Big Brother 15 premiered Wednesday night, and it’s… mind-numbing! Again! YES! Some fantastic things never change, including the summery blast of skull Novocaine that is Big Brother.
The only change in sight? Now instead of two eviction nominations per week, Headmistress Julie Chen is ratcheting it up to three. The third nomination is posted by a designated “MVP,” the houseguest voted by Big Brother viewers as the week’s best player. The best part? MVP status is a secret, making that third nomination very enigmatic. Oooh. Call me Diana Rigg, because you’re watching MYSTERY!
Also good news: There are no returning cast members this season. While veterans are entertaining, they’re usually what makes a season feel staler faster. This year, we have 16 (deeply) archetypal newbies, and I already have my favorites. As well as even more non-favorites, of course. Let’s sort ’em out!
Key quote: “I might come off like a girly girl, but I have no problems getting my hands dirty.”
Aaryn also has no problem spelling her name “Aaryn,” which is a problem. So far she’s spunky and cartoonishly cute (literally, like a coloring book illustration of young Christie Brinkley), and I think she’s right about having a devious edge. I don’t hate her yet, which is staggering news.
Key quote: “We need to get our poll numbers up. THERE’S NO ROOM FOR ERROR HERE.”
I love that the producers wanted to make Helen seem like a hotshot urban professional, so they staged “an important conference” where she snapped, “We need to get our poll numbers up!” at a group of smirking extras in blazers. She’s not messing around, kids! Not with poll numbers! Helen’s actually not as antisocially bossy as you’d expect, so I hope she can use her apparent intelligence to some good.
Key quote: “I’m a lot like Peter Parker in the sense that I’m skinny and nonthreatening. But I’m a lot like Spider-Man; I can lay down ’the smack’ when I need to.”
Oh, no! Not… the smack! (Cue Rachel Leigh Cook anti-drug frying pan tantrum.) Nick is the Shane of this season. Symmetrically good-looking, vaguely devious, and not a real candidate for the win. Needs more gonzo nefariousness. So far all I see athletic competence and alpha heterosexual power-blandness. You know the type. Fratty and cocky, but too boyish for those traits to be sexy. I see him getting duped by an Ian type, to put it in #BB14 terms (which are my favorite terms).
Key quote: “I’m not a typical country bumpkin. I don’t even own a pair of overalls!”
I don’t really know what Duck Dynasty is, but Spencer would normally be on that show, I think, and not Big Brother. He has a beard that says, “I lost half my family in a backhoe accident.” He struck up a friendship with two other clods on day one, and that’s a strategy I admire, but I’ve yet to see how manipulative he can be.
Key quote: “I think life’s a party and I just want to live it.”
In layman’s terms: David is a hot dolt (or rather, he’s incessantly playing the hot dolt) and knows it. In gayman’s terms: David bears a chilling resemblance to snappy football star and onetime Wheel of Fortune host Rolf Benirschke. I love this about David, but I’m on the fence about his scripted-ass self-absorption. He seriously said something like, “I love to feel my abs when I’m pumping iron at the gym! Abs!
Key quote: “I’m going to try to keep the fact that Rachel’s my sister for as long as possible!”
Rachel Reilly ranks among my least favorite people ever to be on TV, radio, or this bleak emotionless tundra called Earth. Her sister Elissa, who has chosen to “hide” her connection to Rachel despite being her doppelganger, has one major flaw: She is not Rachel. Frankly, though Rachel was uninterestingly grating, she served a purpose on Big Brother: to agitate and to represent naked, cloyingly canny ambition. Elissa enjoys yoga pants. The others are going to sniff her out, fast.
Key quote: “I can lie to someone’s face with a gigantic smile on my face, and they’ll never see it coming.”
Love this gay guy. He struck me as normal and intelligent in his preliminary interview, and though the show is trying to sell him as a kooky manchild, I bet he can ingratiate himself with just about anyone. And get this: I’d be cool with Andy enjoying a “gaymance” with gregarious Minnesotan Kaitlin. “Gaymance” is Big Brother’s word, not mine, by the way. Though I endorsed it, so I’m the problem now.
Key quote: [While kicking a soccer ball in a bikini] “I’m very down to Earth”
I don’t know much about this not-so-FIFA-ready bombshell, but she’s candid and guileless as far as I can tell. I’m hoping this means her fellow cast members aren’t intimidated by her company and they keep her around. I’m expecting intentional and unintentional laughs from her. The ultimate reality TV dichotomy!
Key quote: “I stop at nothing to win […] I’m from Staten Island!”
I’m surprised Big Brother didn’t ban Staten Islanders after the complete, nauseating failure that was JoJo last year. She was like a nervous JWOWW understudy who is “too real” to get her G.Ed. But this dame Ginamarie is just spunky and amiable enough to be cool in a Jenna Marbles way. After all, her name is Ginamarie. It’s like a song. A song you drunkenly caterwaul on a ferry.
Key quote: “I don’t aspire to anything except being the best damn delivery boy I’ve ever been.”
McCrae could be a bankable slacker movie character — in 1993. His hair is ridiculous in a Judy Davis-as-George Sand way, he oozes Bill & Ted credibility, and he’s both weird and nerdy. Could that make him the new Ian? We’ll have to see if his “Santeria”-singing slackerhood translates to charm. Also: Woah, he looks exactly like Kara Janx from season two of Project Runway.
Key quote: “I have the eye of the tiger and the heart of a lion.”
You heard him: He’s full of meaningless animal cliches! And to boot, he’s a Christian. Awww. This is a man who hates thinking for himself. Silver lining: His muscles are neat.
Key quote: “Girls are always jealous of me because of my great personality and good looks.”
Get this: Jessie sucks. I can’t think of too many “great personalities” who refer to themselves as such, you know? Tina Fey, for instance, might not say that about herself in earnest. The girl is a bit wicked though, and I like that in a disposable model houseguest.
Key quote: “I really embrace my Cherokee side.”
Jeremy lives on a boat because he was born to weird you out. His family is a part of about 700 different Indian tribes, including Cherokee, which is apparently a Native American word meaning, “Unjustified confidence.” Did I mention he lives on a boat? Yeah, that’s right. He is a living Lonely Island parody.
Key quote: “I know what I want, and I get what I want when I want it.”
I know what I want: one tolerable soundbite from your hackneyed lips, my dear.
Key quote: “I found out I was adopted when I was 26.”
Candice doesn’t really fit in, so what does she do? Say it with me: Uninteresting impressions of the other contestants in her confessionals. Siiiiigh.
Key quote: “Whenever I start my schemes, I’m the one they’re going to have to look out for.”
If The Real World has taught me anything, it’s that cast members named Judd are important. I sense that Judd’s going to be a righteous troublemaker this season, and among the bad boys in this cast, I like him best. He snuck in a couple of fine one-liners during his Jethro act. He’s my blind guess to win the whole thing right now. Weeee! Random guessing! Bet I’ll see Julie Chen at the TCAs next month and when I ask her about a potential winner this season, she’ll pick Judd too. Count on it, Moonves fans.