No power shift in the Big Brother house leaves more time for Rachel to demasculanate Brendon

An audience of automatons dutifully staring straight ahead, Julie Chen wearing a pantsuit that matches the color of her cards, and a drama-free challenge: Yes, it was time for our first live show of Big Brother 13.

On Wednesday, before he was vaporized, Dick took credit for Rachel’s nominations (“they were my choices”) and Jeff admitted that he was fine letting Dick take control and the credit/blame. That made me instantly glad that Dick was about to leave. While he is a huge shit-stirrer, his exit means the all-stars actually have to play on their own.

Of course, what they actually did was have an absurdly juvenile and spoiled brat response. “Fuck this game. Why are we here any more?” Brendon asked, and Jordan said, “It’s not fair, now.” The entitlement was appalling. Jeff was the only voice of reason, finally interrupting the pity-fest to yell at them. “I’m not going to fucking walk around bitching and moaning and [shitting?] my pants.”

After getting her golden key, Daniele moped around. “It’s stupid; it’s not fair,” she said. “I can’t play in any veto; I can’t play in any HOH. Why am I here?” She added, “I don’t want to sit on the sidelines for four weeks and do nothing.”

That’s actually an interesting point, however annoyingly it was delivered. We’ll have a growing pile of people who can’t play in competitions nor be nominated. On top of that, one thing that really blows about the game changes this season is that, if this week is any indication, the nominees have no interest in competing for the veto, because they have their eyes on the golden key rather than elimination. It basically lost its consequence on Wednesday, and I can’t see that changing any time soon, even though Keith’s cockiness did get him sent out the door first.

Although Keith said he was “very shocked” to be evicted, his speech seemed like he’d resigned himself to going home–but I suppose it was mostly cockiness. He was good about his eviction, though; when Julie asked him if he got played, Keith said, “I did.” (If you miss Keith, you can watch him on the web series Genuine Ken: The Search for The Great American Boyfriend, on which he was a cast member.)

Speaking of Julie Chen, besides showing footage of Dominic getting humped by Keith and describing that as “painful” (oh, Julie), she attempted some actual hosting but did so in a painfully awful way. When she gave Daniele a chance to talk to Dick, Julie said, “No, ‘I love you’?” Daniele said, “Oh my gosh, that’s so awkward.” Of all the things for Julie to challenge someone on, it’s whether an estranged daughter loves her asshole father? Sigh. (Before casting her vote, Daniele–still rattled by the question–told Julie, “I do love my father.” It seemed far less sincere than earlier, when she said that the game “is his life–which is disgusting and embarrassing”).

Dominic seems like he has some game in him, so I was disappointed when he lost HOH and Jordan won. Her win makes me significantly less interested in the next week of competition because the returnees remain in control. The show and game work best when power flips, but this win plus this season’s structure means there’s little chance of that. Alas. I hope the newbies don’t just play dead again this week and let themselves be pulled into alliances with the smaller, ultimately less-powerful group, but I’m not hopeful.

Instead, what we’ll probably get is more of our second season in a row of the producers’ infatuation with Rachel and Brendon and their kissing noises. This week, the had a fight over Rachel’s use of his nickname. “It is something that’s very private for me,” Brendon told us in the Diary Room. He was talking about Rachel’s pet name for him, not his penis, obviously. The only good part about all of this was the way they made up words. Calling herself “a hot, beautiful fiance” (glad she thinks of herself as more than a body–yay, feminism), Rachel said she made Brendon feel “demasculanized,” and later he said she’d agreed not to “demasculanate” him. That sounds painful. Best of all, Brendon told Rachel, “I am trying to get in the medical profession and be a professional,” Brendon said, as if her nickname alone would ruin that opportunity for him. Someone is completely unaware of what he’s doing on national television, never mind on Skype.

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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.