reality TV reviews and news

Glass House embraces its fun, strategic sides, giving players tough choices

The Glass House tied its season-low ratings last night, meaning the Olympics didn’t have any additional impact on the show (while Bachelor Pad fell to its series low). Its fans are sticking with it, but the low ratings are somewhat tragic because last night’s episode was, in a season of uneven episodes, clearly the best to date.

It managed to mix ridiculousness with really interesting strategy and choices, and thus realized its potential as both a show and game. Sure, it’s nowhere near the level of what a great episode of Survivor would be, but it was a thoroughly entertaining hour. The cold open–the cast singing (and then lip-syncing, thanks to dropped audio and clever editing) Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”–may have spoiled the results of the soon-to-be-revealed elimination, but demonstrated one of the many, many things this show Big Brother has been lacking and that a summer show needs: fun.

The big twist has been done before, but played out differently here. The players were offered different amounts of money to leave the house immediately. On other shows, egos might get in the way because people are convinced they can still win (and arguably did here, as Gene immediately dismissed the idea of taking cash to leave), but Stephanie knows she remains unpopular. Unlikely to win, she took $37,600 and bailed–though she didn’t seen to realize that meant she had to leave immediately until Ori barked, “Stephanie, please leave.”

Later, there was another chance for interesting game play. Although I strongly prefer head-to-head challenges, I liked the ability of the players to sabotage their own teams to benefit themselves–which, of course, may not benefit them in the eyes of the viewers who are voting. Sometimes it seems like Erica is the only one who consistently remembers that viewer love is all they are competing for. “When are you people going to realize that there is no strategy?” she said during the British-accented conversation that was both serious and comical.