TV Recap

The Fantastic Foes

On the season premiere of ''Big Brother,'' we meet the new houseguests, six of whom will be living with people they can't stand

Julie Chen, Big Brother | HOSTESS WITH THE LEASTEST Julie Chen is looking a little thin
Image credit: John P. Filo
HOSTESS WITH THE LEASTEST Julie Chen is looking a little thin

The ''Big Brother'' season premiere: Enemies unite

After an interminably long wait between installments, I was so full of anticipation and enthusiasm for yet another summer of Big Brother last night that I tuned out the first few sentences that came out of Julie Chen's mouth — either that or I was just dumbfounded by how little there was to see of her. Good God, woman, where in the hell did you go? Give up the hunger strike, already — Dr. Will is not coming back. These are your houseguests now. Mangia, my glitter-lovin' grrrrl!

But there's plenty of time to rag on Chen Lite later — especially when we had lots of Joe today. Ah, Joe. Thanks for letting us know about your bout with gonorrhea. Too bad my kids went to bed before your little announcement so I missed the opportunity to discuss this communicable disease with them. Just when I thought Club Knucklehead couldn't get any more elite, along comes a nitwit like Joe. (I must express my disappointment in his ex-lover Dustin for not immediately exclaiming, ''The hell if I gave Joe the clap!'' when he first walked into the living room.) And don't get me started on Evil Dick. (Daniele, you have my profound sympathy, if not my curiosity. I could have sworn I've seen you on TV before. The Girls Next Door, maybe?) Nor will I ever get used to young moms like Amber who willingly abandon a young child at home so they can move into the House of Tools. (Let's be honest; this is a game for childless singles and divorcees, with the occasional one-legged Eddie thrown in for good measure.)

But first, a heartfelt welcome. I've truly missed you, readers. The marvelous Big Brother is back! For devout fans like us! So it's only natural that we should have a strong say on how those twists — and twits — operate. If you can recall at the end of last season (oh, and what a grand season it was! I miss you, Will Kirby. Mike Boogie, not so much), I asked you, dear readers, to post the changes you'd like to see in the eighth season of Big Brother — all of which I promised to forward to the producers. I can't be sure Allison Grodner looked at, much less heeded, our suggestions, though I'd like to think they gave her some food for thought. Take a look at your top 18 suggestions:

1. Power of veto must be exercised immediately. This means no commercial break so the POV winner can be influenced by the other houseguests.

2. The head of household must nominate immediately without influence from outside agitators.

3. Evict in front of the nominees; no casting votes in private.

4. Enough with the ''What do you know about the other houseguests?'' trivia games. No more quizzes in the challenges!

5. Structure the reward and food challenges so that people aren't always working with their alliance members.

6. Attach prizes to HOH. If players want to throw HOH, they pass up on the extra prizes.

7. Have two HOHs for the first few weeks.

8. Start a secret ''resurrection power'' reward, which would allow a houseguest, if/when evicted, to return at some later point in the show.

9. Let everyone compete each week for HOH, including the previous week's winner.

10. Allow the HGs to use ''truth power'': If an HG claims something, let anyone else call on the ''power of truth'' and see the video of what really happened. Each HG could use this power only once.

11. Live feeds in the sequester house.

12. Do group isolation rooms!

13. No more film packages on families! Fans almost always fast-forward through them.

14. Cut off sections of the house as the game goes on so it doesn't have that empty feeling. This would also force the remaining players to interact more rather than go and hide in the far reaches of the house.

15. Reduce the recaps from the previous show. It seems to take forever to get to anything new, and sometimes we see the same scenes twice.

16. More ''special powers'' or ''get-out-of-jail-free cards.''

17. If you do the coup again, it must be used.

18. Don't keep the final two in the house so long! It was torturous to them — and us.

Clearly, Allison didn't go along with No. 7: Kail, the ''multibusiness owner'' (and if she owns anything less than two Fortune 500 companies and a Hyundai dealership, I'm gonna be severely disappointed after all her freakin' hype), will be the sole HOH. But I'd like to think the house's Alice in Wonderland-inspired decor was prompted, in part, by No. 14. Clearly, those miniature beds will force horndogs like Nick to seek out better sleeping arrangements. And that whole concept of Eric being America's player? Hey, Allison might have come up with that idea after pondering our No. 16 (and more on that twist later — waaaaay later — because I'm not sure how they're gonna pull that one off). Unfortunately, Allison appears to be ignoring No. 4 (a damn quiz about the HGs, and in the first week, too!).

Whateva. Back to the big plot. Chen Lite trotted out the tired ''expect the unexpected'' trope when explaining the new ''Sleeping With the Enemy'' twist — but this baby does show promise. Joe seemed none too pleased to learn that Dustin (who was clearly blind and deaf at the time of their ''relationship'') will also be competing for the cash, if not for the title of BB's gayest player ever. (And cue the Isaiah Washington Alert! See Kail the homophobe admit in the diary room how she hoped her three children would never choose the ''gay lifestyle.'') Daniele was obviously heartbroken to see her tattoo-tinted dad in person — though clearly she expected it, given her curious diary-room prediction. (When was that taped, anyway?) I don't know what to make of those silly Kansas girls, other than to assume that their rivalry will soon fizzle, since they were, after all, just fighting over $5. But what was with that reveal? I felt robbed when Dick, Dustin, and Jessica were given the chance to spy on their foes instead of having them all meet at once. What could have been an excellent ''Holy crap!'' moment in the living room turned into a real awkward scene because (a) we just learned Joe had had the clap and (b) the guy who had possibly given it to him had just walked into the room. Suddenly, having a daddy like aptly named Dick didn't look so bad anymore.

Sure, I could go on, but it's early, and my memory is already fuzzy about players like Jameka (Danielle wannabe!) and Jen (still bragging about all her occupations, no doubt). It's your turn, readers: What do you think of the twist? Should America really be allowed to manipulate a player? Will you watch Big Brother: After Dark on Showtime? And if Feed the Children launched a special campaign for Chen Lite, would you donate your hard-earned cash?

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Originally posted Jul 06, 2007
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