Amber Alert: A New Hope

Caleb eagerly waits in the Beehive Room for Amber to meet him. He fidgets with his hands a lot. When Amber finally enters, they immediately hug. But then Amber has to go. She’ll be back. She’s cold, needs to fetch a sweater. The camera lingers on Caleb looking ruminative as he again waits for Amber.

I imagine Caleb thinking, “OK! OK. She hugged you, man. Solid start. You can do this, homefry. You can win her back. Just be cool. Wait—do I have time to make her a dish of ice cream? No, better hold off on that. Good thought, though, man. Good thought. You’ve got this.”

Let’s back up a bit and put this in perspective. This was last Tuesday. It was preceded by days of discomfit and resentment, the aftermath of a comment Amber made about Caleb being self-absorbed. Caleb’s obsession instantly swung in the other direction: Feeling used and unfairly maligned[1], he was done with Amber, and he wanted the whole house to know it. This became his new refrain. 

OK, back to the beehive room.

Amber tells Caleb that Devin didn’t hear the comments about self-absorbed men in the proper context. It was not directed toward Caleb; it was just a general comment. She tells Caleb that she knows he is a good man.

Caleb reflexively absolves her. He says that it never made sense to him anyway. As the conversation concludes, Caleb mentions that, after this season is over, he wants to stay for a week in California and take her out. Amber seems reluctant until she learns that Paola will also be there as a buffer. “It’s a date,” she replies cheerily.

So, of course, Caleb is once again infatuated with Amber. He tried to downplay it at first, vigorously bandying about the word “friend.” It’s the kind of exercise you do to (a) lie to yourself; (b) demonstrate goodwill to the other party for not embarrassing you too much; and (c) poison the well so that even if you do relapse into full fledged adoration, you have already sabotaged the effort.

But within two days, we’re right back to where we began. “[I]t would be really awesome if I could just kiss her,” he tells Paola, “but I’m not going to do that on TV.”


Wait, What?

Hayden falls on his final trip opening the door for somebody to steal this victory. Suddenly, the buzzer goes off. The camera cuts to Devin pressing his button. “Congratulations, Cody! You are this week’s second Head of Household!”

Live television has its perils, folks. This competition (BB Rager) was an unmitigated disaster. The editing made it impossible to follow. Maybe it would have worked if it were an endurance competition and we had time to process the relative standing of the competitors. Although, stacking kegs isn’t as visually compelling as, say, filling up a large fishbowl with a teacup.

What’s that, Julie? You have something to add?

“When we come back, we need to review the tape because we’re hearing there may have been a foul.”

A foul? What does that even mean? Did Cody hit someone? I only ask because I didn’t see Cody on this final stretch at all. After the commercial break, Julie Chen informs us that the “foul” was Cody’s foot hitting the ground before he was able to press his button. So sorry, Cody, take seat with the rest of the losers. Devin is the new HOH!

Are we going to see that footage of Cody’s misstep? No? We have to wait until Sunday?

My head hurts.


Amber Alert: A New Hope Reprised

“I honestly do not feel the same, and I don’t know if I ever will.”—Amber

The above quotation was uttered in the Diary Room in regard to Caleb.  It is not a surprising statement. We all knew this. We never needed to hear her say this directly to understand it. But that’s not the point. The burden shouldn’t be on Caleb to decipher her signals; it should be on Amber to clearly express her feelings.

Amber is never that unequivocal when she is talking with Caleb. She is too afraid of hurting his feelings. Sure, she told Caleb that she isn’t looking for love in the Big Brother house and that she just wants get to know everyone as friends. Maybe that sounds fairly concrete to you. It does to me. But what are we doing here? We’re still sifting through coded messages. The code is rudimentary, but it still lacks appropriate directness.

Every time she attempts to soften the blow, she undercuts her message. What did she think would be the corollary of kissing Caleb on the cheek? Or consider this interchange from their aforementioned reconciliation:

Caleb: “And throughout all of this I was like, you know what, that’s cool if I’m not her type. Yeah, you know, I can’t help it that I like to work out and that’s something I enjoy. You know, that’s just—that’s me.”

Amber: “It’s not even that. Yeah, like, don’t even think into that.”

This is an instance when Caleb gave her an out, and she still buckled! Now, I don’t think she necessarily lied;I think she’s saying that Caleb’s build is not an issue for her. But what she hasn’t effectively communicated is that Caleb’s build is not the issue for her. The issue, the reason why she doesn’t’ think of him as anything more than a friend, is something else. But I doubt Caleb picked up and that, and I can’t say I blame him. Her response just legitimized his fantasies.

Caleb engineered this fictitious relationship in his mind. That’s on him. But Amber is unwittingly perpetuating it. You’d think a model would be more adept at rejecting men.

[1] At one point, Caleb considered taking a poll of the house in regard to his so-called self-absorption.