Dick and Daniele (and the producers) get their “fairy tale ending” and evict Zach

Julie Chen opened the quasi-penultimate episode of Big Brother 8 with a question nearly identical to the one she asked Tuesday: “Who would have thought Dick and Daniele, the estranged father and daughter, would make it to the home stretch?” Here’s a better question, lazy, repetitive script writers: Who would have thought that the man who once blogged about hitting his “bitch” daughter would end up in the final two even though he broke at least two rules, never mind the fact that he was a total ass for most of the season?

“We’re going to have our fairy tale ending, I’m telling you,” Dick said at one point, and now they–and the show’s producers–have what they’ve wanted all season. And once again, we get relatively unlikable people end up as the show’s final two. Then again, most of the likable people went out early, as usual.

The editing of the first of three HOH competitions focused on Daniele’s violent shivering, Dick’s encouragement of her, and, after she fell off, her encouragement of her dad. “You’re doing amazing,” she said. “I love you.” That was the focus, although the editors did include a few moments of Dick’s psychological abuse of Zach. “Your daddy’s a dentist and you got teeth like that?” he screamed at Zach. It didn’t quite have the same impact with all of the horrible words censored, nor with the time compressed. (There are hours of his abuse on YouTube.) For a few moments, which lasted about as long as Dick’s abuse on the live show’s recap, Zach started screaming at Dick, mocking his tattoos, and Dick was temporarily stunned.

Eventually, the competition destroyed Dick, who was shivering and looked beaten down for the first time all season. He even changed mentally. “Good job, Zach. Honestly. This ain’t easy, man,” he said, dropping off after 7 hours and 32 minutes. As the cameras followed him, the music shifted to trumpets and drums, as if Dick was a fallen hero in a war movie, and that didn’t seem to be ironic (e.g., the chanting monks).

I often ridicule the cheesy, dumb, unfair, and poorly constructed challenges, but the second HOH compettion was actually kind of cool: after transferring puzzle pieces from one tank of water to the next, Dick and Daniele had to assemble the puzzle to form lines connecting the HOHs in order. Being underwater made that much more difficult; it took challenge master Daniele about 24 minutes, although Dick did it in about 12, and he went on to the final competition. (I thought he’d throw the competition to let Daniele face Zach at the end, but Dick said, “No one was looking to throw it,” arguing that they both had an equal chance against Zach.)

The last competition was, however, utterly stupid, especially considering how much was riding on it. That was apparent right from the beginning, because the questions were based on interviews with the houseguests from the jury house, which means they weren’t knowable facts. Who knows what those morons are going to say? The answers were almost all counter-intuitive, which is why Zach and Dick both got nearly every question wrong. But the one that counted was the first, when they answered differently and Dick got it right. “We did it!” Dick screamed, “We won everything! We won it all!” He celebrated by punching the set, and later kicked over a trash can.

And thus, Dick and Daniele go to the final two together. It’s now up to the jury, and we have a vote via Eric. This episode included more footage from the jury house, although it was more barf-churning goo-goo-ga-ga flirting between Eric and Jessica, and delusion from the rest (“to the best six losers in Big Brother history,” that twit Dustin said during a toast). Interesting, he and the others seemed impressed by Zach’s targeting of Dick and Daniele, and I’d guess they’ll end up unanimously voting for Daniele. She won challenges, she was relatively nice to people, and she’s not as much of an asshole as her father, even if she did grab on to his leg and refuse to let go for most of the game.

As the show ended, Dick said he and Daniele are “the best team to have ever played this game. Janelle couldn’t even do it with her secret partner. Will couldn’t do it with Boogie. We did something no one could do. Danielle and Jason couldn’t do this. Nobody has done this.” It’s hard to argue with that.

While there typically isn’t a Sunday episode between the final HOH competition and live vote, there is one this week, and it airs opposite the Emmys, so no one will be watching. That’s especially true since it’s basically a recap show, which Julie tried to make sound interesting by saying, “Dick and Daniele share their thoughts on what has been one of the most emotionally volatile summers ever in the Big Brother house.” Honestly, the only thing I care less about than being reminded about what I’ve wasted three hours a week on for two months is what Dick and Daniele think about everything.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.