Door hits Rachel in the Brendon on the way out of the Big Brother house

Why did no one warn me that Wednesday’s episode of Big Brother 12 was the single most excruciating thing on TV this year? The problem with skipping it–there was so much excellent TV on that I just didn’t have time or the desire–and watching it back-to-back with Thursday’s is that I got out of the habit and realized I just really didn’t care. Last year I cared because I hated them; in season six I cared because it was an amazing game. This year I just tune in, but the season is so ephemeral and my annoyance with the houseguests is so extreme that watching was like choking down a charcoal briquette. The sad part is that things are finally getting more interesting, but five weeks of these people doing nothing drained me to zero.

On Wednesday’s episode, Brendon and Rachel were so irrational, so delusional, and so hypocritical that it was unbearable. Unbearable. I’d rather watch Rachel and Brendon make out for an hour while I chewed broken glass. From Brendon calling Britney a “selfish” “spoiled brat” to Rachel crying about her nomination, I could barely take it. “It’s not just a game, it is personal,” said the person in a relationship who used coming between her and her man as the reason for every vote she cast. I literally stopped and deleted the episode in the middle of the post-veto diary room segment when she was crying again.

Jeff and Jordan showed up just to host the veto competition–it wasn’t much of a visit, in other words–and the contrast was striking. “We became friends before we started dating,” Jeff said, which may not have been intended as criticism of Rachel and Brendon’s immediate smooch-fest, but worked well, especially as Brendon talked about Rachel as the future mother of his children. While I generally loathe the family interview segments during the live shows, I appreciate that they’ve been used well this year, including last night’s interview with Brendon’s ex, who said she’s a Rachel fan in part because Brendon told her the same things when they were dating.

The bowling veto competition Jeff and Jordan hosted was actually really good, and–dare I say it?–more well-conceived than Survivor’s pedestrian bowling competition. And there was real strategy involved, since they had to pick an opponent. However, since Brendon and Rachel both fell out right away, the editors ended up showing it to us in fast-forward, basically, because there was no remaining drama except for Rachel trying to talk Brendon down on the loser couches (“Please be classy, please?”).

Ironically, Brendon’s plan to deflect attention from Rachel, by attacking Britney and Ragan during the veto ceremony, actually worked, if pissing everyone off counts as working. It was a very short-sighted plan, because if he stayed, he will have a difficult time coming back from that. He later promised, “I’ll win HOH and I’ll watch all you cockroaches scramble.”

During the live show, Brendon seriously compared himself to a Salem woman being accused of witchcraft and said he was “persecuted.” Shut the fuck up, Brendon. The houseguests voted Rachel out unanimously, and their relationship is finally over, though I’m sure we’ll have to tolerate Brendon moping for at least a week. At least the results of the HOH competition will keep the momentum up.

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.