Cliff Lipson
Lynette Rice
August 31, 2007 AT 04:00 AM EDT

”Big Brother”: No more tears

You should know right off the bat that won’t be talking to Amber today. First, CBS tried to place huge restrictions on our weekly Q&A by forbidding us to ask Amber questions about her anti-Semitic rant. (Up until this week, anything that occurred inside the house was generally fair game for questioning as long as it wouldn’t potentially influence votes in the jury house.) Then, late Thursday, CBS decided that it just wasn’t going to make Amber — or any other future evictee, for that matter — available for interviews until after the finale. Of course we hoped that if the nation’s trusty reporters and bloggers couldn’t ask the hard questions to Amber, then at least Julie ”the journalist” would — that is, until we remembered that moment during BB4 when Julie allowed Erika to walk away without holding her accountable for her little ”fresh off the boat” comment about Jee. Sure enough, BB missed a rare opportunity to play the grownup and discuss what we’ve all been wondering about.

Even now, I have terribly conflicted feelings about Amber, the single-mother cocktail waitress. On the one hand, I’m grateful that there’s such a thing as YouTube or I never would have known the extent of her anti-Semitism. On the other hand, I felt a surprising amount of empathy for Amber when BB chose to ridicule her admittedly pipe-dream fantasy to model someday. I thought the video montage on Sunday was particularly harsh, especially after that luxury challenge that required the HGs to take off their clothes if they wanted to win free ones. (Oh sure, Amber and the ladies could have said no, but has anyone in the history of BB ever actually refused to participate in a challenge?) It’s almost as if the BB producers felt they had carte blanche to deride Amber since she used their show as a forum to give her I don’t like New York Jews speech. (Though the footage never ran in prime time, CBS still felt compelled to issue a statement denouncing the hate talk.)

But after all is said and done, is Amber as deplorable as BB would have us believe? I’m inclined to say?nah. While her run in the house was certainly controversial, I can’t say I found Amber so much hateful as pathetic and tragically birdbrained. (Too bad won’t get a chance to make her ‘splain today, but we’ll get her later.) I might even go so far as to say she got a bit of a raw deal at the end: Jessica was right to second-guess her own decision to put up for eviction Amber and Zach — two players who weren’t nearly as threatening in the long run as Daniele and Dick. By the time Jessica realized her mistake, it was way too late; Eric made a tactical error by refusing to exercise the POV, thereby passing up a great chance to backdoor one of the Double Ds. Just what I suspected: Fear of Dick is what’s driving Eric and Jessica to make their decisions, not good old-fashioned strategy. Granted, taking Dick to the final two could still assure them an easy win; for every jury member who argues that Dick was brutally honest while Eric and Jessica were bald-faced liars, either one in that duo could quickly retort that Dick was actually the weaker link in his family and had Daniele do all the heavy lifting. Unfortunately, Jessica and Eric would have a harder time against Daniele: I can certainly see Dustin, Jen, and Amber thinking Daniele played the better game simply because she won more competitions; plus, her good-cop-bad-cop routine with Dad worked wonders, while Eric just lied through his teeth. Fortunately (for us Dick and Daniele loathers), this could all be water under the bridge.

Spoiler alert! If you don’t want to know who won head of household, stop reading!

After a particularly brutal HOH endurance competition (some players slipped and fell on their backs, it seems), Zach eventually won last night around 11 p.m. Eastern Time. How he plays these nominations is, of course, key: If he does what he told Jessica he would do, he’ll go after Dick and Daniele, which should make for a particularly nail-biting POV competition.

A few parting thoughts: A special thanks for including your names and home states. Good to see there are readers as far as Nova Scotia and as close as Beaverton, Ore.! Hope you’ve also discovered that you can now write the first name of a certain evil housemate on the message board. Joy, rapture! So what did you think about the episode (assuming you weren’t one of the poor saps in the New York area who had to wait until 0 dark 30 to see the show)? Did Eric make a mammoth mistake not exercising the POV? Will Zach make the right move and go after Dick and Daniele? And are you as thrilled as I to see the return of Janelle?

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