You and Your Phonies

“Why do you guys keep saying that production is swaying you not to get rid of Howard?”—Amanda

Someone in production likes Howard. Both Helen and Elissa considered nominating Howard (expressly Helen), and he escaped it both times. Helen complained about the amount of time afforded her. She didn’t even have time to talk to everyone in the house before making nominations! Elissa was markedly less receptive to the idea but seemed to be on board on the caveat of McCrae assuming the heat of MVP.

Elissa gets called to the Diary Room, and McCrae is having a group conversation with Howard, Helen, and Amanda in the HOH room. McCrae tells Howard that he has MVP and is going to nominate Howard, because (a) they want him to win POV so they can backdoor Jeremy, and (b) Howard voted on the wrong side. This precipitates a bit of a row between Howard and Amanda, and Howard walks out on bad terms.

Elissa comes out of the Diary Room and goes up to Helen’s room. After unsuccessfully trying to convince them she did not get MVP, she buckles: She admits to being the MVP, but she put up Spencer. Production supposedly questioned her choice, asking her if she was sure she felt “comfortable” with her selection and—like Helen—pressuring her with some arbitrary time restriction.

McCrae now has a dilemma: He already told Howard he was nominating him. Now he has to find Howard and pretend to strike up some kind of eleventh hour deal, ensuring Howard that he won’t put him on the block. And you know what? He does a fairly good job of it, acting like he genuinely likes Howard and is looking for any kind of reason not to put him up. Howard is in such a swivet that he makes a dubious alliance comprised of himself, McCrae, Amanda, and Spencer.

But the thing that stands out in my mind about this incident is the blatant interference by production. They are the only people in that house that I expect a certain level of integrity from, and they continue to disappoint me even in a year where they have tailor-made a twist to benefit one houseguest.

All the smart players in the house have been manipulating Elissa for her MVP nomination. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that production is too.




He Came, He Saw, He Accidentally Conquered

Howard has had an abysmal week of game play. In addition to lying to Helen about the vote, coming clean, and then lying about The Moving Company (and eventually coming clean about that too), Howard put on one of the most awesomely bad performances I have ever witnessed in the Have Not Competition.

His intention was to throw the competition so that Aaryn, GinaMarie, and Kaitlin would all have to endure being Have Nots. And damn, did he try! He begins by vindictively hurling milk at Aaryn’s head. Oh, are we supposed to aim for the bucket? My bad, guys. He then starts feigning fatigue, capturing paltry volumes of milk to distribute to Aaryn.

The competition is still somehow neck-and-neck! Howard brings out the big guns: He is now fumbling the bucket exhaustingly. One time he actually throws the bucket out of his milk receptacle!

Howard’s team wins HOH. GM dedicates the victory (of a Have Not competition!) to Nick.

Damn, McCrae’s team was lousy. I really don’t know what else Howard could have done besides drown in the pool of milk. And because of Howard’s histrionics, everyone knows that he threw this. He gets the shadiness that attends throwing competitions and the negative attention of winning a competition.

Bravo, sir. Bravo.


Sorry You’re So Stupid

Aaryn cannot be saved. She is beyond redemption. The other houseguests (Amanda, Spencer, Helen) understand the deleterious effect her remarks could have on her outside of the house, and they have delicately tried to help her recalibrate her actions.

 It’s of no use. No matter how many equivocations you make about how you don’t actually believe she is a racist, she inevitably responds defensive and agitated. She looked annoyed when Amanda first confronted her, rolling her eyes disdainfully and dismissing the accusation as “obnoxious.”

To her, it’s all pointless. The game is rigged and so is her televised persona. Big Brother just wants to reap the controversy of a racist girl from Texas with blonde hair and blue eyes. The whole thing is a rapacious construct to garner ratings. She is the victim here, don’t you see!

When she finally does try to make amends to the people she has hurt, it is just a transparent effort to save face. She apologizes by not apologizing. When she apologizes for saying racially insensitive things to Candice, it’s a variant of “I’m sorry if you misunderstood me,” which really translates to “I’m sorry that you are so stupid.”

Or consider her apology to Jessie. Aaryn tells Jessie that she just felt so betrayed by her. The notion of lying so flagrantly to someone—even in Big Brother—was shocking to her[1], she says, and her response was puerile and cruel. Aaryn can’t say “I was wrong” without saying “but you were wrong too.”[2] And anyone who is watching knows that Aaryn has always been the instigator and the chief progenitor of the miasma that pervades that house.

When all is said and done, you just have an empty gesture, a cipher masquerading as remorse. 

Jessie: “OK, so basically were back to square one, because you can’t rise above your immature attitude.”

Aaryn: “I guess not, Jess. I guess that’s what it is.”[3]


[1] Recall that, before entering the house, Aaryn (AKA X-Ray) claimed to be really good at reading people.

[2] A more mature way of expressing this sentiment is something more characteristic of Jeremy’s tenor: "Regardless of how I feel I may have been prodded, my behavior was reprehensible, and I am truly sorry."

[3] For what it’s worth, Aaryn did give a much more satisfying apology to Jessie subsequent to this debacle. Her behavior that necessitates these apologies, however, has not changed.