Big Brother classes up slightly by casting strangers and dumping Courier

Big Brother 10 may be a return to the ways of early seasons, and started with a sorta-twist where the houseguests elected an HOH immediately, but the show’s biggest surprise came when houseguests’ names popped up on screen: The editors have dumped Courier New (or whatever derivative of it they were using) as their on-screen font. Instead, they’re now using a somewhat narrow sans-serif font, complete with gradient shading.

That, plus an extremely (and unnecessarily) elaborate challenge made the show seem a lot more classy and less like the trashy piece of shit it actually is. Even the contestants seemed like a solid upgrade from the last two seasons, and so far, it really seemed to help that they are all genuine strangers. After 44 minutes with them, they actually seem promising. Of course, most of them are absurdly stupid and annoying, but they’re not exactly obnoxious or overly abrasive.

There’s one looney nutcase freakshow absurdface who’s going home first, Renny, and some arrogant, overly confident super-strategists who are actually just dumb. Also, apparently there are some women in the house besides Renny. During the nomination ceremony, every time a female was announced to be safe, I was like, Who? Who?, because the editors focused mostly on the penis-wielders.

A few of the cast members seemed like quasi-dopplegangers of semi-famous people. Renny has the voice of a comedian I can’t place, and basically acts completely drunk all the time even though she’s apparently sober. She also shrieks randomly and says random things like, “I swear to God the next person, I’ll give him my cotton balls.”

Memphis looks oddly like Real World New Orleans cast member Danny Roberts–particularly if you hold your hand up to the screen and form an O shape that blocks out everything except his mouth.

Jerry seems like a nice guy, but he shuffles around the house as slowly as the first episode moved, and with every word, kind of seems like he’s going to need to be resuscitated. Jerry’s references–“Are you familiar with President Nixon?”–and his strategy are about as dry and crusty as bread that’s really dry and crusty. He told Brian they’d have a super-secret signal when they wanted to communicate with each other: crossing their arms into a giant X.

Crazy sexist nutjob Dan’s bio makes him sound like some kind of cartoon character conservative (and his ideology really has nothing to do with how dumb he sounds), and he also looks vaguely familiar. He also apparently he sees himself in others. He decided to align with Brian, his “first candidate” for an alliance, and that’s probably because Brian looks nearly exactly like Dan. But they also added some diversity to their alliance with Ollie, who Dan said he could trust because “I looked in his eyes and I saw the blacks of his eyes.” Uh.

Catholic school teacher Dan seems poised to fill the hypocrite role this season, although he pre-absolved himself of all sins by saying that even though things will “go down that are contrary to my faith,” he has a plan: “when I get out, I will go to confession to get that taken care of.” Can we all go somewhere to get him wiped from our memories once the season ends/he’s kicked off? And he will be kicked off eventually, because he’s convinced he’s the master strategist, and everyone will get tired of him trying to run things.

As to the actual game, Jerry learned he was the first head of household, having received four votes sometime before he felt April’s breasts–at her prompting–to ensure they were real. He nominated body-builder Jessie and his freakishly large muscles, and Renny and her freakishly loud mouth. Bye, Renny.

The Quest ends its journey stronger than it began

Verlox from The Quest

A review of the finale of summer's best reality series, which wasn't always perfect but was thoroughly entertaining right down to the finish, which included phenomenal challenges and special effects. Will ABC give it a second season?

Plus: an interview with the actor who played Verlox and the ogre.


Shark Tank is getting a spin-off

Shark Tank

Companies that get deals on the show will be followed for this new spin-off.

Also: Before the show began, Shark Barbara Corcoran was cast and then replaced--but then she sent this amazing e-mail and won the job.

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.