In the season finale, Adam wins by continuing to try to make the jury like him, while Ryan tries to defend his game
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S9 E33
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Natalie won, Jen lost.

Of course, Naughty or Chatty or whatever she goes by now wasn’t the real winner of Big Brother 9 — that would be Adam, by a 6-1 vote — but she did score a victory, of sorts, during last night’s finale. When the Chenbot threatened to reveal some embarrassing footage of Matt’s cruelty toward Natalie in the house, Natalie kept a big grin on her face and basically reminded her lousy ex-partner that karma’s a bitch. (Hmm, perhaps Matt doesn’t have to consider the Witness Protection Program after all.) Conversely, Jen demonstrated that maybe Allison was right all along to question Ryan’s choice of lover: When the Chenbot asked Jen whether she still holds a grudge against Allison, Jen didn’t hesitate to say, ”Yes!” and proceeded to trash her boyfriend’s old house partner. Allison, on the other hand, played the bigger woman, and short of saying, ”This is just a game, you nitwit,” claimed she had no hard feelings toward Jen, admitting her true feelings only when the Chenbot pressed her for answers. Good for Allison to remind everybody how Jen called her boyfriend a racist on national TV. Is he really a racist? Maybe. Did it matter? Not to the other houseguests, or else Jen would be holding the $50K and not Ryan.

Which brings us back to the guy who came in second place. I went into this finale thinking he was the one to beat, based on two, no three, very logical reasons: He won challenges, he wasn’t caught in (many) lies, and his game play was solid. And once that finale began last night, it appeared as if Ryan had it in the bag. Most, if not all, of the jury seemed to agree that Adam was a worthless coward who lied to everybody, threw challenges, and had ”no backbone.” Meanwhile, there were loads of compliments thrown Ryan’s way, like how he ”always played into the next week” (Josh) or how he ”played the better game” (Sheila) or how he was just a ”better player than me” (Matt). ‘Nuff said! He’s getting the cash, right?

Then came the question-and-answer session, which managed to turn all those Ryan lovers into Ryan haters. It didn’t really have to go that way, but let’s face it: Ryan’s just not the speaker of the house, man. Let’s go over each question one by one and address how both men should have replied to their accusers:

Matt’s question (all of these paraphrased, of course, because I can only scribble so fast): What are you going to do with the money?

Adam’s answer: Set aside $100K for an after-school program, maybe buy a car, that’s about it. Ryan’s answer: Help Ma, buy something for Jen, maybe set aside some for charity.

How they should have answered: None of your damn business! How anybody plans to spend their cash is completely irrelevant when all that should matter is how they played the game. Nonetheless, this probably isn’t the best time to be so bloody honest — especially when Josh is jumping down Adam’s throat for doing something as simple as ”yelling at the screen.” So here’s what Adam or Ryan should have said instead: Look, I can try to manipulate you and make you think I came to this game with only altruistic intentions — but you can’t kid a bunch of kidders. So I’ll be honest; I really have no idea how I’ll spend it, and I really shouldn’t be thinking of that, anyway, because it’s a little presumptuous to create a shopping list when there’s a 50-50 chance I won’t win. And If I do? I dunno, maybe I’ll buy a car, maybe I’ll get a little something for my girlfriend, maybe I’ll donate to the Boys Club of Greater L.A. — I honestly haven’t a clue. That shouldn’t matter anyway. How do you think I played the game?

Chelsia’s question: Ryan, why should I give you the money when you’ll probably just give it to that Jen woman, who called you out as ”a hatred person” on television? Ryan’s answer: I’m not a racist, I love my gal and my life, and maybe we’ll live together. How he should have answered: How Jen behaved while in the house is ultimately between her and me — and trust me, Chelsia, Jen and I are going to have a long and hard discussion about the hateful thing she said when we get back home. But right now, I’m in the final two, not Jen, so I’m going to kindly ask you to judge me for my game, not for how Jen played.

Josh: Adam, why should we reward you when you basically had Ryan do your dirty work? He played harder than you. Adam’s answer: I played a well-balanced game. I did throw a competition, but I did not throw the last one, despite what the jury may think. This is not all about competitions, anyway. How he should have answered: Honestly, I thought homeboy did a pretty good job with that one. When the jury first began deliberating at the top of the hour, I couldn’t understand why they felt Adam threw the final competition. But at least Adam came clean on one. He was also right to say that the game is about more than just winning head of household or the vetoes. Added bonus: I’m pretty sure he muttered all of that without saying ”you know” once. So extra points for sounding coherent.

James: Adam, why should you win? Adam: I got a bad deal when I first came into the house. I turned negativity into positivity, and I never forgot how much Sheila put me down, so yeah, I pretty much booted her in the end because of it. How he should have answered: Again, Adam was pretty dead-on here. There’s something to be said for the fact that he and Sheila looked to be goners in those first few weeks, and yet miraculously they survived. And Adam gave in to Sheila way more than she gave in to him. There is something to be said for that, too.

NEXT: Natalie’s last stand

Natalie: I’m supposed to be sitting there with you guys! Joshuah: How can that be? There are only supposed to be two of them! Lynette: Oh, snap! Natalie: Baller, why didn’t you take me, me, me, to the final two? Waaaaaa! What Adam and Ryan said: Something lame and not worth repeating. What they should have said: Natalie, you’re an incredibly sweet girl. You always were in good spirits. We, on the other hand, have done a few dastardly things in this house. Honestly, if either of us had taken you to the final two, you would have beaten us hands down simply because of your likability. We just couldn’t take the chance. Would you forgive us, hon?

Sheila: Why did you lie to my face, Adam? Adam: I got us to the final three, Sheila. Yes, you helped, too. But you had your chance, and you fudged it up. Let’s be honest, girl: you practically drown-dead in that final competition. I couldn’t have said it better myself, Adam! Sheila, though still looking fabulous, needs to get over her bad self and stop being so mean to the guy. It’s over. She lost. Bye-bye.

By the time the questioning was done, it appeared Adam was in the lead simply because he was far more eloquent and articulate in his answers than Ryan. But just because someone comes off as a lifetime member of Toastmasters doesn’t mean he deserves to win. Even in his final speech, Adam tried hard to make everybody happy — just as he did in the house — by saying things like ”I wish we could split up the money.” Ryan, on the other hand, kept it simple: He played a stand-up game. I’m pretty sure the jury knew he did, too, but likability trumped strong game play, so Adam went home with the cash. I don’t begrudge his win; as I said, I loved this final three and was glad to see the two guys win something. Moreover, I have no reason to distrust Adam’s promise to donate $100K for those autistic kids — though I have no reason to believe him, either. It doesn’t really matter; it’s no one’s business how he spends his winnings but his, which made James’ comment ”I hope you party away this money” all the more appropriate.

And now, a few final thoughts about this oh-so-short episode (I’ll let you complain amongst yourselves about how CBS gypped us yet again out of a two-hour finale): I had no idea what Chelsia meant by her comment ”I hope you hold your end of the deal” when she cast her vote for Adam. I still don’t think she has a fat-girl haircut, but boy, is she dumb. I thought the producers missed an opportunity to give Adam the public whupping he deserved by not replaying his ”retard” line from earlier this season. (Instead, they decided that his only ”crime” was when he mouthed to Natalie that he voted for her during her final moment in the house.) I was also very glad to see that I’m not in the minority when it comes to my appreciation of James, the winner of the audience cash prize. That’s okay, readers: you don’t have to be right all the time. (But MooseTV, I loved the pearl-clutching line. Keep up the fun posts.)

I could stretch out this final column by calling out all those has-been houseguests who were sitting in the audience (where we’ll never see Will or Danielle or Jack, by the way), but its time to revive the tradition where I ask you fans to suggest how CBS should fix this show. (Then I’ll send the suggestions off to CBS, which will promptly hit the delete button.) What do you think needs to change? Should players come into the game with secret alliances? Should luxury competitions that result in shameless promotions for movies be eliminated? Should ex-houseguests be allowed to participate in the game? Post your answers fast and furiously, and try to be good until July 13. S’long, everyone.

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Julie Chen hosts as the houseguests battle it out.

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