Big Brother premiere recap: Friendship Is the Word
Your boy (and summer's most popular house party) is back
Once a year, Julie Chen stands up from behind the table of The Talk, smooths out her skirt, and announces with a heavy sigh, “Let’s go deal with these kids again.” And then, without moving, she disappears into thin air and manifests in the redecorated Big Brother house. She pivots around, immediately looking for an exit because Julie is a sane woman. Julie isn’t like the other 17 crazies playing this game. She’s not tempted by the excitement of fame.
But 17 of these fools are… tempted, I mean. Big Brother is back with a (pretty much) whole new crop of contestants and a revamped house that is designed for temptation. Of course, we go through our series of people finding keys to the house in painfully obvious places, like grills and BIBLES. But at the end of the day, season 19 looks stacked with equal parts meatheads, drama queens, superfans, and one boy… you know the one. (Get a look at the first cast photo here.)
But back to this season’s theme: TEMPTATION! The house is covered in apples and snakes and unlimited Domino’s pizza and cheap red wine. Whoa, sorry, strike those last two… That’s my temptations. And upon entering the house, this group is going to be automatically tempted. Alex, Mark, Ramses, and Elena enter first, and Ramses goes full throttle. I mean like… a personality on 14 that needs to pull it down to a responsible 5. Jason, Dominique, Kevin, and Christmas follow with a much more manageable attitude. But deeper inside, Christmas announces in the diary room that she’s here to eat souls. Keep an eye on that crazy train, because that psychosis is how you win the show.
The next eight make their way in, and just like that, all the kids have rolled into the house, and it’s the most chaotic point of the season… even more than the double elimination nights. Because this is the one time of year when everyone is full-on screaming and running around like banshees. It doesn’t take long before Ramses takes Alex and Megan aside, and they end up forming the first pseudo-alliance of the season — you know, the kind of alliance that is never going to last, but God love them for kicking it off.
After the annual best friend meeting in the living room, Julie gathers the babies together to explain the season’s first twist(s). It’s The Summer of Temptation, after all. She sends them outside for their first #BBTemptation — it’s 25K up for grabs, but if anyone takes it, that person will immediately release the first twist. Kevin, the guy who looks like a shark from Shark Tank, immediately takes it, and in doing so cannot win HOH. And on top of that, the houseguests get one more friend… Paul.
In some circles, or when I get wine drunk and insist on discussing Big Brother, people believe that Paul deserved to win over Nicole. A messy player to start ended up being a true contender at the end, only to be bested by even messier gingham showmancer Nicole Franzel. Immediately, everyone wants him gone, but as every BB watcher knows, that means nothing. As the house mood shifts, Megan/Ramses/Alex pull in Jillian to solidify their alliance. And Lord knows they need alliances because Paul’s arrival means that someone immediately has to go. But Paul also gets to save eight other houseguests, so listen up… love him or hate him, you want to be Paul’s friend.
So Elena comes in to tempt Paul with a cheese sandwich, and you have to love the tangibility of that, especially in comparison to everyone else’s speeches. Christmas comes in with that forceful Vanessa Russo kind of business, and Paul is immediately caught off guard. After the best and worst (um, Cody) of the speeches are complete, Paul hands the bracelets to: Boston Kevin, Raven, Child of God Dominique, Mark, Cowboy Jason, Jessica, Ramses, and Elena with the Cheese Sandwich. Josh is PUMPED to not get a bracelet, because it’s a way to conceal their alliance… so, good strategy Josh?
The other eight go out for a safety competition that requires them to balance while waiting for clues on which “tempting apple” to choose. Inside each apple is either safety or a spot on the nomination block. So Jillian, Megan, and Josh bail first and grab their apples. Christmas and Cameron go next, leaving Alex, Cody, and Daddy Matt with the incredible gray hair. Daddy Matt drops, and Cody immediately tries to ration with Alex, but she insists that she doesn’t need a man to get through this competition. You have to love that fire, but it’s not a strong enough fire for her to win. So Cody is safe immediately. Alex’s apple is safe too, along with Daddy Matt. Christmas finds herself on the block, along with Cameron and Jillian, leaving Josh and Megan as the final two safe.
With Christmas, Cameron, and Jillian on the block, there’s one temptation remaining. They’re tempted with power, and that power is how they’d like to decide which of the three of them go: via vote or competition. Jillian opts for the vote because “she doesn’t think she can beat Christmas.” It’s a line I’ll be repeating all season. Cameron wants to compete, and in a surprise, SUPERWOMAN Christmas decides that a vote is better than a competition. Oh, Christmas.
So after some campaigning, acute tears, and one weird Cameron strip tease, each houseguest rolls in to vote. Christmas only racks up two votes, with an 8-3 vote sending Cameron out the door over Jillian. It’s a tough way to go, but every microbiologist has his day… or, um, at least 12 hours? So that’s it for Cameron. As for the rest of the season, there are plenty more twists ahead, like the Pendant of Protection and the Den of Temptation and The Mystery of Who Will Sleep With Daddy Matt and Who Will Actively Turn Down Josh Three Times Like Jesus Rejected Temptation in the Desert. I’ll let you guys figure out which of those are actual twists, and by the time we sort it out, it’ll be Sunday and we’ll be knee deep in this crazy thing we call Big Brother.