"Big Brother" is the reality show critics love to hate. But for passionate fans of the unscripted CBS soap opera, summer would be a bummer without it. That includes TVWeek editors Michele Greppi and Josef Adalian, who’ve decided to chronicle their “Brother”-ly love via regular blog postings. From the first HOH competition to the last "But first…" to fall from the lips of the Chenbot, they’ll be serving up their unfiltered take on life inside TV’s most dysfunctional house of horrors.


Oh Brother!

August 2008 Archives

From Obama to Oh. My. Gawd.

August 29, 2008 8:26 AM

Josef Adalian: To borrow a song title: Oh, what a night! And I'm not just talking the "Brother." Here on the West Coast, Barack Obama served as the warm-up act for one of the best hours of "Big Brother" drama in recent memory. I know, I know: What sort of moron would even mention Obama and "BB" in the same breath? Only a devoted Obamican and "Big Brother" junkie, I suppose. 

In truth, after watching Obama's beyond brilliant, beyond moving call to arms—as most reviews of the speech have characterized it—I really wasn't looking forward to watching "Brother" on the DVR. As much as I love the show, it seemed somehow sacrilegious to watch a mere reality show after a potential president had just given one of the most important speeches of the still-young century.  

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But, after watching a couple of hours of the talking heads analyze the night on cable news, I pressed play, and soon found myself struggling to catch my breath. 

First, there was Ollie's post-veto outburst. I hadn't seen it on "After Dark," but even in its edited form, it was striking to see his sore-loser spirit. I know he must miss April, but how did the nice-guy preacher's son turn into evicted houseguest Jessie's brother from another mother? Sad, sad, sad. 

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Not-So-Jolly Ollie’s Folly

August 27, 2008 12:14 PM

Michele Greppi: And another one bites the dust. No, Joe, not Michelle, although Dan broke his deal with Ollie and put her on the block after Memphis used the Power of Veto he won to take himself off.

I mean Ollie, the son of a preacher man, who, when snookered, went on a rampage that left lollipops crushed, furniture rearranged, a planter upended and a light broken.

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Oh, and how did he express his rage at Memphis? With one of the basest tools in a bully boy’s arsenal: taunts that Memphis is gay. But Ollie used the f-word for a gay man. And he shouted instructions about which part of Ollie’s anatomy Memphis should suck.

Tch, tch, Ollie. Not nice. Not acceptable.

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The Dan-dy Man Can! Maybe

August 25, 2008 8:32 AM

Josef Adalian: The full extent of Dan's HOH deal with Ollie revealed itself Sunday night, Ms. Yin. I'm not sure which party to the deal is more annoying. 

On the one hand, Dan is way too impressed with himself for making what he calls a "weak" deal. He doesn't seem to realize that he's raised all sorts of doubts about his trustworthiness within his semi-alliance. How? By not immediately going to Memphis and Keesha (and possibly Renny) and simply spilling all of the details. Since the funky foursome control who ultimately leaves the house, Ollie really has no power whatsoever. Dan should have simply told his allies what was up and focused on getting Jerry to go home. 

Of course, Ollie is no less annoying. He thinks he's made the best deal ever. But, in addition to not having any real say in who leaves on Thursday, Ollie seems way too confident that he won't be stabbed in the back by Dan. What's more, he continues to make no apparent effort to expand beyond his Jerry-Michelle semi-alliance. He and Renny are cordial, but—at least as far as I've seen—Ollie has made no deal to seal any sort of deal with her. Or Keesha. Or Memphis. 

Ollie, sans April, has no real enemies. He needs to split the dominant alliance, but instead, he's wasting his time with Michelle, who insists on calling him Ali. (Maybe she just thinks he's the Greatest.)

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Sunset for April and Vines for Ollie, Et Alii

August 22, 2008 9:54 AM

Michele Greppi: Snaps to April for the best eviction interview of “Big Brother 10.” She was smart, and quick, and soft, and oh-so-funny Valentine-ish. Yes, she said to host Julie Chen, in response to Ollie’s recorded farewell, she will be his first-ever girlfriend when they are reunited.

“Duhn, duhn, duhn,” she said with a knowing laugh when Ms. Chen noted that Libra, every houseguest’s bete noire, awaits her. It’ll be just the two of them—unless one of them lands in a hospital or jail cell—for the next week.

Whether that reunion for Aprollie will be in the sequester house, which would be bittersweet indeed, or at the live finale, when Ollie would have a 50-50 chance at winning $500,000, which would be very sweet, is still unknown.

Ollie, a good guy who fell hard for his polar opposite in a showmance turned romance, has ridden the coattails of his Type A partner since they hooked up.

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Dan, You're So Not the Man

August 20, 2008 7:58 AM

Josef Adalian: So Dan, who claims he's been throwing competitions, finally won some power this week. And what did he do with it? Not surprisingly, the little man with a big mouth did a lot of huffing and puffing that in the end amounted to nothing. Worse, he teased both April and Jerry and gave Renny reason to doubt him. Way to go, Coach!

 Dan from 'Big Brother'

Fact is, there was no good reason for Dan to use the POV this week. All this talk about trying to put Ollie up was nonsense. His alliance wants April to go. They control the vote. Messing with Renny's nominations would've been stupid.  

April now seems all but certain to leave the house Thursday, barring some sort of meltdown by Jerry that forces the houseguests to change course. It also promises to shake up the house's existing alliances. 

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Wrangling With Renny's Reasoning

August 18, 2008 7:54 AM

Michele Greppi: Well, Joe, it’s hard to tell where things are going yet this week. Renny, the wacky lady from New Orleans, is playing like a wild card since she won Head of Household last week.

It did seem that her wisest choice would have been to put Aprollie, who are already using the M-word in their whispered conversations under the covers, on the block. April has been the warrior queen and Ollie her faithful follower. As long as they’re both in the “Big Brother 10” house, they are two votes played in unision.

Instead, Renny put up April and Jerry, who nominated Renny for eviction the first week. Huh?

She did this after putting Dan, Memphis and Keesha, her erstwhile alliance, on guard by asking them if they were willing to be put up as pawns. They weren’t. Duh!

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Libra Moves Out, Karma Moves In

August 15, 2008 7:57 AM

Joe Adalian

Michele Greppi: My, oh, my. Cotton candy wouldn’t have melted in Libra’s mouth after she got evicted by a unanimous vote last night. As if we hadn’t all been witness to her more vicious verbiage since “Big Brother 10” started.

Now the diva is off to a lonely life of luxury as the first resident of the “BB10” sequester house. But, based on the segment on her family’s defense of her decision to leave 5-month-old twins—and a slightly older daughter—in the hands of her mother and husband, Libra already leads a pretty nice life. The biggest surprise to me was that her husband was more slab than the hunk I had imagined she would choose.

The Aprollie-Jerry alliance played all their cards wrong. After exploring the possibility of a guerrilla vote in favor of keeping Libra and evicting Keesha, the trio caved and voted in lockstep with Head of Household Michelle's wishes.

Then they were neutered one by one, bing, bang, boom, by getting taken out of the competition to become the next HOH.

The winner was Renny, the 54-year-old beauty shop-owning, wig-wearing, mimic meister who is Keesha’s best friend and a solid member of the alliance, including Memphis and Dan, that flipped the house on its head last week with the surprise eviction of musclehead Jessie.

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Tuesday: Libra's a Goner … or Is She?

August 13, 2008 12:58 PM


Josef Adalian: Things weren’t looking good for Libra on Tuesday’s episode of “Big Brother.” Jerry—the elderly Marine who’s all bark and zero bite—declined to use the POV, allowing Libra to remain on the block with Keesha. Unless Michelle suddenly has a change of heart, it would seem Libra is days away from the sequester house.

Of course, because the hamsters love nothing more than creating drama out of nothing at all, there’s always a chance the April-Ollie-Jerry trio could decide to surprise Michelle and keep Libra. On last night’s “Big Brother After Dark,” some of Jerry’s whisperings to Aollie (April+Ollie) indicated that just might happen. Dan would have to vote out Keesha for that plan to work—and I don’t see Dan aligning himself with that gang.

It’s all irrelevant, really. Unless Libra is actually willing to form an alliance with Aollie—and not just promise to form an alliance in order to stay around another week—Libra and Keesha are interchangeable to the balance of power in the house.

The bad news for “Big Brother” fans is that Jerry seems to be safe for several weeks, no matter what happens. The Renny-Memphis-Dan-Libra-Keesha alliance (let’s call ’em Truth or Dare, since they spend hours playing that game) have decided that April and Ollie must go. And if Aollie manage to grab power on Thursday, it seems likely they’d go after a power player such as Memphis, or whoever survives this week’s eviction vote.

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When Joe Met Jessie: The ‘Big Brother’ Exit Interview

August 12, 2008 10:57 AM

It was the sort of bone-headed, dumb-ass decision you’d expect from a contestant on “Big Brother.” Except, in this case, I was the one acting like an idiot.

Last week, momentarily taking leave of all reason, I called up the publicity executive who handles “BB” for CBS, the hard-working and ever-delightful Susan Marks.

“Hey, Susan, Joe Adalian from Variety here,” I said. (I’m still getting used to the new gig. But I digress.)

“So hey,” I said, “CBS is still putting evicted houseguests on the phone with interested reporters and bloggers, right?”

Indeed, Marks answered.

“Well, do you think I could get on the phone with whoever gets the boot this week?” I asked. “I think Jessie is going home, and it’d be a hoot to talk to him.”

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Dumb, Dumber and Dumber-est

August 11, 2008 1:22 PM

Michele Greppi: Joe, if someone made a movie based on “Big Brother 10,” it would be called “Dumb, Dumb-Dumb, Dumb-Dumb-Dumber, and Dumb-Dumb-Dumb-Dumbest.” Most of the houseguests are their own worst enemies.

The coolest heads in the house are on the shoulders of Memphis, Ollie and Dan, and all three have their vulnerabilities. But if they can duck when the screaming and mud-slinging starts, as it did again Saturday night, they’ll probably emerge relatively unscathed from the HOH week of Michelle, who has nominated Keesha and Libra for eviction.

Last night on “BB10,” we saw the screaming match that erupted after Jessie, contrary to April’s wishes and Michelle’s fervent hopes, got evicted by an alliance of Keesha, Libra, Renny and Dan.

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Jessie's Gone, But His Ghost Lingers

August 8, 2008 3:49 PM

Jessie Godderz Leaving Big Brother

Josef Adalian: Last night, just minutes after being blindsided by an eviction he didn't foresee, the young Jessie Godderz was asked by Julie Chen to participate in a simple word association game. Just say the first thing that comes to mind when I mention the name of one of your fellow houseguests. Not a particularly tough challenge for someone who's spent the last month locked in a house with nothing to do but interact with a dozen other folks.

When Julie brought up the name of Jerry, the cranky seventysomething ex-Marine, Jessie was dumbfounded. "This is hard," he said. Julie asked again. He finally mumbled something about the Colonel (as Jerry is known) being in really good shape.

A minute later, Julie twisted things up a bit. Rather than throw out the name of another houseguest, she said Jessie's name. He didn't even have to blink before shooting back the first thing that came to mind. "The Man," he said.

Yup, that pretty much sums up J-Pecs. Possibly the least self-aware human being ever to appear on a reality game, Jessie's eviction really was an act of mercy. Every week he stayed in the house would have simply resulted in more embarassing video tape that Jessie would have to live down. There are already enough shots of Jessie acting a fool—by staring at himself in the mirror, murdering similes and metaphors or displaying a complete lack of interest in anybody else but himself—to haunt the poor man for a decade.

(These disturbing images might also haunt Jessie for years.)

As Greppi has pointed out previously, I think there is a bit of heart deep down below all those muscles. But we rarely saw it since Jessie was too busy focusing on figuring out what's best for himself. He truly didn't care about any of his other houseguests. Even his pal Michelle existed simply as someone there to protect him and his interests—a role, it seems, she'll continue to play even after Jessie's ouster.

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'Heidi' Who? ‘BB’ Boo Boo

August 8, 2008 9:25 AM

On Nov. 17, 1968, NBC cut away from a close game between the Oakland Raiders and the New York Jets with 65 seconds left in the fourth quarter and the Jets leading by 3 points in order to start a made-for-TV remake of "Heidi" on time. The Raiders roared back with 14 points to win the game.

The National Football League made sure that TV would never ever bobble a game in that way again.

But every summer, as NFL preseason play gets under way, local CBS stations pull a reverse "Heidi" on fans of CBS's "Big Brother" as they pre-empt the network's Thursday prime-time lineup in order to show local-interest football games.

They delay "BB"—on the night the show is live at 8 p.m. ET for the eviction of one houseguest and the selection of the person who will nominate two candidates for the next eviction—until after the network's two-hour combo of "Late Show With David Letterman" and "The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson."

"BB" fans get no respect.

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On the Spelling Beat

August 6, 2008 12:28 PM

Big Brother's Jesse

Michele Greppi: If the new Keesha-Libra-Renny-Dan alliance pulls it off, we’re finally going to have a nail-biter of an eviction Thursday night. It will be the first eviction upset of “Big Brother 10.”

I’ve already cast 10 votes for Dan, aka America’s Player, to vote to evict Jessie, the mental midget stumbling under the weight of his overdeveloped body and ego. If I’m in the majority, Jessie will be gone, baby, gone, rather than Memphis, the laconic mixologist who has been allied with Jessie but who has taken advantage of some of the bruised feelings left over from last Friday night’s fight. Lindsay Lohan-ish HOH April, her showmancer Ollie and geezer Jerry, who left April’s nominations for eviction stand, will be F-ing S.H.O.C.K.E.D.

Michelle, who is actually stylin’ in the red unitard she has to wear for a week, is going to be F-ing F.U.R.I.O.U.S. As we’ve seen, she can be pretty F-ing funny when she’s mad.

Michelle also will be better off without Jessie, whose attempts to soothe her this week reveal him to be a cad with an occasionally gold-plated heart. Watching Dan use a predictable ploy to get a 10-second hug from Jessie, as viewers demanded, was almost touching. But that, as Jessie said in a diary-room declaration Tuesday night, is just who he is, “standing up for the little people.” He was F-ing S.E.R.I.O.U.S.

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Sunday's Show: What You Didn't See

August 4, 2008 12:32 PM

Michele Greppi: Last night’s episode of “Big Brother 10” was a major letdown because we rabid fans knew late Thursday night that April had won the endurance Head of Household competition, which had shown that she, tough-talking Michelle and even wacky Renny had unexpected fortitude. Over the next two days, “BB” producers accelerated the eviction nominations and the Power of Veto competition. But none of that was reflected in Sunday’s show.

Even more distressing: The biggest “BB” house donnybrook ever took place Friday night and none of that was reflected Sunday night, either. Instead, the clash of the femme titans ate up most of the show.

Heroic as the battle of the babes proved to be, it was nothing compared to the Friday night fight that started with some bruised feelings and some tattling by master strategist Jessie and quickly escalated into shouting, finger-pointing and name-calling of such insane and inane proportions that I was mesmerized for more than two hours.

It was jaw-droppingly, eye-poppingly great TV.

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America's Player Makes Welcome Return

August 1, 2008 11:09 AM

Michele Greppi: Keesha, Keesha, Keesha. Dumb, dumb, dumb to not change your game plan and orchestrate the ouster of Jessie instead of Angie. Now you’ve got a more vicious enemy in the house than Angie, whose biggest sin might have been to not be one of the girly girls who brought a boutique-sized supply of Barbie clothes and nail polish.

What a wonderful laugh Angie let out upon hearing Julie Chen announce to Thursday’s “Big Brother 10” audience that America’s Player is back to do viewers’ bidding. Dan, the Catholic school teacher who has been bragging about laying low, accepted the challenge and the prospect of winning $20,000 if he succeeds.

I’ve already split my 10 votes equally for him to work to get Keesha and Libra nominated for eviction.

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