The Insider

Sep 22, 2003  •  Post A Comment

The Insider’s favorite TV moment last week: The least likable of all “Big Brother 4” houseguests, Alison Irwin, being reduced to a profanity-spewing scream queen by the silent treatment mime Hal Dion gave to semifinalists Robert Roman, Jun Song and Alison last Tuesday.

In the course of his 27-year career, Mr. Dion has supported himself as a mime on the world’s streets, in commercials and in a long-ago “Saturday Night Live” film (in which everyone turned out to be mimes)-not to mention his appearance in Clint Eastwood’s “In the Line of Fire.” But he’s also been busted for performing outside New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art; roughed-up for being an American mime in Venice, Italy; rudely treated in Paris; and even had his eye gouged in the line of duty.

So he was tough enough to take whatever abuse could arise from the “BB4” producers’ charge that he “go in that house and annoy those people.” He limited his eating act because he’d been warned that Jun and Alison were sensitive about having gained weight during their 70-plus days in the house.

As nearly 10 million viewers know, Mr. Dion quickly made himself persona nonspeaking non grata with all three housemates, especially self-styled sexpot Alison.

What TV viewers don’t know is that Alison became so unhinged that she pounded on the door of the diary room, where houseguests go to vent, but the producers would not let her in. Mr. Dion got a two-hour break in which he got a producers’-eye view of the action in the house. “I spent my lunchtime watching Alison shower,” said the quick-to-laugh Mr. Dion. He returned to the house to keep Jun company (“You know, she has her needs,” he was warned) while Robert and Alison watched a movie. “I felt like I was on a date. I did. She was very sweet and tender,” Mr. Dion said. He took about $1,000 in pay (American Federation of Television & Radio Artists’ base rate of $882 plus overtime) home to his wife, who frequently performs with him, and his 9-year-old daughter, who is always entertained by him.

At any rate, if you, like The Insider, have anyone you’d like to annoy in a similar fashion, Mr. Dion is represented by The Samantha Group in Pasadena, Calif. In the meantime, let’s hope producers book a return appearance for the “BB4” finale Wednesday, when each of the shrewsome twosome, Alison and Jun, is up for the $500,000 prize.