<p>Amber of &quot;Big Brother&quot;</p>

Amber of "Big Brother"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Big Brother' Thursday - Eviction plus an HoH controversy

Did Devin get his anonymous vote? And how did Replay Review impact Greek Week?

If you watched Wednesday's "Big Brother," you know that Pao-Pao thinks "Caltoru" is a word -- She was trying to spell Cthulu, I assume.

You also know that Duck Donesty was never a soldier, but Caleb is convinced that Donny's ex-military because of something related to the hair, or lack thereof, on his legs.

And you finally know that Joey isn't so great at this. America's Favorite Player before the season, Joey attempted to start an all-girl alliance. She failed to find any takers. Then she went around apologizing to everybody for forming an all-girl alliance. Then she got put on the block by Caleb, either as punishment for trying to start an all-girl alliance, punishment for apologizing about being in an all-girl alliance, or punishment for not being a very good "Big Brother" player.

Take your pick!

Let's get down to Thursday (July 3) business...

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Joey on "Big Brother 16"

Recap: Big Brother Wednesday - A Hairy Power of Veto

Frankie is vulnerable for eviction after the first Battle of the Block. Will our wide-eyed little diva bro be in trouble?

Last episode we learned important things: Devin is dumb and loud about it. Brittany is both a fine swinger and swigger (yay, wine!). Paola is just horrible at games, and maybe thinking too. And now, because his eviction nominees won the challenge, former co-HOH Frankie is vulnerable to a possible eviction. Frankie is also vulnerable to a deep shampooing by me, because that streak of purple highlighter in his coif is still killing me. Let's get with the recappin'. 

8:03: Caleb reminds us that he's "the country boy" -- If there's another reality show with contestants who are more than proud to identify as boring archetypes, I don't know it -- and is still HOH this week because his nominees, Donny and Paola, lost their match against Christine and Victoria. Donny realizes his fate looks grim and notes that it's "pretty darn scary." Donny is pretty darn folksy, isn't he? Even when he's talking about how "the young people in the house" are nice to him, he remains quaint as hell as tears fall from his face. Too bad emotions are the true enemy of the "Big Brother" house. You're failing me, Donny!

8:08: Devin is giddy as hell that Donny is still up for elimination, as he has invented some bizarre paranoid theory/fantasy about how diabolical Donny is. "I think he's a great actor!" Devin says confidently as Donny weeps an incredible geyser of real tears. Yeah, Devin. Donny must be method or something. 

8:11: In a terrible development, Nicole (not my favorite) and Christine (my favorite) believe in ghosts. Nicole, who has a wide-eyed Babs Bunny face like Aaryn from last year, is shrieking about a ghost in her darkened bedroom -- which is interesting considering this is not a real house. It's actually the set of a TV show that is recreated every single year. I feel like ghosts would show up on the monitors, you know? But I'm afraid of what this news will do to Nicole, who is screaming and basically hurling gallons of Ectoplasm at the floor. She believes, y'all. 

8:14: Donny goes to bed and Caleb proudly announces that he believes Donny is an ex-military member, since we're in full conspiracy territory with this guy. Devin agrees because Devin is in the mood to believe anything. Frankie, suddenly, is the voice of reason. "Devin believes Donny is a super-soldier," he tells us, before mocking his theories. "Is he Justin Bieber in a beard? Is he Lady Gaga's new character?" Rarely do voices of reason look like troll dolls with bejeweled navels. "Expect the unexpected," I murmur in my best sinister Chenbot drone.

8:15: Sorry, "Extant" is a horrible title.

8:18: Donny, in bed across the room from Devin, finds himself saying things like, "Uh, no, I'm not in the military. Sometimes I just wear camouflage. I'm pretty sweet! Are you OK? Are you crying, Devin?" Not exactly that, but close. Devin confesses to us that he feels bad if he has somehow maligned Donny, and then I remember that Devin is a gigantic, military-looking dude who could clearly dominate Donny no matter what. What is going on here. 

8:20: Caleb, the remaining HOH, assigns the first Have Nots of the season. He is wearing tiny pink shorts, and as a credited TV critic with a shrewd, incisive sense of quality programming, I will tell you I LIKEZ DEM SHORTZ. He picks Hayden, Joey, Brittany, and Cody, and it turns out the new Have Not room is no place for pink shorts: It is a frozen, icy room teeming with glacier-like furniture. Even the Have Not food is frozen in popsicle form. I would love it if Madonna's "Frozen" were constantly playing, but "Big Brother" is not as cool as my dreams.

8:24: Joey tries to make her all-girl alliance happen, and gorgeous Leona Lewis doppelganger Amber smirks a bit knowing she has something of an alliance with the gents. I'm worried for Joey. Her efforts seem to be alienating her. I like this girl! She recycled once. 

8:26: Well, turns out I'm exactly right: Caleb learns about Joey's efforts and immediately pegs her as a threat. She needs to dye her blue hair pink this instant and hide in Frankie's doll pompadour because she just became the only real "target" in the house. 

8:29: Weirdly, Joey tells Devin of her failed attempt to form an all-girl alliance. She assumes that guilelessness is a good idea. Devin immediately tells us that she's "the worst player in 'Big Brother' history" because she gave up on her own master plan and dared to be honest about it. OK, I'll grant that she might've made a mistake, but Devin shouldn't be so cocky. He sounds like every ninth-place nothing who ever sat with Julie Chen to lament how he overthought the game. He may as well wear a Nick Uhas t-shirt and try romancing GinaMarie for relevance.

8:32: For the veto competition, Caleb, Paola, and Donny find themselves up against Zach, Cody, and Victoria. Save her, that's a lot of "Bomb Squad" going on. Also, this marks the first time I've heard the words "Zach and Cody" pieced together this season. Let's hope a "Suite Life" alliance is in the very near future.

8:34: Ohhhhh, this veto competition. It's called "Miami Lice," and everybody is clothed in pastel-colored suits and jumping into a gigantic bathtub to retrieve letters from -- oh yes -- fake hair. Lice! Miami! Miami Lice. "I need to win this," Donny tells us. "Or I may be going home. Maybe they think I'm smarter than I let on. [Long pause.] I'm not." Later he admits that he's purposely going slowly so that he can "keep his thoughts." Apparently Donny has a medical condition where thoughts spill from his brain when he moves too quickly. The More You Know.

8:38: The object is to collect enough letters from the hairy muck that you can spell a long word. The longest word wins the veto competition. Zach, unsurprisingly, has the best strategy: Because you're only allowed to retrieve the letters one at a time, he stashes a bunch in an easy-to-access, but secret part of the pool so that he always has a place to grab one.

8:40: Time runs out and Zach clocks in with a seven-letter word, "WARNING." Please cherish this morsel of pseudoo-literacy because Oh. My. God: Caleb, Cody, and Victoria reveal their answers and they all turn out to be misspelled or under-spelled long words. And they didn't think to reorder their letters into a smaller acceptable word either. Just wonderful. And bigger Oh My God -- Paola came up with "CALTORU." Yes, CALTORU. "I was trying to spell 'calculators!'" she explained. You sure were, honey. 

8:45: Donny reveals his answer after a dramatic break and it's "SPLITTERS." He wins! Hooray! What the hell is a splitter? Oh well! Hooray! All that non-military training has really come in handy. 

8:48: Joey realizes -- somberly -- that she's only houseguest who sticks out as a possible replacement nominee. Caleb tells her that she, indeed, got caught trying to plot against him. He pretends to be placated by her honesty. Honesty is the least reassuring thing in "Big Brother." We'll have to see how much she really saved herself. Cue "Big Brother" voiceover: "IS JOEY COMPOST OR WILL CALEB FIND A WAY TO RECYCLE HER?"

8:55: Donny saves himself (in his kindly prospector coo). Caleb doesn't flinch and throws Joey on the block. Ugh. Of course. "I don't know what's going on in that blue head of yours," he says of Joey in the diary room. I actually laugh out loud. This is the true tragedy of the episode. 

So, who's going home? Paola (who is worthless and should go home as payback for the similar-ish GinaMarie making it all the way to final two last year) or Joey? Seems like the latter to me. 

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<p>Caleb of &quot;Big Brother&quot;</p>

Caleb of "Big Brother"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Big Brother' Sunday - Nominations and the first Battle of the Block

In which we witness the birth and demise of The Bomb Squad

Let's see... Where did we leave things?

Frankie was still one Head of Household.

Caleb had gone into the first challenge in Beast Mode and he was also Head of Household.

Julie Chen had explained the whole "challenge" thing and how a former Head of Household could potentially go up on the block, but I napped through it.

And already, the people who dedicate their lives to watching the feeds have a wealth of knowledge about why all 16 of these hamsters are bad, bad people. And I'll say it again: For purposes of these recaps -- and purposes of comments -- ONLY STUFF FROM TV IS CANNON.

Good times. On to the recap!

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<p>Sunday&#39;s &quot;True Blood&quot;</p>

Sunday's "True Blood"

Credit: HBO

Recap: 'True Blood' - 'I Found You'

This show is going to town on all the things that may be least important to the audience.

Despite all evidence to the contrary, “True Blood” would like to give you what you want from it. This is not a Brechtian experiment in raising awareness of the audience’s desire to have its feelings manipulated in the name of “entertainment” by frustrating and disappointing us at every turn; at its best, it’s a robust sexy horror comedy made by HBO pros. But it’s been having trouble being scary and funny—intentionally, anyway—because of creative exhaustion, or the contempt that’s bred by familiarity, or because Alan Ball has left the building. Or maybe its priorities are just screwed up. “I Found You” opens with a languorously paced scene in which Jason Stackhouse tracks down Eric, standing in front of a window with his shirt open, as if practicing his moodiness. “Why’d you come here, Jason?” asks Eric “I came because I knew you’d ask that f***ing question,” replies Jason, who accuses Eric of running away to escape their undeniable, unspoken passion for each other: “Ah cain’t get you out of mah head,” he drawls. “But you probably hear that a lot, don’t you?” The two end up in a fierce and shirtless lip lock. 

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"Big Brother 16"

Recap: 'Big Brother' 16 Night 2 - Andy Herren Judges With Us

We inspect the eight new houseguests and invite "BB15" winner Andy Herren to appraise them with us.

Night two of "Big Brother 16" served up some saucy new houseguests and a couple of strange (er, confusing?) twists. We were aware of the existence of a "Team America" thanks to Wednesday night's premiere, but we just learned that Joey, a blue-haired person who recycles Aquafina bottles in the Pacific Northwest, was voted by viewers to be the first houseguest on the secret three-person team. She'll get special chances to win $5,000 for every silly challenge/dare she completes. "Now this is some GREEN I won't be recycling!" she doesn't say to us, but you can just effing imagine it.

We also learned more about the two-HOH, four-block-nominee system of tyranny that Julie Chen is so excited about. (She is extra sinister this season. I always expect her to turn to the camera and whisper, "The houseguests don't know that right now they're drinking the blood of Les Moonves' first wife.") Apparently there are two HOHs every week, and they both nominate two houseguests apiece. Those two duos battle against each other, and the winning duo gets to remove themselves from the chopping block and subject the HOH who chose them to a possible eviction. The losing team remains unsafe, and the HOH who chose them remains safe. Get it? You shouldn't. 

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But now, the important stuff. Eight new houseguests entered Chenbot Manor, and it's time for us to inspect their characters like detectives who specialize in loud narcissists. To help us analyze the new hamsters, we also have Andy Herren -- the winner of "Big Brother 15" -- to add some spicy commentary. Here are HitFix's and Andy Herren's takes on the newbies.

Victoria

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HitFix: I feel like Victoria spent hours memorizing three shockingly boring tidbits to recite about herself, like DeFwon from "30 Rock." "I'm an Orthodox Jew!" she purrs. "I'm the hottest girl in the house!" she murmurs nervously. "I love pink. It's the best," she coos. None of those facts translates to gameplay. Understanding that Frankie has hair that matches your outfit is probably not an FBI-level insight. 

Andy Herren: Victoria is this season's Jessie (Big Brother 15). On one hand, this is bad because she is doomed. On the other hand, this is fantastic because she will be humiliated on a nearly non-stop basis.  

Zach

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HitFix: It took me a second, but I love this guy's cockiness. I also love that he told Rachel Reilly to her face that she was a bully. Yes to angry honesty! Good caustic energy coming off this bro. I bet his favorite food is Mountain Dew.

 

Andy Herren: He's a self-proclaimed "con artist" and an Andy-proclaimed "cutie pie."  I want him to go far, not only because I think he is capable of it, but also due to the fact that if he wins, we can take photos together and I can begin to seduce him. He also claimed that I'm one of his all-time favorite players. I need to marry this guy.  

Caleb

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HitFix: I'm annoyed to death that Caleb says he's not going to play down his physical strength. Really? Is he also just going to volunteer for elimination every week? Worse, this is somebody who calls himself a "metrosexual." Ugh. Buying a pair of jeans at Guess doesn't mean you get to have an identity. 

Andy Herren: Next. Over it. 

Hayden

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HitFix: I can usually tolerate an affable heterosexual player, but I'm not sensing Hayden will surprise us with brilliant espionage tactics. Also: I am done with "Big Brother" players being named Hayden. I am especially done with adult skateboarders. So it turns out Hayden wasn't tolerable at all. The end.

Andy Herren:  Hayden seems like the type of guy who would be fun to grab a beer with, but who is also expendable.  I see him sticking around for a while before being kicked to the curb when someone needs an easy target to pick off.  His safari hat is quite ridiculous, though.

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Recap: 'Big Brother' Season 16 Premiere - Wednesday Night
Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Big Brother' Season 16 Premiere - Wednesday Night

The first eight hamsters enter the house for a twist-filled summer

Wilkommen, bienvenue, welcome.

It's time for another season of CBS' "Big Brother." It's Season 16 and the hamsters have changed, but the Julie Chen remains the same. Exactly the same. Disturbingly the same.

As always, HitFix will be recapping here at the Monkeys As Critics blog. With some variation, I'll be recapping one night (probably the elimination show so I can be lazy and live-blog), Louis Virtel will take another night (which may not be live-blogs, but they'll be funnier than my recaps) and we're still ironing out that extra night. But don't worry. We'll be there to cover all of the racism, homophobia and showman's that CBS sees fit to put on TV. Probably none of us will be watching the live-feeds, but just because it happens doesn't mean it's canon.

Anyway... Click through for my live-blogged recap of Wednesday (June 25) night's premiere and check out Louis' interview with last year's winner Andy.

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<p>Tara!</p>

Tara!

Credit: HBO

Recap: 'True Blood' Premiere - 'Jesus Gonna Be Here'

If You’re the Kind to Sit Up in Your Room, Watching Show About Some Glum Buffoons

Welcome to the seventh and final season of "True Blood"! When a great, long-running show comes to the end of its run, it feels like the end of an era, and this is a great show. Or at least it was. It peaked around the time Russell Edgington pulled the news anchor’s spine out on live TV, then sat down to address the camera. and proceeded to show Howard Beale how it’s done. And the last couple of seasons were real off-road torture tests, raising troubling questions about the motives and abilities of almost everyone involved, starting with Rutger Hauer’s agent. 

Ultimately, the big question faithful viewers were left asking was, as Richard Pryor once so eloquently put it, “How long will this bullsh*** go on?” Now we know: whether the show rallies and pulls out of its tailspin or continues to spiral toward the Earth like a piece of flaming space flotsam, it will go on for another six weeks. And then that’s it—none of that “first half of season seven, to be continued next year” nonsense that’s so popular with your high-profile cable shows nowadays. So much of life, like so much of late "True Blood," is about being grateful for small favors.

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20 best sketches of the 2013-2014 'Saturday Night Live' Season
Credit: NBC

20 best sketches of the 2013-2014 'Saturday Night Live' Season

From 'Boy Dance Party' to 'Black Jeopardy!,' did you favorite sketch make the list?

While experiencing a rocky and often incoherent season, "Saturday Night Live" nonetheless produced many great sketches. Not every episode worked, but most contained at least one sketch that still lingers in the minds of its audience.

Funny, original, and often even moving, here are the twenty best segments the show had to offer in its thirty-ninth season.

Agree or disagree? Share your comments below.

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Andy Samberg

Andy Samberg

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' – Andy Samberg and St. Vincent

The former 'SNL' player and current 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' star closes out the season

So here’s the not so dirty secret about Andy Samberg: He wasn’t a particularly strong live performer during his time on “Saturday Night Live.” That didn’t particularly matter, since his contributions to the preproduced form under the “Digital Shorts” moniker represent the single most important part of the show during his tenure. That is nothing to sneeze at. But unless “SNL” goes all in all pretaped segments tonight (which, you know, maybe?), we’re going to get some live sketches in which Samberg is the featured player.

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Charlize Theron, Cecily Strong, and The Black Keys

Charlize Theron, Cecily Strong, and The Black Keys

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' – Charlize Theron and The Black Keys

The star of "A Million Ways To Die In The West" shows off her comedic bonafides

While recent host Seth Rogen took nearly five years to return to “Saturday Night Live,” Charlize Theron makes that period look downright short by comparison. Her one and only other hosting gig took place in November 2000, making tonight’s return thirteen and a half years in the making. (To be fair, filming “Aeon Flux” took a lot out of everyone involved with that production, so we can’t fault her too much.) While preferring dramas to comedies in terms of her film choices, Theron does have “A Million Ways To Die In The West” on the way to your local movie theatre. Pairing her with Seth MacFarlane in that film might seem strange, but that’s probably precisely the point. That film sure looks a long way from "Monster" and "North Country." So maybe we’ll see a different performer than the one that graced Studio 8H at the turn of the century. Hell, maybe she's now the new drummer in The Black Keys. Anything is possible!

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