Julie Chen challenges a dismissive Braden about his bad Big Brother 11 behavior

Just like the producers’ editing of the raw footage into a sanitized version of actual events in the Big Brother 11 house, Julie Chen’s interview with Braden that aired on The Early Show this morning gave its own anchor zero credit by editing out her best work. When the edited version was introduced by Harry Smith, he even called Braden “the surfer that everyone seemed to like,” which should give you an idea of the general tone of the two-minute piece.

Thankfully, CBS has posted Julie Chen’s entire, unedited 15-minute interview with evictee Braden Bacha, and Braden is pretty smarmy, dismissive, and delusional (“I was hoping people would be more open-minded”), while Julie is surprisingly confrontational with him, continually challenging him—and it is totally awesome. She’s measured and even gentle, for the most part, which works as she calmly asks questions, repeating answers or following up when his answers make no sense. The whole thing is fantastic for its awkwardness, so definitely watch it (below). Toward the end, she says, “Is it me?” No, Julie, it’s definitely him.

If only Julie had done this on, you know, live television. She never gets specific with him—she doesn’t mention the language he used nor Chima’s accusation—but it’s obvious what she’s referring to. At one point, Julie asked, “Are you ashamed or embarrassed by any of your behavior in the house or anything you said in the house?” and Braden, referring to the fight during which he used a racial slur, said, “I feel bad and I apologized. They definitely deserved it and people that are on your bad side, you know, I despise them, I don’t really care about them.”

Julie pointed out his flagrant hypocrisy, and he said “unfortunately, some things get misunderstood.” She challenged him on that, and he just repeated the question. Eventually, he said, “They didn’t give me a chance to explain myself, so that’s how the cookie crumbled,” and then he just wrote the whole thing off. Not that we should expect much introspection here: In the Q&A, he correctly answered a true/false question about the news that Sarah Palin resigned as governor but then asked “Did she win president?”

Julie also asked about Chima’s accusation (i.e. Chima saying Braden called Julie “a whore”), saying, “Was she wrong?” Braden replied, “I think she’s always wrong,” and then avoided the question. The story, by the way, is that Braden apparently referred to Julie Chen as a “ho” during a game of Simon Says, according to feed watcher reports.

Overall, Julie Chen really impressed me here; I just wish she’d done this on the live show, rather then letting herself be used as the producers’ pawn to construct their version of reality. Watch her tear Braden apart in a really artful way:

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