There's a way in which every cast of a season of a vote-off show gets the winner that best represents it. Casts with a critical mass of decent people tend to get winners like Tom or Tina, while casts made up of repulsive hammerheads get winners like Brian Heidik. It's sort of unavoidable, especially because of the final vote. So there's a certain inevitability to the fact that a bunch of really hateful assholes like the ones who populated this season would wind up with Mike as their winner. It seemed shocking when it became clear that he was going to win, but...people who would do this -- people who need to come back to be on a show this stupid for a second time -- this is who they think is cool. Mike owns restaurants where people will treat you like a VIP if you were on Dog Eat Dog. He's part of the whole weird, incestuous sub-industry of making people like this feel important. It just makes perfect sense that they'd pick him. Of course they'd pick him. Why wouldn't they? They're idiots, and he's their leader. Anyway, the jury is a roiling swamp of genuinely embarrassing behavior, led by Janelle, who drops the pretty-princess Betty-Boop game and behaves like a spiteful, angry, cruel asshole in a transparent effort to impress Will. Of course, Will is gross and cruel instead of funny as well, while Danielle self-righteously lectures everyone that it shouldn't be personal, then not only votes for purely personal reasons, but goes out of her way to twist the purely personal knife by trying to make Erika think she's getting Danielle's vote. The show itself piles on by highlighting Alison and egging her on as she ridicules and humiliates Erika in front of her family and her friends, not for anything related to the game, but for being fooled into caring about someone who didn't care about her. Of all the distasteful outcomes and depressing finales that I've had to sit through in 300 recaps, this one is by far the worst, and these people behave the most antisocially and reprehensibly, pretty much without exception. It's a triumph of intensely sexist, moralistic, self-justifying bullshit, and there is not one person who comes off at all well. It's an enormous relief that this is over, because in spite of all the time I've spent arguing that the vast majority of shows like this need to be taken at face value and don't actually suggest that the people involved all need to be sent to a desert island and never allowed to come back, I'd be willing to reconsider in this one special case. Just put them all on their own commune, let them relive their glory days in perpetuity, and spare the rest of us.
So we've been here together for two and a half months, you and I. How was it for you?
Look, I found this entire episode incredibly depressing. Really uncomfortable to watch, really discouraging, really riddled with horrible sexist bullshit, and really much worse than dumb reality shows usually are. When I get really bummed out, I promise to tell you a joke to lighten the mood.
We fade in tonight on Julie Chen, who is wearing an incredibly bizarre pink satin top that kind of looks like her chest has been folded -- or will soon be folded -- into an origami duck. She reminds us that tonight, either Mike or Erika is going to win $500,000 and "be crowned the ultimate Big Brother All-Star." Listen to that again, and you will feel much better about the outcome. What does it mean, really, to be the "ultimate Big Brother All-Star"? Isn't it like being "the ultimate bad boyfriend" or "the ultimate unhygienic roommate" or "the ultimate psychotic boss"? Think of it as not so much "the best Big Brother All-Star" as "the archetypal Big Brother All-Star." The one who best embodies what it means to be a Big Brother All-Star. Really, the winner of the Miss Big Brother All-Stars Pageant.
"The live finale begins now," Julie says, and the crowd starts to cheer, and then Julie starts high-fiving people in the audience. Think about the moment when someone said, "And then, you should high-five some people in the crowd." Because someone did. That's someone's job, to make that call. And dammit, they did their job, because there is Julie, and she's high-fiving the crowd.
A long, long recap of the season follows. Fortunately, if you want long, long recaps, you can read the 250 pages or so that have already been written.
When we come back to Julie, she is still being cheered by the weirdly overstimulated crowd, and she's standing in front of the plasma screen. She takes us inside the house, where Erika and Mike are sitting in the two nominee chairs. He is wearing a cocked gray fedora and a carefully casual-looking tie. "I am cool," his look announces. "Finally, after all this time, I am cool, and you can't say I'm not, and if I die right now, at least this outfit will be in my obituary." Julie says that the jury will be here to cast their votes, and then we will get our "winner."
But first! We visit the jury house to watch the night that they were all sitting around waiting for the last juror to arrive. The first six members of the jury walk into the backyard of the jury house and arrange themselves in a circle of chairs. Marcellas starts the discussion by saying that he hopes it isn't Janelle who arrives. Of course, Janelle earned Marcellas's undying gratitude by giving him a shout-out when she evicted Will. Marcellas is the cheapest of cheap dates. If I said right now that he was awesome, he'd even forgive me. Danielle warns him that she thinks it will, in fact, be Janelle. Chicken George says that, in his opinion, it's going to be Mike. Marcellas thinks that the women can get rid of Mike if they "have a brain," to which James gives a contemptuous snort. Howie says that "Operation Double Date was not a success," and he thinks Mike is the one they're going to see. "Or," Will says, "Janelle walks in, and the success is still questionable." I don't know, Will. It's pretty brave to take the opposing view when Howie and George agree.