Big Brother 4, September 10: Hail The Final Three!by Brian James -- 09/11/2003
I know most of you have gotten used to my longer, more detailed and snark-filled style of recapping, and honestly, that's what I have the most fun doing too, but between tonight's episode falling to me at the last possible minute, doing double duty as acting editor of the site for a couple days while David Bloomberg's away, and eviction episodes needing recaps sooner than others, time constraints prevent me from doing something that thorough. So I'm just going to look upon this as an exercise in speed recapping, and hopefully it'll still hold at least some interest.
Julie Chen, the newscaster from CBS, welcomes us to the episode of Big Brother, the reality series on CBS, and starts in with the usual claptrap about HouseGuest X, the Occupation Y from Town Z, instead of just spitting out the name and moving on like any sane person would. Here's the fake newscast graphics of the HouseGuests on the giant screen, and here's the patented Julie Chen "But first…" Dramatic Emphasis Change Rise From Seat And Walk Forward. Tonight's "But first…" is an extended segment on how Alison holds all the cards as the Diamond Power of Veto holder: if she uses it, Erika goes on the block in her place and Alison casts the lone eviction vote. You already knew that, you say? But wait - Alison's unpredictable and untrustworthy so the other HouseGuests are on pins and needles! Oh wait - you already knew that too? Welcome to Wednesday episodes. Anyway, notable bits of interest among the filler: there's a hysterical split screen of Jun and Erika both separately and simultaneously saying they have an alliance with Alison. Erika tells an overwrought Alison that she can vote Erika out if that's what she needs to do for her strategy and it's OK. Robert tries to sway Alison to evict Jun by saying that the jury would respect her for it. In a conversation that started about lying and gameplay, Robert moves Erika to tears when he apologizes to Erika for all the lies he told her in their relationship, says she was the perfect girlfriend and it was all his fault, and that he wants to make it up to her on the outside if she ever needs anything - he considers her like family now. She tells him she knows he's sincere and locks herself in the toilet room for a cry. Finally, Alison, big shocker, declares that she's going to vote in her best interest. Alison's subtext: Me! Me me me me me!
Julie "checks in" on the HouseGuests, i.e. peppers them with banal questions and makes inane chatter like "The couch looks so small with only four of you left!" Robert, Erika, and Alison all concur that they were able to relax and enjoy themselves and take their minds off the game whether on the blimp ride or left behind at home, while Jun misses Jee because he was fun to pick on and good at throwing out the trash. But Alison's still - eh, I don't have time to finish the cheap shot. Furthermore, Robert enjoyed the phone call with his daughter and Alison says it feels really good to have the veto medallion around her neck again! "I'll bet it does," deadpans Julie. I am really starting to think Julie doesn't care for Alison all that much. She tells them she'll be back for the LIVE VETO AND EVICTION MEETING. She says that phrase about 27.3 times over the course of the episode for the Ritalin-deprived. But first, DRAMATIC PIVOT, more HouseGuest/occupation/residence yakking and then: "He's endured DAYS of eating only PB&J! HOURS locked inside a steel cage! And even the PAINFUL SEPARATION from his seven-year-old daughter!" Oh, get off it, Julie - it's Robert, not a P.O.W. But this is the wildly melodramatic cue for a segment on Robert Going Insane Being The Last Man In The House followed by his Head of Household interview with Julie.
Robert says the girls drive him crazy because 95% of what they talk about is completely superficial and he can't relate; not that he thinks he's smarter or better, he clarifies as his sunglasses fall off his head. Heh. Alison's voice drives him insane; hearing it first thing in the morning puts him in a bad mood for the rest of the day. She does have this really piercing bray that cuts through your sinuses like a buzzsaw. He also hates the way she's constantly posing and puckering in every mirror in the house. Jun constantly talks about sex and how badly she needs it; quite frankly, he doesn't want to picture Jun having sex with anybody! "I'm a dirty little whore!" declares Jun in a soundbite that could be taken out of context about twenty different ways. Not bothering to consider that perhaps we don't want to picture him having sex with anybody, he tells us that having Erika prance around in a black bikini makes him sexually frustrated as he has lots of memories! TFS - thanks for sharing. "Stop picking your nose," Erika orders him. Heh.
In his interview with Julie, he says he's surprised and grateful that he's gotten closer to Erika again, but all they have is a good friendship; anything else is just harmless flirting. If Erika winds up leaving, his gut tells him he'd be safer to stick with Alison. Julie Chen saying, "Bitches, sluts, and whores" never fails to amuse me. When questioned on his referring to our remaining female trio as such, he's embarrassed and says he was just very mad at the time and wasn't thinking; he's not happy about it and didn't mean it. He's reluctant to talk about his chances of winning because he's superstitious. Julie dismisses him and after more inane claptrap, brings us to a segment on what former HouseGuests Amanda, David, and Michelle have been doing since their evictions.
David's not too bummed about being evicted so early and is looking for a job that will enable him to keep hanging out at the beach and surfing. Michelle's started the fall semester at Florida State University and says it's kind of fun when other students recognize her. Amanda's back in Chicago managing a bar and having fun. As far as her night of sex with David, it just kind of happened and she's not embarrassed and doesn't regret it; her family's a different story. David similarly has no regrets; as far as his grandmother, whom he mentioned shortly post-sex by remarking wryly, "Grandma's gonna love this!" - she actually was tickled he gave her a cameo! Michelle was disgusted that David not only had sex, but also lied to her about it; we see him telling her he and Amanda just kissed. David's called her a few times, but she's choosing to keep her distance and hasn't returned his calls. Amanda went out to visit David in L.A. for a week and had fun; he concurs and says they have a good friendship. As far as love, she says, it's too soon to tell. There's an extremely hokey segment of them text messaging each other; just because American Idol featured it doesn't mean you have to, producers. Michelle was shocked by how many times she said "like" and "wow." She can't stand Alison and wants to strangle her every time she's on the screen! David tells us that making out with Alison was pure strategy to try to get her vote and he ran and rinsed his mouth out with mouthwash immediately following; we see footage of him doing just that! As far as all his crazy antics, he was just having fun being himself and making everyone wonder what he was up to. Amanda says it wasn't fun being the first evicted, but she's happy she did it and she'd do it again. Michelle thinks it was the opportunity of a lifetime. David gets the last word by squealing like a pig, which brings to mind something one of my teachers once told me: "I have no idea what's going on inside your head, but it must be an interesting place."
Reminding us that these three can't vote but the members of the jury house can is apparently La Chen's idea of a smooth transition to the weekly Hey Kids, Let's Check In On The Jury House People segment. The jury members go fishing and Nathan and Jack spar over the size of their fish. Men. Nathan says that as the only girl, Dana's looking better and better, but he's still yapping about hoping Alison's the next one to arrive so they can catch up on kissing, hugging, blah blah. Like she'd do it if it wasn't for strategic purposes. Instead, of course, it's Jee, who says he's sorry he lost the chance for the money, but is having fun, and starts teasing Dana and Justin about it being obvious they're having sex. The others bombard him with water balloons while he peacefully floats in the pool. They watch videos of the competitions, etc.; Dana snaps, "Oh, that's bullsh*t!" when she sees Alison yammering on about how she wants to prove that people can trust her at the veto meeting. Heh. Justin cooked the fish they caught and Jee says it's better than Jun's cooking! Aaaaand there's four minutes of my life I can never get back.
I guess it's either awkward hamfisted transitions or none at all with Julie, because now she abruptly tells us it's time for the LIVE VETO MEETING! Alison, big shock, wants to ensure her safety so she vetoes herself and puts Erika on the block, sending us to commercials, where we find out they incredibly, unbelievably have the nerve to ask people if they'd like to be on the show after watching these morons in action. Do you have what it takes to move in and compete in a three month long power struggle for half a million dollars? Well, neither did these clowns and it didn't stop them.
It's time for Alison to cast the sole eviction vote. Erika and Jun have a chance to plead their case and both basically say, "Hey, it's a tough decision and do what you gotta do." Alison: Yak yak difficult position blah blah thinks the world of both of them blee blee have to do this bluh bluh has to go with what will put her in the best game position. She starts bawling as she votes to evict Erika. Erika smiles and hugs her and tells her it's OK. "Are we clear in the studio?" asks some random production assistant over the intercom. Heh. Robert looks like he starts tearing up too and buries his face in his hands as Julie natters on that she has to make it official, Erika's been evicted, yak yak, to an audience of zero. Jun asks Erika if she's sure she's OK; Erika smiles that she's fine. The tearful group sees her to the door, where she cries, "WOO! Free!" We get that awkward back shot of Julie watching the evicted HouseGuest approach her little studio hut that makes her look like she's in some sort of diorama. Erika enters and we shift back to the house as they prep her for her interview. No faking being sad here - the remaining three all genuinely seem upset. Alison says it was incredibly hard to vote someone out to their face; Jun agrees, saying she would have been nauseous, and Robert tells Alison he's sorry she had to go through that.
Erika tells Julie she expected Alison to vote her out because Alison played the game emotionally and was afraid of Erika's bond with Robert. She feels betrayed in a sense, she admits after Julie prods her, but mainly she understands it and doesn't blame Alison. Her gut tells her Robert was being sincere about wanting to take her to the final two. She's glad she wasn't in a position where she would have wound up choosing between Alison and Robert; she wouldn't have kept Jun because she wasn't sure she could beat her. From week 3, she predicted Alison could win it all because she was the strongest player. "Stranger things have happened," Julie quickly deadpans. Heh. Julie is so not about the Alison love. Erika's not surprised that she and Robert wound up getting along because she considers herself a forgiving person; she's glad it happened and would like to stay friends with him and keep in touch. Julie points out that it probably wouldn't have happened without Big Brother; Erika agrees. In the farewell messages, Jun toasts to being strong women who survived the "X Factor," Alison would like to be even half the woman Erika is someday and only voted her out because she knew she couldn't beat her in the end, and Robert respects her more than ever and is looking forward to a new friendship outside the house where they can hang out, salsa dance, and have fun like they used to. This finally gets Erika to crying and she tells Julie she'll probably take Robert up on his offer; he's a great dancer. Her final thoughts: "What a long, strange trip it's been!" Julie blathers on some about how it's not over, yak yak Jury House blah blah final vote, then sends Erika on her way and tells us to stay tuned for the final Head of Household competition.
The competition is in three parts; whoever wins Round One will automatically advance to Round Three; the other two will battle it out in Round Two. The winners of One and Two will battle it out in Round Three for the title. Julie sends the trio out to the backyard, where they see some doghouse-sized houses and keys with their names on them. They climb on top of the houses and put their keys in the slots of a box in the center. Julie tells them to get a good grip (as opposed to a mere "Get a grip," which would be equally applicable to this crowd), as the last one with their hand on their key is the winner! There's no food, bathroom breaks, sleeping, or kneeling or sitting on their houses. A sadistic Julie tells us that what they don't know is that in order to "heat the competition up," they're about to cool things down. "Severely!" she beams. I love this new Sadistic Julie.
The HouseGuests would love to hear from us! They would? They must be gluttons for punishment. Jun would love to know what people on the outside think of her. Robert would love to hear from "his fans." I hope he likes crickets chirping. His more rational side takes over and says he might be scared to know what people think of him! Alison brays that she doesn't care if people like her; she just wants to know what they're saying! She's sure people think she's this terrible conniving little girl… "And I am!" she beams. Alison's subtext: Me! Me me me me me! Shut up, Alison. Shut up, Alison's subtext. Yup, it's time for the America's Choice in which we choose with whom we'd most like to have an Internet chat.
Julie shamelessly pimps the live feeds and the CBS official website, then informs us there's no show this Friday so the next one is next Tuesday's installment. She informs the HouseGuests that Christmas is coming early to the Big Brother household, and immediately they start getting pelted with snow and hail the size of golfballs. It's odd just how incredibly cathartic seeing them cry out in pain from giant artificial snowflakes bombarding them to the strains of the "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" can be. And on that note, we leave the HouseGuests as I come to the disturbing realization that I'm actually finding myself kind of rooting for…
Yeah, I know; I'm shocked and disturbed too. But on the other hand, with the last truly likeable person left being given her walking papers tonight (damn it all to hell, but that's probably exactly why she was sent packing), it's not like it makes much difference. It's like finding out your choices of sweetener for your mocha latté are cyanide, hemlock, and arsenic.
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, 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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