Big Brother 10 fast-forwards into strategy, drama

While Big Brother usually slowly builds its way into drama, like someone in their 80s pushing a car onto the interstate. But this week, the 10th season accelerated from zero to 120 this week, as the cast members started strategizing in a way that usually doesn’t occur until at least a few weeks in.

The result was a back-door blindside for Brian, the unjustifiably arrogant houseguest who was convinced he had HOH Jerry on a leash. As Brian explained, “the house of cards came tumbling down,” and it all happened so rapidly during Tuesday’s episode that I still didn’t know people’s names. (Thankfully, I was able to screen both episodes at the B-Side Blog offices, so I had instant answers to any questions.) Basically, in a turn worthy of Kaysar and a handful of others before her, Libra figured out how Brian was playing everyone, leading to eight people confronting Jerry and threatening him while insisting they weren’t threatening him. That was possible once Jessie won the veto and forced Jerry to nominate someone else.

Jerry completely lost control, which is kind of funny because he still seems convinced that he understands everything, which he clearly does not, the old bastard. Also, I’m scared he’s going to fall over at any second. He went with the group, betraying his alliance with Brian, but dealing with that by not wearing any clothing associated with the military, because we all know that one’s ethics and morals are explicitly tied to the clothing one is wearing at the moment.

Renny continued to babble nonsense, and there were also other layers of intrigue, like the women’s suspicion of Angie, and April and Ollie’s instant showmance. Add in a ridiculous yet incredibly veto competition, during which the houseguests had to crawl through a huge pool of honey, and there’s something different about this season. It’s so–so watchable all of a sudden. And there’s not much to hate (yet?).

The show also jumped forward with its other conventions, like misuse of the English language (every time a houseguest says “personal” instead of “personally,” my brain twitches), a completely dramatic yet pointless fight between Keesha and April (that unfolded more dramatically on Showtime After Dark), and, tragically, hateful speech that was not, of course, shown on television (gay cowboy Steven called Libra “that colored girl”).

Also, at the beginning of the episode, Julie Chen explained that “we are going back to a tradition from Big Brother 1. We will be joined every eviction night…” by Dr. Drew? AOL expert Regina Lewis? No, just a live studio audience that did very little except clap and look ridiculous when the flat screen monitor next to Julie Chen obscured a few of them, making the TV look like their collective head. At least that TV was showing something compelling for the first time in a while.