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Big Brother 4 Contestant Preview and Analysisby Brian James -- 07/07/2003
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Big Brother 4 starts this coming Tuesday, July 8, and I, for one, can’t wait. Last summer, before I started writing for this site, I was glued to the shows, constantly refreshing the live feed update boards on the Internet to get the latest dirt, and developed such a massive crush on Jason it was pathetic. This summer, I’ll be one-third of a strong lineup covering the show here at RealityNewsOnline: I’ll be recapping the Tuesday episodes, editor David Bloomberg will be tackling Wednesdays, and C. Brian Devinney will be covering Fridays.
Late last week, just before the holiday weekend, contestant information was finally released on the CBS.com website, which promises that “…the 13 HouseGuests chosen through this difficult process are strong, interesting, compelling, and competitive strangers from diverse backgrounds.” We’ll just wait and see how truthful that proves to be - although I suppose they couldn’t really say, “Six are interesting and compelling; one sits around, scratches his ass and does squat; one’s an irritating whiner with a high-pitched screech that’s worse than nails on a chalkboard; another’s completely devoid of any personality whatsoever; then there’s…” could they? It also would seem that the preferred official spelling of the term is “HouseGuest,” which seems rather awkward to me, but I don’t make these decisions. Also, it’s interesting that while they talked about rigorous “physical, psychological and mental” screening, they didn’t mention anything about background checks. So, hey, repeat DWI offenders? Shoplifters? Embezzlers? Drunken gropers? Mattress tag rippers? Bring ‘em on, I guess!
Only nine of the HouseGuests’ identities were revealed; the remaining four, as part of the “X Factor” twist, will be the exes of four of the contestants - to the best of my knowledge, their identities won’t be revealed until the season premiere on Tuesday. Also in keeping with the “X Factor,” none of the contestants are married - all are single with the exception of Jack, who’s divorced.
Now, it’s time to meet the HouseGuests! Good grief, I sound like Julie Chen. If you find me at any course of the season using phrases like, “It’s been a busy week in the Big Brother household,” please shoot me. Anyway, rather than regurgitate the contestant Q&As and favorites lists from the official CBS website, I’m just going to offer you my take on each contestant based on their more interesting/telling responses. (I should warn you, though, that when I go back and look at some of my fearless predictions for High School Reunion, I laugh uncontrollably, so bear that in mind.)
Alison, a 22-year-old retail manager from Pittsburgh, is the contestant whose profile most made me need an insulin injection - and I’m not even diabetic. Her motto is, “Irwin [her last name] backwards spells WIN-IR!” First off, that’s an anagram from rearranging the syllables, not spelling it backwards. Irwin spelled backwards is “niwri”; rearrange that and substitute some letters and you come up with “nitwit,” which might be more appropriate. Her personal hero is Britney Spears, her “kitty” is named Meow Meow, and the news she’ll miss most from the outside world is who won Miss Pennsylvania. No, I’m not kidding. Even many of her favorites are überperky: Cosmopolitan! Shape! Smart Start cereal! Malibu and diet! (Diet anything, I guess - that’s all she listed.) She does list The Golden Girls as her favorite show, however; being that she was four when the show premiered, she must have picked up on it in reruns, which is kind of interesting. Alison is almost definitely going to be sweet; the question is whether she will be sickeningly so.
When asked why he wanted to be on the show, Brandon, a 28-year-old computer engineer from Newport Beach, California, responded, “To test my leadership skills in a proactive adapting environment.” That’s not a reason; that’s a resume objective. He also feels he brings “stature” as a strength. Your guess is as good as mine. The interesting thing about Brandon, though, is that there seems to be a lot of dichotomy in him - things that wouldn’t normally seem to go together on first glance. He’s a computer programmer and a surfer (when it comes to outside news, he’ll be missing the swell forecasts the most). His favorite music types are punk, house, and trance. He has a lot of typical “manly” favorites on his list: Maxim, Stuff, The Rock, Natasha Henstridge, Jackass, Punk’d, power bars - yet he lists gardenias as both his favorite flower and scent (as opposed to past reality contestants who have said things like “that’s a girl question!”) and includes quirkier fare like The Princess Bride, more serious fare like The Purpose-Driven Life, and seeming jokes: “underwater basket weaving”? Also, between his motto being the Golden Rule and the summary I read of The Purpose-Driven Life on Amazon.com, I’m sensing he may have some strong Christian beliefs as well. He says he plans to win the show by manipulating the confidence others put in him. I have a lot of duality to my nature as well, which has helped me to better understand a wide variety of people; if the same is true of him and he’s adept at figuring out what makes the others tick, he may just pull it off. [Oddly, Brandon’s picture no longer appears on the CBS site. It looks like he is already off the show! More info as we get it.]
Dana, a 28-year-old karate school manager from Queens, gave one of my favorite answers for “Personal Hero”: “The jury’s still out on this one.” Thank you. Normally that category tends to be all gushy, so it’s nice to see something a little more blunt and pragmatic. She’s either a fan of alliteration or thinks the show’s being sponsored by the syllable “per”: the three adjectives that best describe her are “persistent” and “personable” (that was only two; I’m guessing the screening questionnaires didn’t lean too heavily in the math department), and she’ll be bringing her strength of “personality” to the game. One thing that struck me about Dana was just how generic a lot of her favorites were: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Trivial Pursuit, Monopoly, chocolate chip cookies, the Yankees and Knicks, and music style choices of rock and alternative; it’s almost as if she copied down the top answers in a popularity poll. On the other hand, if she is truly that mainstream, it may enable her to mesh and blend better with the others. While her motto is “Losing is not an option” and she brings the “non-quitting spirit” to the game, her strategy is to “let other people win the game for me.” Eh? If she means in the sense of letting the others hang themselves, that’s certainly not a bad idea, but it would seem she might want to consider something a little more proactive to go along with it. Overall, I get a gregarious, friendly vibe from her.1 2 3 Next-->
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