The Reality TV Guru

At last, along with the heat of summer, Big Brother 13 begins!

Leading into tonight’s show, eight cast members were profiled, along with six duos identified from past seasons. Three of these duos will arrive at the house with the eight newbies, who will no doubt be surprised by their reappearance. We’re introduced to the first eight as they get their house keys and start packing — clothes, bikini underwear, Bible and all, but no laptops or cellphones which would certainly get confiscated by the BSA (BigBrother Security Administration).

Adam Poch, 39, East Brunswick, N.J. (living in Hoboken, N.J.), Music Inventory Manager
Cassi Colvin, 26, Allen, Texas (living in Nashville, Tenn.), Model
Dominic Briones, 25, San Mateo, Calif., College Student at San Francisco State
Kalia Booker, 30, Philadelphia, Pa. (living in Los Angeles), Writer
Keith Henderson, 32, Bolingbrook, Ill., Human Resources Manager and Church-active
Lawon Exum, 39, Urbana, Ill. (living in Inglewood, Calif.), Legal File Clerk
Porsche Briggs, 23, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (living in Miami Beach, Fla.), VIP Cocktail Waitress
Shelly Moore, 41, Centerville, Ohio (living in Prairieville, La.), Outdoors Industry Executive

The six veteran duos from past seasons are Brendon & Rachel, Hayden & Enzo, Jeff & Jordan, Jessie & Natalie, Dick & Daniele, and Will & Mike. We’ll soon find out which of these three duos become double trouble for the household.

The show starts with our dear, saccharine-sweet dressed-in-red hostess Julie “Chenbot” Chen inviting us to watch a new summer of intrigue, power plays, psychological meltdowns, and evisceration of souls already sold to a broadcasting entity in a 35-page contract duly signed on the dotted line. At the doorstep, she tells them to look around and, as if obeying the edict of a robotic controller, they glance left and right, assessing their future housemates.

It’s all good now, but that’s bound to change. Then Chenbot picks out Porsche, Dominic, Lawon and Shelly as the first group and instructs them to enter the house and choose a bed. Full of excitement, they rush into the house, look around and head upstairs to pick their beds, guys in one room, gals in the other. Then the other four — Cassi, Kalia, Keith, and Adam — rush in to stake out their turf in the midst of laughter, hugging and dancing such as seen only on the first day until the inevitably grim future realities run their courses in the coming days, weeks and months.

In the meantime, they check each other out, with Keith in particular carefully assessing the ladies’ ample assets and potential to join his Angel flock. As they introduce themselves to each other, the first in what will be a long string of false histories and pathological lies emerge as some of them fib even about such a simple thing as what they do for a living. In case you’re wondering, not all matchmakers make matches and not all students study university course subjects.

Then, as they are seated, another order comes from the robot goddess above to pair up. After a few quick moves and leftovers remaining to be stuck together, Shelly & Cassi, Keith & Porsche, Dominic & Adam, and Lawon & Kalia are partners. Watch out, the racy Porsche has met its match with a Keith that moves even faster at the green light. But all of them sense that something is amiss — rather, missing. Shouldn’t there be more hamsters in the cage, with all of those dining room place settings? Lo and behold, the voice from above speaks to answer to their doubts and fears, informing them that three already paired duos will soon arrive to join them. With this news, the eight newbies agree to stick together against the coming forces of evil (little do they know that Evel will indeed soon greet them in person).

Ding dong! Avon calling! Well, not quite. Personal vanity passes through that door, but not vanity products. The first to walk in are Brendon & Rachel from last season and jaws drop as the newbies are in awe. Some of them suddenly begin to realize the very real threat of the new enemy in their midst. And in their midst, the enemy laughs, a heartless ninny laugh that increasingly grates nerves with each repetition. Ding dong! again and Jeff & Jordan stroll in to see eight newbies and the other veteran couple among them. Just as the party gets started, ding dong! for a third time and Evel Dick crosses the threshold with a barely recognizable raven-haired Daniele in tow. Blood drains from the faces of some of the newbies as they realize the formidable situation they have gotten themselves into. Daniele & Evel supposedly haven’t spoken to each other in three years and she says she wouldn’t hesitate to send him packing, but is this another ploy not only to fool their housemates, but even us?

At last, the first Head of Household (HOH) competition begins. Large bananas are hanging on ropes, with both players from a team going on the banana and the last person to stay on is declared the winner. As they hang, they are first hit with chocolate then cream. Weakling Shelly is quickly the first one out, followed by Jordan. One by one, they drop until only Rachel, Dick and Daniele remain. Rachel strikes a deal with Daniele and Dick — if she becomes HOH, she won’t put them on the block if they drop. Dick lets go first and then after Daniele gets Rachel to swear by it, she drops too, leaving the ninnyhammer Rachel as the HOH victor. Rachel says outright that there is no way anybody is going to make her let go of her hanging banana. (Ahem! Kinda clingy, eh?)

Finally, the Chenbot turns the screws once more and introduces another twist: “Being nominated this summer will be both a blessing and a curse! As in the past, one house guest will be evicted, but a huge advantage awaits the house guest that survives the chopping block. It’s called the Big Brother Golden Key. The Golden Key guarantees a spot in the top 10. Anyone who survives in the first four weeks cannot be nominated till only 10 of you remain. And because the holder of the Golden Key cannot be evicted, they will not participate in any competitions during that time. However, they will vote for eviction.” Whoops, there goes at least half a dozen preplanned strategies. As the wizened sages of old oft said, not all golden keys lead to riches.

Is the Golden Key more a blessing or a curse? And for who?

Meanwhile, it’s time to pop another Endomol.

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