I don’t think I’ve ever watched a reality show the way I’m currently watching Big Brother. For the past two episodes, instead of wondering who will survive or what trashy/bastardly shenanigans will happen next, I’ve been fixing my stare on Amanda’s unending meltdown and shaking my head. I mean, drunk-driving Ruthie from The Real World: Hawaii had a more promising future on her series than Amanda has on Big Brother 15. In fact, Amanda is not just hopeless; she is scary. Her spontaneous fits, her crying jags, her meanness, her utter self-absorption, her obsession with insulting Elissa, then accusing Elissa of being “mean” when the insults don’t work — it’s all so weird. Legendary weird.
Even during the thrilling veto competition, a mashup of “ballet” (spinning around and getting dizzy while wearing a tutu”) and “bowling” (rolling balls up a hill in a dizzy stupor to knock down pins), all I could do was look at the quivering snarl on Amanda’s mug and the dead eyes that accompanied it. She’s like a living combination of Lady Macbeth and Kirsten Dunst’s character in Melancholia, both a despairing Machiavellian royal and an apocalypse-entering wraith. She’s done for.
Instead of going on about how I’m straight-up terrified of her, let’s revisit five of Wednesday night’s key quotes and think about why they’re dumb/right/weird/questionable. Please keep in mind that thinking about Big Brother in a critical way often leads to rickets, emphysema, and brain fire. Stay safe during this exercise. Carry a brain extinguisher.
1. What’s up with Amanda’s perception of America’s perception of Amanda?
Amanda: “America’s going to f*cking love that I tortured Elissa last week. I hope they can see what a b*tch she was.”
I actually couldn’t read the tone in Amanda’s voice for the first part of that quote. I assume she’s being sarcastic? Because American viewing audiences don’t… love torture? Amanda’s seething fixation on Elissa is so weird, it’s hard to tell what she thinks about we think about Elissa. In fact, another weird thing about Amanda is how she has relatively lucid hindsight after her insane episodes. Oh, now she hopes we understand that Elissa is mean? After Amanda called Elissa “joker face” for the millionth time? For someone obsessed with exerting control over her fellow houseguests, Amanda is so often out of control. I guess that’s why she’s fascinating. She is always living one half of a contradiction.
2. Did McCrae just tell us why he and Amanda deserve to lose?
McCrae: “It would’ve been cool to make it to the end with Amanda, but I know it’s the end.”
See, this is why I really don’t feel bad about Amanda and McCrae being done for: Indeed it is now “the end” for their game, but only because they’re a power couple who didn’t bother insuring their power in the game! Why would anyone want a power couple in the house? Amanda and McCrae should’ve been prepared for blindsides at every turn, but they weren’t even close to conceiving of a halted run to their game. Amanda’s powers only extend to intimidation, manipulating people right in front of her. She has no intuitive grasp of what anyone else is thinking, or why what anyone else is thinking would ever change. Strange skill set not to have as a “power player.”
3. I still think Andy is playing the best game, and here’s why.
Andy: “I am in a very compromising position. I’m friends with Amanda and McCrae and they still think I’m working with them. But in fact I’m working with the exterminators to exterminate Amanda and McCrae. And so I need to tow the line as best I can.”
And so he does! Guys, Andy keeps on appeasing everyone successfully. He keeps on not incurring Amanda’s wrath. He keeps on filling The Exterminators with endorphins and confidence. He keeps on staying alive and not being anyone’s top (and obvious) candidate for a treason trial. I will keep on rooting for him as long as he keeps up this sweetness. My vote is for the Queer Quisling! Keep on making bug-eyes at everyone who begins to look insecure. I’m telling you it’s Andy’s gay intuitive superpowers that are propelling his game. Loving it.
4. Elissa’s attempt at gameplay is… sigh, feeble.
Elissa: “Listening to what people say at a door is really awkward. I’m not sure who Andy is loyal to, but it seems like he’s more loyal to Amanda than he is to me.”
Now, it sounds like the Exterminators will attempt to move on to Elissa after they dispose of Amanda and McCrae, so Elissa is somewhat right to be paranoid. But the fact that Elissa couldn’t see (or hear, in the case of the eavesdropping she did last episode) that Andy is clearly and successfully lulling Amanda into submission is bizarre. He’s on your side, Elissa! He’s appeasing that woman who cannot stop bashing and maligning you! Elissa is both an underdog and a predestined favorite on Big Brother, and her scattershot insights aren’t enough to feel like her continued presence in the game is validated.
5. Oh, Spencer. Why do I kind of like you.
Spencer: “It’s official! I am the record-holder for most times on the block in a single season. That’s pretty amazing. It wasn’t necessarily my strategy coming in, but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do!”
Spencer makes floating fun. That’s just what it is. He’s a competent liar and a tolerable quipper, but he’s never a major threat in this game. I’m not sure when his Waterloo will be, but sigh: He is a markedly more fun floater than most jackasses who’ve drifted up to fourth or third place. Good for him, or something.
Looking forward to Amanda’s ouster? Or does she have a prayer?