Terribly edited Big Brother episode resurrects Keith, gets twist wrong, explains little

Say what you will about the editing of Big Brother–it’s formulaic, it’s juvenile, it misrepresents what actually happens either by oversimplification or by omission–but the show’s editors have very little time to produce each episode. Most shows have weeks or months to do what their editors do in days or even hours.

Still, that’s no excuse for last night’s episode, by far the most useless episode of the season, and not just because it brought evicted houseguest Keith back for one sequence and got the name of one of this season’s twist elements. Most of it was spent setting up Dominic versus Adam, which essentially spoiled the nominations. And those of us who don’t watch the live feeds still have no clear idea why the newbies changed their votes.

During the episode, Daniele was identified as a Golden Ticket Holder, even though she actually holds a golden key and is not a character in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. In other things producers probably didn’t notice, a crew member’s face was visible in the reflection of the glass that they film through. Worse, Keith–who was evicted last Thursday–was repeatedly and obviously in the back yard during the sequence when Brendon and Dominic dressed up and acted stupid. Dominic said he was kissing up to the returnees (“even if it costs me my integrity and my pride running around in some stupid towel Superman costume”), but that obviously happened well before they retained power, since Keith was in a chair behind Brendon and Dominic the whole time.

All of that would be forgivable and simply amusing if the episode had included actual content. Obnoxiously, though, it didn’t tell us much of anything beyond illustrating that the newbies are insecure players.

Dominic felt “shanked multiple times” by the votes against Keith and Lawon said, “I have been completely blindsided. (Since he was wearing a hideous scarf on his head, I thought he said that he was “blind”; I was also distracted by him saying “that gots me furious” while wearing a Yale logo on his clothing, which I’m sure Yale appreciated.)

Those who voted that way didn’t confess, thus brewing paranoia. Kalia voted against Keith, but joined in complaining that someone voted the other way (“not just one somebody, too”). She told us, “I’m not telling them it’s me, either.” As if her vote, which helped turn the newbies’ numbers into a minority, wasn’t enough of a way to chip at that group’s self-confidence, Kalia then went and told Rachel. Likewise, Dominic went to both Daniele and Jeff to try to save himself, although it didn’t work: He and Adam were nominated.

Some of that can be expected, kissing up to the HOH and her partner, but the newbies don’t seem to trust each other and appear to trust the returnees, which is baffling. The effect of the returning houseguests combined with their winning the first two HOHs (and food competitions) has been to absolutely cripple the newbies, which just exacerbates their incredibly low self esteem: They aren’t playing hard because they are scared and deferential.

Instead of a coherent explanation about why they voted the way they did, we got Rachel salivating over the ridiculous competition, which was designed to look like a picnic: “I just want to hang out and have a picnic with me and Brendon.” Even if the editors and producers think they are mocking Rachel and Brendon every time they include stuff like that, or like Rachel saying “Normally, I’m totally okay being on the bottom” and then following it with her scary laugh, they are torturing us, because we already endured one summer of this nonsense.

There was some minor drama when Kalia started crying in pain after the challenge ended, stuck in a tunnel with Lawon strapped to her back as the show went to commercial. A medic even came into the back yard and they cut their costume off of them to free Lawon, but there was nothing wrong: “Most of my tears were fear,” Kalia said.

Get ready for a dumb HOH competition on Thursday: The poll we were directed to after the episode consists of questions that are difficult to answer since we know very little about the houseguests, and because there is no question like, “Which ignorant houseguest thinks Dumbledore is a child molester?” Instead, we’re asked things like “Which HouseGuest would you want to give you mouth to mouth resuscitation?” and “Which HouseGuest believes their face should be on Mount Rushmore?” Since the houseguests will be asked to guess what they think viewers selected about questions upon which we have to mostly guess, might as well just roll the dice and save Julie Chen the anxiety associated with moderating a live competition.

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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.