Willie teaches us a valuable lesson: No matter how bad things are, they can always be worse

By Erin Strecker
July 23, 2012 at 04:51 AM EDT
Sonja Flemming/CBS
S14 E5
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Years from now, when we look back at the greatest reality show meltdowns of all time, there is no way that the Ending of the Reign of King Willie, as my colleague Darren Franich calls him, won’t be a top contender. Born of a reality show family, Willie was practically pre-ordained to be a reality show whack job — he had to surpass his Survivor brother and make his own legacy — but no matter what his intentions, it’s safe to say that being thrown out of the house for head-butting Joe was not what he envisioned for his end game in the Big Brother house.

Let’s start at the beginning: After the Playmate bid the house adieu, and Frank became the new HoH, alliances started to change. Willie, behavior at the end of the episode notwithstanding, is no idiot: He knew he was a marked man. As Boogie — always ready with a camera-ready explanation — announced, “It’s now the house versus Willie.” Boogie also used his confessional camera time to bro-out with new BFF Frank. Frank — despite having a mullet as a child — is definitely a strong contender. Boogie may be obnoxious, but he also knows the advantage he holds by possibly putting all his eggs in the Frank basket.

While that coach/pair continued to power bond, Dan had some encouraging words for his one remaining contestant: Namely, Danielle should get in with Janelle’s team. If she continues to vote with them, they form a powerful block and she can get herself some security. On the way out with Janelle’s team: Britney. The two ladies’ alliance seemed to be drawing to a close last night, all thanks to the terrifying and at-one-time-powerful Willie. Janelle explained that she couldn’t put her players in danger by continuing associations with “raging lunatic” Willie.

Willie knew he was toast. During the episode he announced both “I know I’m the problem” and “I’m not in the house to be comfortable, I’m in this house to win half a million dollars” — which is the same thematically as the “I’m not here to make friends” phrase that every psycho on every version of Real World, Survivor, Project Runway, etc. has ever uttered. Pro tip: You may not be here to make friends, but you should try and keep it in the back of your mind that not everyone should be terrified of you, either.

While one-man sinking ship Willie was busy digging himself a deeper hole, other characters were working on their own survival chances. Walking Ken doll Shane was deep in back rubs with Danielle, who realized pretty quickly that a showmance could only help her. Shane: “Long brown hair and a southern accent gets me every time.” Danielle: “If something happens [with us], it’s because it’s real.” Well, I believe one of you.

In other showmance news, apparently Ashley’s nerd crush on Ian is mutual. Ian told Boogie — midway through Boogie essentially explaining to Ian how to act like a normal person and how not to creep the other housemates out — that he was planning on asking Ashley on a slop date. Boogie immediately announced that Ian (previously known for kicking himself repeatedly in the face) didn’t stand a chance, but little was Boogie aware that Ashley, who so far is killing it in her game strategy to stick in the background, had a little nerd crush on him as well — or so she says. She was certainly able to fake interest in the organic vs. inorganic chemistry question, which was basically just a set up for TV bloggers to make a comment about the duo’s complete lack of chemistry. You’re welcome, producers.

NEXT: The judges compete, and Boogie learns a valuable lesson

The actual event of this episode, the coach’s competition, seemed almost inconsequential compared to all that happened after, but nevertheless: The coaches were informed that the winner of the game that day would be able to either save one of their players from elimination, or switch one of their players with a player from another team. Britney perked right up at that.

The game was set up to be like a ’90s hip hop video — or more accurately, what the middle-aged Big Brother producers think of when they hear the phrase “’90s hip-hop video.” Viewers were exposed to Big Brother graffiti, gold MC Hammer pants and tons of fake cash. Each judge had to move a huge pile of fake money from one end of a balance beam (Olympic tie-in!) to the other end. If the judge or the money fell, they were out. Dan once again threw the competition. Arkansas hog running from the farmers, Jackrabbit, flying squirrel Britney started strong (Boogie was lusting after her low center of gravity) but she knocked some of her wad of cash over and was disqualified.

It quickly turned into a two-man race between Boogie and Janelle. Boogie looked like he was going to win, but before he could hit a button officially declaring him the winner, he stepped off the beam, disqualifying himself. As my junior high social studies teacher always said: “You have to read (and listen) to the directions before you begin the test.” As Britney said, Boogie was so busy planning his next witty camera comment that he didn’t listen to the rules. Too bad Boogie didn’t have a little quip about failure.

If there was any doubt before, Janelle sending all of Britney’s team members — Willie, Shane and Jojo — to be the have nots for the week confirmed it: The Girl Power alliance is over. Dost thou know thy evil you’ve created, Willie? Janelle chose to save Ashley from elimination, and also nominated Ian to join team Britney for another week on slop, so Ian and Ashley will have a very star-crossed lovers/Upstairs-Downstairs thing going on this week. Will they continue with their slop dates? Will Ashley slum it for an alliance? How much pudding will Ian wind up eating? So many questions.

NEXT: Willie headbutts Joe in the face. Yes, this really happened.

All of this, really, is preamble to the time that WILLIE, in a fit of rage HEADBUTTED LOUD JOE IN THE FACE. It’s late, and maybe I’ll have clarity in the morning, but I just can’t see how this could be written off as anything but just plain serious anger issues. I suppose I could make the argument that this was Willie choosing when to leave, as opposed to the guaranteed eviction that was coming his way later in the week, but mostly it was Britney telling Willie he was screwed, Willie going up to the HoH room and telling the other contestants not to take their rage for Willie out on his fellow Britney teammates, and then peacing out down to the kitchen with the realization that he was gone as soon as he was put up for a vote.

Willie, now looking for a fight, made little comments to Britney in the kitchen. Britney begged him to just cool it for a few days, but Willie informed her, “I’m not going out with class. [My behavior] is not an act. I’m pissed.” I’m always a little skeptical of reality show contestants, but I believe Willie was being his authentic self here. He followed up the ‘no class’ proclamation by saying “Bunch of f—ers in this bitch.” Unfortunately, LOUD JOE chose that moment to walk by, and, in the only volume that guy has, announced, ‘You’re the only f—er I see.”

I think the fact that even Joe was through with him — et tu, Joe? — was the final straw for ol’ Willie. Willie charged after Joe, yelled at him, shoved him while a powerless Ian looked on, and then went for the kill, or rather a headbutt with enough force to break a nose.

Turns out, you can’t just go around inflicting bodily harm to other contestants. Willie stormed out in a rage, and seemingly just a few minutes later, our omnipotent narrator (actually: EP Allison Grodner) announced to everyone that violence in the house is not tolerated, and Willie was gone — he wouldn’t even be sticking around for eviction.

Full disclosure: I’m a Big Brother newbie this season, so I can’t speak to whether this kind of violence happens every year. I’m guessing not, as superfan Ian explained to the cameras: “This was the least-dignified exit in Big Brother history.”

Readers: Do you agree with Ian about Willie’s exit? What about Ian’s thoughts on pudding? Now that Willie is gone, do Shane and Jojo still have targets on their backs? Which showmance will last longer: Shane and Danielle, or Ian and Ashley? And have the producers properly foreshadowed that the coaches will clearly be competing as contestants soon? You know what they say — if you see four additional keyholes in Act 1…

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Julie Chen hosts as the houseguests battle it out.
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