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Big Brother 4, July 8: Can You Say “Twist”?by Brian James -- 07/09/2003
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Stock Booming Melodramatic Announcer #38 welcomes us in an overhyped manner to the fourth season of Big Brother. As we’re taken on a visual tour of this year’s house, which pretty much looks like Austin Powers meets IKEA meets Vern from Trading Spaces on a bad acid trip meets The Brady Bunch with turtles and human chess, he yammers on about the 13 “daring people” who will enter these hallowed halls. Funny, “daring” isn’t the particular adjective people on the message boards have been unpacking to describe them. He continues on in his overenthusiastic manner as if we couldn’t say the premise in our sleep by now: THREE MONTHS! Of TOTAL CONFINEMENT! With NO CONTACT! From the OUTSIDE WORLD! With ONLY EACH OTHER TO TURN TO! Just then, the Shower of Can We Get On With It Already turns on in an attempt to short out his microphone. No such luck. WEEKLY COMPETITIONS! For FOOD! LUXURY! And POWER! WEEKLY EVICTION VOTES! Only ONE WILL REMAIN! To win a HALF! MILLION! DOLLARS! We get it. We get it already. But THIS YEAR, he excitedly tells us, it’s DIFFERENT! There’s a TWIST! Oh, please. Like that’s original. What reality show in the past year hasn’t had a twist? One that takes the contestants on a fairy tale journey through making connections and sharing intimate moments as part of the process? I think I’ve just recapped every show on this site for the next five years. See you in 2008!
OK, fine, I’ll continue. Besides, I don’t want the Stock Booming Melodramatic Announcer Union putting a bounty on my head for not giving #38 his due. Eight of these people will enter first, he excitedly tells us, and then five of their exes will enter in a twist known as… THE X FACTOR!!! Duh Duh DUH!!! And, he concludes, it all starts NOW - with 13 empty champagne flutes, assorted cheeses and grapes on black plastic trays, and 2 piles of tacky green paper cocktail napkins that clash with the orange sectional chairs behind them!
Credits. Same “DUH duh duh duh DUH duh duh duh”-ing overinsistent violins, same “dee deedle dee deedle dee”-ing piano… Big Brother’s back, alright! I swear, between the TV shows and the live feeds (where it plays when they show the “front of the house” if there’s something the producers don’t want us to see) last summer, this song was burned into my memory for all eternity. I started imagining what the dance remix would sound like. I felt pathetic. Anyway, our 13 HouseGuests are all shown in various states of smiling and yukking it up, as if that’s any sort of accurate representation of what their emotional state will be like for most of this summer. On second viewing, it appears they’ve placed the five X Factor exes immediately after their respective Original 8 exes, but to have known that at the time I would have had to have been as clairvoyant as they expected the HouseGuests to be in the first Food Challenge. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Julie Chen’s back! Whee! I’ve kind of developed an ironic affection for her in the same way that I have for, say, ABBA videos: they’re both just so distinct and predictable and lovable in their unintentional kitschiness. They could get a better host on here, but it just wouldn’t be the same. Julie wishes us a good evening. Let’s see… frozen smile, reading directly off the teleprompter, dramatic walks and pivots at key moments in her script - yup, Julie’s still Julie. She regurgitates the same information about THE TWIST, then says, DRAMATIC PIVOT, that it’s time to meet the HouseGuests!
Thankfully, they keep the usual montages of the HouseGuests just “happening” to find their keys in the course of their daily lives to a minimum this year - because it’s not like Chiara getting her key from Hot Dog Vendor 79 in Central Park last year came across as hokey or contrived or anything. Instead, we just see them get their keys in rapid succession. David tries gnawing on his. “Does this mean I’m leaving?” squeals Amanda. Oh no - they’re just going to relocate the entire production to your house, you twit. Erika twirls pretentiously and announces, “Big Brother, here I come!” Is it too late to send her back? “I am SO SPECIAL!” shrieks Jun. Thank you, Chrissie Hynde.
With that, it’s time for the individual introductions, which thankfully are a lot quicker than on most other shows. First up is David, who gets up off his couch in nothing but boxers and… um… well… damn. We see him find his key in his camouflage helmet and stick out his tongue at us, then he’s at a military base telling us that after special ops, Big Brother’s going to be a CAKEWALK! You know, given the level of subtlety of most of these intros, I’m surprised they didn’t have him holding up a Carvel Fudgie The Whale as he said that.
Next up is Alison, who appears in a black evening gown and tiara - no, really - and tells us she likes to be treated like a princess! Shut up, Alison. Shut up, Alison’s tiara.
Next up is Nathan, who just “happens” to find his key on a basketball court. When he wins Big Brother, he says, he’s gonna buy a couple of these… what? Oil wells? Bulldozers? He’s pointing to these big machine-like thingys that obviously do something important where owning them would mean profit. I know this guy said he was kind of hard to read in his Q&A, but must even his introduction be cryptic?
Michelle (an ex from Boca Raton, Florida) will prove that size… HUGE pullback shot that makes her look 4 inches high… doesn’t matter! Nah, too easy.
Scott is all dressed up in a vest and tie in some stuffy-looking bar/restaurant. He may be polishing glasses now, he tells us, but when he wins Big Brother, he’ll be running things there! Someone’s in for a shock when he finds out just how far that half mil will take him in the Chicago restaurant world.
Jun (which is pronounced “June” as opposed to rhyming with “Hun”) hopes we’ll all love her as much as SHE does! Oy.
David, Alison, and Nathan pack. OK, Nathan is free to stay shirtless this summer as well. Next, Erika does leg lifts and tells us she’ll give her roommates the WORKOUT OF THEIR LIVES, DRAMATIC “SULTRY” WINK! In a perfect world, the Church Lady would pop up from the bushes and ask, “We like ourselves, don’t we, Erika?” This isn’t a perfect world.
Justin (an ex from Pittsburgh) leans over a machine at a gym and tells us he’s going to turn the house into a STEEL CAGED MATCH! OK…
“I love men and men love me and I think I’ll be fine - I just need to fix my broken nail,” says Jun as she packs. Considering that she’s from New York and that every time we’ve seen her so far it’s been sipping cocktails with friends, they’re really not trying to push the Sex and the City angle too hard, are they? Oh, and speaking of sex, David wants to know if it’s allowed on camera! Are you kidding? The producers have an altar set up in a corner of their office where they pray every day for exactly that.
Amanda (an ex from Chicago) tells us she “does it with style!” You know, these are supposed to be introductions, not keychains. Robert (an ex from Los Angeles) stands in front of perhaps the only house I’ve ever seen that looks like it could fit inside my studio apartment and promises we’ll love to hate him! Take the “love to” out of that sentence and it seems accurate enough. Meanwhile, Jack tells us he’s used to lying, backstabbing, and cheating - why, he did it for 30 years in the FBI! At that moment, somewhere in a secret room, someone opens a little black file marked “Vanish Without A Trace To-Do List”…1 2 3 4 5 Next-->
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