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Entertainment Weekly


Celebrity Big Brother series premiere recap: Omarosa and the Year of Women

Cliff Lipson/CBS

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S1 E1

Psst. Come here. Yes, you. Meet me in the Have Not Room.

I’m going to tell you a secret. I was not feeling good about Celebrity Big Brother. I know — please don’t tell Julie. As she explained the expedited, three-week format with multiple celebrities going home each week, I thought, “Fine. I’ll play along. It’s just three weeks, and at least Paul can’t win this time.” I don’t even know how curling works, anyway. But I’ll tell you this: By the end of this first hour, I was absolutely sold. Let’s talk about it.

If you’re here, you’ve likely already done a little research on who is in the Big Brother house these next three weeks. So instead of listing their given titles, I’ve listed them by what I likely believe is already in your (or at least my) head:

By the way, side note: Nothing is richer than the co-owner of the Lakers telling Metta that all he has to do is “find the Kobe.” Those five head into the house and they are just jazzed. Metta World Peace finds the shower. Ariadna even forgives Steve Harvey. It’s a thing. But their journeys are put on pause because we still have six more celebrities to meet.

As soon as the final six join the first five, the chemistry immediately lights up. While Ross is turned off by Omarosa’s presence, Mark McGrath is the most relatable human ever because he fangirls so hard over Metta and Chuck, proving that celebrities are Mark McGrath is just like us! But of all the meet and greet moments, nothing is more delicious than James Maslow introducing himself as a band member of Big Time Rush, then asking Omarosa who she worked for in the White House. Tattoo this memory on my mind for eternity.

Even in a house of Omarosas and Cosby apologists, the house becomes frustrated with James Maslow first because nothing is more repugnant in Hollywood than…an ego? Brandi Glanville despises him, and if there were ever any worry about this season not being interesting, just watch the scene where she asks James to stop talking so she can — wait for it — hear more about Mark McGrath. While all this is happening, Shannon and Omarosa are already planning an alliance with Marissa and Ariadna. Marissa loves it, pointing out this is “The Year of Women.” Seconds later, I choke on an entire piece of pizza. This is not a coincidence.

The first Head of Household competition comes around quickly, which explains whether or not the show is going to stay true to American form or take on the U.K. format. This is America, and the last thing we do these days is give a nod to another country, so the old rules stay in place. Just like normal, there will be an HOH, two nominees, and a POV. But before the competition, the 11 contestants get behind a line of stars where one of them will “randomly” be safe. In a bit of an obvious play, Omarosa is that very houseguest, meaning she won’t compete in this HOH either. The competition is literally just holding onto an Oscar-like award, and I don’t have the time or energy to unpack all the nuance in that.

Mid-competition, former houseguests Paul, Rachel, Cody, Jessica, and Jessie show up to perform a dance number, and nothing is richer than Chuck Liddell saying he has no idea who any of these people are but wishes they would go away. Chuck Liddell is the hero we deserve in 2018. But as the contestants fall, Omarosa waits in the wings with encouraging words and blankets (this is not a pun; she is actually being super nice. I am not convinced). The final two comes down to James Maslow and Shannon Elizabeth, and James tries to make a deal with her. Omarosa shuts that down real quick though, and in the end, it’s Shannon who takes the first HOH crown. As the episode comes to an end, Julie instructs each houseguest to grab a gift bag, which she’ll explain once they get settled inside.

Here’s the big deal with those bags, y’all. Inside, someone has a power called the Recast, where you can recast the Head of Household as yourself. It’s definitely a game changer and could ruin Shannon’s reign. With that, we’re left to wonder what comes next. But don’t worry, because while the Olympics dominate the next few weeks, Big Brother will be waiting in the wings for you four nights a week. Celebrity Big Brother is coming back tomorrow and Friday, and for the rest of the season, it will be on as often as one of Omarosa’s former colleagues is excused from their job.

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