-host-a-daytime-panel-talk-show-when-this-is-all-over face.

Then, almost immediately, Caleb realizes that he’s messed up. There he is, standing creepily next to the sliding doors like a stranded albeit creepy puppy, waiting for Amber to come back. [The Ballad of Caleb and Amber: Part 2—I’ve Made a Horrible Mistake.] He pulls her aside and apologizes, and then he drops a truth bomb, revealing that he brought up the idea of putting her on the block to the alliance, and that they were all in on it. Amber does not care about Caleb’s part in it, because obviously, but she DOES care about the fact that the entire alliance knew. That was her biggest fear, and Caleb just validated it. She feels betrayed, and rightly so. “Everyone just backstabs me,” she says, kind of waxing Gretchen Wieners (although not really). Honestly, my favorite part of this is the fact that Caleb still seems to think there’s some chance that every move or confession of his will heat Amber’s loins and stir up that romance that will never happen. Without getting into hyperbole, Amber legitimately could NOT. CARE. LESS about Caleb. You’d be crazy to root for that hook-up to happen, most blatantly because of the grim outlook of the options for their relationship nickname. Were we supposed to call them Camber? Ambleb? That is bleak.

Up in the HoH room, where there’s been more intense philosophizing than Dumbledore’s office, Caleb tells an exercising Frankie that he feels like a sleazeball. Wise Frankie allows him to take the blame, flexing those great Broadway-honed acting chops, and then poor Caleb CRIES! “I haven’t seen a cowboy cry this much since Brokeback Mountain,” says Frankie, who does try to comfort Caleb in that delightfully shady Grande way. I mean, Frankie is basically just a better-dressed version of the Batman villain Two-Face, except you kind of love both sides. And the pink hair works.

NEXT: Caleb murders two creatures