Change-counting product placement challenge turns Big Brother 11 into big boredom

After last week’s stunning Thursday episode, from its dramatic live vote to its censorship and the aftermath, Big Brother 11 quickly fell into a slump. That’s fairly typical for this time in the show, but last year at this time, we had unprotected sex, an earthquake, and some great strategy, never mind houseguests who were just fun instead of obnoxious, like this year’s group.

You’d think that with the veto being played twice in a row, instead of just being ignored, that we’d get some drama, but no. Ronnie’s nomination of Jordan made zero sense from a live broadcast standpoint; in an interview, he said something about how everyone likes her, but she also called him out on his bullshit, and one would imagine that might play into his decision-making. But it didn’t, at least not according to the editors.

Without strategy and other drama, these past two episodes have been particularly boring, and worse, the producers seem to be phoning it in. Two weak challenges in a row constructed around product placement–for a movie and Coinstar–is pretty lame. Putting the houseguests in silly costumes doesn’t count as great entertainment, but at least that was better than watching them count change. It’s so absurd I can barely even believe it made prime-time network TV.

I’m kind of over Gordon Ramsay yelling at people, but the debut of Hell’s Kitchen 6 was far more entertaining, so it’ll be interesting to see if viewers fled CBS for Fox. People counting change for 15 minutes or Gordon Ramsay being challenged by a cocky ex-Marine. Hmm.

With not much else going on, here’s what I learned over the past two episodes about some of the houseguests:

Ronnie
At the end of the episode, he informed us that $1.25 in quarters from the challenge got caught in his butt crack. Funny, but too bad some self-awareness didn’t get get caught in his ass, too. He’s playing a reckless, stupid game, largely because he thinks he’s a genius. He’s primarily being dumb because he’s being not just transparent, but a damn billboard, broadcasting everything because he’s incapable of keeping his mouth shut. Telling people he has “a master strategy,” is idiotic, never mind the way he gives up his plans just because he wants other people to be impressed by him. HOH just made him more arrogant. Also, that scrunched-up face he makes is starting to annoy me.

Laura
She really impressed me when she figured out the way Ronnie played the two halves of the house against each other. Otherwise, eh.

Chima
Her speech on Thursday was genius and it’s about time someone called out a bigot, never mind said something other than the stupid “I respect you all” pandering nonsense. However, her attitude is atrocious and obnoxious; the shit she said to Casey–who’s no gem–during the product placement challenge Sunday night was so stupid. Threatening him so openly isn’t even brave, it was just pointless, just like her response to her losses in the other challenges.

Russell
He was smart enough to realize that being in a clique is working against him in the larger game, but stupid enough to have a crazy scary outburst. It’s one thing to yell as part of an argument or as strategy, which is what his fight with Jeff appeared to be, but another to flip out for no reason.

Jordan
A complete idiot. But we knew that.

Lydia
I HAVE NO IDEA. WHY SHE SHOUTED. HER HOSTING OF THE. POV COMPETITION. IN A HALTING WAY. I turned the volume down and almost muted it because she was so grating.

Casey
His fake bad-boy cockiness worked tonight when he got to pretend to be excited about seeing The Ugly Truth with Chima, as the movie apparently bought two episodes worth of product placement.

Review: Married at First Sight

Marriage At First Sight

In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

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.