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Big Brother 8 – Episode 1 (“Enemies, A Love Story”)

Posted by g3tech on July 8, 2007

Previously on Big Brother: Mike Boogie won the All-Stars season. We’re still taking hot showers to wash it all away. During the opening voice-over (“Fifty-one cameras! Seventy-four microphones! Zero marketable job skills!”), we get out first look at the revamped BB8 house. It’s been given a fairly-tale makeover, if you can believe it. There are weird leprechaun doors, a topiary garden, a giant teacup (!), and some of the walls are this mossy green color, like it’s the Seven Dwarves’ woodland cottage. It’s like they wanted to class up the joint by making it all look like A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Of course, that was full of jackasses and barely-clothed women too. In case you haven’t heard already, voice-over guy illuminates one of this season’s ballyhooed twists: three pairs of houseguests are “enemies,” and they don’t know the other is going to be in the house. So it’s like BB4 “X-Factor,” but it doesn’t affect nearly as many of the houseguests. We have an estranged father and daughter who haven’t spoken in two years (this would be Dick and Danielle); a pair of ex-boyfriends (Dustin and Joe), the latter of whom turned all their mutual friends against the former, so he’s definitely on the right show; and then Carol and Jessica, former BFFs from Kansas and a pair so objectionable, even the voice-over guy (“…these two”) is disgusted. I can’t wait to find out why I hate them!

An alarmingly bobble-headed Julie Chen greets us by the door of the gingerbread house and welcomes us to Season 8. Like anyone afflicted with the post-traumatic stress of watching this show (…every year since Season 2), it’s good to see Julie because she’s a familiar face who’s yet to wear peanut butter as clothing or masturbate in a garden shed. I am concerned about the increasing Tina-Turnerfication of her hair; we’ll keep an eye on it. She reiterates the enemies twist and promises that it’ll be cool, unlike most of the twists this show has produced, “But first” (WOO!), let’s meet the houseguests. As in seasons past, we’re presented video packages of the houseguests surprised reactions as they received their keys to the BB house. So that’s what the cameras were there for! Jessica is a cheerleader. That’s all she’s giving us, really. Nick is captioned as a “pro” football player, and the quote marks will remain until I find out what, if any, pro team he’s ever played on. He also enjoys fishing, obnoxiously large shoulder tattoos, and not wearing a shirt. Eric seems “fun-loving” in a way that means “loud.” Danielle wears a pink bikini and is from California. Her dad calls himself “Evil” Dick and looks like a kind of sad, middle-aged rock club owner whose resemblance to Tommy Lee is probably no accident. Jen is a sexy nanny who likes to show her ass. Mike is a house painter with giant arms and vertical hair. Kail is both the token older lady (hobbling around with her walker at age thirty-seven) and the token small-town lady. Joe is a beanpole gay stereotype. Carol says that she’s a “senator’s daughter,” by which she means “state senator’s daughter.” Amber is a single mom from Las Vegas, which just makes me think of Season 2’s Krista, which is not good. Zach poses with a chess board, so I guess he’s our token “smart” guy. Dustin sells shoes for a living and I’ve already decided that I like him, which means I’m already setting myself up for disappointment and it’s barely ten minutes into the season. Jameka, the only person of color in an otherwise lily-white cast, warns us not to get on her bad side. Yes, ma’am!

Snippets of folks leaving home include Eric saying that he’s not looking forward to engaging any “religious zealots,” while Kail packs her Bible. Mmm hmm. Also, Evil Dick hugs what appears to be his son, while his estranged daughter Danielle hugs her boyfriend. And lots of people hug their pets. In front of the “house” (I’m not going to put “house” in quotes all season, but I feel I need to register my objection at least once: not a house), the contestants line up one by one. Only eleven emerge at first, with Dick, Jessica, and Dustin being held in reserve for the Shocking Twist. Julie delivers her usual opening spiel. Carol, Joe, Mike, and Amber get to enter the house first. Joe doesn’t stop talking from the second he’s inside, and Carol deems him “over-the-top” but lovable. For now. Next in are Nick, Danielle, and Jameka. The bedrooms are all deliberately weird — one has really tall beds, one has really tiny beds, one has round beds. Because Nick is the designated heartthrob, he immediately dismisses the tiny beds because they’d be insufficient for sharing with chicks. Amber thinks that there are “sparks” there between them. There’s also a magnified window in between two rooms, and when Danielle looks through it, one of the guys says, “Look, there’s Anna Nicole’s ghost.” Indeed, Danielle does bear a facial resemblance to the post-TrimSpa Anna Nicole.

Finally, Kail, Jen, Eric, and Zach get to enter. Eric makes note of the fact that every guy besides him is a towering 6-foot-5 mass, which I will admit makes the munchkin room a lot funnier. Everyone mingles. Danielle and Joe immediately figure that there have to be more houseguests on the way. Carol notes the house’s Alice In Wonderland aesthetic. They all do that thing where they sit on the couches and introduce themselves. Jen, in particular, seems to be a divergent point for the group. Nick, for one, thinks she’s really hot. Carol doesn’t think much of her because of her “giant boobs.” Nobody seems to note how she comes across like an imperious bitch besides. Danielle, for some reason, lies about being twenty-one when she’s still two months shy of her birthday. Devious! Kail lies about the fact that she owns multiple businesses in her Oregon home town. She also interviews, after we see Joe introduce himself, that she would hate it if any of her kids told her they “chose a gay lifestyle.” Good news, Kail, that doesn’t happen. Meanwhile, Joe chooses to express his gay lifestyle by interviewing about how hot Nick is. I really do think we get it by now. Nick’s the hottie. Poor Jameka tries to process how she wound up in a house with all these white people. Welcome to network TV, lady.

Julie kicks us to commercial by not only teasing the three secret houseguests, but also telling us that they’re already in the house, stashed away somewhere. Okay, that’s freaky. Though I think they kind of missed the boat by not tying into the fairy-tale theme and having them already asleep in the beds like Goldilocks. But no, they’re just hidden “upstairs.” The blue walls make it look like this is the diary room, but Julie doesn’t say and I am thankfully not that acquainted with the Big Brother house that I can say for sure. When Julie tells the houseguests that they’ll be living with “an enemy, a rival, or someone [they] have unfinished business with,” Dustin totally freaks out and mouths “fuck,” and they have to blur out his mouth. Julie lets them eavesdrop on the house for a while, and they talk amongst themselves about their respective “enemies.” Dick is particularly immature about his situation, putting his estrangement from Danielle entirely on her and looking almost eager to get to the business of voting her out. Dustin alludes to a messy breakup with Joe, who he says slept with a friend of his. Jessica ends up looking totally petty by comparison, as her and Carol’s issues essentially involve being high-school rivals and Carol owing Jessica five dollars from when they were fourteen. Dustin totally laughs right at her.

Julie gets on the big TV and tells the original eleven that there are other houseguests and that they’ve been watching, but she doesn’t say where they are. Danielle thinks it’s a whole group of “older” people, which means she’s at least noticed how depressingly undergrad this whole group is. The Enemies have to be in the diary room, because nobody finds out where they are. Dustin keeps yelling at Joe on the monitor because he’s wearing Dustin’s clothes. Dustin, please don’t claim ownership of those denim capris.

The first Head of Household competition is only contested among the original eleven, which puts the Enemies at a serious disadvantage, I think. True to the theme, the backyard is filled with giant toadstools, and oh my God, Nick’s upper body is enormous. Sorry. Maybe it’s just because he’s standing next to Eric and Joe. Everyone has to immediately pair up, and since Nick is the odd man out, he’s ineligible to compete. The competition involves that old Big Brother staple: true-or-false. While one team member answers questions, his or her partner is seated on a toadstool, and each incorrect answer causes the toadstool to spin faster. Last team standing wins. In the diary room, Dick is already rooting against Danielle. Eric, who is trying to throw the competition, keeps accidentally getting questions right, which can happen when you’re answering true-or-false questions about people you don’t know. At some point, the toadstoolers get splashed with a brownish-green sludge. Let no one say that this show doesn’t know its way around a metaphor. It comes down to Jameka and Joe versus Eric and Kail, and when Joe finally falls off, Dustin is mighty relieved. Julie announces that the still-hidden Enemies will be safe from eviction this week, which is fair, and also that they will be the ones to determine who, between Eric and Kail, will be HOH. Eric none-too-subtly makes a plea for Kail to get the honor, ostensibly since she was the one spinning on the toadstool. The Enemies don’t want to make waves this early on either, and since everybody seems cool with Kail, she’s the first HOH.

Finally — finally — Julie announces to the originals that the remaining houseguests are enemies of three of them. Joe immediately guesses that Dustin is one of them, and he makes quick work of poisoning the house against his ex, claiming that Dustin gave him gonorrhea. In the diary room, Dustin has a category five flailing at this news, and it was only lacking a mouthful of champagne that he could’ve sprayed in the finest spit take in reality TV history. Dustin screams, “It was negative, you asshole!” at the TV. Jessica interviews that she was “completely grossed out,” but I think she’s referring to gonorrhea in general and not to Joe as a person. Joe proudly tells the group that he “destroyed [Dustin’s] entire life” after they broke up, which I don’t think improves his standing in the group as much as he thinks it does.

Kail worries that somebody’s going to come in and blow her cover as a “multi-business owner,” like she’s operating under this deep cover or something. Like the fact that she’s thirty-seven among a group of twenty-one-year-olds isn’t enough to doom her chances in this game anyway. Carol doesn’t think she has any rivals beyond one she had from seventh grade. I think she’s underestimating Jessica’s ability to stay in seventh grade, emotionally. Danielle is pretty sure it’s her dad, but she doesn’t tell anyone. Dick is distastefully enjoying what he believes is Danielle’s squirming, even though I think she’s playing it pretty cool considering. Joe tries to rally support around an Original Eleven pact, but we don’t see any evidence that anyone is onboard. And honestly, what does that accomplish? “Original Eleven ’til the end! Of Week 3!”

The Enemies reveal themselves and it’s crazy awkward. Interestingly — maddeningly — everyone seems concerned for Joe, like this is a traumatic experience for him, because Dustin The Clap-Giver is in the house. Joe plays it up, of course, refusing to shake Dustin’s hand or even look at him. When Dick introduces himself as Danielle’s father, Joe gets all, “Ohhh!” And then he’s all crestfallen when Dick says they haven’t spoken in two years. Like Julie didn’t just say these people were enemies. Danielle has the teeniest of breakdowns in the bathroom with Jameka and Carol, and I really admire her for holding herself together as well as she does.

Finally, Julie lets us in on the America’s Player twist. This houseguest’s actions will be determined by the whims of not just the people who watch Big Brother, but the people who are hardcore enough about it that they vote for America’s Choice. That player, Julie reveals, is Eric. For every five “tasks” Eric completes, he will earn $10,000. I may be in the minority, but I think this could be a legitimately cool twist. Not necessarily because I wish the people on my TV would listen to me when I scream at them, necessarily, but because it could make Eric a really interesting contestant to watch. Particularly if and when his own personal feelings conflict with what American tells him to do. Also, it’s going to force him to be a pretty canny player. The first time America instructs him to be the lone vote in a unanimous decision or use a veto unpopularly, he’s going to have to explain it away somehow. I can’t imagine how he’ll be able to win with America behaving like a drunk behind the wheel — they hated the Friendship, true, but they also gave Rupert a million dollars — but it could be fun to watch.

…I am officially a sucker.


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