Monday, June 18, 2012

Countdown to BB14 - A Look Back at BB3

.As we countdown to the premiere of Big Brother 14 on July 12th, I'll be taking a brief look back at some of the previous US seasons.  We've come a long way, and a lot of things have changed...

Lisa Donahue, winner of BB3, ushered in a new phase of Big Brother, where they appeared to start casting the show with talent agents to round out the cast of "real people".  Lisa was actually cast very late in the process, when she served drinks to members of production when they visited the bar where she worked.  They seemed to make a conscious effort to hire Beautiful People, some of whom actually knew how to play the game (Marcellas Reynolds, Jason Guy, Lisa herself) and some of whom didn't (Tonya Paoni, Eric Oulette, Amy Crews).   I started watching the live feeds during BB3, and distinctly remembered Lisa coming out of the Diary Room and telling her cast mates that she was told that BB "had the cast they always wanted").

 Here are a few of the notable highlights that come to mind.

1.  BB3 was the season that introduced the Power of Veto, although you could only use it to take someone else off the block.  In other words, you could only piss off the HOH by vetoing one of their nominations, but you couldn't take yourself off the block.  As you might guess, it wasn't used very much, if at all, until they introduced the Golden Power of Veto during the final stages of the game.  This new exciting Power allowed the holder to take themselves off the block.  As you will recall, it wasn't used then either, in what was known as one of the biggest blunders in Big Brother history, Marcellas Reynolds passed on using the Golden POV to save himself and was summarily evicted in shock, and was slapped on the head by Julie Chen for his stubborn stupidity.

2. It's hard to forget Marcellas.  He was the diva of BB3, and was hired by CBS afterwards to host a daily webshow, Housecalls, that aired every day during Big Brother season.  He appeared with a co-host named Gretchen, right up until he appeared on BB7 - All Stars.  He wasn't voted by the public to appear on Big Brother All Stars, much to his quite-obvious surprise, but was appointed to the cast by Production.  Just like Chicken George and Mike Boogie.  Quite the comedown for Marcellas.  He burned his bridges with Management during BB7, making accusations about how the show was fixed, and acting like he should be getting celebrity treatment.  Even Mike Boogie said Marcellas acted like an asshole.  And that's saying something.  But I digress....

3.  This was the first season that a house guest was brought back into the house after being evicted, as Amy Crews stumbled back into the house after spending several weeks in Mexico with a chaperone.  Her return infuriated some of her rivals (Remember Chiara Berti?) but they all listened with rapt attention as she described how strangers recognized her and asked her if she wanted cheese.   Amy was known for her vigorous enjoyment of eating all sorts of cheese, as well as her nightly cocktails.  She also bogarted the wine coolers the house guests were served every night, often enjoying way more than her share.  I forget the brand of wine coolers, but the company providing them was obviously a sponsor.  Amy was "best friends" with Marcellas in the house, but he had no problem evicting her when her time came.  I think she broke the record at the time for being on the block more than anyone else.

4.  This was also the last season that the house guests were allowed to go home after eviction without being sequestered.  Before BB started sequestering the jury during BB4, they all used to go home after eviction, soaking up all of the TV episodes and internet coverage, even watching the live feeds before returning to cast their votes on Finale Night.  It was widely believed that Danielle Reyes was more deserving of the win than Lisa, and that she would have won if the Jury members hadn't seen her Diary Room sessions on TV before casting their vote.  See, Dani came off as a caring Mom-type to her cast mates, but as a conniving shark to the fans through her Diary Room sessions.  She was known for her "Three down, ten to go..." comments in the DR after every eviction.  And she also called Roddy "the devil" countless times.  That isn't too shocking to me, but it was to him.  Dani should have won the season, and that's it.  No one suspected the alliance she made, and this angered the Jury to no end.  They got got.  By Danielle.  So they got her back with their votes for Lisa.

5.  Speaking of Roddy, he was one of my favorite all time Big Brother house guests.  Not only handsome, he was great at conversation, and a pleasure to cover on the live feeds.  He always had something interesting or funny to chat about.  In fact, I often wondered what Roddy was doing on Big Brother.  Why was he there?  He certainly hasn't tried to grab the Reality Spotlight after the show ended.  Let's face it.  Roddy was a freaking hottie.  I have to confess something for the first time ever:  After gazing at Roddy on the live feeds and hearing him describe where he lived, and his roommate's name, I called his house.  I found the number right there on the internet, so I called it.  And then hung up, ashamed, when someone answered.  ***Ooops***

Sorry Roddy.  That is why we have FOTH, and FISH, and DOTS.  To protect the houseguests from we the fans, who feel like we know you.  It won't happen again.  I make a terrible stalker.

6.  One of the most exciting things to happen during BB3 is that Sheryl Crow did a concert for the house guests in the backyard.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Production closed down the backyard to build something, as they often do, and spent at least a day setting up a stage for Sheryl to perform.  The house guests heard a lot of hammering and banging, but had no idea what was going on out there.  The HOH (Lisa) gave them a puzzle to put together, and a minute to do it.  The puzzle said Sheryl Crow was in the backyard.  They were scrambling around to put it together, when Sheryl's band roared into action.  It was surreal.  The live feeds were very slow, blinking out frequently due to the amount of web traffic.  The house guests had their own private concert out there.  I remember Sheryl sang the Steve McQueen song, as well as Soak up the Sun and All I Wanna Do.  In between songs she chatted with the house guests about what was going on with them. and even shook hands with them.  I saw an interview with her later where she said the whole thing kind of freaked her out since they were all starved for news from the outside world.  I don't remember Sheryl going inside the house for a tour.  I think she hightailed it out of there as soon as CBS' check cleared.

I can't post a link to the video, but there is a 10 minute segment on You Tube that shows this part of the CBS show.  It's pretty easy to find. 

Since then, I can recall Neal Patrick Harris (BB7) visiting the house, as well as BB13's visits by David Hasselhoff and Tori Spelling, but nothing has compared to the private Sheryl Crowe concert, as far as I'm concerned.  Watching it on the live feeds was like an out-of-body moment, and would certainly be included in my Top Ten list of Big Brother moments. 

7.  One final thing:  There was a Playboy-type mother with four or five kids on the cast named Tonya.  Tonya provided the internet audience with a lot of nudity during BB3.  She had no qualms about flashing around those big boobs, and did a fashion show in the backyard with two other house guests wearing bikinis make out of peanut butter.  She was connected somehow with the Palms Hotel back then, mentioning the Maloof brothers often on the live feeds and wearing various Palms-branded clothing.  (Adrienne Maloof is now on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, of course.) 

Well, Tonya has fallen on some hard times since BB3. She had a few drinks, got in the car, and apparently killed two people.

She later plead guilty, but I haven't been able to find out how long her sentence was, or if she is still in jail.  Here is her mugshot.  Don't drink and drive, friends.  Just stay at home and get wasted.

Big Brother After Dark? Maybe. Maybe Not.

I did some searching on the Showtime website to see if it looked like Big Brother After Dark would be returning this year.

In case you don't know, since BB7 the Powers-that-Be behind Big Brother US have teamed with the Showtime premium cable company to provide three hours of daily live feed coverage on cable TV.  The show airs starting at midnight EST for three hours, seven days a week.

BB Production does their best to make sure all of the house guests are awake and active during this time.  This is frequently the time when the storage room is stocked with booze, too.  Coincidence???  They also minimize any live feed interruptions during this time ---when you see the "We'll Be Right Back" sign during BB After Dark you know something BIG is going down.  (Like when Evel Dick burned Jen with a cigarette during BB8!)

So I looked up the schedule for Friday July 13th, since midnight is the time the feeds would be typically going live on RealNetwork SuperPass, and also on Showtime.  But this schedule doesn't look like Big Brother After Dark will be broadcast.

Don't get me wrong---I don't think we have any reason to believe that BBAD won't be airing this year.  I just don't think they've updated the Showtime website yet.

That first moment when the feeds go live is so exciting.  I'm on the east coast, so it's hard for me to stay up all night to watch the drama unfold live, but I try to hang in there as long as I can.  Here are my memories of the last three season's live feed premieres:

BB11 - The live feed coverage began with Laura (who?) and Jordan getting all tarted up, in satin slips and tons of makeup.  They knew they were about to be on TV and Laura was ensuring they would be getting maximum camera coverage.  Then they walked out to the backyard like they were walking onstage at the Cheetah Club.  It was my first impression of Jordan, and it wasn't necessarily indicative of who she is.  You could describe Jordan in many different ways, but I don't think slutty is one of them.

BB12 - The live feed coverage began in the back yard with a lot of drama surrounding an incident that occurred with Andrew (Captain Kosher) and Annie (the doomed Saboteur).  Apparently Andrew made some sort of horny gesture towards Annie's crotch and she likened it to being assaulted in some way.  That wasn't a very accurate first impression of Andrew, was it?  Annie, maybe.  She was very dramatic in that house.  She was also the first one voted out, so you be the judge.

BB13 - The live feed coverage began in the storage room, with frantic whispering between Rachel and Porsche.  Then we learned that Evel Dick had been called into the Diary Room hours earlier and hadn't been seen since.  This created real drama in the house, as his alliance and his daughter all wondered where the hell he was.  The fans wondered, too.  Evel Dick may have been many places at that point, but he wasn't in the Big Brother house anymore.  And Rachel and Porsche ended up as the Final that whispering might have done some good.

Big Brother may or may not be on Showtime this year, but the live feeds will indeed be on RealNetworks SuperPass.  In fact, the Early Bird Special Offer starts today --see the link in the top left of the webpage.

BB14 Isn't Just Big...It's SUPER SIZED

 This new BB14 commercial hit the streets today....touting that this season isn't just's SUPERSIZED.  With the MOST houseguests EVER!  With not just one...but 4 HUGE SURPRISES!  It's Big Brother TO THE MAX!

Now...what does this mean?  Is the show an extra 15 minutes long? Or will there just be more contestants?

And what are the 4 huge surprises?  It is common for the commercials to make general statements (i.e. Crash my Party) to promote the season, but these promises are pretty specific.

I can only guess that they are bringing back 4 former house guests.   That wouldn't be two couples, would it? 

I both love and hate this time of year.  The new commercial isn't posted yet on the BB website, but  here is a link to JokersUpdates where someone has taped part of the commercial from their TV screen.  I've seen the entire commercial and the link is missing a few seconds at the beginning.  But you can get the gist of it.

Don't forget that the BB14 SuperPass Early Bird Special Offer starts today---see the link on the top left to get started.

BB14 Early Bird Special Starts Today!

You know it is time for Big Brother when the live feed SuperPass Early Bird Special Offer kicks off.

If you sign up for the live feeds starting today, June 18th through July 11th, you will save 25%, paying only $29.99 for three months worth of access.  I'm no mathematician, but that works out to about 33 cents per day.  Big Brother provides a lot of drama for the price..

Big Brother 14 will premiere on CBS on July 12th--you can still sign up for the live feeds after the Early Bird Special Offer expires, but then the price increases to  $39.99 for a three-month subscription (44 cents per day), or $14.99 per month (50 cents per day).

With any of the plans there is a free 3-day trial period--you can try it for free before your credit card is charged.

There are some new features this year:

*  This year you can rewind the live feeds and pause, just like a DVR.
*  There is a new "One Click Screen Grab" system.  I don't know what that means, exactly, but I'm guessing you can grab screens with one click.
*  You can view the live feeds on a mobile device at no extra charge.

I have watched the live feeds every year since BB3.  Watching the live feeds took the Big Brother experience to a new level for me.  Instead of just watching the CBS show and trying to find live feed updates online, I became part of the action.  It becomes addictive, particularly with the endurance competitions that can go on for hours after the CBS show ends.

With the Flashback feature, you can log on to SuperPass anytime and watch the feeds you missed---or re-watch the juicy stuff over and over. You just select the date, time, and camera view and Real takes it from there.

I always forget about this, but the SuperPass membership also allows you to download free music every month--$10 worth each month.

Ready to hook up your SuperPass for BB14?  Just click the link on the left to get started.

Even if you don't watch the live feeds, trust that I will be watching and keeping you informed.  It just wouldn't be summer without Big Brother.