Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Camp BB is Now In Session: Premiere Night #1 - Meet The Campers. #BB21


The two-night premiere of Big Brother 21 kicked off in the usual fashion, with Julie Chen sporting some of her "fashion" as she stalks through an empty house and out onto the stage to greet the crowd.


Julie told us that one of the house guests will hold an "unprecedented power" that will put everyone's game in jeopardy.  Gee, that sounds great Julie!  Not.


Julie:  BUT FIRST, before the house guests can meet each other, we need to meet them.

We then meet this year's crop of newbie house guests a few at a time, with video footage of them receiving their keys and some slice-of-life footage to show us their personality.  For each of these new house guests, I noticed that the elements that CBS focused on were the EXACT elements that were discussed during the house guest interviews with Big Jeff.  In most cases, these personality elements let even the most distracted casual TV viewers know which archetype the characters fit into, probably so they can feel invested in the show from the beginning.

The first house guest we saw getting their key was Jackson Michie (pronounced "Micky").  It was buried in an ice chest.  Jackson was shocked and ecstatic, as you can see here.


And then Tommy Bracco got his key and immediately started with the fist-pumping.  I apologize to Tommy's Mom or whoever that is the background with her eyes closed. The blonde to Tommy's left looks like she might be nodding out, too.


Nicole Anthony was next, frolicking among the flowers in her family's backyard with her BB key.


Jackson shoots guns!

Everyone online gets all upset about seeing guns in these intro videos, but I'm sure this type of scene grabs the attention of millions of Americans living in the heartland.  That's a hunting rifle, I think.  Lots of people hunt all over America, apparently.  I'm not a fan of people hunting for sport, but there are much worse atrocities happening every minute of the day on factory farms.


Jackson works out!

And he assures us that he's not a redneck.  It's hard for me to believe that he doesn't have military experience, because he seems tailor-made for that type of thing, because he's disciplined and seems to have strong principles.  We may not agree with those principles, but plenty of people do and that's what makes this country what it is.

I'll admit it...I'm intimidated by Jackson, and I don't even know him.  He seems robotic and uncaring.  I don't think I could work him if I was in the house with him.


He's polite to his mother, though, saying "yes ma'am" when she offers to get him some chocolate milk.  His mom is an avid Big Brother fan so I know she's excited to watch her son on TV this summer.

And she can take a break from buying and cutting up watermelons while he's gone, since he later told Jack in the house that he eats one watermelon per day when he's back home.  That is a BIG container of watermelon, isn't it?

Summer Tip:  If you tilt a nearly-empty container of watermelon chunks over a cocktail shaker, you will find lots of watermelon juice and you're halfway to making a delicious treat.  Just add an ounce or two of vodka and give it a good shake.


Nicole tells us she is a pre-school teacher for special needs children, as she pounds out a little tune on a Fisher Price xylophone.


And we're made to believe that Nicole was just sitting in her backyard sketching this "Pegasus Drawing", even though it's clearly already framed.  I don't think we're supposed to notice that part.


And just in case we don't get it yet, the CBS special effects team adds a unicorn to the mix.

Okay okay.  We get it.  Nicole is quirky!


Tommy is on Broadway, telling us that he began his career in Newsies and is "now" appearing in Pretty Woman the musical.

Not anymore, Tommy.  Not this summer.


Tommy is very theatrical and flamboyant as he tells us his father always wanted to play baseball with his son, but once he realized Tommy was more into dance, he took dance lessons so they could have that in common.

I think that's sweet. I find myself wondering if Tommy's aunt is in one of his intro scenes, don't you?  You know, the aunt who dated one of the other BB21 house guests for seven years?  I wonder how she feels about all of this....I'll bet she is MORTIFIED, even if she doesn't know (yet) about the live feeds and all of the documented chatter that occurs all summer.


Kathryn Dunn is from Texas, ya'll.  And CBS wants to make that clear, by having Kathryn ride a mechanical bull in her Daisy Dukes, saying "Yee haw".

That's her BB key she's holding way up high in her right hand, you know.


Ovi Kabir got his key in a book or something, and was elated to know he made it.

Steve Moses was on RHAP last night to help Rob recap this premiere episode and he said that the in-home filming sessions were scheduled about two weeks in advance, so these BB hopefuls should know that they're either going to be an alternate, or part of the cast.  But until you've been through the process like Steve has, I don't think you know how it all works.

(I was surprised to learn that it doesn't sound like Steve is involved with music anymore.  I know he had a deep love for it but I guess you grow up and things change.)


Kathryn tells us that she's got the big hair and the big Texas personality to match.


She also says her "selfie game" is weak so she "hired a photographer to follow her around" to take pictures of her.

Kathryn:  In my head I feel like a celebrity!

I don't think Kathryn is in on the joke here. I think she lacks any sort of self-awareness, unless it concerns how she looks on Instagram.  But that type of person can be fun to have in the house, because someone has to be the butt of the joke.  Even if they don't get the joke. Especially if they don't get the joke, particularly in this case because we don't have to be sad for her.  (See BB5's "Cowboy" for reference.)


It took six tries for me to get a picture of Ovi's UT-Mobile.  It was only on the screen for a split second but I felt it was important for us all to see.  The University of Tennessee folks can be very demonstrative with their cars, showing lots of school spirit.

I used to work with a guy who drove around town with two orange UT flags flapping in the breeze on top of his Honda Accord decades after he graduated from college.  And not on a game week, either.  It was an everyday type-thing.


Kemi Fakunle found her key while brunching with her friends in Brooklyn.


I was kind of hoping to see the horse snatch Holly Allen's key and make a run for it, since he saw it first and was closest to it.  You know, finders keepers and all that.


Jack Matthews found his key rolled up in this green towel on the beach.  Too bad he didn't find a scrunchi in there, too, because I think he could use one.  I think I may be in the minority, but I prefer Jack's manbun look he was sporting with Big Jeff.


Kemi tells us her friends describe her as the sweetest girl they've ever met.

Kemi:  .....no.  Just kidding.  I'm actually a reformed mean girl.  In 2019 I vowed to be more empathetic, but that didn't even last two weeks.

Kemi had a big night on the premiere, with her sass and attitude on full display.  I'm a fan, Kemi.


Holly told us she's from Wyoming!  And we saw footage of her doing various chores around the ranch, showing America that she's a girl who's not afraid to put her boots on and get dirty.


She says she can do plenty of things the others can't, and can win the game because of it.  I do think that hard work builds character, so I'm going to wipe the slate clean for Holly and wait to see what she can do in there.

Prove me wrong Holly.  I still think you applied for Love Island and got sent down the wrong hallway at the casting office, but I'm willing to overlook that if you can prioritize playing Big Brother to win above trying to get in a showmance.


I think CBS missed an opportunity by not adding in a rainbow or even a lightening strike behind Jack here.  I don't know Aquaman, but Jack kind of looks like Jesus here.  If Jesus had tattoos, that is.  And not that I know him, either, but I've seen pictures.


And here is Jack with his beloved dog Layla.

And this is what Florida's Gulf Coast beaches look like much of the year.  Because they're not getting pounded by ocean waves, the water is usually clear and on some beaches the sand is like powdered sugar.  It's a pretty sweet spot to be.


Then we see the first eight house guests nervously standing where they were told to stand, spending just a few minutes with Julie and the studio audience before going inside the house to meet their doom.


Then Julie named the first four house guests who would enter the house:  Jack, Tommy, Nicole and Kathryn.  All of the Super Fans waited to see who would walk through those doors first, because the first person to enter the house has never won the summer season of the game.  I mean, sure Tamar Braxton was first in the house during Celebrity Big Brother and she won, but that season doesn't count as far as this BB "curse" goes.

It's fun to believe in a curse of just about any kind.  As long as I'm not the one cursed, of course.

Last year Tyler took his time shuffling over to the door, making sure he wasn't the first one in by opening the door wide, allowing Bayleigh to walk right through and curse herself.  But Tyler is a live feed-watching Super Fan.   Jack is just a gentleman, walking first to the door to hold it open for the ladies others.

And it was Tommy who burst in the door first.  There were several beats, several seconds before Kathryn and Nicole followed him.  I'm guessing one of them needed help with their bag and Jack was helping with that.

So, SPOILER ALERT, but Tommy Bracco will not win BB21.  He will not be First In, Last Out.  That's a little pun (or whatever) for all of the accountants out there.



We're going to see this pose from Tommy over and over and over on the CBS show.  And as usual the Sound Effects department is adding plenty of cringe-worthy noises to the footage, really playing to the back row of the theater.

The sound effect here was the sound of ripping cloth, I think, but at first I thought it was something else.


Moments later Jackson, Kemi, Ovi and Holly entered the house, with Holly turning to wave goodbye to civilization.  I really think Production made her dress like a cowgirl, with those french-braided pigtails, so her presentation would match the persona they created for her in her intro video.

Sometimes America needs another coat of paint before they get the picture, I think.


Julie doesn't waste any time here, and got busy introducing us to the remaining eight house guests as soon as we came back from the commercial break.

Christie Murphy was browsing the racks at her store Mystic Earth and found the key hanging among all of the colorful frocks.


And Sam Smith found his BB key on top of one of the tires on his rig.


Bella Wang was in a restaurant with her mother when she found her key.  The mother asked repeatedly what Big Brother was before finally understanding that it was a "reality show".

I wonder how Bella explained the camera crew to her mother before the key was served...but I don't think we're supposed to be thinking about stuff like that.  I'm actually formulating a Hot Take about these house guest intros that I will summarize for you before I end this post.  I think I'm onto something.


This is Christie burning sage inside her shop.  She makes it sound like she's trying to sell this lady some sage, but she already told Big Jeff that if someone with bad energy came in to shop, she'd sage them before they started trying on clothes.

I'm guessing that the "customer" is actually part of the Production team.  You know, like McCrae Olson delivered a pizza to his father during his BB15 intro.


Christie told us that she recently ended a seven-year relationship with a woman, and it's a sign of the times that CBS was able to easily drop that in without any big fanfare.  It's 2019, ya'll.

Christie says she's just "working on herself now" and she's been manifesting being on Big Brother and winning since she was a teenager.

Christie:  I see myself winning Big Brother.



Sam tells us that he got that tattoo on his left arm so everyone could see it when he's driving and "know how cool he really is".


And here he is kissing his wife Melissa goodbye, with Zach and Bradley looking on.  Sam says that the $500,000 prize is the only reason why he would consider leaving his family for the summer.


Sam:  I'm not in there just to play and have fun.  I'm in there to win it.  I'm gonna be a winner.


Bella told us she's interning at UCLA regarding her role in public health administration, and then we did a few laps about how she grew up in a household where she was driven to excel by her "Tiger Mom" to get good grades and play the piano.

I always wished I could sit down and start playing a song on a piano or guitar, but it's too late in life for me to learn.  I don't have the patience for it anymore.



Bella's mom calls her "Issa" and that is the side that is prim and proper.  The other side of her is "Bella", who apparently gets all liquored up and then gets a bunch of tattoos in what appeared to be an irresponsible fashion.

The close up shot of the tattoo artist putting the needle to someone wasn't Bella though.  I think that was a bit of TV magic for the CBS casuals.



Then we meet Nick Maccarone, who found his BB key hanging off the rim of the basketball hoop, so that must have been a huge surprise for these guys.

To my surprise, we heard Nick call the guys a bunch of "scumbags" and then bop the dude wearing the red T-shirt on the head with a basketball while he was taking it to the net.


Jessica Milagros got her key from somewhere while she's at a photo shoot of some sort.


Nick does mental health counseling for children in their homes, and we see the cameras appropriately conceal the identity of his "patient" here.  Apparently this "patient" had been doing a lot of acting out before Nick helped her work through her issues.  Or whatever.

This segment did a good job of showing us the two sides of Nick.  He seems very gentle and respectful in this counseling scene, clean and on his best behavior.



Nick doesn't plan to tell the house guests that he's a counselor. 

Nick:  Obviously when I'm doing therapy, I'm doing it for the better.  But when I'm in the house, I'm going to use it to screw with other people's minds.  I'm not gonna tell them what I do for a job, because the dumber they think I am, the better it's gonna be.



Then we see Jessica serving it for the camera, telling us that she's a plus sized model.  She knows that when people think of models, they think of size two or four, not of sizes fourteen, sixteen or eighteen.


Jessica:  When people think of plus-size people, they think we are just sitting around eating bon bons all day, but I run half-marathons, I spin and I salsa dance.  I'm here to show you that big girls can do it just like everyone else!


We see Jessica dancing, feasting and toasting with what looks like her family.  I know she has a daughter but that wasn't discussed in this segment, so I'm not sure if that is going to be a focus from the CBS perspective or not.  Maybe they just want to build up the plus-sized model part of her life instead of the mommy story line.

I don't think the baby in the picture is Jessica's baby.  I think her daughter is school-age, but I'm not positive about that.

Jessica:  People are going to underestimate me, and then I'm going to steal their money!


Cliff Hogg was rooting around in his fishing tackle box and tells us gleefully that he "caught a Big Brother key".


Analyse Talavera was running up and down a soccer field and found her key hanging on the net.  I tried to snap a picture of that but she was moving so fast that the picture was all blurry.

In this shot she was yelling "oh my god  oh my god  oh my god", obviously excited about the opportunity to play a different game this summer.


David Alexander plucked his key out of a camera bag but it happened too quickly for me to see it clearly.  Then he turned around and started jumping up and down for joy.

Quel dommage, as they say.  What a pity.


Cliff is a petroleum engineer and works on the big rigs.  He tells us he's worked in plenty of hazardous conditions, having to sleep under "a bulletproof blanket" in South America and other scary situations.


I believe Cliff really caught this fish, live on camera, from the looks of it.  He also spotted an alligator swimming just off the dock and told us that he plans to play Big Brother like a gator, low and quiet until you hear the "jaw snap" and then it's too late.

I grew up in Florida and I know a thing or two about gators.  Here are two basic safety tips that I hope I never need to use:

1.  Gators can run surprisingly fast on land, when they're up on their "twinkletoes". But their shape is so bulky and low to the ground that they have difficulties turning or changing course. For that reason, if you find yourself being chased on land by an alligator, you should run in a zig zag pattern to give yourself a chance of getting away.

2.  Supposedly a gator's jaw can be held closed with just two fingers, because their muscles required to open their mouth aren't very strong. But once their jaws are opened wide, there is no way to stop them from snapping shut.  And that is what Cliff is referring to....once he's primed to strike, it's too late to stop him.

I'd like to point out that Cliff is wearing a flesh-toned T-shirt in the picture below.  Just saying.


Analyse tells us that she is from Simi Valley California and just graduated from college.  She's been watching Big Brother for years and her favorite players are Jordan Lloyd and Dani Donato.  She hopes the other house guests are going to underestimate her based on her looks because she has a surprise in store for them.


She played Division 1 soccer at UNLV-Reno and says that she has scored lots of goals, and gotten numerous red and yellow cards.  She's an aggressive player and doesn't let people push her around.  She plans to bring those same skills to the Big Brother house this summer.


Analyse:  Big Brother, I'm coming for you!

(I may start calling Analyse "Sis", which is apparently her nickname at home.  It's certainly easier to type, I'll tell you that.)


We see David shooting pictures of various folks working out here in the ATL.


David's photography mainly focuses on fitness pictures and gyms, and he says fitness has transformed his life


Just a few years ago David weighed about 240 pounds and says he had a 40 inch waist.  The CBS camera panned down to show us the bottle of Corona David was holding, which I found funny for some reason.  I'm guessing that Production found these pictures on David's social media and didn't have the time to track down these two bitches girls to get a picture clearance, or whatever you call it.  It kind of sucks for them because they would have had two or three solid seconds of air time in Prime Time.


Anyway David got tired of feeling the way he did, so he walked into a Crossfit gym and started "getting beat up everyday" and now here he is, devoted to fitness.  I can't place that park he's running through but maybe it's up in the suburbs on the opposite side of the city from where I live.


Finally everyone is in the house and we see Cliff working his charm already while he tries to learn everybody's name.


In the Diary Room he says he's "playing possum" and is ready to strike at any time.  Well, maybe that phrase means something different in Texas then it does in the Southeast.  From what I understand, a possum plays dead while predators are around, and then gets up and shuffles away safely once the coast is clear.  It's a defensive action by the possum.  But maybe in Texas the possums are on the offense, luring predators over so they can jump up and grab them or something.

Either method might help Cliff out this summer.  I'm sure Production will try and milk as much out of Cliff's entertaining and vibrant personality as they can, while they can.  But I think we'd all like to see Cliff pull a rabbit or possum out of the hat and get a little further than the typical "old guy" on the cast every summer.


Before the last commercial break, Julie told us that just like summer camp, some of the BB Campers might know each other.  So right there I got the impression that the casting connections the fans discovered might not be twist-related.

And we learned right away, as Christie came into the house that she was SHOCKED to see Tommy, and he was SHOCKED and ALARMED to see her.  He wanted to pull her aside soon to see if they could get their stories straight.  Both of them know that if discovered, it's probably going to kill their game.  But if they can get through the first few weeks, their connection might be viewed as an asset because their Power of Two can be weaponized for voting power.

You know, like the Twins-ah from BB17.   Maybe Julie will toss out the possibility of other campers who are previously acquainted on the second part of the Premiere tonight.  Maybe they didn't have time to highlight the Kathryn-Holly connection.  Or maybe they're not sure that even needs to be disclosed this week, since SPOILER ALERT Kathryn's game might be in jeopardy this first eviction cycle.

Christie, as she hugged Tommy:  Nice to meet you!

Then she quickly put her hands on either side of his face as a special greeting.  I think this will be fun to watch, but I won't be surprised if the cat is already out of the bag by the time the feeds go live tonight.


And then everybody toasted and felt good about themselves and each other.  But that would end soon, as it always does.


Julie came on the TV screen and told everyone that it was time to expect the unexpected, saying that it would soon be time for the house guests to vote on who would be the Camp Director, which is a role that was described as having a lot of power because not only would they be safe for the first week of the game, they would have some sort of important influence over the HoH competition and would have the ability to ruin someone's game.

Julie didn't say how long this Camp Director power would last.  Like many of the other twists in BB history, Production likes to keep things fluid, keeping the game lively by making slight course corrections as the summer develops.  That's just my opinion though, that last part, but it's an informed opinion after watching this show for so many years.


Cliff, David, Jessica and Jackson stood up to volunteer for the Camp Director position, and then we saw some campaigning going on, with Jessica and Jackson being shown as the main contenders for the title.


The tree house set in the backyard is everything.  I love it.  One by one the house guests went up to their cubby in the tree house to place their vote for Camp Director.  At one point Jessica had enough votes to win, but once some of those girls saw the guys rally around Jackson, they realized they might be on the losing side of the vote and switched over to try to stay in the majority.


One by one, they each got rather-violently splashed with an explosion of paint as Julie told them they would not be the Camp Director.  Neither David nor Cliff got one vote of support.  (The rules stated you could not vote for yourself.)


They were all good sports about it.  Clearly Cliff took a rough shot and Bella fell down, the force of the blast was so strong.


Finally Julie declared Jackson to be the BB Camp Director, and everyone gasped as they learned what his first order of business was to be:

Jackson must "banish" four people from BB Camp into "the wilderness", and then those four people will compete head-to-head.  The loser will be evicted from the game immediately.  Since Julie had said that the Camp Director will influence the HoH competition, I'm guessing that the winner of the Banished Competition (or whatever) will be the new HoH, but Jackson won't know that until he chooses the four house guests to be banished.

And the show ended there, to be continued on tonight's second installment of the Premiere.


SPOILER:  There is going to be drama, because during the live feed leak last week, we learned that all four of the house guests who "volunteered" to run for Camp Director assured each other that if the outcome was something negative, they wouldn't put each other in harm's way.  Christie said both Cliff and Jessica told her that separately.

She thinks Jackson is a dirty player due to this betrayal so early in the game.  So based on what I know, I believe Christie will be chosen for banishment along with Cliff, David and Jessica, and she will win the head-to-head battle, giving her the HoH title.  And unfortunately David will lose and be banished from the game.  For now.  Because odds are good that there will be a Battle Back competition in his future, if he can hold out that long.

UPDATE:  I just listened again to what Julie said at the end of the episode, and she said that there would be an "epic endurance battle" to determine HoH.  So I guess I'm wrong about how Christie won HoH, but we still don't know how Jackson will influence the competition.  I guess we'll just have to wait and see, expecting the semi-unexpected.