Omarosa Celebrity Big BrotherCredit: CBS
Credit: CBS

Wednesday night saw the premiere of Celebrity Big Brother, a winter edition of CBS’ summertime reality TV tradition, with a cast that includes famous celebrities like “That Woman Who Didn’t Win Miss Universe,” “That One Guy From The Thing,” and Omarosa Manigault, the reality TV contestant turned official in the Trump White House turned reality TV contestant. EW’s television critics and longtime Big Brother professors Kristen Baldwin and Darren Franich spent the premiere Slacking their thoughts to each other. This is what happened:

Kristen Baldwin [5:00 PM]
I have been waiting for this moment for my entire life.

Darren Franich [5:00 PM]
“This Big Brother will be unlike any other,” says Julie, which I assume means only 10 twists in the first week.

Kristen Baldwin [5:00 PM]
We’re “making history” by watching.
And my parents thought I’d never amount to anything.

Darren Franich [5:01 PM]
I love that this is a three-night premiere event and the show is only running for three weeks. The catharsis will be swift!

Kristen Baldwin [5:01 PM]
Our first BUT FIRST.

Darren Franich [5:02 PM]
It’s Mark McGrath! Sometimes I still listen to Sugar Ray songs and cry. No shame.

Kristen Baldwin [5:02 PM]
This is clearly a no-shame zone, Darren. A safe space.
These celebrities are so lame they narrate their own “rise to fame” story.

Darren Franich [5:03 PM]
Mark McGrath’s celebrity lookalike is Michael C. Hall, agree/disagree?

Kristen Baldwin [5:03 PM]
I do NOT see that.
“I will do anything for money” is an excellent strategy.

Darren Franich [5:03 PM]
RE: Brandi Granville, so great that they are featuring famous authors and not just untalented celebrities.

Kristen Baldwin [5:03 PM]
It’s HISTORIC, Darren.
“I’m a desperate middle-aged woman who has to pay for private school” is also a great strategy.
Good luck, Brandi.

Darren Franich [5:05 PM]
I told the Genie that I wanted to see more world peace in 2018. Curse you, Genie, for taking me so literally!
But also, athletes = good competitors. Go, Metta World Peace, go!

Kristen Baldwin [5:05 PM]
I do think that Not Miss Universe deserves to win something.
It’s going to be hard to choose who to root for!

Darren Franich [5:06 PM]
This Miss Universe was also in the third XXX movie, so I guess I’m rooting for her over Ross Matthews.

Kristen Baldwin [5:06 PM]
Oh gurl, no he didn’t!
WE’LL be the judge of that.

Darren Franich [5:07 PM]
Is it possible that being on Celebrity Big Brother is secretly the most punk thing Sugar Ray has ever done? I have to admit, I’m thinking a lot about Sugar Ray now.
(I’m also calling Mark McGrath “Sugar Ray”)

Kristen Baldwin [5:08 PM]
Well, they are one and the same.
And honestly, Darren, isn’t it healthier for you to be thinking more about Sugar Ray right now than the fact that we’re about to spend six hours a week watching “celebrities” on Big Brother?
Breaking: My husband just figured out that Ross Matthews is gay.

Darren Franich [5:09 PM]
Also breaking: Ross Matthews was in the audience for the season 1 finale? Okay, fine, he’s a superfan.

Kristen Baldwin [5:09 PM]
Fair. Tough to take, but fair.
Oh, so the booze flows freely on the celebrity version of Big Brother?
That seems like both a smart and terrible decision.

Darren Franich [5:11 PM]
Shannon Elizabeth AND Sugar Ray! The dream of the ’90s has come to the Big Brother House to die slowly.

Kristen Baldwin [5:11 PM]
Darren, what happened to Chris Klein?

Darren Franich [5:11 PM]
No comment.

Kristen Baldwin [5:12 PM]

Darren Franich [5:12 PM]
What is the category above Superfan?

Kristen Baldwin [5:12 PM]
Double Secret Superfan?

Darren Franich [5:12 PM]
Super Duper Fan?

Kristen Baldwin [5:12 PM]
Ooh, that’s better.

Darren Franich [5:12 PM]
Double Secret Super Duper Fan Shannon Elizabeth

Kristen Baldwin [5:13 PM]
We interrupt this chat to inform you that Chuck Liddell is bench-pressing his child.

Darren Franich [5:13 PM]
I’m a sucker for the badass with a heart of gold.

Kristen Baldwin [5:14 PM]
Ditto. So Darren, are we going to mention that Keisha Knight Pulliam defended Bill Cosby or should we not go there?

Darren Franich [5:14 PM]
Let’s hold off on discussing that until it comes up organically when the booze flows through the Big Brother House. Instead, I propose that Keshia Knight Pulliam’s job chyron be “ALSO AN ENTREPRENEUR”

Kristen Baldwin [5:15 PM]
PERFECTION. New franchise: “Honest Chyrons”

Darren Franich [5:15 PM]
And Marissa Jaret Winokur’s is “ALSO A DIRECTOR”

Kristen Baldwin [5:15 PM]

Darren Franich [5:16 PM]
And James Maslow is a “SOLO” ARTIST

Kristen Baldwin [5:16 PM]
“My strategy to win is simply to win” is a great strategy.


Darren Franich [5:16 PM]

Kristen Baldwin [5:16 PM]
Breathe Darren
My child just walked in and said, “Why is she next to Trump?”
“Is she saying Trump’s good?”

Darren Franich [5:16 PM]
Looking forward to hearing how that conversation goes!

Kristen Baldwin [5:16 PM]
“Why was she fired?”

Darren Franich [5:17 PM]
Omarosa is ALSO a superfan!
I believe her more, somehow.

Kristen Baldwin [5:17 PM]
I mean, she’s a superfan of being on TV.

Darren Franich [5:17 PM]
I don’t know if I’m ready to forgive Omarosa for literally anything. I do know that unabashed desperation makes great reality TV.

Kristen Baldwin [5:18 PM]
She doesn’t want your forgiveness, Darren. She feeds on your contempt.
Side note: I can’t imagine how much it hurts to get a scalp tattoo. Chuck Liddell really IS tough.
Second side note: Omarosa wore a ballgown to the Big Brother House.

Darren Franich [5:19 PM]
Ross Matthews vs. Omarosa: Dawn of Justice

Kristen Baldwin [5:19 PM]
It would gross more than Batman v. Superman.

Darren Franich [5:20 PM]
And be less depressing! Okay, now let’s see who forms a first-night alliance that will immediately fall apart before the first vote.

Kristen Baldwin [5:20 PM]
Omarosa plans to “build trust.” [insert 1,000 cry-laughing face emojis]

Darren Franich [5:20 PM]
Her Smaug-the-Dragon whisper as she talked about “building trust” was impressive!
Omarosa asks “Where would I know you from?” to Jordan Knight Junior Junior. Jordan Knight Junior Junior asks Omarosa what an Apprentice is.

Kristen Baldwin [5:21 PM]
More booze! Game on!

Darren Franich [5:22 PM]
Okay, Kristen, first commercial break. Let’s call it now: Who is your ridiculously early pick to win it all?

Kristen Baldwin [5:23 PM]
Marissa Jaret Winokur.

Darren Franich [5:23 PM]
Love it! I think Sugar Ray has a good social game and seems like the kind of friendly floater who could suddenly stab everyone in the back at the last moment. But I have seen all the (theatrical) American Pie movies (like, in the theater on opening day), so my nostalgic impulse is to root for Double Secret Super Duper Fan Shannon Elizabeth!

Kristen Baldwin [5:24 PM]
Oooh, torn loyalties. It’s gonna be a tough summer … I mean, mid-winter … for you.

Darren Franich [5:24 PM]
“Which remnant of 1999 will win 2018?”

Kristen Baldwin [5:25 PM]
Oh no, Mr. Boy Band, you will NOT teach singing lessons while Sugar Ray stands nearby!

Darren Franich [5:26 PM]
Yes, the 15th Lachey brother is not making friends, but millennials never do.
Is he millennial or is he younger than millennial?

Kristen Baldwin [5:26 PM]
Maybe he’s Gen Z. Or whatever they’re calling it now.
“I don’t like pretty boy.” Brandi G. is all of us

Darren Franich [5:27 PM]
Omarosa telling Shannon Elizabeth that “Women should work together” is an appropriately optimistic and surreal place for 2018 to begin.

Kristen Baldwin [5:28 PM]
Yes. Our Year of Being Punk’d continues.
I would watch a full season of Celebrity Big Brother which was just cutaway shots of Brandi Glanville drinking.
“#TimesUp. Isn’t it, like, the year of the women right now?”
I would hereby like to rescind my previous statement of support for Melissa Jaret Winokur.

Darren Franich [5:30 PM]
Actually, Kristen, this COULD be a savvy move on MJW’s part.
Pick the devil you know. People who make deals with the devil always win in the end, right?
Isn’t that what Lucifer is about?

Kristen Baldwin [5:31 PM]
True. Either it’s a strategy or just careless appropriation of an important social movement for her own personal gain. Tough call!

Darren Franich [5:32 PM]
Look, the important thing is, whats-her-name from XXX: The Threequel is now going to float through the first two weeks no problem.
And the feud between Brandi and Joey Slackintyre is a fun subplot.

Kristen Baldwin [5:33 PM]
Yes, you’re right. Thank you for putting things in perspective.
First HOH competition!
Everyone is in tacky tuxes!

Darren Franich [5:33 PM]
I was about to type “Everyone is in fashionable tuxes!”

Kristen Baldwin [5:34 PM]
Tomato, tomahto.
Wait so basically all they have to do is randomly choose a number? THAT’S the competition?
This is worse than Celebrity Jeopardy.
OMFG the producers ABSOLUTELY just made whatever number Omarosa was on the “winning” number.

Darren Franich [5:36 PM]
It’s truly a Big Brother tradition, the game titled “Which Number is Omarosa Standing On?”

Kristen Baldwin [5:36 PM]
Oh thank GOD, the dangling endurance comp!

Darren Franich [5:36 PM]
My secret fear is that I would lose a dangling endurance comp in about two minutes.

Kristen Baldwin [5:37 PM]
Oh, I absolutely would.
My arm strength is, like, T-rex level.
So Darren, who do you think will emerge victorious here?

Darren Franich [5:38 PM]
I give the edge to Metta World Peace, who is an actual great athlete presumably capable of doing great athletic things. What do you think, Kristen?

Kristen Baldwin [5:38 PM]
An athlete for sure — Mr. World Peace or Chuck.
Although who knows, maybe Keshia Knight Pulliam has surprising upper body strength.

Darren Franich [5:40 PM]
I hope there’s a competition where you have to say the lyrics of “Every Morning” by Sugar Ray.

Kristen Baldwin [5:40 PM]
Maybe Otev will put all his clues in Sugar Ray lyrics?

Darren Franich [5:41 PM]
Metta World Peace says he’s “the best wing defensive player,” I assume that is impressive to anyone who follows sportsball!

Kristen Baldwin [5:41 PM]

Darren Franich [5:41 PM]
Oh god, this makes three straight seasons with Paul.

Kristen Baldwin [5:41 PM]

Darren Franich [5:42 PM]
I was so hoping Rachel would be in this season, truthfully.

Kristen Baldwin [5:42 PM]
What in the name of all that’s holy is going on right now?

Darren Franich [5:42 PM]
Chuck Liddell doesn’t know these people. He’s the opposite of a superfan.
No-per fan?

Kristen Baldwin [5:43 PM]
Maybe he’s such a non-fan he’s actually the only real fan?
Dammit, we’re barely 45 minutes in and this show has already turned my brain to mush.

Darren Franich [5:43 PM]
No no no, I’m with you. That’s the same logic I used to use when I told my friends that Sugar Ray was the most punk band of all.

Kristen Baldwin [5:44 PM]
And we’ve lost Marissa!
“I’m just gonna start hookin’ on the side” is also an excellent strategy. Brandi is really in it to win it.

Darren Franich [5:44 PM]
The power of Needing To Pay For Private Schools! We underrated her at our peril.

Kristen Baldwin [5:45 PM]
Ross and Sugar Ray are down!

Darren Franich [5:45 PM]
Chuck is down! I’m beginning to sense that perhaps these athletes are not in their prime.
No shots fired, I had no prime!

Kristen Baldwin [5:46 PM]
Good God, the boy bander is still there!

Darren Franich [5:46 PM]
Harry No-Styles is my pick for villain of the season.

Kristen Baldwin [5:46 PM]

Darren Franich [5:46 PM]
He is wineshaming Brandi!

Kristen Baldwin [5:47 PM]
He’s a sassy little brat isn’t he?
But he’s still hanging off that statue so I guess the joke’s on us.

Darren Franich [5:47 PM]
When did kids start wineshaming people? Aren’t we supposed to wineshame them?
Well, credit where credit’s due, the Jonas Cousin might be the first HoH.

Kristen Baldwin [5:48 PM]
I now challenge you to come up with a new nickname every time you mention him.

Darren Franich [5:48 PM]
Barren Carter.
Slackstreet Boy.
The N’Stinker.
Ummmmm …

Kristen Baldwin [5:48 PM]
Go! Go! Go!

Darren Franich [5:49 PM]
New Kid on the Block That Was Way Cooler Before He Arrived

Kristen Baldwin [5:49 PM]
Keep going! You can do it!

Darren Franich [5:49 PM]
Justin Biebro

Kristen Baldwin [5:50 PM]
Big Time D-Bag?
More crude than clever.

Darren Franich [5:50 PM]

Kristen Baldwin [5:50 PM]
When they go low, I go lower.

Darren Franich [5:51 PM]
Hopefully whoever wins HoH follows those words of wisdom!

Kristen Baldwin [5:51 PM]
Only nine minutes left! Think we’ll get the HoH results tonight?

Darren Franich [5:51 PM]
Either tonight, OR they’ll hold off on revealing the HoH until the end of the three-week premiere event.
Three weeks? Three days? My brain is mush, too!
Go Shannon Go! You were underrated in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back!

Kristen Baldwin [5:52 PM]
I’m ashamed of underestimating her.
Omarosa’s confessional couture game is strong.

Darren Franich [5:53 PM]
Yes! Fall, Kevin Lit-trash, fall!

Kristen Baldwin [5:54 PM]
Shannon Elizabeth has declared this the “Season of the Women”!
I have never been more inspired.

Darren Franich [5:55 PM]
Who do we think she guns for first? Sugar Ray? World Peace?
“We have to eliminate World Peace!” would be a prime Omarosa pull quote.

Kristen Baldwin [5:56 PM]
God, if somebody doesn’t produce that quote out of her this season everyone should be fired.
I think the Backstreet Brat has to go.

Darren Franich [5:57 PM]
Agreed, my admiration for him went from 98 Degrees to Below Zero.

Kristen Baldwin [5:57 PM]

Darren Franich [5:57 PM]
Oh god, I hope Zingbot joins the celebrities this season.

Kristen Baldwin [5:57 PM]
If he doesn’t, everyone should be fired.

Darren Franich [5:58 PM]
The recast power allows them to remove the sitting HoH and take over as Head of Household.

Kristen Baldwin [5:58 PM]
You know what they say about Big Brother, Darren: EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED.

Darren Franich [5:58 PM]
Or, as we say in my household, BWAAHHHHHHH?

Kristen Baldwin [5:59 PM]
Well, Darren, it’s been a pleasure making it through this premiere with you.

Darren Franich [5:59 PM]
We survived, Kristen, unlike most of my brain cells. I feel confident in my ridiculously early Shannon Elizabeth choice, which I assume means she’ll be kicked out tomorrow night thanks to the exciting new “Omarosa Must Win” twist.

Episode Recaps

Celebrity Big Brother
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