Donny's surprise victory throws The Detonators into disarray. More importantly: Zingbot!

Credit: CBS
S16 E25

Witness Donny, the last of the American boys. Witness a man who has spent his time in the Big Brother house straight-shootin’, straight-talkin’, straight-up just being the best Donny he can be. Witness Donny, betrayed. Your ole boy Donny ain’t no kind of fool, America. Christine tried to throw a competition, and he threw a victory right back in her face. To what end? He’s all alone now, and he knows it. “I been nothin’ but nice to these people,” said Donny. “I’m sure they were all in on it.”

Imagine Donny as an average man in an average small town, incredible only because he wants to be a good man. Imagine such a person waking up one day and realizing, with absolute certainty, that everyone around him was lying. The nice girl with the glasses, the nice young man with the pink hair, the big dumb shaven minotaur in the tank top who keeps referring to himself as “Beast Mode Cowboy” like that’s a thing anyone will ever take seriously, Travolta-With-Real-Hair: It turns out they’re all liars. It’s like that scene in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown,” when local All-American everyman Goodman Brown discovers that everyone from his quiet peaceful village is secretly a lizard-person or whatever. And now Young Goodman Donny needs to play it cool with the lizard-people. He needs to pretend that he’s not planning one last Gunfight at the OK Corral.

So Donny is getting strategic. And of course, in his inimitable Donny fashion, Donny can only really be “strategic” when he’s helping someone else, and he can only really help someone who badly doesn’t deserve his help. So Donny walked up to Zach and told him: “I sure hope you play in the veto competition, and I sure hope you keep the veto to yourself.” Donny knew that Zach thought he was safe; Donny knew that he wasn’t.

Zach was confused. Zach doesn’t understand straight talk like this. Zach’s been rolling with his crew of Master Of The Universe badass bro dudes all season. He’s like a banker at Lehman Brothers who’s been living high on the hog, flying helicopters into swimming pools on weeknights before consuming a wild array of beluga caviar cocaine cocktails on the company dime. Now imagine such a figure waking up one morning and seeing James Stewart in his cowboy phase standing over him, extending a hand in friendship, telling him: “You know something, Zach? You’re nobody’s best friend. And you’re everyone’s worst friend. And you sure aren’t looking too good.”

Could Donny redeem Zach? Could #Zonny throw a wrench in The Detonators’ slow, steady march to complete domination? Could Donny not stare straight into the camera and make a funny face right as Derrick walks into the room, thus confirming for absolutely no reason that Donny knows everyone is lying to his face? Alas, the answer to all those questions is the same, and it ain’t “yes.”


Team America Assemble! After a couple off weeks, the Derrick-Donny-Frankie secret alliance reformed to undertake a mission that wouldn’t completely destroy their game if it went wrong. The mission initially seemed simple: Steal a personal item from each of the houseguests and get the house to agree to a Neighborhood Watch. Team America overdelivered and stole everyone’s persona-defying possession: Cody’s blue flowered hat, Zach’s Gator shirt, Caleb’s cowboy boots, the flying green man that only Victoria can see, the magical gem that Christine keeps in her back pocket that forces everyone to form an alliance with her for no apparent reason.

They hid the swag near the trashcans. They waited for someone to notice it was missing. They did not have to wait long.


A very special visitor arrived in the house: Zingbot! This is Zingbot’s fifth outing on Big Brother, although some theorists have proposed that Zingbot has always been on Big Brother–indeed, that Zingbot existed before Big Brother, that Zingbot will outlive Big Brother, that in some distant future epoch long after humanity has faded into oblivion and all that remains is a statue of Caleb astride a horse emblazoned with the legend “He Came, He Saw, He Creeped Amber Out,” that still there will be Zingbot walking alone across the ruined landscape that was once Earth, zinging the cockroaches.

But there was something different about Zingbot. “You all look more attractive… in person! PROPS!” he screamed. “Donny, I love your beard… but I wish it didn’t cover your handsome face! PROPS!” What madness was this? What horrors had befallen Zingbot? Had fatherhood changed him so? “Come on, Zingbot, this ain’t you,” said Caleb.

That’s when Kathy Griffin walked into the Big Brother house, and this is what happened to Frankie when Kathy Griffin walked into the Big Brother house:

Kathy Griffin got off some good jabs. She said a funny joke about Caleb and Amber, and she pointed out that Christine’s glasses have oversold her intelligence. She told Victoria: “I would zing you, but I’m only supposed to zing people… that are actually playing the game!” Victoria didn’t understand what was happening. “I don’t understand what that talking rosebush is getting at!” exclaimed Victoria. “I’ve been playing this game since day one! We’re playing JumpRope, right guys? Oh my god, guys, I just realized that I stopped jumping like two months ago!”

Kathy also got a good line off about everyone’s favorite sorta-mance. “What do you call someone who’s not afraid to cry, wears pink, and cuddles with men?” she asked. “You call them… ZACH!” Then she walked over to Zach’s face, and I’m fairly certain she said: “Zing, bitch!” Then she opened up the pod bay doors and blasted Zach into outer space.

NEXT: The Veto Competish

The players had to reboot Zingbot. They needed to connect the wires to a circuit box, and light up the circuit boards, and lots of other technology stuff that none of us will ever understand, like how airplanes work or why touchscreens only work perfectly for like one day before they start not working and then every time you look at your iPad you remember how good it felt the first day but now those days are gone and all you can do is wait until it’s time to buy a new iPad because the only other option is like gardening or something.

Guess who didn’t do well in the competition: Victoria! “I am getting extremely frustrated,” she said. “You think I ever wanted to be an electrician?” The little green flying man who only she can see didn’t immediately respond to her. Fortunately, the pretty pink fairy with a voice like Vin Diesel did. “Of course not, Victoria,” said the Diesel fairy. “You only ever wanted to be a princess.” “No I didn’t, Diesel fairy!” said Victoria. “I wanted to be a princess bride. Ugh, why does no one understand me!” And so Victoria spent the rest of the veto competition talking to her favorite clouds.

Of course Frankie won the veto competition. He was empowered by the presence of Kathy Griffin. “I did that for you!” he said. “And the gays!” Poor Donny got bumfuzzled; now all the power lay with Grande. But he didn’t get off scot-free. A renewed Zingbot had some choice words for him. “Fraaaaaankie!” said the Zinger. “That’s a nice tan… but I’m surprised you get any sun at all… considering how much time you spend… in your sister’s shadow! ZIIIIIIING! GRANDE ZING!” And Zingbot also had a choice one for Cody: “You’re such a nice guy. You haven’t made any enemies this summer. Except for maybe… CHRISTINE’S HUSBAND! ZZIIIIIIIING!”

And with that Zingbot disappeared, back to his ZingWife and his ZingKid and maybe at this point a wacky ZingCousin with sunglasses and a skateboard and an “attitude.”


First: I think I’m going to start yelling “PRAWWWWPS” after I compliment people. We can make this a thing, everyone.


All was peaceful inside the Big Brother house. Frankie had all the power, and so The Detonators had all the power, and so it looked like curtains for Victoria, who always loved curtains most of all.

But then! An incident. Cody couldn’t find his hat. And Caleb couldn’t find his boots. “It’s a saboteur!” screamed Derrick. Zach couldn’t find his gator shirt. Frankie couldn’t find his glitter! “It’s a Saboteur!” screamed Zach. “SABOTEUR! SABOTEUR!”

Team America didn’t need to poke anyone. Zach had already started a witch hunt. “I know it was one of you!” he screamed. “We’ll get to the bottom of this, using law and order and pure conjecture!” Zach pulled Christine into the interrogation room. “I know it was you,” he said. “You broke my heart.”

It was a reign of terror, like that time in France when terror reigned. And once again, the people who led the charge wound up on the chopping block. Christine declared: “Oh my god, it’s Zach!” That was an idea everyone could go along with. Caleb looked into Zach’s eyes, and knew… knew it was him. And more: Suddenly Caleb had an explanation for everything that’s gone wrong this summer.

“Everything makes sense now!” said Caleb. “You’re Amanda Zuckerman’s cousin! You were sent here as an agent of chaos! You put an alliance member on up on the block! You made Amber not fall for me somehow! You convinced Marvel that Hawkeye shouldn’t have a spin-off, even though Hawkeye is clearly the best character and everyone loves Hawkeye! IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT!

The chant went up all around the house. “All your fault,” said Christine. “All your fault,” intoned Cody. “All your fault,” bearded Donny. Team America fed the fire. Frankie picked up a bus and threw it on top of Zach. Caleb was a wild man. “You’re caught,” he told Zach. “You think we’re stupid?”

Zach played it all like a joke. Then he realized it was painfully serious. “In this country, you’re innocent until you’re proven guilty!” he announced. He couldn’t figure out why everyone was so suspicious of him. “What have I ever done to make people think I’m a lying, cheating scumbag?” he asked. Then he thought to himself for a moment, and every single thing he has said and done in the Big Brother house came rushing back to him, and for a brief moment Zach had a vision of himself tightening a noose around his neck.

It was an impossible situation. The more Zach insisted he wasn’t the saboteur, the more suspicious he looked. So then he would walk away, leaving everyone to talk about what a saboteur Zach was.

The writing was on the wall. The whole house was against Zach. He was the Enemy of the State. He was Unmutual. But would Frankie really put his closest friend in the house on the chopping block?


Well… absolutely, of course he would. I know some people hate on Frankie, but he has the ruthless ambition of a minor showbiz personality—the fierce drive of someone who has been invited to the coolest afterparty just once, by accident, and will spend the rest of his life chasing that high. Of course he’d betray Zach. And of course he would do it with a rhymed declaration. He did theater. He knows that frontstabs are more dramatic.

But was it really such a good idea? Frankie clearly thinks that putting Zach on the block is “making a bold move,” but from one perspective, he’s also just eliminated his closest ally in the house—and almost certainly lost a jury vote, too. Like, serious question: Who wouldn’t want Frankie out next week? Donny is probably still the main target for The Detonators, but now that they’ve struck against their own, what’s to stop Derrick and Cody from taking out Frankie? Hell, not that long ago, Caleb went on the block specifically to throw a competition and get Frankie eliminated. Zach was a wild card, but Frankie was his only real friend: an ideal meatbag, probably an even better Final Two choice than the barely present Victoria.

But alas: Betrayal! Zach now stands on the block. Zankie now stands in ruins. Caleb was shocked, and Derrick was shocked, and Donny knew the score. Will Zach be eliminated? How can he not be? And with Zach gone, what’s left of Frankie?

Follow me on Twitter: @DarrenFranich

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Big Brother

Big Brother

Julie Chen hosts as the houseguests battle it out.

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