July 09, 2009 07:19 PM by Ryan Haidet
52 cameras. 80 microphones. 13 contestants. 5 billion episodes to soak in this summer. OK…maybe not that many, but it sure does seem like it sometimes — the show that takes three nights a week (Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays) and loads of dedication from its fans has returned. For its 11th season, Big Brother on CBS has gone back to high school with the contestants separated into four high school cliques. But that’s not the only thing from the reality giant with the motto “expect the unexpected.” A former contestant from the game has returned to play again.
It all got underway with the newest batch of Big Brother stars getting their keys to the house. Since this season is all about high school cliques, which are always based on judging others on first impressions, I figured I’d join in. Ronnie, a computer geek from Ohio, had such an unbelievable reaction when he found his key near his keyboard that I was embarrassed for him. C’mon CBS, we know they are ready for the key to be there — why else would you have the cameras there? So his reaction, just like everybody else, was extremely fake and produced — it even seemed like the producers scripted their introductory lines. Sheesh.
Then we have Braden — the young surfer guy who seems pretty laid back. “Surfing is better than sex,” he said. “Mother Nature doesn’t talk back.” Quite the character already.
The most notable first impression came from Jordan — the popular girl with more looks than brains, which she even admitted in this premiere episode! Plus, anybody who refers to sex as “booger” just gets a notch in the weird book from me. She should be fun to watch.
Entering The House
After gathering together on the front steps, the first four players entered the house and ran around searching for the best bedroom. By the time the final group got inside, they were left with just the pool bedroom, which is complete with raft beds and a sliding board in the corner.
It certainly didn’t look comfortable — and its residents including Lydia and Jeff didn’t seem too excited.
- Casey was irritated already with the way Chima laughs at her own jokes. And I can’t really blame him — her laugh is going to be the irritating one of the summer. But can it top Keesha‘s from last season? I’m not so sure about that!
- Michele played down the fact that she actually has a Ph.D.
- Natalie lied to the group about her age saying she was only 18 instead of 24. She felt doing that would make everybody think she was a young, dumb girl. But Kevin didn’t seem to fall for it, since in a confessional he said he thought she was more like 25.
A quick clink of their drinking glasses preceded Julie Chen’s announcement of the first twist of the season.
Big Brother High School
As they all sat in the living room, Julie came on over the TV screen and said that “Cliques rule the school, and this summer on Big Brother, they’re going to rule the game.” Many of them gasped with Kevin saying he hated the idea.
Here’s how it works — the contestants have each been divided into one of four groups — Athletes, Popular, Offbeats and Brains. Even though they are coupled together in a clique, they are all still playing the game as an individual. The plus side to being in a group — if somebody they are partnered with becomes Head Of Household, nobody in that clique can be nominated for eviction that week.
With some displeased, others were excited about the twist — like Braden who said his best years were in high school. Casey was also happy to have other people to depend on since he is older than everybody else by nearly 10 years.
But with a show that is a summer tradition, why take it back to high school? Didn’t summer just start?
Hangin’ By Their Underpants
Just in time for the first HOH competition, everybody went to the back yard to find which clique they are in. Their names had been plastered on toilet seats that were hanging from a structure above.
Here’s how everybody has been divvied up:
- Athletes: Jeff, Russell and Natalie.
- Offbeat: Kevin, Casey and Lydia.
- Popular: Jordan, Braden and Laura.
- Brains: Ronnie, Chima and Michele.
Newly separated, it was now time for the HOH competition. Everybody stepped into a giant pair of underwear attached to a bungie. It was a simple challenge of endurance — the last person left standing while getting a giant wedgie and holding onto their toilet seat would win HOH for their group. But nobody would win HOH individually — instead a mystery 13th houseguest would get that power.
Familiar Faces Return
Which clique won the first challenge was the determining factor for the 13th houseguest. Four former players were there representing the different cliques. For the Offbeats there was Cowboy from season five. Jessica was a representative for the Popular crowd from season eight. Back from season 10 was Brian for the Brains. Finally, muscle man himself, Jessie from season 10 was there for the Athletes.
Whichever group won, the 13th houseguest would get to join the group and become the first HOH. The competition began and each were getting gigantic wedgies while holding onto their toilet seats. Russell gave a genius description of what a wedgie is — when somebody grabs your underwear and yanks it and it hurts. Wow. Definitely not a member of the Brains.
Michele was struggling early on and was the first to drop out of the challenge. Then Ronnie, also a member of the Brains, fell second.
After a few seconds of super wedgies in which the bungies moved up and down quickly, several other contestants dropped off leaving only the Popular group and the Athletes.
Braden was the last to drop off for the Popular group, which meant that the Athletes won the first HOH and brought Jessie back into the house.
Fantastic. Ego returns.
Stay tuned for Sunday night’s episode when Jessie nominates the first two houseguests for eviction.
Images by Sonja Flemming & John Filo/CBS.
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