Tonight’s premiere began with Julie Chen on the Big Brother set telling us that we were going to experience a new season of drama, fun and betrayal. She also let us know that twelve new house guests would begin the battle for a half million dollars and they would not be alone because four of the greatest houseguests of all time would be joining them to play a new game with new rules and a new prize.
That all sounds well and good, but Big Brother’s next move was to declare that four of the most competitive, most popular house guests of all time were coming back and therein lies the rub. One person’s popular is another’s ho-hum and, for me, not all of the all-stars were worth writing home about. To up the ante, another twist was thrown into the game. Instead of coming back as players, the four person dream team was coming back in a coaching role.
Before we get to that, let’s talk about what happened when the lucky twelve arrived at the Big Brother house. The houseguests were sent in to the house in groups of four. The first four in were Wil Heuser, Ashley Iocco, Jodi Rollins and Frank Eudy. Frank opted for the largest bed in the house in the hopes that it might force one of the ladies to have to share the bed with him. The second group consisted of Ian Terry, Jenn Arroyo, Danielle Murphree and Shane Meaney. Lastly we had Joe Arvin, Jojo Spatafora, Kara Monaco and Willie Hantz.
The jockeying and lying begin as soon as everyone is seated in the living room. Danielle suddenly becomes a Kindergarten teacher — I guess being a nurse is way too threatening for this crowd. Ian immediately falls in love with Kara. Danielle thinks that because Shane works with his hands he would be a good catch (and she is now working on three degrees – up from two in her earlier video interview). Ashley explains her mobile tanning business and suddenly you can hear crickets chirp. Willie is planning to demolish everyone and doesn’t realize that Ian has already figured out that he is a Hantz.
It is at this point that our intrepid warriors learn that they will be coached by the superstar individuals described earlier by the Chenbot. And just who might these ultimate warriors be? It turns out that they are: Britney Haynes, Dan Gheesling, Janelle Pierzina and Mike “Boogie” Malin. Now I will grant you that it is difficult to argue against Janelle who holds more challenge and veto records than any Big Brother player ever or “Chill Town” Boogie, but Dan and Britney as most competitive and most popular ever. Come on, Britney was crushed by a foursome of meat heads back in Season 12.
The big twist is that each of these Coaches is going to pick three house guests and mentor them throughout the remainder of the season. The coach with the winning guest wins $100,000. Prior to selecting their teams the coaches and players mingle for a short time. In what has to be the worst kept secret in the history of television, Dan, Janelle and Boogie figure out Willie is a Hantz in less time than it took Russell Hantz to lose the final vote on Survivor. Britney, despite the fact that everyone around her is discussing this fact, seems to completely miss it.
The players all think Dan and Janelle would make good coaches and Ian sums Mike Boogie up when he tells him he was ten when he first saw him on Big Brother and that he is in complete awe of him. The lame duck is, of course, Britney. Nobody knows how she’ll do as a coach, but they’ll all know soon enough.
Typically, in seasons past, all houseguests received a key along with their invitations to the Big Brother house. But tonight the recipients didn’t receive keys with their invites and a number of them commented on that fact during the opening of the show. Julie decides now is a good time to toss out the house key grenade.
It turns out that the reason for the missing keys is that there are twelve invitations and only eleven keys. Once the teams are selected this evening, there will be a team event in which one person from the winning team will be named head of household and one person from the losing team will be sent home. The coach of each respective team will make the call as to which player is sent where. Sending someone home on the first night is unheard of on Big Brother and the news is not well received.
A random drawing is held to see which coach gets to pick the first team member for his or her team. Britney lucks out and wins first pick. During the selection process, it dawned on Willie that the coaches were on to him because he went late in the draft.
The full list of team choices with the complete order of selection is as follows:
The first competition is a slumber party in which each team must put on PJs and then send a player across three mattresses to pick up a large Teddy Bear from a bin of bears. The player must then return back across the three mattresses and place the bear on a shelf at the beginning of the course. After all of a team’s players have retrieved bears, one player must race back across the mattresses and turn off a night light to complete the course. If a player falls off any of the mattresses they must return to the beginning of the course to the mattress closest to the end where they fell off and start again.
This being Big Brother, it wouldn’t be any fun unless the mattresses slapped the crap out of the players as they crossed. The mattress closest to the beginning of each row shifted steeply back and forth in multiple directions simulating a ship in really rough waters. The second mattress is flat and spins quickly 360 degrees while the third is like a really soft teeter totter that thuds solidly to the floor on either end as soon as you step on it. Stepping from the middle mattress to the teeter totter and to the flat area in front of the Teddy Bear bin is quite treacherous. The only relief for the teams is that they can swap one player out of this mayhem after 20 minutes.
All of the teams except Dan’s are fairly evenly matched. Most are able to get two players through without too much damage, but each team’s number three player is spending most of their time flopping on the floor. Dan’s all female team is taking a serious beating with Kara being the only one to make it across with a bear. I predicted in my original overview that Jodi would fail miserably at her first physical challenge and I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so. I will point out that a three legged dog could have done better than Danielle in this challenge as well.
Britney’s team of Shane, Willie and Jojo takes the lead and finally wins the first competition. Janelle and Mike have to resort to substitutions to finish second and third while poor Dan has no one to turn to for help as his hopes fade away. Dan, the most competitive of the three coaches ends up with the last place team.
Back inside the house it is time for the Coaches to make some serious decisions. Britney has to choose a Head of Household and Dan has to send someone packing. My belief that Britney has no clue that Willie is a Hantz is reinforced by her selection of him as HOH. There is no way that anyone would knowingly elect Willie Head of Household if they knew he was a Hantz. The three other coaches will eat him alive given any opportunity.
Dan, on the other hand, had to pick between the lesser of two evils. It was obvious he was trying to justify his pick based on potential future challenges that would be mental as well as physical. Jodi certainly gave everything she had physically, but it just wasn’t enough. Danielle gave something physically, but she failed worse than Jodi and even admitted it. I think Dan just went with the person who he felt would give him the better chance over the long haul.
Ian sums up the evening by saying that in all the years he’s been watching the show he’s never seen anything so cruel in a long time of watching the game.