Allison, Amanda’s medical emergencies lead to temporary unity in the Big Brother 9 house

After some lame product placement for CBS’ Jericho disguised as a challenge that offered information about the outside world as its reward, Big Brother 9 got serious.

Two houseguests were hospitalized Friday after having serious medical reactions to the “slop” diet they were on, and to the producers’ credit, they actually showed both reactions and the footage that feed watchers didn’t see.

Allison was jogging when she suddenly went to the Diary Room, where we permitted to eavesdrop: “Is someone there please? I think I’m having an allergic reaction. My throat’s closing, and I think I need the EpiPen. Please, I’m like, my throat’s really closing right now,” she said, sounding desperate.

Moments later, Amanda collapsed outside the Diary Room, where Allison was being treated. That may explain why she was being refused access, although the timeline wasn’t quite clear. When that happened, a nurse raced into the house after treating Allison in the Diary Room, and administered something to Amanda while James assisted. The nurse asked for liquids, and Ryan said, “Get a glass.” Someone yelled back, “We don’t have any glasses!”, the result of the pointless HOH competition last week that deprived the houseguests of luxuries like glasses. At least he producers got some drama out of it.

Paramedics soon arrived and removed Amanda, and we overheard the nurse identify Amanda as hypoglycemic. Earlier, though, the editors showed Natalie in the Diary Room attempting to blame the whole thing on Amanda, not on her slop diet. “But she’s not hardly eating any slop at all,” Natalie said. Later, the editors also included footage of Allison not blaming the show for her allergic reaction (which no one explained) but instead praising the show. “I’m very grateful to be here in the Big Brother house, because I’m not sure if I was outside these walls, I would have gotten the same medical treatment so urgently,” she said.

Eventually, both Allison and Amanda returned, although they offered no explanation about their medical situations; the issue was quickly dropped, although Amanda appeared to be allowed to eat regular food. The life-or-death drama caused the houseguests to become contemplative and warm towards each other–for a few minutes, at least.

Sheila, who’d gone insane and accused Allison of “turning on” her and simultaneously admitted to being homeless (“I got street smarts. I lived in New York, okay? … Dont’ talk to me for the rest of this game. … I’m a street person; I can read people.”), quickly made friends again. “If something happened, I could never forgive myself,” Sheila said, making it all about herself.

Amanda, having been viciously attacked by the house, now felt the love. “These people, even though at times dislike me, having feelings for me and care about my health and my well-being. So, things have changed dramatically and I’m definitely happy to be here,” she said.

And Allison offered a kumbaya moment, saying, “We need to all change the way we are to each other.” That lasted all of 10 seconds, especially once Joshuah and Sharon decided not to use the veto. The veto ceremony, despite having a foregone conclusion (basically no one uses it, ever, except to save themselves) had to fill time, which gave us more of an opportunity to hear Josh speak. That’s always fun, because he drops a syllable out of most multisyllabic words and mashes others together, and thus sounds like he’s drunk: “Amna anAlex, Matt anNaaly, Sharn anI both love you both a lot.” And we low you Jos.

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.