Big Brother 5: Tony Esparza
Ken Tucker
August 06, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Big Brother

TV Show
Reality TV
Julie Chen
Current Status
In Season

We gave it a B

In the Big Brother 5 house, a bunch of overmuscled frat boys are terrorizing the rest of the housemates with their frighteningly gelled hair accessorized with headbands ripped from shirtsleeves. One contestant, Holly, presents herself as a blond bimbo and confides to the camera, ”Ditzy is my strategy.” Another woman, Jennifer, currently sporting a green Mohawk, prefers to be called Nakomis for no apparent reason. And Martin has given contestant Adria the nickname Big Bootylicious because…well, no explanation needed there.

The series always threatens to become a porn film with no sex — all lolling bodies and numbingly banal chatter — and so the producers have to keep introducing twists. This season, it’s ”Project DNA,” which stands for ”do not assume.” So far, the assumption that Big Bootylicious — excuse me, Adria — is one woman has proved false: Unbeknownst to the household, she regularly switches places with her twin sister, Natalie, or as I call her, Imperceptibly Smaller Bootylicious. Oh, and Jennifer/Nakomis has discovered that one guy in the house, Michael, is a half brother she never knew she had. Host Julie Chen presides over it all with the grim, frozen smile of an S&M mistress visiting her torture chamber. After one grueling eviction session (the last remaining houseguest will win $500,000), even the hardest, most gelled player, Jase, admitted, ”Thank God I’m drunk right now, ’cause I couldn’t have handled it if I was sober.” Amen, brother.

To be a ”BB” fan is to enjoy watching people get on each other’s nerves, fail at the food competitions, and subsist on PB&J for a week. If this be pleasure, I plead guilty.

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