Now that they're no longer stuck to partners, the houseguests actually start strategizing; meanwhile, James gets voted out and then back in again
Big Brother

”Big Brother” recap: The games begin!

Halfway through Tuesday’s episode of Big Brother, I came to this abrupt and stunning conclusion: I hardly recognized these people! That was actually a good thing. Up until that point, I had become so turned off by the houseguests’ surprising lack of discretion that I was gearing up to write these bozos off — which I did, for about a week (thus my rather unenthusiastic TV watch last Wednesday ). That’s also because I wasn’t particularly pleased with BB‘s decision to break up the teams. Though watching Matty reject Natalie had become both tragic and depressing, I still got a perverse pleasure seeing innocent parties like Alex get punished for having knucklehead partners like Amanda. Overall, I thought it was a clever new twist for the show’s unprecedented winter run, even though it brought us far more bawdy behavior than we’d ever dared to imagine.

But producer Allison Grodner ultimately did us — and the HGs — a solid by ending the team format: The players would no longer be distracted by the promise (or threat) of nocturnal nookie and could finally focus on playing the damn game! And that they did. First Ryan affirmed an alliance with Matt before secretly teaming with Joshuah; then Joshuah persuaded the ladies to target Matt in exchange for Ryan’s safety; then Natalie turned on the ladies and revealed the secret deal to Matty; then Sheila broke rank from the gals and persuaded Ryan not to target Matt! I have never in the history of this game pulled for so many HGs at once, but I honestly can’t pick a winner because right now I don’t want the season to end. BB‘s finally got the goods!

Thank God the latest twist didn’t ruin my happy mood. Though America voted to bring back Alex (not Parker? was it because of his new sliced and diced hair?), the majority of the HGs thought it better to stay with the devil they know (James), even though they had just evicted him on a 5 to 1 vote. Snap! Now James not only gets to seek vengeance for Matt’s arrogant behavior but also gets to thank Chelsia in person for that refreshingly candid and sweet goodbye video. (A brief side note here: I’ll be checking to see if CBS will finally offer up those evicted houseguests for exit interviews, so stay tuned, everybody.)

But I need to back up for a sec. I was pretty stunned during Sunday’s episode when Ryan forged an alliance with Matt, even though the dude had lied about his voting strategy the week before. Forget that James publicly called out Matt for his duplicity; Ryan still let bygones be bygones and allowed Matt to help him select the nominees for eviction. Doesn’t Ryan recognize what a total idiot this guy is? I offer up as evidence Matt’s baffling decision to spell out ”sauce” during Sunday’s food competition. Now I suppose one can argue that a person can never feel sated enough at mealtime without an adequate supply of sauce, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and say Matt’s got no right to ridicule Natalie for thinking there are 27 letters in the alphabet when he’s hardly mastered the use of all 26 himself. (And now, let’s take some time out to enjoy this little gem from the Matty archives: ”Cups are a very essential part of life, you know. We use them for drinking and whatnot.”)

NEXT: Return of the Nerd Herd?

For a promising moment there, it appeared as if Ryan thought better of his decision to partner with Matt; the self-described good guys who could turn into this season’s Nerd Herd if they’re not careful about their righteous indignation (Joshuah, Chelsia, Sharon, and Sheila) decided to make a deal with Ryan to oust Matt in exchange for two weeks of immunity. Unfortunately, the good guys made the pact in front of that nitwit Natalie, who held on to the secret for all of two seconds before she spilled her guts to Matty in hopes that maybe this time he’ll realize she’s the girl of his dreams. I don’t think I have any more pity left for this woman, but I’m afraid to root for her ouster because, really, who doesn’t like to rubberneck the car wreck while creeping along the 405?

Matt, no surprise, ran immediately back to Ryan, who then became even more malleable for manipulation when Sheila started to work her magic and that catsuit. (Eat it, Jen!) Granted, keeping up with Sheila’s mood swings is really starting to hurt my brain, but this woman has proven to be just as effective as Joshuah when it comes to starting fires in the house. I didn’t think Chelsia crossed a line when she called out Sheila for playing the single-mother card (no one wants to hear the ”woe is me” speech in the quest for the cash), but Sheila went ahead and turned on Chelsia anyway — all because she had residual anger from that brilliant veto challenge. Which brings us to Adam, the incredibly resilient player (dare we say floater?) who generously gave the $10,000 bonus prize to Sheila (even though it was later taken away by Ryan). Ah, the big lug! Somehow, somewhere, Adam managed to develop some genuine affection for Sheila, despite her constant whining and complaining about his language, his behavior, his snoring, etc. I’m amazed at how the guy who previously referred to autistic kids as retards is now proving to be one of the most likable players in the house. He’s keeping his anger in check, a smile on his face, and a keen eye on every dastardly development. Is he this year’s Zach? Could this big galoot cruise to the final two? I’d stake my (shaky) reputation on it.

(Alert! Spoiler below — at least for broadcast-only viewers.)

Those who watch only the CBS telecast were left not knowing last night who was going to win the endurance competition to pick the next HOH. And yet anyone who has ShoToo learned that James managed to stay perched the longest on that silly dangling disc. According to the invaluable, there was a lot of immediate wheeling and dealing, but I’ll let you kids pontificate over James’ plans on the boards.

For now, I leave you with these very important questions: Are you feeling re-energized about this season too? Have you decided these kids are more than a bunch of lugheads and are now pretty good at playing the game? And are you going to stay tuned?

Episode Recaps

Big Brother
Big Brother

Julie Chen hosts as the houseguests battle it out.

  • TV Show
  • 24
stream service