Cliff Lipson
Lynette Rice
August 10, 2007 AT 04:00 AM EDT

”Big Brother”: The biggest week yet

Though I’ve had a long and fulfilling love affair with Big Brother, I’m not always so quick to dole out the compliments. I’m going to change that now. Even if I went into this week’s episodes knowing most of the gritty details (thanks, beloved spoilers!), it was still, bar none, the best week of the season. Those marvelous editors and camera operators (whom I’m wowed by whenever they complete one of those continuous shots down a hallway or into the HOH room) did a righteous job of telling the brilliant, tour de force tale of Mutiny From the Bounti-ful Dickheads. Danielle, you bratty, hungry waif: While I certainly don’t blame you for growing suspicious of Eric after seeing that banner, the least you could have done is investigate the allegation instead of letting your anger (and Dick, and your unresolved feelings for Nick) get the worst of you by abruptly abandoning your alliance. What happened to your hatred toward Jen? But even then, I wasn’t nearly as surprised by Daniele’s sudden about-face as I was by my own: Though I began the week loathing the Late Night Crew, now I’m ending it with the hope that it finally grows a backbone and evicts the evil Dick!

I trust you’ve all read by now that the show’s production company sent a cease-and-desist letter to a pilot who was planning to fly around the house with a banner saying that Eric is America’s player. (To recap: Last week a plane flew over the house with a banner saying that Amber and Eric are liars and comparing the LNC to BB6‘s Nerd Herd.) I say hire this pilot as a producer, and pronto! Up until now, all of this season’s twists have pretty much landed with a thud, but a sign flies over the house and — whammo! Best damn week in the house ever! Now I’m sure whoever commissioned this little spoiler had a very different intention; by singling out Amber and Eric, someone clearly wanted to bring down the LNC and allow the opposing side (Jen and/or Zach, maybe?) to get the upper hand. Mission (kinda) accomplished: Jen’s now a fair-haired girl (with Dick), Eric’s under suspicion, and the LNC is down two teammates. Miraculously, America’s player performed some major damage control by convincing enough players that he wasn’t the enemy. Plus, he owes Amber’s daughter a trip to Disney World, because if wasn’t for Mommy’s promise on her baby girl’s life, we’d be seeing Eric ”dishing the dirt” with Gretchen this morning on House Calls and not Kail, the proud owner of four Oregon businesses. Seriously, how did those enterprises, including one ”fine-dining restaurant…with a lounge!” operate without her? (And about her goodbye: That was a damn fine package of farewells at the end of the show. Normally, these perfunctory snapshots are a bloody waste of time, but this week’s really called Kail out for her piss-poor strategy and ignorance toward gays. Well said, Dustin: Too bad you acted like a big dummy later by first denying to Dick that you voted to evict Kail and then acting like you won the Publishers Clearing House after Jessica won HOH. Way to bluff ’em, bozo!)

Ah, but what a delightful little HOH competition, sure to spawn another great week of fireworks and tears and prayers. Congrats, little Jessica! Given the flared tempers in her alliance (not to mention a brilliant, expletive-laden exchange among Dick, Amber, and Jameka late last night on Sho Too), I’m expecting Jessica to nominate Dick and Daniele on Sunday — something Eric probably would have done himself had he not been cheated out of HOH. It’s now an annual tradition for Julie to screw up at least one pivotal HOH competition per season, and she didn’t disappoint last night: She accidentally revealed the answer to a question that Eric was almost definitely going to answer correctly. Who knows how much farther Eric would have advanced had Julie not been Julie, but it sure would be nice to make it through one summer without wanting to say that someone was robbed because Chen Lite had a brain fart or misread her cue cards. At least her helmet hair didn’t look so inflated, but that’s hardly a consolation prize for the embattled America’s player.

But let’s make one thing clear: He ain’t my player. I never would have suggested to Eric that he (a) pierce both nipples, (b) proceed to walk around the house with his T-shirt off, thereby killing any chance of scoring a chick once this game is over, and (c) confide in a big mouth like Dick about a future plan to broadside Amber should she ever betray him. I had to hand it to Dick; he played this ace in the hole perfectly, revealing Eric’s cruel intentions to Amber in an attempt to sway her vote. And that was some ass whuppin’ by Amber on Eric in return, though Eric handled it well by keeping his mouth shut and his eyes open. Eric knew he was guilty — hell, we all know he’s guilty! — and there’s still plenty of time to apologize later. I do hope he does, because I’m learning to look past those eyebrows and nipple rings just to hear what he’ll say next around Dick.

Speaking of E.D., a lot’s been said on our message board about how he’s no more abusive than Howie Gordon, the blustery weatherman from season 6 who terrorized his housemate April for lying. I decided to go to the man himself. I found Howie in the Midwest as he was preparing to promote hybrid technology at a Wisconsin fair. (He does event marketing when he’s not trying to get TV gigs like the Fox Reality show The Search for the Next Elvira.) It should come as no surprise that Howie likes Dick. ”The guy is awesome!” he told me. ”He speaks his mind, he stands up for himself, he’s Italian with a bad Italian temper who’s not afraid to show it.” Okay, not sure where the last part came from, but Howie clearly sees a kindred spirit — though he did say that his treatment of April paled in comparison with how Dick behaves toward Jen. Unlike Dick’s nonstop bashing, Howie says, his verbal abuse on BB6 lasted only 48 hours and ended when fellow houseguests screamed ”enough.” He also had a little discussion with Big Brother in the diary room: Though a producer fell short of telling Howie to stop the madness, he did remind Howie that they don’t want players to leave voluntarily because they were, um, heavily harassed. ”You just can’t break the main rule: You cannot physically harm or threaten to harm someone,” says Howie. Otherwise, according to Howie, harsh language is not only accepted but welcomed, and anyone who calls himself a true student of BB should know by now that verbal abuse is a cold, hard reality of the game. ”You’re going to get lied to, backstabbed, go through vigorous competition, and you’ll get personally and verbally attacked. It’s like, if you want to be a scuba diver and you’re afraid of getting into the water, then you’re getting into the wrong element. The house is a true pressure cooker. Anything can happen. Evil Dick feels it’s in his best interest to harass Jen, and I do like that. It’s pretty strategic. And if he ends up winning, well, it certainly worked for him.” And who does Howie dislike? He’s not the biggest fan of Dustin and Jameka, and he also thinks the weepy Amber is emotionally unfit to play the game. ”If she accidentally wins HOH and has to decide who to nominate, we’re all going to need windshield wipers for TV screens!”

Funny, I haven’t thought a minute about Amber’s tears this week because I’m too flabbergasted by the notion of her faux abortions and animosity toward Jews. I stopped feeling indignant long ago about houseguests who claim they never lie (we know Amber did about Nick’s eviction), but I’m continually shocked by anyone stupid enough to reveal his or her bigotry in front of all those cameras — and Amber takes the cake. (You’ll find her jaw-dropping diatribe on YouTube.) And what’s with the hair, anyway? A poster named Jen and Tonic said it best: ”With Jameka’s help, Amber has emerged with a head full of cornrows. The only real problem now is that the top of her head looks like a field of dead corn. If she is going to keep this look for any length of time, a tiny scarecrow must be implanted into her scalp.” Amen!

So much more to say (like what up, Rock Star‘s Dilana! You actually dig that Dick, girl?), but I’m pooped by all this excitement, so I may post some more on Monday. Until then, please come to for all your Big Brother needs. Post now…and often! Spoilers (and bunny costumes) encouraged! Did you catch that all-out brawl last night on Sho Too between Dick, Jameka, and Amber? Do you think Dick or his daughter will be out next week? Or is it time for Eric to go?

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