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There is one great counterargument to the complaints about this season’s coaching twist. That counterargument is Janelle. Boogie came back into this house to gild his resume and has spent the summer coasting on the brilliance of his best player. Britney is a great gut player, but she can’t plan more than a couple steps at a time, and her game completely fell to pieces when Willie went bananas. Dan has made only poor decisions and seems barely invested — he’s like a fading bureaucrat in a corner office, passing the time until he hits retirement age. Meanwhile, Janelle has carefully ridden the back-and-forth tidal waves of power. In Week One, she played Busy Phillipps to Britney’s Courteney Cox. In Week Two, she hate-flirted her way into a reconnection with Boogie. Last night, she offered her wedding ring to Shane and begged him to strike a blow against the Boogie alliance. There’s a good possibility that she’ll end this week with the last intact team in the Big Brother house.
Her achievements are even more impressive when you consider her team. Immediately after the nominations ceremony, Janelle called a team meeting. She laid it on the line. Now was no time for pouting. Now was the moment for some good old-fashioned groveling. Wil was having none of that. “I don’t want to be known as an ass-kisser,” he said. Joe was even worse. When Janelle told him to sashay up to the HoH throne room and make a deal with Shane, Joe brushed her off. “ALL THE WOMANLY ADVICE ABOUT LOVE AND BUTTERFLIES,” Joe whispered. “I DON’T EVEN KNOW IF I CAN SWALLOW MY PRIDE.” Smashley, to her credit, kept quiet — maybe because she knows she’s perfectly set herself up as a Final Three meatshield for the aggressive players in the house, maybe because the wall suddenly looked really interesting.
I would actually argue that Janelle has been playing the game a little too well. She has so completely controlled the actions of her team that her players don’t even really seem aware of what it takes to win Big Brother. She had to positively beg Joe to go talk to Shane. “You have to sell it,” she said. “Puppydogs and rainbows and children!” (“My three favorite things!” Smashley probably said. “Except it’s even better when you combine them! Puppydog-children flying over rainbows!”) Joe walked upstairs and tried to be nice to Shane. “THIS F—ING SUCKS,” he said, in the quiet dolorous tones of a long-lost soulmate, “I’M MAD. I DON’T WANT TO LIE.” He was like a bull in a china shop. Strike that. He was like a bull playing Jenga with a rocket launcher. I’m trying to say that subtlety is not Joe’s strong suit.
The veto competition forced the players to dress up as clowns and keep two balls rolling on two separate ramps. All three of Janelle’s players were in the competition. Wil and Joe quickly fell out of the running, and it came down to Smashley vs. Shane. Now, we need to talk about something here. I’m not sure how anyone could have any kind of strategy when it comes to the Big Brother Clown Toss, since it was only just invented in a laboratory by the maniac Scandinavian psychiatrists who design all the Big Brother competitions. But somehow Shane figured out the exact perfect way to play the game. While the other players tried to keep their balls constantly in motion, Shane would catch one, turn his head, wait for the other one to reach the top of the ramp, and then throw. It was perfect play. You would think Shane had spent his entire life training for the Clown Toss.
That makes three straight veto competitions won by Shane. It’s too bad that Janelle has a family back home, because a showmance between her and Shane would be like a romantic tragedy about a Viking Warrior Woman who falls in love with a Roman Gladiator, or like Linda Hamilton circa Terminator 2 hooking up with Taylor Kitsch back before “Taylor Kitsch” was an obscenity sneeze.
NEXT: Janelle has a bridge in Brooklyn she’d love to let you borrow.