Recap: 'Big Brother' Thursday - 5th Eviction and a Non-Showmance in Jeopardy
Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Big Brother' Thursday - 5th Eviction and a Non-Showmance in Jeopardy

Will Caleb no longer be able to stalk Amber or did God let Jocasta go home?

First off, special thanks to Ryan McGee for filling in last week when Louis and I were up to our necks in Comic-Con.

Second off, can we please put an end to Caleb/Amber as an available pairing? Other than serving as stealth promotion for CBS' "Stalker," the non-showmance has accomplished nothing beyond sheer creepiness. And since "Stalker" is horrible, I'm not sure that stealth promotion for it is something I want to endorse away. 

Will the hamsters send Amber home? 

Let's find out...

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Zach on "Big Brother 16"

Recap: 'Big Brother' Wednesday - Our 7 Burning Questions

We have seven questions about the game at hand. The biggest one: Is it even possible for a girl to win this season?

Some of our questions about "Big Brother 16" are truly unanswerable. For instance: Do Julie Chen and Les Moonves joke in their monstrous bed about what a crybaby creep Caleb is? Or: Is Jocasta outfitted by Brooks Brothers? And most importantly: How can Frankie be 31-years-old and thrilled about receiving a Justin Bieber album? I'll leave the FBI or NASA to understand that one.

Wednesday's episode was a so-so hour that mostly confirmed what we'd already guessed: Frankie would find a way to remove either Jocasta or Victoria from the block and replace that person with Amber. Hayden, in fact, won the power of veto in a highly libidinous cowboy-themed challenge (We'll get to it in a moment), and Frankie seized that opportunity to replace Victoria with the totally blindsided Amber. Poor girl. If you weren't calling her Leona LEWZER before, now you have an official reason. Girl will be bleeding love right out the door tomorrow unless she finds a miraculous reason to get everyone to vote out Jocasta. Doesn't seem possible to me, kids. Imagine being asked to vote Jocasta out of your life. You couldn't! You need to keep at least one friend around who talks in tongues, and that friend should be Jocasta. That's an obvious survival tip. 

After Wednesday night's silly hour (which culminated in Zach's pathetic "argument" with Amber that wasn't even juicy enough to earn Team America their milk money), we had seven questions we wanted answered. Here they are.

1. Did we just witness the most sexually suggestive game in "Big Brother" history?

Was anyone else clutching their pearls (and their favorite pair of chaps) during the veto challenge? I was positively scandalized watching Hayden, Christine, Donny, HoH Frankie, and potential evictees Jocasta and Victoria ride a fake horse like horny coeds on a spring break dare at Saddle Ranch. There was a lot of... pelvic pulsing? Hip swiveling? Er, y'know: SIMULATED SEX-HAVING. I have to give Frankie credit for riding with one arm soaring in the air. That's how all the great cowboys ride -- or at least the one in Madonna's "Don't Tell Me" video, who counts as the only cowboy I've ever really seen. Tell the rain not to drop, Frankie! 

2. Why/how on Earth does Caleb think he's running the house?

We don't have enough time to discuss all the ways in which Caleb is the worst person in the house, but the ordeal can basically be summed up as such: When he follows around Amber, I am scared for Amber. He is a man possessed by "love," a.k.a. furious entitlement disguised as affection, and he is chilling. This week he inspired me to kick over a plant when he referred to himself as "the king of the house" who allegedly controls the game. Uh, what? Huh? Look, I know when you're stuck in the BB house for weeks, you're entitled to get a little bit delusional -- but in what way could Caleb possibly justify the idea that he runs the house? Does he think he was responsible for Brittany's elimination? Or... anybody's elimination? Or... anything? What is he thinking? What isn't he thinking? Why aren't we thinking of arresting him immediately after he leaves the house? 

3. So, Zankie. Is that bond satisfying for either party?

Say what you will about Frankie's phony screen presence or Zach's arrogant attitude, but I don't think I've ever seen a relationship between two guys on reality TV quite like Zankie. They're seemingly attracted to one another and they're raring to discuss that bond in explicit detail -- but they're not willing to actually consummate because 1) "Big Brother" is a perverted goldfish bowl for the universe to ogle, 2) They're not actually dating, and 3) Zach is not actually gay. But there's chemistry there, somehow? They're like a living episode of pseudo-gay fanfiction. We think we understand their characters, but a gigantic sexy force is threatening to take over their bond. Frankie told us that he's waiting for Zach to make a move, and Zach tells us he'd make a move if only he were gay. I don't really know why they don't at least make out, but in case nothing ever happens between them, we can write naughty Tumblr posts imagining what it'll be like. Maybe then it'll finally come true? I feel like we're only 2-3 episodes away from a little Zankie-panky

4. Is Christine actually screwed?

For weeks we've been noticing that Christine is situated ideally in the game. She's ensconced within protective alliances and no one had quite noticed (until the past couple of episodes) that she was a savvy but somewhat ineffectual player. Sometimes sly, unthreatening social skills can propel a player far in the game (Andy Herren, anyone?), but I'm wondering if Christine has too many friendships too early. Zach threw a tantrum establishing her as the weak player in his alliance, but is that a damning enough allegation to stick? I question and re-question Christine's chances in this competition so often. She doesn't seem like she'll make it as far as Frankie and Derrick (the two obvious frontrunners at this moment, at least to me), but I can't see her being eliminated immediately either. Christine! You and your IMAX-sized glasses confound me again. 

5. Is Victoria a functioning organism with a respiratory system and means of obtaining food?

Remember when Victoria participated in the veto competition? It was almost like she was a contestant on the CBS series "Big Brother." She even tried throwing us a soundbite: "Everyone thinks I'm a princess in this house. But I'm a warrior princess." Nice try, production, but there is no way Victoria is aware enough of the universe/anything to make a reference to Lucy Lawless. She was fed that line, which means Victoria is capable of being fed like a functioning organism. Victoria lives! But as what? My guess: a spore with a MAC counter gift certificate. 

6. Could Zach be any worse at starting fake arguments?

I don't know why Zach was so quick to fabricate a fight just because Frankie asked him to do it (in the name of Team America, secretly), but his display of "hostility" towards Amber after she'd been nominated was pretty random. And she didn't even flinch, which is probably a sign that the entire house is fed up with Zach's volcanic outbursts. I want him to be a great game player, but he's mostly just a bizarre one. For now.

7. Is it lame to say I enjoy seeing all these women get booted?

The strangest problem with "Big Brother 16" is that -- with the possible exception of Christine, who at least develops gameplay tactics for herself -- there are no interesting female players left this season. Nicole, Amber, Jocasta, and the mysteriously tall spore known as Victoria offer nothing to shake up house dynamics or even compete with the prevailing alliance. This is the polar opposite of last season when Amanda, Helen, and even Aaryn could wheedle everybody for at least a few episodes. This year we're waiting for the gals to crumble like Stilton as self-satisfied dudes power on through. I have to say: I'm OK with the male domination. If the male players are unanimously more interesting (and I do think that's the case), they should be the ones competing. Hell, Donny is a better player than all of the remaining women. That is remarkable considering Donny is a kindly old prospector with innocent Beanie Baby eyes.

This brings me to my final question, which I'll leave open to you: Is it even possible for a woman to win "Big Brother" this year?

Recap: 'True Blood' - 'Karma'
Credit: HBO

Recap: 'True Blood' - 'Karma'

With the clock running out, the show discovers a possible loophole

Tonight’s episode brings Will Yun Lee, formerly of “Witchblade” and the ill-fated “Bionic Woman” reboot, on board as Katsurou “Mr. Gus, Jr.” Ryouichi. He’s the son of the CEO of the Yokonomo Corporation and the head of its North American division. The Yakuza forces capture Eric and Pam in mid-rampage and deliver them to Gus Jr., who shares Eric’s vengeful hatred of Sarah Newlin; after all, by tainting the Tru Blood supply and creating the Hep-V epidemic, she bankrupted his company. The vampire and the businessman-gangster come to an agreement to share information and split the work: Eric, who knows that Sarah has an infected vampire sister living in Dallas, will kill her, and Mr. Gus will take the body. I would assume that, after a quick stop at the taxidermist, he’d have the corpse stuffed and mounted in the lobby of the Yokonomo corporate headquarters, as a warning to others. But we just found out from “The Bridge” that even in Texas, this sort of thing don’t fly.

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Nicole on "Big Brother"

Nicole on "Big Brother"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Big Brother" Sunday: Zankie Rules The Roost

Zach's ego grows even more during his stint as Head Of Household

It’s Zankie Time in the “Big Brother” household, with both Frankie and Zach serving as Heads Of Household as tonight’s installment starts. That status will change by night’s end, with the weekly Battle Of The Block and the potential for Team America to force a major verbal battle during tonight’s nomination ceremony. Will The Detonators stick together another week, or will that alliance implode?

Let’s find out what happens on this Sunday (July 27) installment…

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Donny on "Big Brother"

Donny on "Big Brother"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Big Brother" Thursday - 4th Eviction And An Unfortunate Letter

Who went home tonight?

Another Thursday (July 24), another elimination in the “Big Brother” house. The outcome of tonight’s vote certainly seems all but assured, but in a world where Victoria managed to take herself off the block, anything’s possible.

Let’s get into Stealth Cowboy Mode and spy in on the housemates….

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Amber from 'Big Brother'

Amber from 'Big Brother'

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Big Brother" Wednesday - The Power Of Veto And The Power Of Amber

Cody fights to keep his emotions in check as Caleb's jealousy infects everyone's strategies

Last time on “Big Brother,” Team America successfully completed another challenge but probably did more harm than good to their individual game plans. This feels like a prime pivoting point in the season, one in which the type of female-centric alliance that Joey tried to form might actually coalesce after Sunday’s semi-ludicrous nominations. Anything’s possible, including someone like Victoria actually doing something meaningful this season. Like I said: anything’s possible!

Let’s get to the live blog for Wednesday (July 23) and find out what happens…

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Jocasta! She's full of ghosts.

Recap: 'Big Brother' Sunday - Nominations, Chess, and Our 5 Theories About the Game

Jocasta spoke in tongues, and it was the most sensible thing said all episode.

We all know why we watch "Big Brother" -- to explore the dramatic possibilities of chicken wire.

Considering Sunday's nomination episode spent, oh, 40 minutes finishing up the chicken wire game from Thursday, we had no choice but to stare at that damn mesh and fall in love with it. The chicken wire got so much screentime that it is already a more compelling character than Victoria. I believe chicken wire could survive until at least week five. Week six if it stays on Caleb's good side.

The long challenge resulted in HOH grabs for Cody, who respectively nominated Victoria and Brittany, and Frankie, who threw up Jocasta (one of "the fiercest persons" he knows) and Amber. Her nomination had something to do with a lame-ass America's Game challenge that I'll discuss in a minute, but the bottom line is the nominations were both unsurprising and fine. Later, Amber and Jocasta won a chess-themed Battle of the Block challenge that was similarly dull. (L-shaped knight movements? BAD-ASS!) It appears that two of our most beleaguered players, Brittany and Victoria, may be headed for a stern exit interview with Julie "Yes, Frankie, You Look Fierce Too" Chen.

This was a placid episode with some spicy moments of dialogue, including a beautiful promise from Zach to Frankie ("Yes, I will bang you!") and an eye-popping moment of grace and mystery from Jocasta. We'll get to that in a moment.

But for now, here are five important notes I have about this episode and the season as a whole. It's time to call out some surly houseguests. 

1. Brittany just said the most unlikable thing of the whole season.

You know, I want to love Brittany. She rolls her eyes at a lot of the right people. Her social game isn't great, but she did once eke her way out of elimination by telling Devin, "As a mother? I have to win this petty game show." In a pinch, she's a player. Or she was. But now that she's back on the block and apparently sore about it, she's hit a wall and just said my least favorite quote of the season to co-HOH Cody. Ahem:

"I really don't care anymore to be honest. Yesterday was like my last day of caring. I don't why. I'm just kind of over it. I can't deal with the fakeness and, like, the lies and the bullsh*t. Maybe I'm just too old for all of it. I don't know. It's just exhausting."

I can understand feeling defeated after you've saved yourself from elimination only to find that you're back on the chopping block. Sure. But nothing is worse than a "Big Brother" player who announces that he/she is better than "Big Brother." It reminds me of people who criticize Ke$ha for being trashy; trashiness is the point. Juvenile pettiness is the point of "Big Brother," and if you tire quickly of deceit, you're pretty dumb for signing up to be on the show. Get in the game, "old girl."  

2. Cody's feelings about Zac Efron are secretly a beautiful poem.

Here is a sweet poem by Cody, who talked about how much he loves Zac Efron. It is entitled "Zac!: By Cody."

He is the man.

That's literally

My man crush

I decided the second I saw him

Zac Efron is the man.

This guy's probably got

The most swag.

He's completely shredded

He's hilarious

He's just probably a baller

On all sorts of levels.

A lot of people might think

Zac Efron is soft.

He was in High School Musical. Then he was in Hairspray.

But I'm going to be honest --

If you've seen him recently

And you run into this guy's chest

And abs

You might shatter

Into a million pieces.

3. It's depressing when Team America challenges interfere with nominations.

Was anyone else bummed to realize that the Team America prompt affected nominations? Frankie, Derrick, and Donny were tasked with getting a player who is deemed "a physical threat" nominated for eviction. Oh, come on! Is that really a thrilling task? Shouldn't the Team America challenges be more outrageous and difficult, like, "Make Caleb realize he is a horrifying predator" or "Get Victoria to utter a sentence with more than four words in it"? I hate that players are given petty rewards for essentially taking a viable game strategy and running with it. That's what they should be doing anyway. 

4. Christine is playing the best game.

Christine acknowledged it herself: By being in the right place at the right time, she has found herself in two different dominating alliances, first the Bomb Squad, and now a smaller Bomb Squad called (ugh) The Detonators. That's pretty great for her! She can chalk it up to luck, but the fact that her housemates are comfortable sharing power with her means that she's considered valuable. Now, it's possible that her unassuming niceness will become suspicious, particularly when you remember Shelly's exit on BB13, but it really seems like there are scores of hotheaded "threats" who will be eliminated well before her. Plus, I just like this girl. Easily the coolest and least headache-inducing member of the household (until Zingbot arrives). 

5. Jocasta is filled with ghosts. 

Jocasta may be a shrieking ghoul outfitted by Brooks Brothers, but she is the best shrieking ghoul outfitted by Brooks Brothers I've ever seen. Here she is realizing that she and Amber have won the Battle of the Block chess challenge. 

That is right. She is speaking in tongues. The Holy Ghost is interacting with the other ghosts in Jocasta's body, and they are all waltzing and screaming and breakdancing together. You'll recall when Donny took Jocasta off the block, she reacted this way:

She is a pile of ghosts. 

Recap: 'True Blood' - 'Lost Cause'
Credit: HBO

Recap: 'True Blood' - 'Lost Cause'

At midseason, 'True Blood' gives everyone a chance to set a spell. Take your shoes off. Tuck your fangs in.

After four episodes that, in terms of narrative development, largely amounted to the show clearing its throat, “True Blood” sets aside an hour for taking stock, giving its surviving characters a chance to appreciate what they have and how far they’ve come. In a few cases, this means that some of the actors get to collect a paycheck, and rack up some screen time, just by swaying to Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up” while swigging from red plastic cups. But along the way, there are some nice moments.

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Recap: 'Big Brother' Thursday - 3rd Eviction and The Truth About Donny
Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Big Brother' Thursday - 3rd Eviction and The Truth About Donny

Caleb and Devin face Eviction and Jeff Schroeder visits Donny's hometown

Apologies for this late recap of Thursday (July 17) night's "Big Brother." Television Critics Association press tour is causing all sorts of time crunching.

Where were we? Oh right! Donny upset the field and won the PoV and then used it to protect Jocasta, whose most important piece of gameplay all season has been getting violently ill when she was on the Block and letting Donny rescue her.

Let's get down to business!

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Derrick from "Big Brother 16"

Recap: 'Big Brother' Wednesday - We Judge With Andy Herren

"Big Brother" is heating up for an exciting elimination, and we're recapping Wednesday's POV episode with BB15 winner Andy Herren.

Here's a meager suggestion: Cherish this time now, because we've arrived at the most enjoyable stage of the "Big Brother" season. While there are still plenty of obvious losers with cellophane eyes and candy brains who need to leave Chenbot Manor and head back to their Not So Elite modeling gigs, we've finally arrived at the moment where we can recognize everyone in the house, identify their weaknesses and strengths, and make real predictions. During last night's Power of Veto episode, I came up with five big points to consider as the season progresses. To validate my points, I'm dragging along Andy Herren -- the winner of BB15 -- to share his thoughts on the players too. 

Here are our five biggest takeaway's from Wednesday's POV spectacular. 

1. Donny is the best. And the worst.


Andy Herren: I hate Donny. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Donny, but that’s why I hate him. He is already WAY more likable that anyone else on this season, or anyone in the history of the "Big Brother" for that matter. He even makes TERRIBLE game moves (not telling Derrick what he wants to hear, running his mouth too much), yet somehow comes out of it with me being like, “DOG GONE IT, I LOVE HIM.” If my ultimate nightmare comes true and he wins, he will be known as the most adorable winner in the history of Big Brother, and I will look even worse than I already do by comparison. This cannot happen. We need a Victoria or a Caleb to win this season, because then maybe people won’t hate me as much. F**k you, Donny. Also, please be my best friend and follow me around everywhere, constantly uttering your irresistible Donny-isms.

HitFix: I worry that Donny is a more charming version of Adam from BB13. Way too trusting, expendable, and secretly hostile about others questioning his gameplay. The chalky brambly facial hair doesn't help either. His sweetness is endearing and I think he has some secret reserves of savviness that could help in the long run, but I'm annoyed by the fact that he almost botched the "Team America" challenge with his awkward rumor-starting tactics about Zach's fake relation to Amanda Zuckerman from BB15. When Nicole said later, "I felt it was almost a setup for me to start a rumor, so I wasn't going to [pass it on]," that was a pretty clear indication that Donny isn't cut out for propaganda missions. No big deal, but AMERICA is at stake.

2. Is Victoria secretly the star? 


Andy Herren: Is it just me, or is Victoria (also known as “Vicky,” in my eyes) the most fascinating person on the show? It seems she doesn’t even realize she is competing for $500,000. Hell, does she even know she is on television? I worry that she may have somehow wandered onto the CBS lot and been corralled into the "Big Brother house," when in actuality she was there trying to find Sarah Michelle Gellar’s dressing room (side note: Sarah Michelle Gellar’s show "The Crazy Ones" has been cancelled for months, but I doubt Vicky is aware). The only moment of screen time Vicky got during tonight’s episode was when she was shown being like, “LMAO I TOTALLY KNEW ZACH WAS RELATED TO THAT AMANDA GIRL FROM LAST SEASON! I ALSO KNOW THAT I AM LIVING IN A HOUSE AND THAT THERE ARE WALLS AND SOMETIMES WE ARE ALLOWED TO GO INTO THE POOL.” I hope she gets second place.

HitFix: I think Victoria is "laying low" (as Julie Chen once poetically put it) because she's still congratulating herself for memorizing three facts about herself in the first episode of the show. "I'm Jewish!" she declared. "I love pink!" she said. "I'm the hottest girl in the house!" she murmured. Who needs gameplay when you have producer-scripted facts about yourself to recite? That's the real question. I feel like this season's houseguests have a strong distaste for non-players. She's not even slightly athletic like the similarly useless Porsche from BB13, so I doubt she'll make it far, but I would watch a half-hour series where Victoria smiled into a camera and recited three-word trivia items about herself. 

3. Is Zach the most well-positioned player in the game?


HitFix: Remember last week when Zach made snafu after snafu, eventually getting himself nominated for eviction in a moment of pure horror? He even betrayed the other half of Zankie, whose magenta streaks reddened in rage. But Zach survived that week and it seems his astounding death spiral has been all but forgotten. You know who that reminds me of? Ian from BB14, who was so erratically behaved during his first week in the house that no one could've suspected he'd make it to the end. Then he won the whole thing. I have a feeling Zach's arc in the house is longer than everyone wants to give him credit for. 

Andy Herren: Zach is absolutely adorable. With every Diary Room confessional where he screams at the camera, I fall more and more in love. I just want to put him in my pocket and carry him around all day while he hugs me and yells cute adorable nothings into my ear. Also, I think he is in a good position in the game. He’s volatile and impulsive, which will actually help him. People are going to be like, “Let’s keep him around. He will always be a bigger target.” If he can pull out a decent mid-to-end game, he could ultimately do well. I think Christine is also playing very well. She’s riding the middle, not being seen as an ultimate floater (oh hi, Jocasta and Vicky) or as a dominant power player (Derrick, Caleb), but she’s doing it strategically. She’s still my pick to win this whole thing. 

4. Yes, we hate Devin. But is this how his game should end?


HitFix: My resting b*tch face turns to rage every time Devin is in the Diary Room. He is infuriating, self-absorbed, obsessed with announcing how well-intentioned he is, and utterly awful at social interactions. He is one of my least favorite nouns, period. It's heartening to see that he'll most likely be eliminated tomorrow, but a part of me is disappointed that no brilliant players (so far) are stepping up to use him as their pawn. Face it: He is powerless. He has been defanged in front of everyone. Why isn't anyone -- like, say, Brittany or Donny -- stepping up to save him for the sake of their own game? Granted, Devin's fickleness makes him unpredictable as an alliance member. (Remember how he swore to Paola that she wouldn't be going home?) But I still think his pathetic vulnerability could be useful to a very smart houseguest. 

Andy Herren: I love how the house hates Devin SO MUCH that they all openly cheered when he lost the Power of Veto. He put up a good fight, but he was ultimately taken out by “competition beast” Donny, who everyone is seriously starting to think of as a threat. Sure, Devin is the absolute worst, but he also makes for great television. I think he is probably going to be sent packing tomorrow, and I’m going to miss the chaos that he is known for throwing the house into. Here’s hoping that Caleb murders Cody or Amber once Devin leaves. We need something dramatic to happen.

5. Final thoughts: Excellent Power of Veto game and a more excellent victory striptease.


HitFix: Maybe I just enjoyed watching Devin work 20x harder than his competitors in order to stay alive during "Tumblin' Dice" (also a fine Rolling Stones tune), but the strategy involved with rolling around in a giant die and figuring out how to toggle properly was kind of a real treat to watch. Poor Derrick turned into a scared dice prisoner with robot moves! Good for Donny, who won this Power of Veto and will use his winnings to do something cutesy like hug a tractor or talk to a squirrel. 

Andy Herren: Cody’s striptease at the end of the episode. I’m dead. RIP. Cause of death: Abs.