The only thing more hilariously lame than the first 55 minutes of last Thursday's “Big Brother” was the way Julie Chen concluded it in the final seconds. Paraphrased: “Did you like last week's mundane episodes of 'Big Brother'? Well, HERE COMES THAT VERY MUNDANITY AGAIN. Next week we're bringing you the same boring challenges, the same boring final five, and for some reason we're adding more episodes. Cheers! It's like I always say: Expect the unexpected. Unless you expected something insufferable. Then go ahead and expect that.”
Worse, Caleb ended up winning HOH on the second go-'round of that damn shovel-seesaw game using his two major skills — muscle movements and needless hollering. He ended up nominating Victoria, who believes she is on a very long episode of “Trading Spaces,” and Frankie, who spends his time pretending that giggling and blinking is enough to comprise a personality. Could this be curtains for Frankie? Not if Senor Grande's shocking penchant for hogging screentime comes in handy.
The strangest thing about Sunday's episode was how the last six houseguests who've already been whisked away to the jury house got to come back, invade, and play a “luxury” challenge for $5,000. Hayden, Christine, Zach, Nicole, Jocasta, and Donny got to run around Chenbot Manor, trash the place, and search for specially hidden tokens. But was it entertaining? Though the segment was meant to be a last hurrah for the losers who won't be winning $500,000, it felt like a sad reminder to the “Big Brother” audience of the handful of real personalities we used to see every week. It was unintentionally grim — and not just because victory-allergic Victoria and her partner-who-smiles-like-Animal-from-The-Muppets Hayden won the stunt.
In fact, the reappearance of those six houseguests is enough to warrant a countdown. I'm ranking those houseguests from “least missed” to “most missed,” and I'll refuse to consider any dissent (like Zach arguing just about anything).
Hayden is living proof that a goofy haircut and a positive attitude are not important when it comes to lasting memories of a “Big Brother” season. In fact, his most profound contributions to “Big Brother” involve hounding Nicole for kisses, and last night he hit her up for one again. Except this time the lovestruck Nicole submitted, which was a big thrill (I guess?) for the five remaining houseguests who watched the smooch on video. I know they were allegedly viewing from the Head of Household room, but it looked some place more secluded and dangerous. I'd prefer to think they were hanging out in Sara Gilbert's dressing room on “The Talk.”
I know we grew to tolerate Nicole's cartoon bunny voice and even found reasons to decide she's an OK game player, but Nicole adds nothing to the competitive atmosphere of “Big Brother.” She's an especially unnecessary player to invite back after she already earned reentry to the game by winning a reprehensibly lame shuffleboard challenge. Fortunately she does look like an owl Beanie Baby who sat on your cubicle in 1996, so that's cred to me.
I think we all agree on one thing about Christine: “Big Brother” did not do a great job of illustrating why she was so disliked. I understand that she was unpopular on the live feeds, but the utter non-reaction she gets from her fellow players in the jury house is pretty notable. Christine was actually great to have in the game because she was both overrated and underrated: overrated for ending up in powerful alliances by virtue of hanging around at the right time and underrated for being one of the smarter players in the game. Her tenuous existence in the house made her interesting. In case I haven't said it yet, the lamest moment of the season was when she was booed by audience members after getting evicted. If Caleb doesn't earn a similar razzing for his disgusting treatment of Amber, I think we should all hide under our desks and weep.
Donny reminded us just how Donny he can be last night. After he was eliminated from the luxury challenge and the “Big Brother” voice told Donny to exit the house, he murmured, “OK. I was just going to get something to eat.” He is the friendliest little possum man ever. He's like an upbeat, Southern-fried Snuffleupagus. And he has scary shiny eyes look like he ate the bad berries. Doesn't he always look like he's about to break out in Walter Huston's delirious dance from “Treasure of the Sierra Madre”? The point is: Donny forever and for always.
This hurts to say, but Zach was mostly annoying yesterday. His attempt to make “Fruit Loop Dingus” a catchphrase was eyeroll-worthy, and his endless screaming felt like the sad siren of a man whose exciting ego was not compensatory for his disappointing gameplay. No dice, sir. However, he did make a joke about how he's not an athletic player, and I can appreciate the subtle self-deprecation in his mania. His cockiness is fun and his energy was indispensable, but neither makes him the legend of “Big Brother” he so wanted to be. I miss him, but I lament his potential more.
Now. Now, now. I may be overly sympathetic because Jocasta's “contributions” to this episode were so damn special, but really, is there a comparable HG to Jocasta in “Big Brother” history? Is there an organism comparable to Jocasta in human and/or semi-human civilization? Are we ready as a society to accept that Jocasta is a goddess unleashed from either Pandora's box or Fozzie Bear's wardrobe to pepper us with incoherent one-liners about telephones. “America, do you hear the phone? Let me get it,” Jocasta began. “Hello? What? Obviously it's NOT $5,000.” That joke doesn't just need a rewrite; it needs a joke. Except it DOESN'T need a joke because Jocasta's passion is not a joke and her righteous connection with God The Bow-Tie Salesman is even LESS of a joke. Two non-jokes make a super joke. Done.
“Hayden and Nicole may be the fantastic duo,” she warned us. “However we know that I have the Trinity.” Flawless math again. Jocasta 1, You 0, God infinity. That puts Jocasta closest to divinity, in case you don't understand Unimpeachable Trinity Arithmetic.
So, who's going home on Tuesday? Is Frankie toast? Will he ever confront reality? Will he ever realize he is a 31-year-old who acts like a 19-year-old to appeal to 13-year-old YouTube fans with 8-year-old reading levels?