Zingbot, Rachel’s return give us the first great episode of Big Brother 12

I spent about half of Wednesday’s episode of Big Brother 12 with my mouth hanging open in shock: first, at the Zingbot, the single most ridiculous thing the show has ever done; second, at Rachel and Ragan’s epic argument about nothing; and third, at the fact that this season finally delivered an episode that was engaging, entertaining, and didn’t drag. It was the single best episode the show has aired all summer.

The second the Zingbot, someone dressed up in a terrible robot costume, ducked through the doorway and came in the house, I laughed. I usually find the producers’ attempts at humor to be misguided, mean-spirited, or just boring, but this was hilarious–everything from the voice to the lame zings to the way it walked super-slowly with stilted arm movements. Perfect.

The Zingbot showed up to host the veto competition, for which the houseguests had to dress in the cheapest robot costumes ever made, ever. They basically were wearing dryer exhaust tubes on their arms and a t-shirt with buttons printed on it. The challenge itself was just a puzzle, but the physical challenge of having to stay on a balance beam and turntable made it a bit more interesting. I’d probably be more critical if I wasn’t still laughing at the damn Zingbot.

Earlier, Brendon nominated Ragan and Lane for eviction, and Ragan was particularly broken up by this, which I mostly attribute to the fact that he’s been locked in that tiny house for so long; it’s just time to lose it. He proved that by telling Britney, “I just think that you are such a kind, beautiful, intelligent human being, and I really love you,” and saying, “Matt is such a stand-up, amazing guy.” Both times, he forgot to say “ZING!” I think Ragan’s going to have a rough time when he finds out Matt’s a liar and annoying, and Britney’s been doing nothing but attempting to be nasty all season.

Anyway, Ragan won the veto, which opened up the possibility of a Brigade member going home, as Brendon ultimately nominated Matt, though that twit has the diamond power of veto, which he’ll use tonight.

Before he could use it, though, the producers used their power of manipulation for good–and by good, I mean, good TV, and that’s it. Brendon was given the option of opening Pandora’s Box to give himself something good and unleash something bad on the house. Hilariously, the bad was Rachel (“I’m back, bitches!”) and the good was a trip to a Malibu mansion, where Brendon got a massage and floated in an infinity pool.

This was amazing for two reasons: One, Brendon was absolutely convinced that he’d be spending the time with Rachel because his Pandora’s Box teaser video showed a clip from her porno–at least, that’s what it looked like. But as Brendon went from room to room as if she was playing hide and seek, saying, “I know you’re somewhere. I miss you,” Rachel entered the house he’d left.

Now, I really don’t thoroughly understand the animosity between Ragan and Rachel; although I do remember their fight, which Brendon barged in on, it seems like this came from nowhere. During her 24 hour visit, though, Rachel definitely was the initial antagonist, from her attitude when she walked in the door (“I’m still a juror, so you have to be nice to me”) to her slightly homophobic “Do you have to be the biggest bitch because you’re gay?” comment to Ragan. He didn’t seem to be particularly affected by what she said, except he just ripped her apart: “You’re an absolute monster.”

While Rachel is, in the larger context of the show’s 12-season history, not even close to being all that awful (just refresh your memory about Natalie, for starters, and then work backwards to people like Dick), it was kind of amazing to watch Ragan just destroy her. “Count your friends in the house. Done already?” he said. “Why don’t you get us a drink, waitress?”

In other seasons, the other houseguests would have jumped in and it would have been a big fight, but most of them actually retreated to eavesdrop from the kitchen, scattering when the fight broke up. All of this even gave us something to be outraged over: the editing, which left out a lot, including Rachel’s apology and Ragan’s acceptance of it, never mind other things.

Anyway, I understand why the editors focused only on this. Although Ragan’s taunts were often juvenile–“you’re about as classy as your nasty hair extensions”; “the only thing honest about you is the pimples on your chin”–they were delivered so articulately that they were awesome, literally, and the blank expression on Rachel’s face said it all. It’s really not worthy of summary in print; just watch that part of the episode:

Surprisingly, man not eaten alive on Eaten Alive

Eaten Alive

Discovery Channel’s happy family holiday special Eaten Alive aired Sunday, rewarding viewers for their two full hours of viewing by ensuring that they spent quality time in the company of others instead of wasting that time doing something else that might not have been as satisfying, such as buying things that have labels which accurately reflect their contents.


Winter 2015 reality TV debut schedule

winter 2015 reality TV schedule

Mark your calendars with all these upcoming reality TV show debuts, including Celebrity Apprentice, The Bachelor, and another season of MasterChef Junior, all of which kick off in early January.

There are also 20+ shows debuting in December--including the one-off return of The Sing Off. No winter break for reality TV.

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.