Big Brother MVP gets nomination power, houseguests get sprayed in the face

Those hoping Big Brother would change or evolve probably had their dreams crushed in the first few minutes, as Julie Chen twirled awkwardly in the house to find new camera angles and the cast pretended awkwardly to be surprised that they were cast and that cameras were there to capture that moment. At least we know they’re not actors, and at least we know that the CBS reality show is what it nearly always has been for the past decade: bad, campy, and thoroughly satisfied with its mediocrity in standard definition.

But there are some interesting toppings on our mediocre pie this summer: First is the announcement that, surprise, the MVP selected by viewers will be responsible for nominating the third houseguest.

It’s all secret, which makes it ripe for conspiracy theories inside and outside the house, and I can’t decide what I think about that. (I did really like Glass House‘s transparency, ahem, about how viewers ranked the cast, because it affected their game play.) As Nick described the power, it’s “all the reward, none of the risk.” We have to wait until Tuesday to see who that is, unless they reveal it first on the live feeds.

The second-biggest change is that Julie Chen’s studio has finally been upgraded, relegating the audience of clapping sheep to the shadows, and replacing the TVs on stands with a large screen. It’s actually pretty great, because it is not merely a new facade on the exact same everything.

The cast–with their super-secret, day-one, all-the-way alliances–certainly seems familiar, but this is also episode one, and they’ll hopefully differentiate themselves as individuals rather than placeholders for the same slots that CBS and the producers fill every year. Elissa doesn’t exactly look like Rachel, but she has the exact same facial expressions and inflection, and since Rachel is practically the face of the show, others started figuring that out immediately.

McCrae is one of the wildcard cast members; he’s a pizza delivery boy who the rest of the cast is convinced isn’t one (heh), and who is consistently surprising. “I’m not gay, but if I was, I’d tear him apart,” McCrae said of Howard. If the rest of the houseguests don’t end up getting rid of him because he’s different and/or suspicious, he could be a very interesting player.

Meanwhile, the new CBS live feeds started with technical glitches, but revealed that the have-not room is exactly what people suspected; the TVGN After Dark show debuted with a censor’s hand on a button to make sure no one hears any bad words.

But at least there’s no restriction on ejaculating challenges during prime-time broadcast TV, because that’s what the first HOH challenge was, using a near-identical set-up for past challenges and having the houseguests cling to large phalluses while being ejaculated on–and this time, being slapped by a large tongue, too. If you didn’t realize it before the houseguests climbed on for their wet ride, Big Brother is back.

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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.