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Season 12 begins with everything you'd expect from a summer reality show -- sexual innuendos, skin, and sabotage -- and it was all so good

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July 10, 2010 at 12:10 AM EDT

Do you smell that? Take a wiff. It’s in the air. If it smells a little like joy, the promise of many wasted hours, exhaustion, obsession, a man in a plastic hot dog outfit, betrayal, breast implants, lies, sabotage, suntan lotioned-pecks, ruthlessness, and summertime, then that’s the smell of the return of Big Brother in your nostrils. Don’t fight it. Just breathe it in. Now out. Now in again. There you go. Now, say it with me:

It’s baaaaaaaack.

And I, for one, am excited. Because while some (like the Emmy folks — excuse me while I raspberry) might not appreciate this show like I do, this is what summer is all about. And this year, there’s a (Saboteur!) So let’s get to it.

Helmed once again by the incomparable Julie Chen…

(BREAKING: We interrupt this TV Watch for a Julie Chen Wardrobe Update. Skirt suits no longer have to mean Working Girl. A red/orange color and one-shoulder cami will take the look from 1980s to 2010 in a flash. Want to try this look yourself? Don’t. Chenbots only. Back to your programming…)

What the hell was that? Where was I?

Our new batch of contestants made their way into a house just as lovely and confusingly decorated as we remember. It’s always a little like IKEA in there; none of the rooms you see quite go together, and you disgust yourself because you want them all in this tacky, commercial way. Ugh. Get it off me!

And just like the decor, the houseguests once again contradict and complement each other in beautiful way (the contestant who’s a member of Mensa hates religion and there’s an orthodox Jewish man in the house; the gay professor wants to befriend big dumb guys and there’s a man named Lane who prefers not thinking) that is sure to make for television gold or great disaster. Never mind. Those are the same thing. It’s going to be great.

Another sign this season is going to be fantastic? The first challenge, which involved giant rubber hot dogs and the opportunity for contestants to say things like, ”I lost my dignity on a slippery wiener.” It involved two teams (yellow and red; then relish wept) and one mascot. In this case, the Jewish podiatrist, stepped up and took on the mascot duties, which were basically to stand in a hot dog outfit and try not to look like a fool. Fail. But it did win him immunity during the first eviction. So, it was ultimately a win in a big way, even if it meant (as Andrew said) ”embarrassing myself on the first night of the show.” Someone should educate Andrew and let him know that dignity on BB is best lost like a Band-Aid, quickly and in a forgettable way. Plus, I say it’s better to lose your dignity in a hot dog outfit in primetime than on Big Brother After Dark wearing nothing at all.

So, the contestants were supposed to ride giant plastic wieners to the other side of this ”grill,” where the first person to cross would win $10,000, the second would win $1,000 and so on. The sixth and final person to cross the Grand Grill Canyon would become HOH. To make matters more complicated (because, as the contestants now know, it’s very difficult to hold on to giant wieners), the contestants were sprayed by mustard and ketchup, which made them slippery and made me hungry.

Next: Meet the houseguests

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Julie Chen hosts as the houseguests battle it out.
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