Julie Chen says the phrase, "It's a double eviction" the way the doctor in "Love Story" tells us Jenny has leukemia. Grim, unsmiling, heavy monotone -- and she's right to establish the stakes. It's a life-or-death moment, and I'm glad we're getting to the most dramatic type of "Big Brother" week just as I realize I can't take another minute of the "Battle of the Block" rigamarole. Two houseguests are voted back into society tomorrow (which is a scary idea as is), and it seems like spanky Zankie is in grave danger. Is this good or bad for "Big Brother 16"?
Instead of recapping every moment of this better-than-usual Wednesday episode, we're breaking down the events with seven crucial questions about the game at hand. Who's game is most impressive right now? Whose game is suffering from dramatic setbacks? Who does the best job of remembering Victoria's name? I consider all of these questions along with guest commentator Andy Herren, who won a freakish little season of TV called "Big Brother 15." Without further ado, here are the seven observations Andy and I consider most important and Earth-shattering and Chen-hardening at this given moment.
7. Victoria isn't playing a winning game, but she's playing a game.
Andy Herren: Victoria is going to get second place. Seriously. She’s dead weight, and she cares more about shopping than winning "Big Brother." I still don’t know if she understands that shopping does not exist in the Big Brother house. Someone smart will drag her to the end. I cannot wait to hear her pleas to the jury. I imagine her saying something along the lines of, “…….I have a cat!” Zach will probably vote for her to win.
HitFix: I haven't seen the live feeds recently, but I'm told that Victoria is more endearing when experienced in real-time. I relished her torturous sentence with Caleb, who by now has the dead, sad eyes of a washed-up porn star. I noticed that Victoria has a sense of humor, but for the most part she spends her time assuring us that she's a princess and responding to almost any problem by nervously muttering that she's over it. Infuriating and juvenile? Yes. But is her unassuming presence a surefire way to blow past people like Christine, Nicole, Derrick, and Donny when they're revealed to be double agents? Also yes. (By the way: Her performance in the veto challenge was horrifyingly pitiful.)
6. For some reason, the world is still ignoring Jocasta's star power.
HitFix: You know what seems unfair? Jocasta's alliance with Jesus. Those two get along like a couple of old hens high-fiving and freak-dancing the night away. Some tweeters have indicated that Zach might've wriggled his way out of a near-guaranteed elimination this week, and I'm stressing out that we may lose Jocasta. She's full of loud soundbites that don't always make sense, but her attitude is so positive that she kind of transcends the game. I hope we get to see her dial up "the old Jocasta" on her hand phone at least once more.
Andy Herren: Jocasta is the star of the show, and nothing you say will change my opinion. The bow tie wearing formerly bisexual minister has the best Diary Room sessions of any houseguest, frequently receiving phone calls from The Block, which she has a penchant for ignoring. Her excitement at getting third place OUT OF SIX COMPETITORS tonight solidified how perfect she truly is.
5. Christine isn't given enough credit for being a dynamic player.
Andy Herren: Christine is being prepped as the new villain of the season. This is a stretch, as Christine is generally rather friendly with everyone, but she is driving a wedge between Hayden/Nicole and Frankie/Zach, and if we know anything about "Big Brother," it is that stupid fans hate it when anyone tries to break up a showmance, as evidenced by Rachel Reilly exclaiming, time after time, “Nobody comes between me and my Neanderthal, er…man. Yes, man.”
HitFix: You'll have to excuse me, but I always sympathize with the most human-seeming player in the house. One year it was Kalia. Another year it was (ugh) Andy Herren. I root for the players who acknowledge their own neuroses and shortcomings while having a sense of humor about the game, so I'm into Christine this year. She seemed to be weaving between alliances with some style for awhile, but since Nicole told Hayden about her shady rumor-starting, her game is in jeopardy. Look, she messed up, but I think she's savvy enough to realize she messed up. I could get back to championing her game if she somehow levels with Hayden and acquits herself from danger. A Derrick/Christine final two would be pretty compelling to me.
4. Nicole's plan to backdoor Frankie was the right idea.
Andy Herren: Nicole, as reigning HoH, kept talking about a plan to backdoor Frankie. I so wish the HoH this week had been Cody, and that he had the same plan. Just thinking about Cody backdooring anyone puts me in an emotional state that I can’t go into more detail about, as kids could possibly read this article.
(Slightly NSFW video, language.)
HitFix: I'm a big fan of keeping "Big Brother" interesting, and for that reason I really chafe at the thought of Zankie being jeopardized in any way. Face it, they're the most fascinating part of BB16. Maybe Frankie is an overcompensating dullard who wishes he were funny, but he really has a magnetism that draws in a hefty percentage of the male houseguests, not just Zach. For that reason it's unreal that no one in the house has made a serious move to overthrow him. I supported Nicole's plan, and I'm sort of stunned she couldn't organize that effort better.
3. Let's not forget that the veto challenge was spectacular.
Andy Herren: The Veto competition involved actual artists from DC Comics drawing comic book art based on the houseguests. This was so freaking cool. I’m jealous we did not have this competition last summer. I think I would have been, “The Red Ghost: He’s Here, but Nobody Notices Him!” or “The Ginger Avenger: Protecting the Monster and Her Pizza Boy!” or “The Indestructible Bottom: Getting Backdoored Continuously and Persevering!”
HitFix: Jesus, Andy.
2. Is Derrick the hero we deserve?
HitFix: We saw the first signs of anti-Derrick panic this week, but for the most part he remains a furtive and cool player who isn't rushing his gameplay a bit. Even a casual "Big Brother" player has to wonder if he's got this game in the bag. The truth is that the game would be more interesting without him since he's so good at keeping his mouth shut, but for such a cautious strategist, he does give good Diary Room insights. I don't know. I'm torn about how much we want him in this game.
Andy Herren: Derrick remains levelheaded and intuitive. Sure, he has been jumping from alliance to alliance, which could make him a “floater,” but he is doing it strategically, which makes him a “competitor.”
1. Zach can't leave the game because Zach is "Big Brother."
Andy Herren: Zach is quickly becoming one of the most reckless players of all time, which also makes him one of the most entertaining. He is also so damn adorable. His temper tantrum after losing the Veto competition was the sexiest thing I’ve seen in months.
HitFix: Zach is the Raphael of "Big Brother." And I do mean the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, not the Renaissance master. Cool but cruel. Nasty and seething and funny and willfully ridiculous. "Big Brother" was built on a tradition of Zach types who call themselves master manipulators and peeve the other houseguests with senseless spectacle. I am terrified about his potential for eviction tomorrow. Do I want him to win the show? Not really. But I want him to start more unnecessary fights that get people like Hayden and Derrick mixed up in perilous situations. If he's gone, who's our provocateur? Yikes. Now that's something to be grim about, Julie Chen.
Sound off: Do you guys want Jocasta or Zach out? Andy is OK with Zach's elimination, but I'm apoplectic at the thought of it.