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''Big Brother'': For whom the (backdoor) bell tolls

On ”Big Brother,” after destroying Dick’s cigarettes and breaking a house rule, Jen finally gets evicted

Posted on

Big Brother
Cliff Lipson

Big Brother

type:
TV Show
genre:
Reality TV
performer:
Julie Chen
broadcaster:
CBS
seasons:
19
Current Status:
In Season
tvpgr:
TV-14

”Big Brother”: For whom the (backdoor) bell tolls

Well, Jen — I tried to like you. I tried to Jenuflect whenever you displayed your Jenious individuality. And then you go and team with that deJenerate! How could you become so…Jeneric?

I won’t miss her — not because I found her more heinous than, say, that shameless cross-promotion with The Power of 10, but because I’ve grown absolutely exhausted from sitting through those infinite ass-whuppin’s by Dick. After each and every clash, I would find myself drifting, trying to understand why this woman couldn’t defend herself in the face of such fury. I came up with three theories: (1) She’s terribly embarrassed in front of her fellow HGs so her only solution is to act like it doesn’t faze her; (2) She’s so utterly and hopelessly inarticulate that she can’t even think to call him ”poopy”; (3) She’s genuinely astounded by the notion that anyone in life could be so unbelievably vile as this. I tend to think it was a bit of all three.

I don’t deny that Jen is unlikable; we saw flashes of a real egomaniac there, and her only contribution to this game was providing eye candy for the boys. But I can’t flat-out hate her, either. Of course it was wrong of her to destroy Dick’s cigarettes, to fall off the slop diet, to threaten to abandon the game completely by refusing to join the jury. But I certainly didn’t blame her. After spending a ghastly nine weeks in the house, this woman was obviously emotionally, if not physically, spent. Short of breaking down the door herself, she did the only thing she could do — literally fall apart in front of our very eyes. How could you not be overwhelmed with pity while watching such a jaw-dropping meltdown? I was so desperate for it to stop, I found the 6-0 eviction vote damn near merciful. (I even began to feel a bit cynical toward the BB producers in the way that cut that segment, as if they secretly reveled in Jen’s nervous breakdown. Just look at the way Julie knowingly teased the package with her comment about ”where’s the smoking, there’s fire!” Why not just come out and say, ”Look at the way Jen’s crawling up the walls! Doesn’t get any better than that, eh? Tune in tomorrow for our live feed from an Iraqi detention facility!”) And I wasn’t nearly as stunned by her exit speech as I was by her Q&A with Julie; within seconds, Jen went from the vapid Valley girl to an expressive young woman who didn’t say ”like,” like, once! I just don’t get her at all, though I do hope her threats made on the live feeds to quit were empty and she does make the obligatory trip to the sequester house (I have no idea about the hold that CBS has on her, but I have to think — no, I WANT to think — that if she wanted to leave, she could). I’m not ready to see the last of Jen yet.

Onto that little woobie, Jessica. Talking about her stint as the new HOH seems terribly anticlimactic after the week we’ve just experienced, but my guess is that she’ll target Jameka and Amber for eviction and possibly backdoor Zach. I’m not entirely on board with this scenario (for more on backdooring, see my Q&A with executive producer Allison Grodner). One, I find Zach to be the only likable person left in this house (next to Jessica), and he’s not half as bad as I once thought. He’s never angered Dick and the only thing he’s done to the ladies is bore them. Looks pretty legit in a bunny suit, too. Sounds like a winner to me!

Now, some light housekeeping. Viewership remains consistent on BB8, which has so far averaged a modest 7.23 million this season, up slightly from last year’s All-Star version (7.20 million) and BB6 (7.14 million). CBS is also posting modest gains in the demographics: up 4 percent in adults 18-49, and 3 percent in adults 25-54 over last year. It’s no CSI, but the bar is set way low in the summertime, so this ain’t a half-bad performance for the Eye network. By the way it looks, we’ll surely have BB for at least two more years.

Finally, a quick look at the message board. I wouldn’t say most of you are ”body lice posters” — as one PO’ed poster breathlessly claims — but we will yank messages that are egregiously offensive. Meaning, we’re gonna slap you silly if you start talking like Dick. But rest assured, we don’t have access to your IP addresses (at least I don’t), so we have no way of knowing whether you’re some chemistry professor holed up in his Yale office or some burger-flipping yahoo on break from Wendy’s. So continue to enjoy your anonymity. Just for sheets and giggles, though, why not post your first name and state of residence? I think we’d all like to know where fellow BB fans live. (Admit it, you’re all dying to know where Quincy Parks stores his trike!) I’ll start: I live about 10 minutes from the BB house in the San Fernando Valley. How about you?

Finally, a tip of the hat to this post labeled To Big Moma (sic): ”Its safe to say that if Skeletor wins the money it’ll all be for her. She might take her boyfriend out for dinner, Nick a new motorcycle and trip for 2 to Hawaii and buy her dad a carton of smokes but otherwise Daniele will be using it for Daniele. If ED wins however I would suspect he’ll divide it up (son/daughter/mom) and keep little if anything for himself save for a couple cartons of smokes and a new Suicidal Tendencies shirt.”

I couldn’t agree more. If I were forced to find one redeeming quality about Dick, it would be his obvious devotion toward Daniele. While it’s such a crazy, mixed-up idea — trying to reconcile with your daughter on a reality show — Dick is clearly making the best of it by keeping his daughter happy. He seemed truly concerned last night when Jen threatened to withhold a vote for Daniele if his daughter were to make it to the final two. He wants it for her more than himself.

So what do you think? Did you feel an iota of sympathy for Jen? Do you think Jessica will target Zach? Did you find it downright reprehensible that BB invited Nick, not Daniele’s boyfriend, to join her on The Power of 10?