Guilty Pleasure

We all have an ultimate treat. Something beyond bad for you, with absolutely no redeeming values, something that is so heinous (and yet, so delicious) that you only imbibe rarely. I limit consumption of my guilty pleasure to once a year, but luckily, it's a three-month orgy of badness - if you're only going to wallow around in the filth once every 365 days, it's a good idea to choose something that lasts. My crack for the soul? Big Brother, naturally!

I watched this season's first episode and questioned whether I'd continue. It wasn’t the "making a show of questioning while I clear my schedule 3 days a week for the forseeable future", no, I legitimately wondered how I would possibly become addicted to such a lame bunch of house guests. They are skewing seriously young this year, as well as frighteningly dimwitted. In previous seasons, about half of them would be of the bimbo/himbo persuasion, the rest of the cast people you could imagine having a conversation with. This year, the ratio appears to be overwhelmingly idiot to can-count-on-one-hand relatively intelligent. Nonetheless, I watched the second episode and by the end cared passionately about several contestants (mostly in terms of who I wanted gone) and could remember the names of at least half, both of which are signs that I am officially hooked and set for the annual bacchanalia. The twist this year is that three of the contestants had an enemy, an ex or someone with whom they have unfinished business living in the house.

In no particular order, the contestants are:

Dick. Or "Evil Dick" as he has informed one and all that he is generally known. He claims to be "a fixture on the LA music scene" and looks like Keith Richards - the man has lived hard. He is also the father of Daniele (see below), who hasn't spoken to him in a couple of years. I liked him immediately. He talks a lot, namedrops shamelessly, but he looks like he has a good heart and he clearly cares about his daughter. Maybe he'll get annoying later, but for now, he's one of my favourites. Especially because he drives Jen crazy.

Daniele. Dick’s estranged daughter. Seems to be one of only three contestants actually playing the game (the other two are Kail and Eric). Unfortunately, my ability to assess/admire her gameplay is blurred by how underweight she is. Get the girl some Ensure!

Jen. She of many occupations and large ego, Jen initially distinguished herself by having a complete meltdown about her picture on the wall (which was apparently “bad” – it looked fine to me). She actually cried. Not just merely a tear or two, but sobbing and hiccuping with the sobbing. Since then, she has informed all and sundry during the first food competition (in which the houseguest would be drenched in butter and have other houseguest scrape it off them into a huge bucket of popcorn - what other show does something like that?) that she did not want Dick to touch her because "she didn't like an old man's hands all over her body". Jen? Honey?? Dude’s FORTY-FOUR!! That’s not old. And yes, I know he looks like he’s got germs, but didn’t your mother ever tell you not to judge a book by its cover? May I mention that sure, you’re a very pretty girl and all, but your personality has germs.

Jessica. With a voice like Minnie Mouse on helium, sporting a valley girl accent and a bitchy attitude, plus too much spray-on tan making her look remarkably like a tangerine, Jessica certainly makes an impression. A bad one. I want her off my TV. Apparently, she and Carol (BFF! She actually said BFF. I kid you not) had a fight in middle school and haven’t spoken since and whereas Carol moved on and forgot about it, Jessica appears to have nursed a grudge since and completely eviscerated Carol at every opportunity. Besides, the voice feels like sandpaper on the brain. And I thought Holly’s in Season 5 was bad...

Carol. Seemed like a nice, well-adjusted girl. First one to leave. Likely because she’s a nice, well-adjusted girl.

Joe. Announced to everyone within earshot (and several million fans) that Dustin had given him gonorrhea and continued to be so obnoxious that all of ‘em immediately believed Dustin’s side of the story. Really didn’t like him much, until I discovered this link in which he does a terrific Amber caricature and as he and Dustin have become more civil, I’ve decided to give him another chance.

Kail. The other “old” (i.e., over 35) houseguest. Multi-business owner, apparently “half the town” works for her. Appears smart. Aligned herself with the Himbo Triad (see below), which seems clever in the beginning, but might burn her later when, should they get to final four, the guys will vote her out.

Nick, Mike and Zach. Kail’s alliance – I know Nick’s the one with the shoulder tattoo and the unfortunate haircut, but can’t tell Mike and Zach apart. One of them has weird eyebrows. Or maybe both.

Dustin. Joe’s ex and the calmer of the two. Seems to be nice, lying low and slowly building alliances, first with Amber and now with the Himbo Triad. Clever, that. Might go far, depending on how crazy Joe gets and whether its catching.

Jameka. The only black houseguest. Seems smart, funny, but lying low. Time will tell.

Amber. Cries a lot, constantly invokes how she’s doing this “for her family” (I guess that means she deserves it more than the other houseguests) and tries to establish a close teamwork with God, in which he intervenes directly in the workings of a reality show so she wins the money. Because I’m sure the Almighty doesn’t have anything else to do this summer.

Eric. America’s Player – having a contestant do America’s bidding is a new twist I’m pretty ambivalent about. Might turn out to be good, but could get hijiacked into the bad kind of lunacy. So far, Eric seems like a smart player on his own – who knows whether the AP thing will interfere with that.

And the Chenbot. We can’t forget the Chenbot. They need to upgrade her - this model (especially with the Chelmet hairdo) is so thin it looks like a bobblehead. Other than that, she’s doing her usual excellent job and when I heard the first “but first” right out of the gate, I knew my summer was in good hands. Great homage here (be sure to click on the "but first" video).

Online resources: Schoonie and Flipit at TVGasm do killer recaps and the TVGasm forums give regular updates on the live feeds.

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