Josh Wolk
September 12, 2008 AT 04:00 AM EDT

‘Big Brother’ recap: Thanks for the memories

Watching the final HOH challenge on last night’s Big Brother was like watching a recording of a baseball game where you already know the outcome; even though this was live, what other possible way could it have turned out? The only way Jerry could have won was if the competition had been “Who can be the biggest cranky, sexist jerk?” (As you can see, I’m still sucking up to the message-board regulars who were so angry at my recent empathy for Jerry. Boooo, Jerry!)

On Tuesday’s recap, I wrote that Dan was playing Memphis by staging scenarios that made Memphis look bad: After Keesha got bounced, Dan yelled to his partner, “You’re out of your mind if you think I’m taking you!” I’ve been rethinking that, and I’ve realized that it wasn’t a bad thing for Memphis. The only person who heard it was Jerry, who was already grateful to Memphis for saving him. So Dan’s rage wouldn’t bother Jerry. In fact, Dan’s open anger that Keesha left instead of Jerry would only cement his predisposition to vote for Memphis in a final two. Granted, that would have changed had Memphis been the one to later ding Jerry, but nevertheless, I wanted to amend my opinion. (As you can see, I’m still sucking up to any message-board regulars who thought I was wrong. Boooo, me!)

Later, talking to Julie, Jerry did sound like he’d caught on to their secret alliance, but when the episode began, he seemed like he was buying their rift. “If one of them wins the HOH, they’ll take me to the final two,” he told the diary room, and then stopped and opened his eyes wide and seemed to go into some sort of trance. What was wrong? Did he have the epiphany at that moment that he was being played for a fool? Or was he suffering from a sudden medical condition? I expected him to snap out of it and say, “Sorry, folks, my liver just shut down. Give me a minute to take off my hat, because I always swore I would never have any organ failure that might disgrace the Corps.”

During the first round of the final HOH challenge, as everyone balanced on their plane, we were treated to a master class in overacting. First there was the forced anger. When Memphis taunted Dan with tales of his college days balancing on things with his frat brothers (and if you’re wondering why he ended up as a mixologist, I think it may be due to the fact that the only thing on his résumé is “Special Skills: Balancing!”), Dan blasted back, “Did you stab them in the back, too?” When Memphis dropped (which was the plan between him and Dan), he lay on the mat, trying to look angry with himself. The only thing that could have made his performance less convincing would be if he’d actually said, “Now I am angry at myself.” But Dan went that extra, obvious mile, falling off in staged victory and saying to himself, “Oh, my God, I did it.” I’m surprised he didn’t then walk up to Memphis, shake his fist, and say, “I have defeated you, man who is most definitely not an ally! We are such strangers that I’m not entirely sure of your name. Is it Mumford, sir?”

NEXT: It’s a knock out

For part 2 of the HOH battle, it was Memphis vs. Jerry in a contest to see who could pick the lineup of past HOH’s and nominees for each week. (We got the extra visual treat of having Jerry and Memphis “knock out” everyone except their three picks by punching their cutout pictures; the extra audio treat was hearing a knockoff of Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger.” Wow, CBS, what you save on music-rights payments, you’re clearly spending on boxing gloves!)

When the producers alternated Memphis and Jerry’s rounds, it looked like the players were taking turns with each round. But then I noticed that Jerry’s home base was more shaded than Memphis’ each time, so I’m guessing the producers had each player do all their rounds, and then edited them braided together. If that was so, wouldn’t it have made for a more exciting and difficult challenge to show each person do all 10 in a row with no breaks, rather than stopping after each one? Although, perhaps that would have been unfair to the 75-year-old Jerry. Sure, it would make for a colorful finale if his heart exploded all over the backyard, but it would be a bitch to clean the remains out of the hot-tub filter.

Even without any physical exertion necessary, Jerry landed an astonishingly low time. While it took Memphis 8 minutes, and 35 seconds to complete the task, it took Jerry 51 minutes and 22 seconds. Did he stop for lunch in the middle? A nap? Or did he just get distracted and start telling the Keesha cutout the unabridged story of Hissy the Snake? Perhaps he should have gone in with a keen game plan like Memphis, who said, “It’s definitely my strategy to go as quick as possible.” Sorry, Jerry, you were dealing with a mastermind!

After Jerry’s brutal loss, the producers got in their last licks on him: After Dan and Memphis were seen high fiving in the sauna room, we cut to Jerry, alone, pulling his pants down and revealing his tighty whities while mumbling, “Ohhhh, embarrassing.” Jerry, you don’t know the half of it. Come on, all you Jerry haters: You don’t think that it was a bit much to show the humiliated guy in his underpants? I’m surprised the producers didn’t let a dog in the side door, trained to come in and pee on Jerry’s leg.

NEXT: Keesha’s grand entrance

Before the final HOH competition, we took a trip to the jury house. Frankly, at this point I’m more interested in seeing life there, now that all the drama has been sucked out of the game house. (Incidentally, why is Julie still touting the live feeds on CBS.com and Showtime’s Big Brother After Dark? Who at this point is moved to watch five straight days of two guys puttering around the house? Will this become the hot porn site for people with boredom fetishes?)

I’m always frustrated with the jury-house segments, though, because they’re so staged. BB contestants start to act crazy because they forget the cameras are there. But since there are no cameras regularly in the jury house, when they do arrive for these short segments, everyone seems very stiff. I want to see April and Ollie drop their defenses, so we can get a clear view of them realizing they actually have nothing in common.

I did enjoy seeing Michelle and April be unable to force smiles when Keesha arrived. And it was an added bonus to watch Michelle so smugly declare that she was going to blow Keesha’s mind by telling her that Michelle went on the day trip with Dan, only to deflate when she found out that Keesha already knew. That’s our Michelle: always firmly two steps behind everybody else. And, of course, I enjoyed my bonus dose of April’s idiocy, like when she said she would vote for Jerry over either Dan or Memphis, because she didn’t like the Renegades’ cockiness. It worries me to think that people like April can vote in the presidential election, let alone BB: Whenever you see a particularly manipulative and blatantly misleading attack ad on TV, just know that somewhere out there, it is working on April.

For the final HOH, Dan won in the traditional “finish the houseguests’ statements” competition. The only thing interesting that came out of it was learning Ollie thought that his biggest mistake was letting his heart get into the game. Considering he barely won any challenges, wasn’t his biggest mistake sucking?

Dan quickly dispatched Jerry, who got choked up when conceding to Julie that this was his “last hurrah.” Come on, Jerry haters, I’m trying to back you up, but hearing a 75-year-old sadly declare that his last hurrah is now over didn’t move you at all? No? All right, I’ve gotta take my column over to AARP.com. They’ll at least concede a tear or two.

Now all we have left is one clip show (hooray?) and then the finale. I can’t imagine Memphis winning: At this point, everyone realizes that Dan played him or her, but most of them (even Michelle) don’t blame him for it. Even with the crazy grudge voters (April, Jerry, possibly Ollie), I think Dan’s got it wrapped up. As for the $25,000 viewer-decided prize, I wonder if there’s any way to vote for it to go to Michelle, only to have the producers yank it away from her, giving her a unitard instead? I don’t care who has to clean it up; watching her head explode on TV would be delightful.

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