Big Brother recap: Zingbot returns
Your favorite reality TV robo-comedian returns, while everyone decides they can't trust Frank
The shifting power dynamics in the Big Brother house are beginning to resemble the game of brinksmanship played by the Great Powers of early 20th Century Europe, except with funnier robots. At the start of last night’s episode, Frank put Joe and Wil up on the block, an indication that the Silent Six war machine was planning to march through the ruins of Team Janelle. But from the second the nomination ceremony ended, things got more complicated. Generalissimo Boogie thought it might be good for Chilltown 2.0 to make a play at Joe. “Nobody’s fighting to be his friend,” said Boogie, “If we buddy up, he could be our friendly pet.” Emperor Frank told Joe that he would receive a stay of execution, so long as he could keep his mouth shut. “CONSIDER MY MOUTH SHUT ABOUT OUR SECRET DEAL,” mumbled Joe, “I WON’T TELL ANYONE WE’RE WORKING TOGETHER, ME AND YOU, JOE AND FRANK.”
Meanwhile, in the pillow room, Boogie was having the same conversation with Wil. “My favorite pastime: Telling people they’re safe, and then doing the opposite.” I imagine that Boogie is the kind of guy who melts ants with a magnifying glass. Actually, I imagine that Boogie is the kind of guy who buys an ant farm just to blow it up with dynamite. But Wil is more than just an ant farm with great hair. “Sorry, Boogie! I’m not buying it,” he said.
As a Big Brother player, I frankly don’t know what to make of Wil. He has a great social game, except when he doesn’t. He has an almost intuitive understanding for the shifting alliances inside of the house, but he seems incapable of allying himself with anyone. (At one point, he noted that Smashley is his only ally, which is kind of like saying “The sky is my only ally” or “I’m sure that my beloved puppy will save me if a nuclear bomb goes off.”) He has endeared himself to everybody, but in the diary room he has a hairtrigger temper and seems to despise pretty much everyone. My newest theory about Wil is that he’s a great player, but he doesn’t really love the game — doesn’t get off on the lies and the half-truths, like Boogie. But marvel at how he turned a simple conversation with Danielle into a power-play biography. If he survives this week, he could be the undoing of the whole Silent Six.
But enough about the silly humans! Let’s get to the real star of the show: Zingbot 3000, the highly-advanced robot sent in time with lots of futuristic humor technology. Zingbot gave the cast the business. “Shane: My five year old niece called…and she wants her pink tank top back!!! ZING!” “Joe, how does it feel to be the old man of the house? Oh, sorry Boogie…I didn’t see you there!!! ZING!” He compared Frank to Little Orphan Annie and compared Jenn to a gossip magazine, which led Joe to ask “Who’s Little Orphan Annie?” and led Jenn to ask “Wait, who’s Jenn?” The Zingbot saved his harshest and most spot-on critique for Danielle: “I hear Shane’s gonna give you a special gift after the season…a restraining order! ZING! ZING! ZA-ZEE-ZY-ZOW-ZOO-ZING!“
But listen though, fellow viewers. A lot has changed in Zingbot’s life since we first met him a couple years ago. He’s settled down. He’s bought a house with a back yard. He’s started getting involved in the local political scene, and is currently running for a seat on the city council of Zingville. (He’s also gotten really into the literature of Ayn Rand, although he tells Mrs. Zingbot that he only reads Ayn Rand’s books “For the thrilling plot points and the character development.”) And now, Zingbot has decided it’s time to start cranking Baby Zingbots.
Participants in the Veto Competition had to build elaborate Rube Goldberg pipelines and deposit an orb of Pure Zingtonium into the Zingcubator. I don’t understand half the words I just wrote in the previous sentence, but the competition was pretty fun. Smashley, suffering from back pain and possibly hopped up on happy pills, explained why she wasn’t doing too well in the game: “The last time I did a puzzle was probably a kitty-kat puzzle.” Jenn said, “I’m more of a visual learner,” and then she asked, “Who’s Jenn?”
Meanwhile, Britney couldn’t figure out why Boogie was having so many problems with the competish. “His eyebrows are already pointed straight up at the ceiling, due to his botox. ZING!” I don’t know if Britney is a great Big Brother player. But I’m already starting my online campaign to get Britney elected as the new Big Brother host.
NEXT PAGE: And lo, a Zingbot was born.Frank won the competition. At that point, a cute and yet somehow horrific little robot walked out of the doorway. “Zing?” it asked. “Zing!” it exclaimed. “It’s a bot!” said Zingbot. In the future, this is what Sex Ed will look like.
So Frank had all the power in the house. That made his Silent Six compatriots Dan and Britney a little nervous. Britney was already suffering buyer’s remorse over eliminating Janelle — realizing, too late, that the devil she knew was better than the devil who dresses in tagline T-shirts. And she had every reason to feel nervous. Wil, Smashley, and Jenn formed a Coalition of the Useless and declared their intention to ally with Frank. “I’m worried about taking a swing and missing,” said Frank. Wil assured him he wouldn’t miss.
Britney was worried. So she asked Ian to go upstairs and play detective. Ian is the fifth member of the Quack Pack, an alliance which looked stillborn after the creation of the Silent Six. But Ian still believes in the Quack Pack. So he went upstairs to talk to the HoH thronebed Frank. Frank looked uneasy. He badly wanted Dan out of the house.
Perhaps because he thinks Ian is a nothing player, Frank opened up to the kid. He had a grand image in his head. Get rid of Dan, leave Danielle floating. Pair up with Britney and Shane. Become a powerhouse alliance. I’m sure that, for Frank, that image has a particular raw beauty. He knows that nobody likes Boogie; he knows that Britney can’t really compete; he knows that Ian is a meatshield gunning for bronze. Ian tried to dissuade him. Then he went downstairs and told Danielle and Britney. (I gotta say, watching Ian engage in serious espionage was a kick. Alone among the houseguests, he actually seems to be learning how to play the game better as the weeks pass. It’d be interesting to see what he would do with serious power. Lest you think I’m crazy, Ian’s smarts make him a genuine HoH threat the next time there’s a trivia competish.)
The next morning, Frank told Boogie: “I would live to revisit the Dan situation.” Boogie held steadfast. Dan is on our team; he’s a good worker; going against Dan would turn all their allies into enemies. But Frank made some cogent responses. He pointed out that Boogie had no reason to fear Dan; heck, if Frank had been kicked out back in week one, it’s entirely plausible that this whole summer would have been a Dan/Boogie bro sesh. In a rare misstep, Boogie wound up proving Frank’s point: He promised that, if Dan ever eliminated Frank, then Boogie would seek vengeance, leading Frank to note, “But I’d already be out of the house.” If Frank and Boogie are both in this game for the long haul, there will come a time when they strike against each other — and this conversation felt like an early preview of that climactic battle.
But in the end, Frank held fast to his alliance. The Silent Six remained intact. Joe and Wil remained on the block. It wouldn’t surprise me if Frank and Boogie decide to eliminate Joe; after all, Wil has shown that he wants to work with them against the other Coach/Teammate pairs. But Wil was fuming. He didn’t look like a guy who wanted to work with anyone. I imagine that, when Wil gets sent home on Thursday, he’ll tell Julie that he doesn’t regret a single day he spent in the Big Brother house, because he was always himself. Good for him. But honest men don’t win elections, and “being yourself” in Big Brother is a one-way ticket to Julie Chen’s lair.
Fellow viewers, what did you think of the evening’s shenanigans? Surprised that Frank didn’t strike against Dan? Knowing that Frank was even considering it, will Britney and Danielle make a play against the Frank/Boogie alliance? Is Ian emerging as a serious player this season? Who’s Jenn?
Follow Darren on Twitter: @DarrenFranich