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Big Brother, Episode 25 Recap

I really don’t have a lot to say before the beginning of tonight’s episode, as everybody knows exactly what’s going to happen. Hell, we even know what’s going to be shown in the opening segment that’s designed to raise doubt on the outcome of the eviction vote. 
The only noteworthy action we’re going to see before the HOH competition is the big reveal of the jury house, and I’m not as excited about that as most people. We know that a certain person is going to play it up to exaggerated effect, and will go through the gamut of (fake) emotions as Matt and Brendon enter the house. She’ll be beyond elated at one, and devastated at the other. (Uh oh, in the previews it appears that Matt reveals his lie. That could be good.)
So let’s begin with the predictable reactions to Lane replacing Enzo with Hayden on the block. Guess what? Hayden is pissed that for the second time Lane didn’t put up Britney. On the other hand, Princess Britney is beyond happy to make the final four. Lane just repeats what he said about five times last night - he can’t afford to lose Britney because he wants her in the final two with him.
Hayden and Enzo are sitting in the kitchen, and Enzo asks how he feels about being on the block. “Yeah, I feel great”, he says sarcastically. Enzo isn’t happy about Hayden is up, but it’s more important that he’s NOT on the block. And yes, Ragan repeats once again how he’s the lone wolf, and he’ll do anything to stay in the game. (Sigh)
Der Bergade are now in the HOH celebrating how one of the three are going to win some money…unless Britney makes it to the end. “We have to win HOH next week”, says Enzo. Good luck with that. Lane acts like he’s a bit worried, and says the reason he wants Britney in the finals with him is because she “has more enemies in the jury house than any of Der Bergade members”. The anti-Brit brigade carry on, and Lane isn’t happy with it.
Now the phony part. Ragan is a man on a (forced by BB producers) mission, and pulls Britney aside to campaign. His plan is to get Britney on his side, and then work to get Lane’s vote in a tie-breaker. He lays down his line about how she doesn’t have a chance against the boys in the finals. Even Brendon and Rachel would even vote for her over Ragan. Britney is edited to look like she‘s more interested than she really is, even in her diary room conversation. He moves on to Lane, and repeats the same scenario. (For more of these conversations, read my post from yesterday. Again, producers prodded Ragan to make this push.)
With the fake push kept to a short segment, we have an early commercial break before Julie’s conversation with the house. Ugh, we have to endure the awful “punishments” again. Yes, the house loves watching this garbage. Hayden is asked who is the worst dancer, and he admits that it’s him. “It doesn’t matter how tan I get, I’m always the whitest guy on the dance floor.” Julie moves on to Ragan and which was worse - the sock puppets or dancing. He loved both, but the dancing was the best. 
Enzo’s penguin costume is the next question, and he agrees that he’ll never live it down. She congratulates him for beating the costume curse. Britney is then asked what is the worst thing about being the only woman in the house, and she says it’s the filth. Ragan can’t believe what he’s hearing. “You’re the dirtiest!“ What a waste of time.
Now it’s time for the only juicy moments of the show. It’s jury house time! We start with Rachel lying out in the sun with an upside down book in front of her. Ok, I lied about the upside down part. Nice job on the staged shot of her “dreaming about Brendon”. Ugh! She hopes that it’s Matt who is the first person to show up at the jury house, as it “will be payback”. Instead, it’s obviously Kathy. “There’s a new sheriff in town!” She informs Rachel of the diamond power of veto. “I feel like a victim in a crime.” Double ugh!
The two of them wait for the next arrivals, and Rachel hopes it’s Britney and Ragan. “We’ll have three princesses and a queen.” Again, we get to hear the “I don’t want anybody to mess with my man” line. Matt walks in and yells “there’s too many girls in this house!” They both squeal and hug him. Kathy says he’s sad because of Matt’s wife’s disease. They’re both shocked that it was Britney who booted her. They watch the DVD of Matt’s week, and Rachel can’t believe he tossed the HOH competition. Oh Lord, another “don’t mess with my man” line. Matt has a few good one-liners, including making fun of Princess Britney’s nomination of Matt.
The second limo of the day walks in, and as we know it’s Brendon. Rachel says she “wants to be excited to see him, but I can’t.” Blah blah blah, it’s the same stuff she babbled all season. Rachel adds that his shaved head is “really hot”.
Wow, we’re getting two jury house segments…as we should, given how boring the remaining contestants are. Matt has everybody sit at the table, and reveals that the disease was not real. This does not go over well. Brendon says he’s going to hell, and Kathy goes ballistic. “There are sick people in the world, and I’m one of them…that is sick. It’s disgusting.” She gets up and walks away, saying she thought she was “going to be sick to her stomach” when she heard the news. Rachel adds that his lie makes him the “most horrible person I’ve ever met in my life right now”. Oh Lord. She also walks away, and hugs Kathy in the kitchen. 
Matt joins them in the kitchen, and Kathy and Rachel continue to gang up on him. He’s asked if he regrets the lie, and says that he regrets that it didn’t work out for him. Rachel says that he needs to immediately leave. He chuckles that he’s not going anywhere, and Kathy adds that she never “thought it would come from you”.
It’s now time for a conversation with Lane. Julie asks him about the fallout from keeping Britney safe. He doesn’t believe so, and that he did what he did to ensure her safety. He admits that it’s going to be hard to backstab Der Bergade, but the money is worth. “Britney is looking good right now.” This causes Julie to go “woah”. He is then asked if his strategy is to act stupid, and he agrees that he’s playing the “half-dodo” part. Julie then asks which Bergade member he’d take to the final two, and he says it would be Hayden. He goes on about what a great guy he is, but when pressed does smile and say he thinks he could beat him. 
Final speech time. Ragan goes first, and thanks his family and housemates. That’s really it. Hayden gets up and just says they’re all great people, and that no matter what happens they’re going to Steamboat in January. After saying hi to his family, he’s done.
Enzo is the first vote, and he obviously votes to evict Ragan…as does Britney (who suddenly claims Ragan is her “dear friend“). It’s unanimous, and exactly as expected. Ragan hugs everybody, and exposes his pit stains before heading out. After watching the final four congratulate themselves, Julie begins by asking why his “compelling” arguments to stay didn’t work. He says he didn’t realize just how close those four were, but that they made a mistake by not keeping him. He adds that these four are unlike other seasons, and that they’re “very admirable”. Um, no. Somehow he believes that if he had made it to the final four, he would have won this game. Really? How do you figure?
Julie then questions his earlier dismissal of the “group of men” alliance. His response makes no sense, so Julie moves on to whether he regrets his friendship with Matt. He says that Matt is an excellent human being, and doesn’t regret working with him at all, even though he ultimately threw him under the bus. “With Matt, I felt something close to brotherhood with him, and I wasn’t willing to throw that away for a fourth time.” As for the saboteur money, he says that while his mother would like him to pay off his student loan, he’s going to use it for either a “hybrid or a BMW”. 
This week, we get goodbye messages. Lane says that while he made a great argument to stay, he couldn’t break his loyalty to Hayden and Enzo. Britney claims she wanted to vote for him, but that since she couldn’t save him it would “ultimately hurt me in the game…I’m so sorry that you have to go to the jury house and listen to Rachel’s loud, disgusting cackle”. Enzo says that he was “too emotional”, complained too much, and “cried a lot”…yet “I’d appreciate the vote if I make the finals”. Hayden plays an ass kisser, saying that he played an awesome game, and that he’s an “awesome representative of the gay community”. Wow.
It’s HOH time, and it’s “Big Brother Christmas”, with “the goal to be the first to decorate your Christmas tree”. They have to maneuver ornaments up a fence, and the first to get the star on top of their tree is the winner. Oh boy, this is going to take awhile. Britney keeps breaking ornaments, but Hayden gets one in place before the break. 
When we return for the final segment, Enzo has three ornaments and Britney has one. But Hayden has five! “Snow” is introduced as the show thankfully fades away.
A few questions before I turn on the live feeds to watch Hayden win. Did Kathy and Rachel overreact to Matt’s big reveal? How will Ragan react to the news? Was evicting Ragan a smart move? Which Bergade member will join Britney when Hayden wins HOH? 

Big Brother, Episode 24 Recap

I don’t think there’s ever been an episode of Big Brother that I’ve been less enthused to watch. Sure, there is a veto competition that reportedly has a somewhat controversial conclusion, but that’s really it for the show. Otherwise, it’s going to be an hour of Der Bergade celebrating and bragging, along with Ragan whining and crying. Oh yeah, and lots and lots of filler, thanks to the second and third parts of the worst Pandora’s Box in the history of the show.
Despite these feelings of dread, here I am anchored to my couch with the laptop. The things I do for this blog. So let’s get started as every Wednesday episode begins, with the predictable comments on Lane’s selections of Ragan and Enzo as nominees. Hayden, of course, “loves it” as it guarantees him final four. Well, technically it doesn’t, but let’s not confuse the boy. Lane says the plan is to get rid of Ragan, and they needed Enzo to be a pawn. Enzo, though, bitches that the pawn should have been Britney. “It’s starting to look like they got an alliance that I don’t know about.” 
Ragan once again states the obvious. “I have to imagine that I’m Lane’s ultimate target to get out.” Really? For the tenth time in two episodes, he goes over the “men’s alliance”, but adds that he also has a strong alliance with Britney. “I’m completely by myself.” In a scene that has been repeated over and over this week, Ragan heads off into the bedroom by himself. In a scene not so often repeated, Enzo comes in to talk to him. Ragan says in the diary room that Enzo’s nomination supposedly shows “who is the most expendable in Lane’s alliance”. He claims that he now knows what he has to do if he survives the week. Hmmm. I don’t know about that one.
Fluff section number one, as it’s time for Enzo to lose his penguin suit. Of course, he has to make a big scene of it, with everybody else chanting “shun” as he goes through the ceremony. Let’s count the number of times Enzo misuses the word “shun”. I count fifteen, as Enzo uses the pool’s rubber duck as part of his “shun”. Yes, ducky, Enzo is not your father. Hayden adds silliness about Enzo “beating the system” as the person in a costume usually ends up being evicted.
Back to game play, as Ragan is studying the wall of pictures for what the morph competition they all feel is coming up. Once again, Ragan babbles about being “alone” in the house. Come on, Big Brother producers, can’t you make him mix it up a bit? To reinforce the theme of the segment, we get shot after shot of him memorizing faces and order of eviction. “Right now, it’s four people versus Ragan”. Oh my God, it continues and continues. Make it stop!
It’s now veto time already, and since they’re all playing this week we have no ceremony. They head outside to a swampy filth filled with CD’s. A ramp heads up to a big clam called etov. Hayden shows his brains as he figures out that is “veto” spelled backwards. So the competition has rounds of songs about two houseguests, and they have to find CD with their names on it
After the obligatory “I have to win” speeches from everybody, the contest begins. They all believe that Ragan will be out in the first round, as Ragan is the last to make it up to the shell. Unfortunately, Lane has the wrong CD, which makes Hayden laugh at his stupidity. Lane is out, and he’s pissed. “I hate you clam, hamburgler, whatever you are.”
The second question has a combination of the names Rachel and Kristin. Enzo is first up, followed by a stumbling Britney. “I don’t usually go sliding on KY jelly, believe it or not.” Ragan is up next, followed by Hayden. “Rasten” is the answer, which they all have. Hayden is now out. Lane says he’s now a cheerleader for Britney, as he wants the nominations to remain the same.
Song three combines Matt and Kathy’s names, and Ragan is up first, followed by Enzo and Britney. They all have it correct in this round, which means Britney is out. She’s not happy, as no matter what happens next will result in one person coming off the block. Lane is also mad, as he’ll now have to put up one of his two “best friends in the house”.
For the final round…ugh, first we have commercials as Enzo babbles about the winner is going to be the one who “wants it more”. After the break, we hear more about how it’s going to be such a battle. Finally, we get the song, and it’s about Andrew and Brendon. Enzo says he knows where the CD is, and they both lunge for it, with Enzo’s weight advantage shoving Ragan out of the way. Britney loves it! 
When Enzo presents his winning answer, Ragan responds by tossing the CD at the clam, which bounces and hits Enzo. This time Hayden loves it, who laughs at how Ragan is such a “sore loser”. “Now the meow meow starts to play”, brags Enzo. He also tells Ragan it was “quite the fight”, but the crybaby tells him to just leave him alone. “Who wants it more right now?”
Ragan heads inside, and goes right for his favorite place to cry - the Taj Mahal room. Once again, we get to hear how “helpless” he feels, and about the “three men”. ENOUGH!!! “I just feel an overwhelming sense of heartbreak.”
We now see Enzo walking by the picture wall, muttering “sore loser”. Britney jumps in, saying the scene was “hilarious”. Yes, Enzo, you were quite the stud. Lane doesn’t help things by saying it “makes up for any loss you’ve had” this season. Enzo carries on with his bragging in the diary room, and we conclude with him muttering “I’m not losing anymore” as he walks out.
With Enzo gone, Britney is now talking about Enzo’s newfound happiness with Hayden. She says her strategy is to “just hang out with the guys. Keep close with them, and make sure I keep communicating with what they’re thinking.” Britney asks who he thinks will be the replacement nominee, and Hayden responds it will be him. Either way, Britney says, “this will be the safest week ever”. In the diary room, though, she says that she definitely doesn’t want to go up…as does Hayden because “the pawn tends to go home”. 
Britney makes the first strike to kiss up to Lane in the HOH. He jokingly asks her if she’s “putting together her speech”. Lane plays dumb, and Britney informs him that Hayden has said that he doesn’t care if he goes up. She says that he would be stupid to evict her, as she’s taking him to the final two. 
Downstairs, Enzo is advising Hayden to not volunteer to go up. Hayden wants Britney to go up. Enzo supposedly would consider evicting Britney or Ragan, as he and Hayden “control the votes” in that scenario. “It might be the opportunity to backdoor Britney right out of this game."
Filler time number two, as it is time for part two of the Pandora’s Box “punishment”. This time they have to use sock puppets whenever they speak for the next twelve hours. It takes Enzo a few seconds to realize that the prepared puppets are designed to look like each of them. What a smartie! Yeah, it’s as dumb as it sounds. 
Filler time number three, which was actually recorded today. Britney complains about how dirty the house has become since Kathy’s eviction, and she cleans out the fridge. Yeah, it’s great footage. 
Filler time number four, as the third “punishment” is unveiled. Although Ragan believes it’s going to be a clone or Rachel, it’s actually hourly periods of dancing. They all laugh at how the others can’t dance. Riveting.
Finally, we return to game play as Lane asks Hayden if he’s ok with going up. He’s not. Lane says his concern is that Enzo would evict Britney if she goes up, and if it’s Hayden they can be assured of Ragan’s departure. Hayden is not happy, as he yells in the diary room that Enzo is not the only thinking of backdooring Britney. Well, there’s plenty of people thinking of doing that the same thing with the lovely young woman. Sorry, I just had to add that.
Lane then brings up the subject with Britney once again. Yes, it’s that same conversation as earlier. Britney is jealous that he likes Hayden “better” than her. Again, she says that she’s taking him to the final two. She reminds him that “everybody” really likes Hayden, and he’d win if the two of them were in the final two. Lane quickly tires of this conversation, but admits that she “has solid points”.
Thankfully, we’re at the conclusion of the episode. Enzo goes through the motions of looking at the wall, even though we know exactly what he’s going to do. He still wants Britney to be put up, as does Hayden (obviously). Britney also doesn’t want to go up, as she can “see them turning on me”.
Finally, Enzo calls them all into the house. Enzo correctly reads his lines, and pulls himself down from the block. Lane then gets up, and after kissing their asses about how great they all are he puts up Hayden. To narrow down the reaction comments, Hayden and Enzo are not happy but Britney is. Ragan is hoping there are “fractures in the boy’s alliance”. Lane finally admits that he wants to go to the finals with Britney, as she’s his best chance of winning.
So that’s it. Were you as bored with the filler as I was? Is Lane playing a smart game by aligning himself with Britney instead of the rest of Der Bergade? Does Ragan have any hope? Ok, we know the answer to the final question. See you tomorrow!

Ragan Campaigns - Will It Work?

Last night, Ragan came out of the diary room fuming as production told him that they needed some footage of him at least attempting to save himself. He bitched to Hayden and Lane about this (with the feeds cutting in and out many times), and then did just that to Britney. He told her that none of them have a chance to win against Hayden...and that she can be assured that he would take her to the finals. Although she didn't appear too convinced, she did encourage him to talk to Lane.

Before he could do just that, though, she had to inform Lane of her talk with Ragan. "Hayden and Enzo are a pair, and if I win the veto next week, you'll go. And if he stays, he's better at veto. His points made sense for me, but not for you, because you trust Hayden. Does it make sense to you? That's for you to decide. And, jury vote wise, I'm not gonna win.. You won't beat Hayden or Enzo."

Ragan thus began this day attempting to psych himself into talking to Lane. "This is stupid and humiliating. I have no shot. This is humiliating. Lane is never ever going to vote out Hayden, and I look ridiculous even trying to get him to do it. It's humiliating." Britney joined him for a bit, and he reiterated what he had said the previous night.

Finally, Lane was awakened to go to the diary room (convenient, eh?), and Ragan caught up with him afterwards in the backyard. "If you are up against either of those boys, you're not going to win. Enzo has no blood on his hands. He's played hands down the best social game. If it's you and Hayden, Brendon's not mad at Hayden, because Hayden didn't have a vote. He's pissed off at the people who voted against him who he thinks should've voted for him to stay. Brendon and Rachel vote for Hayden. Kathy votes for Hayden. Enzo votes for Hayden. He told me as much in the Taj. That's 4 votes right there." He went through the various scenarios, and seemed to make a pretty good case.

A bit later, Lane and Britney conferred on the conversation, and for a second it appeared that Ragan may have helped himself. Lane admitted to Britney that Hayden had indeed won the cash and vacation, but Lane thinks saving Ragan is "too risky". The little bit of remaining hope, though, was squashed this afternoon as Lane spilled the beans to the rest of Der Bergade.

So it's all settled. Ragan is going home on Thursday, but at least CBS has the necessary footage to make it appear as if he may be saved. 



Ratings Are Up - Why?

Between the comments section on this site and the majority of "tweeters" I read every day, this season of Big Brother is a complete disaster. The house guests are moronic at best; vile at worst. The competitions are retreads of previous season. The "twists" produce nothing but jeers.

Yet CBS put out two press releases over the past few days touting the fact that last night's episode and Thursday's double eviction not only won their time slots but were the most-watched episodes since season nine. How can this be possible?

I have a couple of theories. While summer programming is always generally a wasteland, this year found the networks basically throwing in the towel. It's really not too tough to beat shows like Minute to Win It, Wipeout, or America's Funniest Home Videos (who knew that was still on?). The highly-touted cable shows of this summer (True Blood, Mad Men, Jersey Shore, etc.) are also all broadcast later in the evening. There's just no competition in the early evening.

In my opinion, online followers also need to realize they're not typical viewers. The vast majority of viewers never watch the live feeds. They don't read the Big Brother blogs or news sites. Hell, they never even visit the network's online Big Brother section. They may throw out the occasional tweet, but they don't follow dozens of hardcore fans for live feed information.

The only knowledge these people have of the BB compound is what they see on their television three times a week, and the production team has worked overtime to create a relatively well-paced season. It helps that this group of mopes have completely cooperated with the needs of this crew. All of them have consistently delivered exactly what the diary room desires - Britney's cattiness, Enzo's fake Italian bravado, Lane's down home charm, Brendon's dedication to the woman of his dreams, etc.

Yes, some of it has been smoke and mirrors. Rachel initially received an edit that even a nun would dream of getting, which made the post-HOH incident with Kristin (and her Pandora's Box return) a shocking heel turn that the WWE hasn't been able to create since the days of Stone Cold Steve Austin. On the other hand, Matt was much more laid back and likable than the "diabolical genius" mantra they played up on the show.  This kind of material has helped producers refrain from the usual filler segments of the house guests primping, cleaning (well, they don't do that anyway), exercising, and individual quirks.

Keeping the ratings up will be a challenge these last few weeks, though. Football is back next week, and the networks will begin to slowly roll out their fall schedule this month. Plus, the diminished number of contestants make it a bigger challenge to come up with material outside of competitions. Viewer numbers are bound to decline until the big finale on September 15.

So what do you think? Why are the ratings up? Are network viewers getting a skewed version of what's actually happening in the house?