Brendon leaves, freeing us from Brenchel, unless the twist brings him back

The nauseating couple known as Brenchel was split up on Big Brother last night, though there is hope their dysfunctional love can continue on television.

Settling into the idea that they were going to be split up, Brendon told Rachel, “I’m gonna invent something that’s going to help cure cancer, I’m gonna patent it, then we’ll make money for the rest of our lives.” That is stunning and horrifying and perfectly illustrative of their delusion; it was also hilarious when Rachel followed up by saying she just wanted the half million dollars. Screw cancer!

Most of Wednesday’s episode was spent on Brendon’s complex plan to fake out Daniele and act like he would save himself, but secretly save Rachel, thereby forcing HOH Daniele to, I don’t know, do nothing differently. It was amazing how amazing he thought that plan was.

Between Rachel’s many visits to the psychologist in the Diary Room, there was the potential for something dramatic to happen, like her leaving with Brendon during the live show. That didn’t happen; instead, we got some tears, including a wrinkled face that caused the normally comatose studio audience to laugh as Rachel cast her vote to evict Jordan. Overall, Rachel was remarkably restrained, perhaps just because she didn’t tear out her extensions and throw a chair through a mirrored window. In her goodbye message–taped, I learned from the producers, on Wednesday, a full day early–Rachel hilariously said, “We have the rest of our lives together, and our babies will always see our love story on DVD.”

As to the rest of the live show, Julie Chen seems to be reverting back to her Chenbot 1.0 programming, and her hair was short-circuiting. The episode also included an unnecessary segment for Dick to brag about himself and just make me grateful that he left; he creates chaos, which would have been awesome, but that ego plus Brenchel would have been a bit much.

The HOH competition that included some technical difficulties (fish!) and swearing (“Rachel! Houseguests, let’s keep it clean,” Julie admonished when Rachel lost), but had a great result: Kalia and Shelly were the final two, and I was thrilled with either choice, and evne more happy that Kalia won. That likely means Daniele will stay in the house and also keeps the power dynamic shifted a bit; if Jeff, Jordan, or Rachel would have won HOH, the next week would have been less interesting.

So, I go into the next week with renewed hope, and the accidentally leaked twist will present interesting possibilities, though perhaps not if Rachel gets evicted and viewers vote Brendon back to compete in the Redemption Island duel.

I’m not quite sure what I think of Julie telling the houseguests that next week’s evicted houseguest will have a chance to get back into the game, which could lead them to play a more cautious game, nominating and voting out someone they wouldn’t mind returning next week. But at this point, any drama would be welcome.

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

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.