“What is Love?”

“They crushed her. Oh my God.”—Derrick on the audience’s reaction to Christine

I don’t really understand the outrage over Christine’s behavior. Is it because she said injurious things about other houseguests?[1] Maybe, but so did Zach Rance, Brittany Haynes, and Evel Dick, all three of whom and they were embraced as fan favorites. Is it that people think she cuckolded her husband on national TV? Perhaps, but did she really do that?

Let’s break it down: She is a married woman who had a flirtmance with a very attractive guy. They cuddled, she caressed his hair, they hung out a lot. Did she have a crush on him? I don’t know. It looked that way.

But so what? Did she (or Cody) ever attempt to escalate things? Absolutely not. Did she trade in her husband like a used car and drive off into the sunset in a Maserati? No. She did not.

So what are we talking about here?

I have a theory about this. It isn’t a catchall theory. It would be fairly presumptuous of me to lump everyone’s indignation under this one umbrella. But I think a sizable fraction of this Christine hate is rooted in a very traditional, idealized view of love.

Essentially, Christine is a married woman, and her role in the Big Brother house is to uphold the institution of marriage and consequently instantiate this aforementioned notion of love. And, even if she didn’t escalate things, by merely entertaining a purported crush on Cody, she besmirched love. She failed. And, more importantly, she disillusioned us about the reality of romantic relationships. She failed us.

As you have probably gleaned, I do not subscribe to this view of love. I think relationships and certainly expectations should be more flexible. But honestly my opinion doesn’t really matter here. And neither does yours. It is ludicrous to hold other couples to your own ideas about what love is.

There are only two people whose opinions are relevant here: Christine and Tim.

“When I see Christine at the finale, I will support her. Now as far as when me and Christine are alone for the first time, I’m gonna tell her how uncomfortable it was, and I would have liked to see her do other things.”—Tim Brecht, Christine’s husband

Evidently, Tim has some issues with Christine’s behavior, namely the hand holding. He has a right to feel that way, and he can take that up with his wife. But as the husband of a quasi public figure, it’s a pretty shitty thing to broadcast over the CBS airwaves.

What’s more, he’s tries to have it both ways: In one breath he plays the role of the supporting husband and in the next he negates all of that and indicts her. I mean, he wasn’t in any way a jerk about it. In fact, he was cheery about everything, joking that on finale night he will “maybe play with [Cody’s] hair a little bit, see what all the fuss is about.”  But you can’t say you will defend someone publicly and then add that, don’t worry, you will give them the business when you are alone. News flash, Tim: You just criticized her publicly.

I understand CBS’s impetus for showing that interview. I think it’s odious—they could have just shown the footage in the house without the familial commentary—but I see how this could be good for ratings. I don’t, however, see why Tim and Christine’s parents[2] participated in this tawdry melodrama.

Perhaps it’s ignorance. I’m sure that if they knew what I know—if they knew that they were giving fodder to an insatiable hate machine, a machine that is still harassing Amanda Zuckerman, a machine whose venom often manifests itself as petty ad hominem attacks on someone’s looks—they probably would have held their tongues.

But the machine lives to hate another day, and boy is it unpleasant to watch. It's not even that I'm a fan of Christine. I'm indifferent towards her. Her impact on this season was infinitesimal. But that reception seemed disproportionately harsh to me. To put it in perspective, Aaryn Gries was received more warmly than Christine.

Truthfully, I long for the days when there was no live studio audience.


Now That’s What I Call Out of Context Quotes Volume 2

Cody: “Yo, love is the best. I love love.”

Donny: “Brittany, what's your favorite artificial flavor?”

Amber: “I think everyone should bury boxes.”

Caleb: “It’s crazy, honestly, how much a plant is like a human. They look completely different, but they have to eat, they have to drink. It’s crazy.”

Christine: “The only movie I’ve seen in 3D is Jackass 3D.”

Frankie: “I’m a strong motherfukin’ bitch!”

Cody: “I'm all about the tank top lifestyle.”

[1] I believe the 11th commandment is Thou shall not speak ill of Donny Thompson.

[2] Christine’s mother: “Half of me wants her to win and half of me kind of wants her out, away from Cody.”