Predictably, the season begins in earnest with bloat, as fourteen cast members (instead of twelve) enter the house. The producers attempt to convince America that the four highest vote-getting women are Erika, Diane, Nakomis, and Janelle, and that the four highest vote-getting men are Kaysar, Jase, Howie, and James. They then announce that the other six being put in the house are Will, Danielle, Alison, Mike Boogie, Chicken George, and Marcellas. In other words, they would like you to believe that every single one of the famously popular people this show produced prior to last summer -- Will, Marcellas, Danielle, and Alison -- all failed to get as many votes as Jase, James, Erika, or Diane. That, I do not believe. But however we got here, here we are. The rest of the house immediately notes the severe overrepresentation of the cast of Big Brother 6, and begins to plot against it. In a development that will not surprise you if you follow media gossip, Kaysar is obsessed with Will, and sees the entire season through the lens of one enormous Kaysar Versus Will standoff, while Will and Mike grouse ridiculously about Kaysar being "arrogant." The HoH competition brings a new twist, which is that there are two HoHs, and if they can't agree on nominees, then they are the nominees. I like that, and find it fascinating. The first two HoHs are Jase and Janelle. Danielle immediately starts loudly scheming, although she doesn't seem to know what she's scheming for, and in the end, she and Alison wind up scheming themselves right onto the block. It's a pretty good kickoff, actually, if you enjoy the sociology of the deranged, which I do.
She's Julie Chen. And she wants you to lie down and admit that this is "the Big Brother we've all been waiting for." You may not realize you've been waiting for it, but you have. It only felt like you were hungry for a big cheeseburger. In fact, you were waiting. For this. Now eat it!
Julie is in the...well, she's in whatever you would call the front "yard" of a "house" that isn't a house, provided it didn't have any yard signifiers like grass or trees but only had a wooden walkway, a bunch of almost certainly polyester plants, a few perplexing light fixtures, and a few cameras. Julie reminds us about the seventy-five houseguests, and the six seasons, and of course the battling and lying and everything we sat through an hour of two weeks ago. She again says that "the best of the best" will be back. Welcome to Big Brother: All-Stars. Don't say nobody told you where this boat was headed when you find yourself bent over the rail in about two weeks, dry-heaving and begging for your mama.
Creepy Control Voice takes us on a lightning-fast tour of the house. He reminds us that here, "more than fifty cameras watch your every move, and seventy-six microphones eavesdrop on your every word." If I start with the FBI jokes this season, we'll be here until November. Suffice it to say that I expect a swift condemnation from the Bush administration regarding the recklessness of Creepy Control Voice in revealing the presence of the microphones and cameras, because now our enemies know that we're listening. And by "our enemies," I mean "my enemies," by which I pretty much mean "Alison."
Tonight, says CCV, "the best players of all time" are coming back to take another shot. And they will be "living in complete isolation." It is an interesting definition of "isolation" they use on this show. When there are more than six people to a bathroom, my sense of isolation tends to diminish. CCVs reference to "competing for food" is accompanied by shots of Shredded Wheat and Raisin Bran. Do they eat Shredded Wheat? Seriously? I don't know why I expected they would just eat Peanut Butter Doughnut Cocoa Flakes, but somehow, I did. It's like I think they're living all summer in Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead or something. Oh, and they'll compete for power, in the form of the Veto and the HoH spot. Each week, they'll boot somebody, and at the end, one person will be left. Unfortunately, CCV announces that more than fifteen million votes have been cast regarding which players should make it into the house, meaning that there was just as much silliness and auto-voting and insanity as there is on American Idol, and that the results will reflect not so much who is liked by the largest number of people but what tactics were used for voting. It is safe to say, after all, that one in twenty American men, women, and children did not individually cast a vote for a contestant. Honestly, I despise power voting in all contexts, mostly because it rewards the deranged, and this will undoubtedly be no exception. Who, CCV wonders, will be voted in, and who else will be sent in on the well-founded assumption that the American public doesn't know what it likes?