Big Brother 4, August 16: Bullet With Stooges’ Wingsby Brian James -- 08/19/2003
Quite honestly, I think this may have been the best episode of the show this season yet.
Before we can get there, however, Stock Booming Melodramatic Announcer #38 takes us back to the time when Robert was a two-time Veto tease, Jun and Alison did more flip-flops than the U.S. gymnastics team, and Nathan called Jun a little snake, ran around like a chicken with its head cut off, got evicted, and had Julie Chen rub it in about twenty different ways that Alison had turned on him. Do you remember those halcyon days of yesterweek, Pierre? The calla lilies, that wonderful little café, and the leisurely strolls on the Ile de la Grande Jatte? Do you?
Well, I’m glad someone does because I certainly don’t. The HouseGuests then climbed into a steel cage to begin the Head of Household endurance competition. The first cage holds six people, the next four, and the last two. As HouseGuests opt to leave, those remaining have to make their way into the smaller cages until there’s only one HouseGuest left standing - the new Head of Household. Exiting Head of Household Justin locked the other six in, and it’s here where we left our HouseGuests, whom Internet wags have been calling “hamsters” for years, but never before has it been illustrated this literally.
Jack looks oddly lonely without Dana and Nathan in the credits, although maybe he’s just grateful for the peace and quiet.
Our brave little hamsters cling to the cage, looking oddly reminiscent of the time when The Brady Bunch got locked in that ghost town jail in Arizona. Does that make Alison Cindy? Ye gods. Erika tells us she dreads anyone winning this besides her and Jack; Jee similarly feels the need to win this one for the “Dream Team.” Alison wants to know if anyone is willing to deal. Jun suggests that whoever wins doesn’t put her up. “If you leave,” Alison shoots back. Alison goes on to tells us that she really, really, really hopes that the alliance of her, Erika, and Jack wins Head of Household this week and breaks up the Three Stooges. Oh, really? So that’s where you’ve alit this millisecond, Madame Butterfly? She tells us she is kind of glad Nathan is gone because he was starting to get on her nerves. Alison gets on plenty of viewers’ nerves, if message boards are any indication, yet they don’t get a say in the matter.
At two hours and forty minutes, Justin asks everyone how they’re holding up; they tell him they’re fine so far. He tells us it’s hard waiting out the competition because his fate rests in their hands. Much like hamster owners offer their little furry friends chew sticks, Justin parades around the cage in Nathan’s cowboy hat with a tray of rotisserie chicken. Much like sadistic hamster owners who hold them out of the poor fuzzy buggers’ reach, Justin then takes it back inside to eat himself, although someone (Jun?) begs him to eat it in front of them so they can at least smell it! Jack tells us it was difficult for him because he was taller than the cage, causing him to have to stoop the entire time and occasionally bang his head on the top bars. Alison tells us she hates being locked up, leading me to wonder just how much experience she’s had in the matter.
Jun asks everyone what they’d do if she peed in her pants. Alison says she’d cry; Erika says she’d be like, “Cool!” Jun tells us she was a little shocked at herself because she’s a lady and ladies don’t do those things in public (I’m starting to think she’s at least somewhat kidding in a self-deprecating manner when she says things like that), but as Robert puts it, “If you want Head of Household, take a piss in here. If you don’t; leave.” In the end, she does go in the cage (Alison does as well eventually although this isn’t made clear here), using Jack’s shirt as camouflage, which is going WAY above and beyond the call of duty for Jack.
Robert tells us it made him uncomfortable, he’s claustrophobic, and then to top it off, the stupid conversations people were having made him really sick - why, he felt like throwing up! Well, now he knows how a lot of the live feed viewers feel having to put up with his misogynistic claptrap and constant nosepicking. Despite Jee’s protests, he’s the first to leave the cage. Erika tells us she thinks his alliance was disappointed in him, but it didn’t shock her at all because he has no patience. He runs into the house to take some aspirin for his migraine, which he says he gets about three times a year. He and Justin say it’s not looking good for them, but Jee’s strong. Justin tells us Jee was the only person he knew would look out for him 100%.
Back in the cage, Erika declares she’s feeling revitalized now that Robert’s gone! She says she can last for two days; Jee says he could last for five, and Jack says they’ll have to carry him out of there dead! Alison tells Jun to go ahead and get out so they can move to the smaller cage; Jack encourages her as well. Jun wants to make sure she’s really safe; they all assure her she is. She tells us that she knew someone else had to go after Robert left, and she knew she was one of the safest people and wouldn’t be nominated so she decided to go for it. She tells them she’s just going to be honest with Justin and Robert and tell them she got out because she’s safe, then leaves. The others move down to the smaller cage. Inside, Justin notes that Jun has left and he and Robert run to see what happened. Jun tells Robert she can’t believe he left so early; he tells her about his migraine. Robert then bitches to us that Jun’s a snake and left because she cut a deal. I’m thinking that if he left the cage first voluntarily, he has absolutely NO right to bitch about what anyone else does afterward.
Justin dozes on and off in the hammock; Jack tells us that when they saw he was asleep, he and the others would seize the opportunity to talk to Jee, who admits to us that he was hurting badly physically. Apparently, the deal is that if he were to leave the cage, he would be safe from nomination. Erika tells him that Robert and Justin would ditch him when it came down to the final two because they know everyone would vote for Jee over them. Jee asks Alison what she thinks. She tells him she knows he trusts them, which is important, but at the same time, they won’t take him to the finals; she doesn’t know if he’d rather deal with that now or later. He tells Jack and Erika that he doesn’t know that he can betray Robert and Justin; they tell him they understand. He says if he did decide to take them up on their offer, it would have to be in some way that would seem believable to Justin and Robert. Erika tells him she completely respects his honor and that she knows being in an alliance of three is a tough position to be in. She tells us that she knew she had to convince Jee to cut the cord with the “Amigos” because at some point an alliance of three has to become two. Erika tells him to take his time; Jack tells him that if he were to exit with Alison after a respectable time, Jack would follow them out shortly thereafter. Jee tells them it hurts him to even consider doing this to Justin and Robert and that he needs more time to think. Erika reminds him that after the game, he never has to see them again. Jee cries to us in the Diary Room that he can’t do it! He can’t betray them! They’re his friends! They’re his brothers! Oy.
It’s now five hours and thirty-eight minutes and there’s much whispering and conspiring in the cage. Alison whispers to Jee that she wishes Jack would leave so she could go; she also emphasizes that they have to vote Robert out if it’s a choice between him and Justin. (Gee, that’s not self-serving of her at all.) Jack reiterates to Jee that Justin will go, or if someone vetoes him, then Robert, but Jee will absolutely be safe either way. Jee asks him if he’s sure; Jack reinforces that they never wanted to come after Jee. Per the plan, Jack leaves next at six hours and seventeen minutes. Justin, awake in the hammock, congratulates Jack on a game well played. Jun comes out to tell them it’s twenty after one (they started just before seven their time); in the cage, Erika says they have to do this now. Jee finally cracks and says he can’t do it anymore; he exits at six hours and thirty-one minutes. “Enough time,” Jack encourages him in a whisper as he leaves. Jee tells us it was hard because he had to turn his back on Justin and Robert; he knew that would come eventually but wasn’t expecting it this soon. He apologizes to Justin, who tells him not to worry and that he did a good job.
Back in the smallest cage, the final round of wheeling and dealing begins. Alison asks Erika to reiterate that she won’t put Alison up for eviction; she concurs, as long as Alison doesn’t nominate her next week. Alison tells us it crossed her mind to doublecross them and steal Head of Household, but realized that wouldn’t make her look very good in the long run. Um, no. Plus, I doubt she could have outlasted Erika even if she’d wanted to. She leaves and Justin comes to free Erika, who after six hours and thirty-three minutes is the new Head of Household! He places the Head of Household key around her neck, which he tells us was bittersweet because he was placing his fate in her hands. Jack tells Erika she was terrific; she tells him she could - and would - have gone forever if she had to. In the Diary Room, Erika does a happy dance - no, literally. She tells us she couldn’t take the risk of losing Jack. She and Jack discuss that it’ll be nice for him to finally be able to relax a week. Indeed, he was starting to become this year’s Amy for a while there.
In the bathroom, Jee tells Justin he wants to talk to him about Erika, which Justin says scares him a little because he still doesn’t know what deals were made. In their bedroom, Jee apologizes once again to Robert and Justin (who reiterate that he did fine and they’re not upset at all) and tells them to get some sleep while he gets a drink. Jee tells us that while it hurt him a lot, he did have to realize that in the end, there can only be one winner. In the kitchen, he and Erika congratulate each other on a game well played and she and Jack tell him once again that they respect how hard it was for him to make that decision; he tells them he’s still kind of upset with himself for it. We see him in the living room sitting alone as he tells us how upset he is that he betrayed his “all for one” brotherhood. OK - I can understand up to a point, but after a while, in the grand scheme of things, this ain’t exactly Sophie’s Choice. Besides, the sad thing is I can’t picture either of the other two agonizing nearly this much were the circumstances reversed.
Erika tells us she slept in the Desert Room that night even though she could have moved right into the Head of Household Room because she’s such a creature of habit that moving is going to be a big deal for her. The next morning (or possibly afternoon) she holds the weekly room unveiling, and while I don’t focus too much on fashion as a rule, even I know that it’s a bad idea to put a tie-dyed shirt with bottoms with a print as she’s wearing for her unveiling ensemble. (“We f**king have to go,” notes Robert, the epitome of class and grace, to Jee.) Jun tells us it was nice to see Erika kind of happy. Erika takes one look at the pillows from home and pictures of her dogs and her mother and starts crying, which the others tease her about. Erika admits to us that there are certain things that tug at her heartstrings and her family is the biggest of all of them. She sits on the Head of Household bed with her headphones on, clutches her pillow, and sobs as she tells us it was nice to be taken back to a place in her life when life was a little simpler and be reminded her family is out there rooting for her. While I can certainly appreciate the sentiment, overall at this point I’m thinking there are certain movies you don’t want to watch with Erika without adequate flood insurance.
We’ve gone entirely too far into the show without the weekly grousing over the peanut butter and jelly diet, so here come Jee, Justin, Robert, and Jack to speculate on the upcoming food competition. Justin tells Jee he’d rather deal with a week of PB&J than eat bull testicles or pig intestines, and notes that thus far he’s managed to escape the dreaded PB&J sentence. They speculate there’s going to be someone in the house who’s going to wind up on PB&J every single time; Robert feels it’ll be him as he’s been on it every time thus far. Jee would rather it be him because he wouldn’t want Robert to suffer so. Indeed, Robert’s Purple Heart is no doubt in the mail.
Erika gathers the HouseGuests in the living room and has everyone draw a ping-pong ball labeled with a day of the week. She tells them Big Brother has cordially invited them to a clambake and they have ten minutes to get dressed and join her in the backyard. Everyone puts on Hawaiian gear and comes out to find that the backyard has been transformed into a Hawaiian luau complete with tiki lights, sand, surfboards, and a fire pit. Erika is dressed in a mermaid-type outfit with a trident (yes, that word means something besides the gum four out of five dentists recommend) and welcomes them to the clambake… “FROM HELL!” she roars in a distorted demonic voice as thunder and lightning crash. I think it was a little funnier last year when Jason did it, just because we weren’t expecting it at all and Jason was just so… well… Jason. It’s much like that same competition - the HouseGuests each have a covered plate in front of them with some sort of exotic seafood. When they see what it is, they can choose to pass it to the person next to them, but then must eat that person’s plate in exchange. If they aren’t able to finish the entire portion in one minute, the entire house, including Erika, gets PB&J for whichever day they were assigned in the ping-pong ball drawing. “Remember, nominations are TOMORROW!” she goodnaturedly roars.
Jun is up first and gets gefilte fish. Jun makes a sour face and declares she doesn’t like gefilte fish as everyone tells her (which is true, comparatively) that she has it easy. “Jun had to eat gefilte fish! EVERYBODY EATS GEFILTE FISH!” roars Alison to us in the Diary Room. Whoa! Easy there - did she just buy a deli? Erika opines to us that it’s because Jun’s Korean, not Jewish. True enough, but according to that logic, I should hate, say, Thai food, and that’s certainly not the case. Jun spoons it in and threatens to throw up as Alison helpfully bitches to us that she was ready to grab the spoon out of her hand and shove Jun’s face in it! Well, I guess with an attitude like that she’ll be certain to finish her allotted dish within the time period with no bitching, right? In the end, despite all the rigmarole, Jun finishes in time.
Justin is up next and discovers to his displeasure that he has lutefisk - dried codfish soaked in a water and lye solution before cooking. He balks at eating the “raw chum” and Jack offers to eat it instead. He takes Jack’s plate in exchange - baby clams in chili sauce, which Justin is considerately more enthused about until he discovers just how spicy it is. “I knew I should’ve brought my other ex on this show!” laughs Alison, who tells us that if it’s seafood or anything hot and spicy, Justin will throw up in your lap. Sure enough, he fails to finish in time. Next, Jack easily downs the lutefisk in a mere twenty seconds, telling us that he’s sat through autopsies and if you can do that, you can eat anything!
Robert gets saddled with eyeballs of albacore tuna. He winds up eating the whole head of the fish because he didn’t know he was supposed to eat just the eyeballs. He gets through it unscathed, but Jun has to vomit and Alison is about to. Alison gets monkfish liver, which Jee offers to eat instead, telling us that Alison was being a drama queen about it. Heh. Alison shrieks at the top of her lungs when Erika takes the shell off Jee’s dish and reveals it to be octopus. “It was so disgusting!” she rants to us. “I thought it was going to jump out at me! It looked like it was still alive!” Yeah, cry Reichen & Chip a river. “It was purple and you could still see the suction things!” she continues. She takes a bite and gags on the texture. “The octopus was like rubber! You can’t penetrate rubber with your teeth!” But Alison, it’s octopus! EVERYBODY EATS OCTOPUS! I swear, you just want to smash her face into it, don’t you? She winds up spitting it back up and isn’t able to complete it in time. Jun notes to us that Justin and Alison both screwed everyone over and perhaps in Pennsylvania all people eat are hoagies, which normally I would find a little snotty but Alison was snotty toward Jun first, so hey. Finally, Jee finishes the monkfish liver, which means that the house only has to be on PB&J Saturday (Justin) and Tuesday (Alison), which everyone’s happy about. Alison says some of these people, including herself, could stand to shed a few pounds, so they’re set!
We’re now up to the now apparently de rigueur weekly Self-Improvement With The Hamsters segment! So far, we’ve tackled quitting smoking with Jee, successfully battling alcoholism with Robert, and now this week shows us the importance of exercise! I swear, if they allowed books in the house, next week one of them would show us that reading really is fundamental! Erika tells us that there’s a lot of exercising going on as there’s a lot of downtime. We see her and Justin lifting weights to illustrate the point. Robert tells us Jee’s looking better than when he entered the house; his abs have gotten a lot firmer. Jack tells us Robert came in sickly and puny but is showing some muscle definition thanks to Justin’s training; Justin tells us that Robert is one of those people who are able to start looking ripped very quickly. “Look at this arm right here!” boasts Robert in the Diary Room. Jun scoffs that Robert could work out for the rest of his life and it wouldn’t make a difference - he’ll never be a “musclehead.” She tells us it’s very entertaining watching him struggle to lift weights an athletic girl could handle. Erika concurs that Robert’s always been a twig for the most part and she thinks she can break him!
However, it’s not like she’s sitting around idle herself; she and Alison take a daily 45-minute walk around the yard and then the two of them do abs classes with Jun, who tells us that while she’s not the best-looking in a bikini, she sees a definite improvement in her abs. Jee tells us it’s fun to watch the girls do their abs exercises because of all the risqué-looking movements; Alison notes that now the boys want to join in (as we see Jee and Jack exercising with them), so they add on and make it more tough; Jee screams in pain as he tries to keep up. Justin doesn’t feel the need to participate in abs classes, but admits they’re fun to watch. Slacker. We then learn that Jun apparently makes her abs exercises double as Clairol Herbal Essences commercial auditions. Jun tells us that she loves abs classes and the satisfaction she gets from “glistening” - she doesn’t sweat, you see; she “glistens”! Oy.
In the Head of Household Room, Erika tells Alison it’s hard being Head of Household. She tells her she likes Justin (“He’s cool - I dated him!” Alison sympathizes), but he’s a huge threat in this game so he has to be disposed of. Alison snickers that Robert told her that even if Justin leaves, they’re not mad at Alison; Erika emphatically says Robert’s next. “Oh yeah - definitely!” laughs Alison.
Meanwhile, Jee pulls Justin aside to talk alone, which Justin tells us was awkward. He fills Justin in on the deal he made with Jack and Erika in the cage and explains that he didn’t think he could outlast Erika. He thinks that if one of the three of them needs to go, the two of them should get Robert out because he’s done the least to help them out and the two of them can’t keep dragging him along. I’m assuming he means Robert’s attitude or something because Robert did win two competitions, even if they were Power of Veto as opposed to Head of Household like Jee and Justin. Jee tells Justin that Alison told him they should vote Robert out; Justin tells us he knew the three of them splitting up would happen eventually and it always happens sooner than you’d think. Jee reiterates that he’d rather help Justin than Robert if he had to make a choice. Justin tells us he takes it as a compliment - they’re the strongest alliance in the house, so people have to break them up.
Out on the patio, Jee tells Alison that one of the three of them are most likely going to be leaving this week, so where does that leave Alison in terms of loyalty? She tells him that she’ll stick with them if they’ll have her, as long as she doesn’t get doublecrossed. Robert assures her that she’d be taking the place of whoever leaves as a solid alliance member and he wants Jun gone next anyway. He tells us it’d be great if Erika nominated Jun! It’d be great if I had beachfront property in Malibu as well; both are about as likely to happen. Robert wants Alison to promise that she’s solidly with them and won’t flip-flop back to the other side if they lose power; she assures them she’s not like that! Then she tells us that’s exactly her strategy: keep both sides happy and go wherever the power goes. Alison Irwin: the remora of Big Brother 4. They all agree to keep this a secret, then Alison tells us her deal with them wasn’t that much of a deal. She then throws a towel in slow motion to symbolize the caution she’s throwing to the wind. Or something.
Awwww. The poor Zoloft ball needs help - he can’t even enjoy partying with his fellow balls or eggs or rocks or whatever they are anymore! As opposed to having to socialize with most of these HouseGuests, in which case depression and anxiety would be perfectly understandable.
In the weekly Pre-Nomination Anxiety Because No One’s Safe segment, Jack tells us it’s getting harder further into it because people have to turn on each other, Alison shares that no one knows what’s going on even though everyone thinks they know, Jee frets that Erika might not keep her word and he could wind up on the block; and Jun feels a little sick because she doesn’t trust anyone 100% percent. Or maybe it’s the gefilte fish.
Erika does the requisite Memory Wall Regarding and tells us she feels very emotional at being responsible for someone’s ouster, but knows that it’s part of the game. I like Erika, but at this point, I’m thinking she could feel very emotional at a pin dropping. She takes the keys down from the memory wall and arranges them on top of the nomination box in the Head of Household room like so many dolls. She tells us when she came into this house, she promised herself she would nominate strategically, not emotionally, so she was thinking about strategy and also where Jun would fit into the whole scenario. She gathers everyone for the nomination ceremony.
She reiterates to everyone that she’s nominating strategically, not emotionally, then takes out the first key to reveal that Jack (huge shock) is safe. Alison, Jee, and Jun are revealed to be safe in turn, leaving Justin and Robert as the nominees. Erika tells them both she nominated him because they’re strong players and huge threats who are also aligned, and she’s here to break up alliances. She explains it’s nothing personal and she likes both of them very much, and with that adjourns the meeting.
Erika tells us she came into the house to win the $500,000 and thus she has to take people out and that’s the name of the game. Justin tells us he refuses to throw in the towel and will be fighting for the Veto. Alison hopes both sides will attack each other rather than come after her. Robert snots to us that Erika is being the bitch she can be! Oh? And your campaigning to get her out in Week Two was different how exactly? Jee, huge shock, feels regret, like he betrayed the alliance, yadda yadda zzzzzzzzzz... Stock Booming Melodramatic Announcer #38 wonders who will win the Power of Veto - and will they use it to save Justin or Robert? Not if they have a brain in their head they won’t; it’s in the best interest of almost everyone to see the Three Stooges broken up. (If you want to find out who wins and what they do, click on the spoiler page link, below.)
Like I said, this was a highly enjoyable episode that was tightly plotted with a minimum of filler. I’ll be gone next week, but I’ll be back two weeks from now to see how everything winds up playing out!
Want to keep up with important events in the house? Check out our Big Brother 4 Spoiler Page for news on who wins contests and other ongoing info.
Brian James is an actor/writer/singer in New York City and the Assistant Editor of RealityNewsOnline. An avid reality show, Passions, early Ryan’s Hope, retro music, and Internet discussion board junkie, he can be found holding up "Will Snark For Food" signs in subway stations as he continues to search for that elusive "day job." Brian would like to stress that his writings are based solely on what he sees in each episode of each show, and realizes that there may sometimes be more to the story and that people may behave quite differently under normal circumstances. Comments and cybertomatoes accepted at BrianJamesRNO@earthlink.net.
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