"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!

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. 

Then came Michelle's tearful exit-- and, more importantly, her exit interview. I didn't think Julie Chen would reveal that Dan is not, in fact, a "plant," as Michelle had been insisting inside the house. I question whether Ms. Chen should have done that, particularly since Dan was, for a week at least, the tool of the viewers. But it was worth it just to see Michelle's angry reaction and complete befuddlement over the idea that maybe, just maybe, Dan was simply playing the game better than everyone else.

Next up was a dramatic HOH competition. How fitting that, on a double-eviction night, we got a double tie. Between representatives of two factions in the house, Keesha and Jerry. The studio audience reacted with glee when Keesha won, and so did I.

The double-time show then moved on to a live power-of-veto competition. When Renny, Dan, Keesha and Memphis all managed to find a hidden veto in a haystack—while Jollie, aka Jerry and Ollie, remained veto-less—it was clear that the confederacy of dunces was all but over.

I bet some "Brother" purists will quibble with the fact that Dan did not hang his second veto on the post as mandated by Julie Chen's pre-game instructions...but whatever. He won.

Ollie knew he was a goner. And a few minutes later, he made what Ms. Chen called "the quickest exit in 'Big Brother' history." Ollie bolted out of his seat before the host could even declare his eviction official. It was funny, but also graceless—and very much befitting the New Ollie. Goodbye and good riddance.

Ollie's exit interview was nearly as rambling and incoherent as Jessie's a few weeks ago. He did manage to make one good point: Dan was a dummy for playing his idiotic game of "Veto Roulette." Ollie would have been out for vengeance no matter how Dan had played him, but Dan's immature contest added a level of humiliation that could well cost him the game, should Memphis, Keesha and Renny not have thrown him out of the house first.

Ms. Yin, I know your viewing experience was disrupted by lame pre-season football coverage. But I hope you still managed to enjoy what was an amazing night of television.

Michele Greppi: As a dear, departed friend used to say: I cried (at the historical significance). I laughed (at the dizzying turns of events that brought Dan’s strategy to near-perfect conclusion). I bought Depends (because in between “BB10” and “Big Brother After Dark,” Jerry won the competition we’ll all see Sunday night on CBS and is Head of Household!!!!!!!!!

You thought of a song title, Mr. Yang. What came to my mind was: Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.

Dan, Memphis, Keesha and Renny are going to be playing woulda, coulda, shoulda games for a long time.

If the alliance woulda targeted Jerry, who has proved before that he can win when it’s time for a power play, they’d be looking at a week with Ollie, who has proven he can’t win a thing. Not only that, but at least part of the as-yet-unseen HOH contest appears to have been based on the same stuff Jerry prepped himself and his pal Ollie on just the night before.

They coulda had a drone (Ollie) in the house instead of the drone-on geezer (Jerry), who was back to his old blah-blah-blah, “no, listen to my story,” talkus-interruptus, one-up-everyone 20 minutes into “BBAD.” Oh, to have been a fly on the wall of Dan’s and Memphis’ minds as they settled into blank facial expressions and catatonia for what will surely be the greatest test of endurance yet on “BB10.”

They shoulda kept Ollie because he’s now got time to poison the sequester house atmosphere against the alliance, which Jerry would have had more trouble doing because nobody, nobody likes him. And the sequestered don’t know what Ollie revealed of his less likable side after being betrayed by Dan.

And talk about lying … Jerry was talking as if he hadn’t truly, vilely maligned individuals in the alliance on some very gamey, as opposed to game-playing, levels.

I’m thinking of an Eagles song. “Somebody’s gonna hurt someone before the night is through.”

I’m thinking of David Letterman’s “Oprah, Uma. Uma, Oprah.”

“Jerry, ‘Lord of the Flies.’ ‘Lord of the Flies,’ Jerry.”

Joe, we are looking at the frighteningly real possibility that this arrogant suck-up floater whom everyone loathes will be going home later than he should with a bigger chunk of change than he should.

And all of Dan’s Dummies will have only themselves to blame.

Oh. My. Gawd. CBS’s worst nightmare? Having to feature Jerry getting an oversized check on “The Early Show” and putting the network’s morning show demo In. The. Grave.

I’m so glad I can stay up late enough to watch “BBAD” for the next three nights without once thinking I woulda, coulda, shoulda been mature enough to go to bed at a reasonable hour.

I’ll just mute the sound whenever Jerry is on-camera—and when won’t he be?—unless it appears some potentially game-changing game talk is going on.


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