Reality TV Roundup: ‘Big Brother’ Finale and ‘America’s Next Top Model’

16 09 2010

The Survivor premiere gets its own post later today, but it’s easy enough to combine these two. The Big Brother finale was, as usual, ridiculously drawn-out—a seven-minute season recap, CBS? Seriously? But I enjoyed the final HOH challenge, and despite my overall dislike of Hayden, I was satisfied with the outcome. I feel for Enzo—the guy has a family to take care of—but he just wasn’t a good player. I was rooting for Lane despite his masturbation, tales of small-animal killing, and misogyny throughout the show, but I’m not devastated that he lost. Hayden sure needs the cash more than Lane, and ultimately, the outcome has no real bearing on my life or emotional state. I’m in it for the entertainment.

The person I feel the worst for is Britney. Early Wednesday morning, the house she was renting with fiance Nick was severely damaged by a fire. It’s good that they didn’t own the house, that Nick and the dogs made it out okay, and that she won a total of $35,000 between the find-the-coin challenge and the Fan Favorite vote. If Nick can forgive her for being away for three months and kinda-sorta-here-and-there flirting with Lane, hopefully she can forgive him for not paying close enough attention to the gas grill before going to sleep.

I loved the reaction of the Final Three when Andrew revealed Matt’s lie. The Jury knew, of course, but Enzo, Lane, and Hayden had no idea. I still hate Monet and her refusal to acknowledge her bitchiness—Rachel is a piece of work, but I really do think she has a good heart underneath it all. It’s good to see her and Brendon still happy, and her considering leaving Las Vegas to be with him at UCLA. There was shock and horror all around as Ragan was shown to be the second Saboteur; everyone thought it was Matt or Kathy. It was fun, too, to see Kristen and Hayden’s showmance finally revealed. I wonder if the vote would have changed if they’d shown that footage first?

All in all, it was a decent finale to wrap up a relatively boring season. I enjoyed the show up until the Final Three, but the guys weren’t all that interesting or intelligent, or people I’d befriend in real life. Once Rachel, Brendon, and Britney were gone, a lot of the entertainment value was lost for me. I’m crossing my fingers for a better cast in BB13!


Top Model was a lot of fun last night. The girls got to walk in a Diane von Furstenberg runway show four stories up on a glowy scary catwalk, then have words painted on their bodies for an anti-bullying photoshoot. Kayla really endeared herself to me, being the only lesbian in this cycle. She had some serious issues with her bully word, “queer,” but it came together for her in the end.

Ann and Kayla, my current faves, had the best photos this week. I also 100% agreed with Tyra’s decision to send Anamaria packing—not only was she annoying and conceited, but she did seem like she had an eating disorder based on the way she spoke and her body itself. One issue I have, though: This is only episode two. Anamaria walked in a bikini in casting, and the judges would have seen her body, her ribs, her lack of any fat. If they cast her just to set an example and make this episode into an after-school special about bullies and anorexia, then I’m not into that. I feel the motivation behind ousting her was good, but not if they planned it.

That’s all for now. I’ll be back later today with some Survivor awesomeness!


‘True Blood’: Sookie’s a WHAT?

23 08 2010

First things first: Stephen Moyer (Bill) and Anna Paquin (Sookie) were married Saturday night in an intimate Malibu ceremony. Not that they’d see this, but congratulations to the on- and off-screen lovebirds!

I picked up a copy of Rolling Stone this week, and the True Blood article is very detailed. It’s violence- and sex-focused and reads like it’s trying to stir the pot (implying that there’s animosity between Alexander Skarsgard and Stephen Moyer, featuring photos that Moyer did not want taken, etc.). I wouldn’t support the notion that True Blood is just a trashy soap opera, either. But it covered a lot of ground, and it was a fun read.

Okay. Last night’s episode. It’s officially on in True Blood land, and we’ve been set up for an epic finale. There were so many revelations that it’s hard to keep track of them all. HBO threw us right into the deep end: After all that waiting (fans of the book series: thank you for not spoiling me!), the episode began with Sookie’s incredulous, “I’m a faerie? How lame!”, cluing the audience in too. So, our angel prediction wasn’t correct, but it was close enough. I was interested to learn that the faerie race, in True Blood land, had basically been eradicated by vampires because of their tasty tasty blood. No wonder Russell wants Sookie and wouldn’t let Debbie murder her! No wonder almost-dead Bill couldn’t help but almost drain her blood! No wonder she lacks a blood type! I hope to learn more soon about True Blood‘s take on faeries, because most of my fae knowledge relates to a) Tinkerbell, or b) King Arthur and Avalon myths.

Eric kisses Sookie

Eric kisses Sookie

But Sookie left the safety of Jason’s house to confront Eric, who we also see accuse Bill of “procuring” and keeping tabs on Sookie on the order of Queen Sophie-Anne. Bill denied it, but it seems like Eric might be the honest one here. Obviously convinced he’ll die in the battle against Russell, Eric passionately kissed Sookie (“If I meet the true death without at least kissing you, Sookie Stackhouse, that will be my biggest regret”), then followed Pam’s advice to use her to lure in Russell and chained her up in Fangtasia’s basement/dungeon/torture chamber. Now, I’m fairly positive Eric wants to protect her, but Pam’s right—he shouldn’t die for her. I’m certain he’ll find a way to keep both of them from dying, since this show wouldn’t work without Sookie and wouldn’t be nearly as fun without Eric.

Let me retract my earlier comment about Tara working toward forgiving Jason—I forgot that she didn’t know yet, and apparently learning that Jason killed Eggs was serious enough to make her forget that he’d also just saved her from Franklin. Jason, of course, picked the worst time ever to confess; at least it might help him overcome his guilt. But! I’m glad they finally kissed, even if it’s just because Tara is “really fucked up.”

Arlene finally told Terry about the baby’s origins, and the daddy-to-be took it shockingly well. We learn, too, that new waitress Holly is a Wiccan, and Arlene approaches her for help with her baby problem—although Terry says he’ll raise Rene’s kid, Arlene still doesn’t want it. Arlene’s one of those characters that people love but who is not too integral to the main story. In that way, she’d be a very effective kill—make fans feel it, but not lose too much plot. I, for instance, will be upset if they kill her. Very upset.

It was a rough episode for couples: On top of all that, King Russell grieved for his beloved Talbot by seeking solace in the bed of a human male prostitute. Unfortunately for the human (who looked somewhat like Talbot himself), Russell’s madness took over. Upset that he couldn’t be with Talbot as he met the true death, Russell apparently found the human to be a good enough substitute, and staked him through the heart. Russell cried on his chest as he died. How sweet. Chances are, more than one innocent prostitute has met his death at Russell’s hands.

We also learned that Crystal is a werepanther, adding a black panther to the show’s animal cast. Might make it tough for Jason to reconcile with her, which is okay by me—I find Crystal’s character insidious, silly, and annoying.

Most of my questions have been answered by now, considering there are only two episodes left. But I still have a couple: What, exactly, are Lafayette and Jesus (sorcerers of some kind, as that crazy V-trip implies)? How will Bill save Sookie? And, how will Eric exact his revenge? I’ll be sad to see King Russell (and Denis O’Hare) leave the show, but I can’t think of any other possible conclusion for this season. Finally: What do you think of Pam’s full name (Pamela Swynford De Beaufort)? Personally, I love it.

Image courtesy of

‘Big Brother’: Blindsided! and Britney’s important win

20 08 2010

Despite its snooze-worthy start, this week turned out to be an exciting one in the Big Brother house. When Brendon opened Pandora’s Box, romantic me was really hoping that he and Rachel would be reunited, if even for a few minutes—but I already knew that he would be missing while she was there, and honestly, watching him eat dinner (“This is really good,” he said to no one except maybe an off-screen cameraperson or producer) and float in the pool all alone was sad but amusing. I do like Brendon, I just think he’s made some bad decisions in this game. (At least they were done in the name of love.) In the end, it’s be great it if he could beat the odds and take home the half-mil.

The Brigade reacts to Rachel's return

The Brigade reacts to Rachel's return

Rachel’s 24-hour reign of terror unfolded as expected—“Haha, I’m back, bitches!”—except for Ragan’s outburst. Rachel was asking for it, parading around and shoving cookies under his nose when she knows he’s a Have-Not, but he was blatantly cruel even if he said things that were probably true. (Example: “Your boobs are a lie, your face is a lie. The only thing honest about you is the pimples on your chin.”) Rachel is obnoxious, silly, vengeful, and a bit delusional, but she’s not a purposefully mean person. I’d have a little more respect for her if she’d been able to insult Ragan for something other than his sexuality. Ultimately, he won that one, and I’m glad he wasn’t afraid to stand up to her even if he didn’t do it in the best way.

As we know, Ragan won the Power of Veto and removed himself from the block. Based on Rachel’s pretzel message (no, people, pens and paper are not allowed in the house—Ragan must have gotten his sabotage supplies from the producers in the Diary Room), Brendon put up Matt in his place. We all knew Matt would use the Diamond Power of Veto; the only question was who he would nominate. I was hoping it would be Hayden or Enzo, because the only thing the Brigade is good at is keeping their alliance a secret. Besides Hayden’s single HOH win, those guys have done absolutely nothing except whine about everyone else and brag about their power. But they’re all still there, so they’re doing something right.

But no, Matt blindsided poor Kathy, who was blamed for the Saboteur’s antics. She didn’t even get to pack her bags or see recorded messages from her fellow houseguests when she was sent home with a 5-0 vote. The other houseguests’ celebrations to and from the Diary Room were, I think, simply due to the fact that they would no longer have to choose between two people they were aligned with. I believe everyone liked Kathy, she just had no firm alliance and was always out early in competitions.

What’s next? Britney’s the new Head of Household, and I firmly believe that despite her promises, she’ll put up Brendon. She thinks herself aligned with Ragan and Matt, so they’re both safe. Her only other option is to nominate someone from the Brigade. It won’t be Lane, so either Enzo or Hayden is probably in danger, and it’s yet to be seen whether Matt will have their backs. Matt’s sitting pretty right now with one foot planted firmly in each side of the house, but at least Enzo and Hayden are catching on. If Matt goes to the Final Four with the Brigade, they’ll take him out. And if Enzo or Hayden goes up beside Brendon this week, Brendon’s chances of making it through are pretty much shot. He’ll need both Hayden and Enzo to stick by him if he’s going to stay, unless he wins POV.

It’s not looking good for Brendon, or for the Brigade if they want to stay intact. But things can change in a matter of seconds in the Big Brother house, so I’m looking forward to Sunday. At least Ragan’s reign as the Saboteur is officially over (I’m glad he gets his 20K!). See you next week!

‘Big Brother’: Brendon without Rachel means weird nominations

16 08 2010

First of all, I’d like to inform my readers that this week’s True Blood post will be up later than usual. We moved this weekend and, despite two technician visits and several hours on the phone yelling at Comcast, we still don’t have 100% working cable at our new apartment. It should be fixed tonight, in time for the Weeds premiere (fingers crossed). Regardless, I will watch and post about True Blood this evening or tomorrow morning.

Fortunately, I get CBS! Unfortunately, golf was on at 8PM last night. I watched Big Brother over a live Internet stream and I missed the first 15 minutes or so, but I got enough of an idea to continue this week’s speculation.

Brendon wearing his HOH key

Brendon still looks like a sad puppy even after winning HOH

I was ecstatic that Brendon won Head of Household (and I love that Britney, Ragan, and Matt were whining about being Have-Nots again—if you don’t want to eat snails, win the competitions!), only to find myself disappointed at the boringness of his reign. Sundays are the most snooze-worthy Big Brother nights in my opinion, and last night was pretty bad.

But, as predicted, the Brigade is starting to rip at the seams. Hayden and Enzo are uncomfortable with Matt’s friendship with Ragan and Lane’s friendship with Britney; Hayden even said that he trusted Brendon more than Matt right now, and wanted to pull him in. It remains to be seen if they’re serious, but at least it’s interesting.

This conversation seems to have led to Brendon’s change of heart. Instead of putting up two of his Have-Nots, Brendon decided to try and split up one of the known friendships/possible alliances by putting up Lane and Ragan. This will surely lead to a more divided house as people rally around the person more important to their own games. But the question remains: Will the Brigade save Lane, or assume that with three members they can go just as far as with four (or pull Brendon in)? And will the Brigade, as an alliance, hold together throughout this week?

I’m also wondering how Ragan’s fear for his own life will affect his position as the Saboteur. There have been complaints that he’s not actually doing anything, just recording messages to try and freak people out and confuse them. I’m starting to miss Annie’s smoke bombs and door-locking, and I hope Ragan steps up his game a little this week. CBS, force him to take action!

If Ragan makes it through this Thursday, he’ll win 20 grand—which is great for him. But I think Lane has more friends in the house, assuming the Brigade still wants him around. I’d predict that Kathy would vote to keep Ragan, but Matt and Britney might both be torn between friendship and alliances. Will Matt use the Diamond Power of Veto to remove Ragan from the block and therefore keep the Saboteur in the house? That might be too risky a move for him (personally, I’m shocked that his nonchalance about nominations didn’t clue people in to his hidden power).

Spoiler Alert!!! Don’t keep reading if you’re avoiding spoilers!

Julie Chen hinted at this so it’s not as big a spoiler as some others. Apparently, when Brendon opens Pandora’s Box, Rachel is able to return to the house for 24 hours and stir stuff up. It also seems that during this time, Brendon is missing—maybe they switch places? I’m not sure on all the details, but I’m excited for the next show!

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‘Big Brother’: Rachel Reilly lost her life vest

13 08 2010

Jeff and Jordan returned to the Big Brother house last night

Jeff and Jordan hosted the POV competition last night

Let’s start with the Power of Veto competition. I knew the winner already, but it was still great to watch. I loved that Jeff and Jordan came back as hosts (and that they’re still together!), because they were my favorites last season. I didn’t think it was very fair that Rachel and Brendon both had to go first and pick their competition—going first always sucks, because you don’t get to learn from others’ mistakes nor do you know what you have to beat. Since they were both on the block, their turns should have been spaced out more. And Brendon chucking his ball in frustration at the end was both hilarious and horrifying.

His attack on Britney (and later, the rest of the house) was a valiant—and amusing—effort, but ultimately we all knew Rachel would be sent home. The house’s fear of her emotional outbursts and her competitive nature, as well as their suspicion that she’s the Saboteur, meant her fate was sealed when she lost POV. At the very least, we’ll always remember “Floaters, get your life vests!” as a shining moment in reality TV.

It’s really sweet that Brendon would even try to get them to keep her, though, at the risk of losing the money himself. But love makes people do crazy things, and judging by his ex-fiancee’s comments, Rachel is really quite perfect for him. They’re both emotional and headstrong, but I think she’ll stand up to him and he’ll love her no matter what. I hope they see each other again soon… which they will, if Brendon did not win Head of Household last night.

The live show on CBS cut off before we learned the winner of the HOH competition (but see below if you’re curious). If Brendon won, we can expect an exciting week in the Big Brother house—he’d give the Saboteur a challenge in terms of havoc-wrecking. I suspect that Brendon would nominate Matt and Britney (or maybe Matt and Ragan, or Matt and Kathy, or Matt and Hayden). I’d love to see two members of the Brigade up there, just to knock them down a peg or two. But there’s no telling how smart Brendon really is and how he’ll fare without his damsel in constant distress beside him. If he didn’t win HOH, he’s gone. I’m almost 100% sure, unless he manages to make a solid alliance in the next few days. It looked like some Brigade members were pretty far ahead of him when the show ended last night.

No matter who won HOH, it’s not Matt. Which means that if he’s nominated next week, he’s likely to use his Diamond Power of Veto to remove himself from the block. I was super excited when Jeff held the coup d’etat last season, but I’m less enthusiastic about Matt. I don’t like him very much, and I think he’s going to get further in this game than I’d like him to.

Ragan, at least, is performing superbly as the Saboteur—much better than Annie did. He has the significant advantage of having lived with these people for over a month, and therefore knows what will work and what won’t and how to play them against each other. Unless something drastic happens, I’m pretty sure Ragan will earn his 20 grand.

And now it’s spoiler time. Look no further if you don’t want to know who won Head of Household!

Our knight in shining armor did come through—it’s just too little, too late. I have no idea who he made into Have Nots, but according to Big Brother Live Online, Brendon definitely won HOH. Which means we’ll get some Diamond Power of Veto action if/when he goes all Inigo Montoya on Matt. I don’t want Matt to stick around more than Brendon—I’m a fan of underdogs—but I do love some drama, and the coming week promises plenty.

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‘Big Brother’: Brendan and Rachel on the Block

9 08 2010

We knew it was coming. When Matt won Head of Household, there should not have been a question in any Big Brother fan’s mind about who he would put up. I will say I’m disappointed; although Brendan spends most of his time wearing a face like a kicked puppy, Rachel brings the drama to the Big Brother house and I’ll be sad to see her go.

Brenchel, during happier times.

Brenchel, during happier times.

Not only does Rachel’s voice really get to me, but it always sounds like she’s calling him “Brennan,” which is not his name. I think he’d be a good player if he had managed to find a different alliance to begin with—her impulsiveness is bringing him down, even though she supports him with her HOH wins. I wonder if they’ll be able to keep their (seemingly unhealthy) relationship going outside the house, or even if they should.

If Rachel goes, the good part is there’s always more drama. The remaining half of Brenchel will cause a ruckus, especially in the unlikely scenario that Rachel stays. Internal Brigade trouble is a-brewin’, as well—Matt is getting pissed that his “brains” are also the alliance’s “brawn,” and no one’s happy with Enzo for throwing competitions and letting everyone else do the dirty work. And there’s also Lane’s friendship/possible alliance with Britney to consider, and the houseguests’ collective distrust of Hayden for lying about his showmance with the recently-ousted Kristen. I think the Brigade will be broken wide open once the focus is off of Brenchel—but possibly not before they have the game in the bag.

And let’s not forget Saboteur Ragan, who accepted the task (and later felt bad about it) after Matt opened Pandora’s Box and picked up a Diamond Power of Veto. He can use it anytime during the next two eliminations, which makes him kind of a wildcard. I’m really excited to see if Ragan can do better than Annie, and what kind of insanity he brings to the house. Britney Haynes is becoming an under-the-radar force to be reckoned with with her recent POV win and successful strategizing with both sides of the house—she’ll win the whole thing if the houseguests aren’t careful, especially since she has an in with the Brigade.

Note that I haven’t mentioned Kathy, this week’s only Have-Not, who is one of the most boring reality TV stars I’ve ever seen. At least Kristen participated in a cat fight!

Spoiler Alert!
Don’t ready any further if you don’t want to know who wins POV on Wednesday.

It seems our favorite sassy blonde scored a second big POV win in this week’s competition (during which Jeff and Jordan are the co-hosts!), and has decided not to use it. We’ll see if Britney changes her mind by Wednesday’s show, but I think removing half of Brenchel from the block would hurt her game a lot. It is my prediction that Rachel Reilly, our favorite love-to-hate houseguest, will be sent packing this week, leaving Brendan heartbroken, alone, and vulnerable. Will he be able to pick up his game in her wake, or will it be an easy one-two punch to send him home next week? Or, in the unlikeliest of scenarios, will he go home on Thursday, leaving Rachel to wreck enough havoc to overshadow Ragan’s tentative sabotage?

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‘Big Brother’: The impact of Kristen’s eviction

6 08 2010

Kristen BittingAnother week has ended in the Big Brother house with the eviction of Kristen Bitting. It sucks for her that she’ll go down in reality TV history as the girl who cheated on her boyfriend on live TV, with all of America—including her family—watching. And it’s not like the boyfriend was a jerk, either. His anger was perfectly justified. I’d be pissed as hell if I had to just sit and watch my significant other cheat on me on TV. Maybe she just got caught up in the moment, but something like that will follow a girl through every relationship she has for the rest of her life. Once the whole country sees you cheating, the whole country thinks you’re a cheater. Good job, Kristen. At least you looked okay in the hippie-tard. (Yes, just okay.)

One good thing she did was hint at the existence of the Brigade, but it might be too little, too late. I was hoping that she would spill the beans in her eviction speech, but she’s not as brave as Andrew and I don’t think she would have completely forsaken Hayden like that. If the houseguests don’t smarten up soon, the Brigade will trounce all over everyone. All that’s left is the four of them (Hayden, Matt, Enzo, Lane), Brendan and Rachel, and the floaters: Britney, Kathy, and Ragan.

If Rachel would get over herself and think long-term rather than targeting people who wrong her personally, she and Brendon would have more of a chance. If they don’t pull at least two floaters into their alliance, the Brigade will crush them. I’d love it if the five remaining houseguests teamed up against the Brigade, but it seems unlikely. I don’t think any of the floaters would go for it—they’re all scared of Rachel, scared of being targeted by her. Britney is friends with Lane, and it’s starting to feel like the end of Rachel’s influence is quickly approaching as the Brigade bides its time. At least she keeps winning HOH.

Side note: My favorite part of the episode was Rachel walking in on Britney and Matt wearing her hair extensions, and her just taking it in stride: “The highest form of flattery is totally making fun of someone.” She’s annoying and batshit crazy, but she makes for damn good TV.

Something else that will make for good TV is the election of a new saboteur. America voted for Ragan, so if the new HOH opens Pandora’s Box and if Ragan accepts the challenge, we’ll have some more excitement in the house for the next two weeks. Fingers crossed.

And I’m excited to see Jeff and Jordan next week! I loved having them in the house last summer.

On to the HOH challenge. If you don’t want to be spoiled about who won the challenge last night, look no further. I repeat, spoilers ahead!

Ragan and Matt in the HOH challenge.

Ragan and Matt in the HOH challenge. | Image credit: Big Brother Live Online

I’m not sure yet who was the first person to drop, and therefore the only have-not for the week. However, I know Matt and Ragan were the final two in the HOH challenge, and that Ragan jumped off and Matt is the new HOH. With the Brigade in power, we might see some major excitement this week. I hope either Brendon or Rachel has the chops to win POV (assuming they’re nominated), because one of them going home would mean an inevitable decrease in drama. And, come on. Besides the enthrallment of treating real people like fish in a bowl, the drama is what we’re here for.

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