Okay, you probably already know about the three big twists this season, so let's just focus on those.
Twist one: Julie is pregnant, and yes, she still dresses like an extra from Ray Bradbury Theater.
Twist two: the cliques. They consist of the Brains (gamer Ronnie, lab tech Michele, and someone named Chima [not a typo]), the Popular people (surfer Braden, bikini model Laura, and blonde Jordan), the Athletes (mixed martial arts fighter "Russell the Love Muscle," miniature Tae Kwon Do champion Natalie, and Jeff, who plays a lot of football), and "Off-Beat" (tattooed effects make-up artist Lydia, flaming graphic designer Kevin, and 40-year-old teacher/DJ Casey).
Twist number three: the thirteenth mystery houseguest. That's actually going to be one of four people -- excuse me, former houseguests -- waiting to enter the house. It'll either be BB10's Brian with the Brains (ha!), BB8's Jessica to join the Popular clique, Cowboy from BB5 for the Off-Beats, or -- curse him -- Jessie the idiot bodybuilder from last season, whom I'd hoped never to see again, let alone as a potential "Athlete." As for determining which of them gets to play the game again, that's decided by the HoH competition, which continues the high-school theme by subjecting the first twelve players to an endurance challenge in the form of an extended wedgie. The Athletes win it, so Jessie's going back into the house. For the season. As the first HoH. I quit.
"The in-crowd, the out crowd," Julie Chen greets us, looking spectacular in a frilly, black, off-the-shoulder hot air balloon. "The rumors and the romance. Playing the Big Brother game is just like returning to high school." And it only took her ten seasons to figure that out. Hence this season's theme, or "twist," as she's calling it. "Whether you're expecting the unexpected or [glance down at the Chenbelly] just expecting, get ready, because another crazy summer is about to begin." Yes, Julie, we know we're crazy to watch this. Don't remind us.
Intro of the house and the cameras and the microphones, and the "12 complete strangers" living in "total confinement." which, if you're reading this, you already know about it. And you already know that the announcer's boast of a "twist that will rock the house" is so much hot air. But the news is that there is apparently a thirteenth mystery houseguest? Can't wait. For now, that is. Later, I will wish I were still waiting.
Julie returns to tell us that everyone's going to be playing in cliques: "athletes," "brains" "popular," and "off-beat." Which is like a whole set of multiple Breakfast Clubs, only without the rebels. I understand they tried to get some, but they couldn't get any to commit to more than eight Saturdays.
Time for one of my least-favorite standard sequences of every season (along with all the others, that is), where we meet the houseguests in unconvincingly-staged key-discovery scenes. The show isn't really going out of its way to keep us guessing as to who's in what clique. Jeff is from Chicago and plays football. Nerdy Ronnie shows off his gaming gear. Jordan's a blonde chick with lots of squealy friends. Natalie wears karate pajamas and warns us not to underestimate her for her small size. There's flamboyant designer Kevin, who wears scarves inside, Chima (pronounced "Sheema"), who claims to have both book smarts and street smarts, surfer dude Braden, and lab geek Michele. The final group of four is mixed martial arts guy Russell, bikini (alleged) babe Laura, Lydia the tattooed lady (just like the song), and token oldster Casey, a teacher/DJ. Montage of all of them speed-packing, in which, among other things, Kevin proclaims that he is "Blackanese," or half-black/half Japanese. Laura says women hate her for the way she looks (which I'm sure is the real reason), and Russell refers to himself as "the love muscle," which is why I hate Russell. Lydia's prepared to hook up with either a guy or a girl to help her game. Edgy! Casey kisses his son goodbye, the day before the kid's first birthday. Ouch. And Jordan is told not to have any "booger," which in her circle means "sex." I wouldn't have any either if everyone called it that. Probably the point.