Jack Owens, Jr: Tony Esparza
Bruce Fretts
August 28, 2003 AT 12:00 PM EDT

We rate the housemates’ worst cliches

Let me say how crestfallen I am that Jack got the boot this week. I’ve grown attached to the retired FBI agent from Birmingham, Ala. His keen ability to profile his competitors, combined with his folksy colloquialisms (best exemplified by his description of Dana as having ”the sex appeal of a buzzard’s crotch”), made him a rare bird in the ”BB” house.

Jack’s flair for language was especially welcome, considering how many of the same tired phrases are bandied about every week. Here are a few that stick in my craw (to use a tired phrase of my own):

”It’s nothing personal…” The Head of Household always says this when nominating fellow players for eviction, just as Jee told Jack and Erika this week. But the thing is, when you’re trying to kick someone out of a house, it’s always personal.

”An unexpected twist…” Host Julie Chen overuses this tease to hype such non-events as holding last week’s veto competition before the nominations ceremony. No matter what the order of the activities, everyone knew Jee would put Jack and Erika on the block and that he wouldn’t use the veto to change his own choices.

”The golden power of veto…” It was bad enough when ”BB” took the succinct phrase ”veto power” and made it wordy and pretentious by referring to ”the power of veto.” But by adding ”golden,” the show only evokes the distasteful rhyming image of a ”golden shower.”

”I’ll give you a chance to make your case?” Every week the veto-power holder — excuse me, ”the golden power of veto holder” — says this before announcing a decision. But one of these speeches has never swayed anyone; they’ve always already made up their minds.

”I’ll accept whatever you decide…” Of course you will, nominees for eviction. You have no choice. What are you gonna do, stage a sit-in?

”I can’t survive on PB&J…” Stop whining about having to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for a week. It’s not like you have to consume bull testicles like the masochists on ”Fear Factor.” And I know they’re sponsors, but you don’t have to act like the occasional McDonald’s meals you get to enjoy are haute cuisine, either.

”Your housemates can’t hear you, so you’re safe to speak freely…” Don’t you think the Heads of Household know this from watching previous seasons, Julie? Especially Jee, who’d already been HOH?

”We leave you to eavesdrop on the houseguests…” Julie’s weekly closing line promises voyeuristic thrills, but we’re usually left to hear awkward silence or inane comments like Alison’s, ”I like how we call that a clock — it’s not even a clock.” It really makes you appreciate how much massaging the show’s editors have to do with the incredibly boring raw footage.

”You can put your bag down right there…” And what would be the tragedy, Julie, if the evicted houseguest put it somewhere else?

What are your favorite (and least favorite) ”Big Brother” clichés?

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