Well, it’s that time of year again. The air is warm, the birds are chirping, and the days are getting longer (although, technically they’re getting shorter now, which is the exact opposite of what I said, but what’s life without contradictions?). What I’m trying to say is that it’s Big Brother season, and I derive no greater joy than doing my annual cast preview.
For those of you who are new to the process, this is a time when I scrutinize the new cast bios and draw superficial conclusions, often based on very little and at times my own projected insecurities. I use nothing but the photos and the written info (I don’t have time to watch all the videos) and attempt to paint a vivid story about each person. It’s a hit or miss process, and while I’ve definitely missed the mark egregiously, I’ve also nailed it a few times too. I’m still patting myself on the back for stating last year about Aaryn, “I have a simple rule: never trust anyone whose name is an anagram for ARYAN (or Hitler, for that matter).” BOOM.
After the jump, check out my flash impressions (and then feel free to come back at the end of the season and laugh at me):
Amber receives at least half a point for having a last name that could double as the villain in a new Ghostbusters movie. Clearly, Borzotra is the ancient spirit that will soon possess Sigourney Weaver. And for the record, I envy any spirit — evil or otherwise — that gets to possess Sigourney Weaver.
From her CBS bio, Amber pushes a fun-loving, down-home, good times girl image, which of course means she’s probably none of those things. Sure, she’ll probably win over the household with stories of spelunking and cow tipping and playing in Wal-Mart (three of her favorite things, allegedly), but don’t be fooled. This girl is an esthetician in North Hollywood, which means she’s a good ol’ gossip. And beware this statement from Amber hidden away in the middle of her feel-good profile: “At the end of the day this is a game, I just like pretty people!” Combine this with the fact that “Amber loves to play pranks on people,” and I’m starting suspect this girl will be the first to dump a bucket of a pig’s blood on the quirky Sissy Spacek of the cast. What??? She just loves pranks!!! ON UGLY PEOPLE.
I’m poised to dislike Brittany immediately if only because she mentions her kids in her profile multiple times. There’s nothing inherently wrong with having kids. Where would we be without kids? NOWHERE. But when people talk too much about kids on their profile, it makes me scared that we’ll have a season of weepy moments in the Diary Room, replete with commentary such as “I just miss them so much!” or “When I saw those pictures of them, it gave me so much strength” or “What I would give for a phone call from home” or “As a mother, I struggle every day being without my family.” Listen, lady, if you miss your kids so much, don’t leave them to embarrass yourself on national TV. Because that’s what you’re about to do.
If there’s any glimmer of hope for Brittany, it’s that she loves being crafty. She even once allegedly “faked labor to get out of a speeding ticket,” which means she’s either a sneaky little devil or one of those sanctimonious mommy types. Maybe both? I guess the jury’s out. Also, I’ve been drinking coffee and my judgment is severely impaired by caffeine at the moment.
In conclusion: pleather.
We’re going to try to look past Caleb’s soul patch, and when I say that, I mean we are going to squarely focus on it, and use it as an example of terrible personal judgment. Yes, meet Caleb Reynolds — a grinning Texan whose favorite cast member of all time (ALL TIME) is Hayden, the shaggy baseball player who snoozed his way to the top of one of the worst seasons EVAR. That’s like saying your favorite car of all time is a Nissan Sentra. Sure — it’s a lot more successful than a lot of other vehicles, but it’s also about as forgettable as can be.
Nevertheless, Caleb’s strategy is to have the ladies in his pocket, which seems highly presumptuous, especially when he says “throwing a sexy girl that likes me under the bus will be hard but I will do what I have to do, so kiss me, lay with me, have sex with me, tell me you love me, I’m still in it to win.” Again, might I draw the attention back to the soul patch. Any girl who falls for this douche deserves to lose.
Making matters even worse (and I’m not even talking about the allegations of racism and homophobia in his social media) is the fact that Caleb is a typical Bible-thumping hypocrite reality star. On the one hand, he declares that he relies on the Scriptures for his “daily word” and “guidance and peace.” He then goes on to say that his life’s motto is “If you want something bad enough, do whatever you got to do to get it; no matter the consequence.” Seems to fall a bit outside the selfless Christian ideal. Of course, any good Christian (or Jew or Muslim or Zoroastrian) probably shouldn’t be going on reality TV anyway; so there’s that too.
Basically, this guy is the worst.
I immediately like Christine, and not because she looks like Big Brother’s own, personal Ingrid Michaelson. Okay, actually, that is exactly why I like her. I tend to root for the cast members that have some quirk in their appearance because it gives me hope that they’re not just a generic famewhore plucked from the Saddle Ranch on Sunset Boulevard. Of course, not all quirky people make for fan favorites. One only has to look at the disaster that was McCrae to be reminded that even odd people can be awful too. (On the flipside, the excellent Janelle is a perfect example of a buxom blonde that we could all embrace).
Anyway, what do we need to know about Christine? Well, she’s from Arizona, which automatically means she’ll be crazy. Sorry, it’s the Florida of the West. But will she be crazy-fun? Or crazy-deranged? Maybe a mixture of both. She enjoys playing “Settlers of Catan,” which is apparently a board game that I should note has no relation to “Settlers of Kattan,” the Chris Kattan fan fiction that I am currently developing in a secret online community. For some reason, I really admire that Christine namechecks a board game instead of listing the usual reality star pastimes: yoga, rock climbing, playing with her dog.
Unfortunately for Christine, she will most likely find herself at wits end, due largely to her own insistence that she doesn’t want to clean up everyone’s messes. She better get used to it. She’ll be living in a house that’ll smell like decaying celery within 48 hours. Filth is the name of the game. Other adorable, misguided notions: Christine wants to have a strong pack of 3-4 people (no such thing), she wants to be nice (heh), and if she were to be famous, she wants to “hopefully become a casting director!” Dare to dream, Christine. Dare to dream.
At last, our first attractive male. Cody hails from New Jersey where he currently works as a Sales Account Executive, which I’ll assume means “the guy who signs you up at Planet Fitness.” He faces a glut of personal challenges by entering the Big Brother house — chiefly that he will have no TV to fall asleep to. Clearly, this is a total brah-saster. But don’t worry: he can fall asleep reviewing his strategy to win the game. And what strategy is that? Possibly one involving a ball of tin foil and some yarn. According to Cody, strategies are “enough to make my head explode!” This, of course, means he’ll be the lovable doofus who’ll be dragged along throughout the game and somehow be placed in a ridiculous scenario where he should evict someone from an evil alliance but will instead be swayed to cannibalize his own team (think Howie, season 6 — I’m still bitter).
Nevertheless, it’s hard to say if Cody is a hot jerk or a lovable bro, but he likes chick flicks, which makes think he’s probably a nice guy (with questionable taste). Look for him to be this year’s Shane.
Don’t let the soap opera name fool you: Derrick LEVASSEUR appears to be a salt-of-the-earth Rhode Island tough guy cop. On the one hand, I find myself very enthused by this as Rhode Island delivered us one of my favorite cast members: Michelle from season ten (she who often pluralized underwear as “undahwears.”) Hopefully, the state can once again provide us with reality gold. On the other hand, the last cop I remember on Big Brother was Kathy, the blonde lady from season twelve who spent much of the summer stuck in a tub of molasses — or at least that’s how my memory seems to present it. Hopefully Derrick will prove to be a far more entertaining officer.
If his bio is any indication, Derrick could be a serious threat. His strategy appears to be well-thought out: a three tier plan involving ingratiating his way into peer groups, using facts against people, and winning competitions. Sounds noble, but making friends is harder than it sounds, especially if you’re not the prettiest of the bunch (note Amber’s love of pretty people). But who knows. If Derrick can weasel his way into the various circles of the house, he could do some real damage. And according to his profile, Derrick was an undercover cop at age 20, which means he’s probably got enough 21 Jump Street cred under his belt to infiltrate any group of teenagers, which is probably the maturity level of at least half the house. Keep an eye on this guy.
Hey-oooh. Tall, dark, and handsome. And also occasionally grumpy. Yes, this is Devin, a muscular former baseball player who admits he gets seriously hangry — the simple downfall of most people, especially reality stars stuck in close proximity. If Devin’s hunger rage is so bad that he mentions it in his profile, I can only imagine how it will affect his gameplay if and when he becomes a Have-Not (assuming that status still exists this season). I don’t get much of a read on Devin, but I am concerned that he too thinks Hayden is the best former player of the game. I’m starting to think these people only had crappy season 12 to watch when they were confined to hotel prison for a week before heading into the house. Why else would they namecheck Hayden over such greats as Dr. Will, Janelle, Dan, or even Zingbot 3000?
Anyway, Devin says one thing in his profile that has won me over, at least temporarily. When asked what he’d do if Big Brother were to make him famous, he simply replies “Thank Big Brother!” Well, look at that. He’s both gracious to the show and wisely stiff-lipped about saying anything cocky and presumptuous. Oh, and he sacrificed a whole baseball career to raise his daughter. Awww. Golf claps all around.
Representing the all important Duck Dynasty demographic is Donny, a bearded, camo-wearing gent who works nobly as a groundskeeper at a school. His grand plan is to lay low, which should be easy with the GIANT BEARD AND CAMO, but who knows, it could work for him. Often times the rural Groundskeeper Willie guys find themselves as twangy novelties for the model/actor/bartender types; so he may easily ride out the first wave of Mean Girls attrition.
Nevertheless, Donny looks like a pretty nice dude. He hates killing animals, despite looking like a hunter (memo to Donny: stop dressing like a hunter then), and he’s afraid of mice (notable only because I had a dream last night that there was a mouse in my house). Furthermore, if he were to become famous, Donny claims he would try and stay the same person as he always was, but “only, more people would know me.” Aw shucks, Donny. You will never stay the same.
Oh, and one last fun fact: Donny was the janitor at Kellie Pickler’s high school. And if anyone deserves half a million dollars, it’s the guy who cleaned up Kellie Pickler’s poo.
Imagine taking Ariana Grande’s face, mixing it with a dash of Mike Boogie, and adding a dollop of “Crazy James” on top. That’s basically Frankie Grande, a professionally annoying YouTube personality whose main claim to fame is being the aforementioned Ariana Grande’s brother. I actually watched about a minute of Frankie’s CBS video in which he immediately lied (said he was 28 when he’s 31) and proved to be so hideous I nearly abandoned Big Brother for the whole season. Perhaps my friend Dillon said it best on Facebook when he commented “KILL IT WITH FIRE.”
Now, full disclosure, Frankie and I have at least one mutual friend who seems to really like him; so I can’t discount that, but his on-air persona is really the pits. Just take a look at his YouTube channel (no, wait, don’t) where the welcome video has him stating “Welcome to 10 Things You May or May Not Know About Frankie.” How adorable that he thinks there are ten things we might know about him.
But I’m getting off-brand here. I’m supposed to base my baseless disdain off of CBS’s blurbs. So, here goes.
One look at Frankie’s bios reveals a patently narcissistic disaster. I mean, this guy puts the Grande in self-aggrandizing. Self-Ariana-grandizing? (A stretch, but it almost worked) For instance, Frankie’s life motto: “Shine bright like a Frankie.” Barf fast like a human.
I could go on, but do I have to? I won’t. I shan’t! Let’s just say, I’m looking forward to the spats this guy is going to find himself in when he discovers that people do actually find him annoying.
One look at Hayden and his big, floppy hair and goofy grin, and I was ready to write him off. I mean, he’s a pedicab driver who lives in Long Beach. Clearly he’s just a brah who’s up for fun in the sun on CBS’s dime. Right?
Maybe not. The more I dug into Hayden’s profile, the more impressed I was. Well, other than the fact that he TOO thinks Hayden (the other Hayden, not himself) is the best player ever. Now I’m convinced that these people had to watch season twelve in sequester.
Nevertheless, Hayden’s responses to the CBS questionnaire are rather long and well-thought out, which makes me think he might just be a smart, strategic thinker. Plus, his answer to the “What would you do if you were famous?” question is the most logical and haughty (I love haughty): “I would exploit my fame for money and success like any other reasonable person would.”
As a former college hockey player, Hayden may prove to be a surprise physical threat, but he does have one Achilles heel: he wants to start an alliance early on with the guys. With the exception of The Brigade on season twelve (again, one of the worst seasons ever with a house full of idiots who never bothered to play the game), no quickly formed male alliance EVER survives. But that’s the fun of this game, isn’t it? Watching the bros fall to pieces.
I don’t know what to make of Jocasta. It sort of all begins and ends with that bowtie of hers. I’m not saying she looks like she’s in a clown show, but I’m not saying she doesn’t look like it either. Actually, there’s something adorable about this goofy accessory. It lends Jocasta a certain Boo-Boo Bear cartoon quality which I think I like.
Either way, Jocasta’s profile is actually fairly generic, but she does earn major points with me for her succinct answer to the question “Do you have a strategy for winning Big Brother?”
Her response: “Yes.”
[drops the mic]
JOEY VAN PELT
Poor Joey. She clearly wants to be rock ‘n’ rollllll but instead she just looks like a mom with a bad makeover. I empathize with her anxieties — she’s afraid of pooping in front of guys — but I just can’t endorse her non-ironic choice of GinaMarie as favorite Big Brother player ever. Says Joey: “GinaMarie is my favorite because she always had a great attitude.” I guess if you call racist, delusional craziness a great attitude, she’s right.
Nevertheless, Joey’s greatest accomplishment in life is “Coming to the conclusion that I’m a good person to others,” which sounds nice, but I think we’ll be the judge of that. It’s always the people who think they’re the nicest who turn out to be the most evil. Can’t wait to see the house turn on her and the inevitable wailing that will ensue: “BUT I’M A GOOD PERSON! I CAME TO THAT CONCLUSION!!”
Here’s what I like about Nicole: she sports the sort of glasses Tyra Banks would make her guests wear in secret fat-suit segments. You just know there’s a camera in there.
I do appreciate that Nicole has chosen Dan and Ian as her favorite past players — you know, people who used their brains to excel — but I’m concerned about her age: 21. She is one of six cast members aged 23 or younger, and while Nicole shouldn’t be singled out over, say, Hayden (also 21), I feel like this is an appropriate moment in this post to point out to CBS that the younger the contestants, the less interesting they often are. Sure, throw in one 21 or 22 year old, but give us a few 50 year olds to balance it out. Our resident elder this season is Donny, at the ancient age of 42. That ain’t right.
Nevertheless, Nicole seems about as generic as can be, even with her love for a vintage spoon bracelet of some sort. I don’t even know…
Finally. A hipster winds up in the Big Brother house. Meet Paola: she’s a DJ from Astoria, NY, who looks like she can’t wait to tell stories from Coachella. But is Paola really a hipster? For starters, she’s on TV, and hipsters don’t like TV. Unless, of course, watching TV is now ironically cool. More importantly, Paola used to be a Maxim girl, which is again very un-hipstery. Clearly she should have been in Vice or Nylon or Barista Mustache Quarterly.
Another thing working against Paola’s hipster cred: she’s a top ranked female gamer. I mean, I’m surprised she hasn’t been shipped out of Astoria in a fair trade box yet.
Maybe I should come to terms with the fact that Paola simply isn’t a hipster like I first thought. That being said, I’m not sure she’ll be adding much to the season beyond her pretty face. Her goal if she were to be famous is to gain more social media followers, which is about as lame as it gets.
That being said, please remember to follow me on Twitter @bsideblog.
Watch out for this one. Victoria hails from Israel (no word on if she’s related to Bar), and was raised in an Orthodox Jewish household where she’s expected to live at home until she’s married. Clearly, something went awry.
If there’s anything I know about Israeli women, it’s that they are pushy, they get what they want, and they are not always the most diplomatic. Therefore it’s no surprise that Victoria says “the word CAN’T is not in my vocabulary.” Clearly this lady is going to cause problems out of the gate, and don’t be surprised if the other girls hate her. Every cast needs a pitbull, and Victoria might be it.
*As a bonus, keep an eye out for Joey leading the anti-Victoria charge, probably with the explanation “I have been so nice to her, and she’s nothing but rude. I’m a good person!”
**I really love that I’m basing all this on NOTHING.
***I am a terrible person.
Zach is a man of few words and ample hair. His CBS bio is about as forthcoming as a Buckingham Palace guard, but there are a few things we can glean from it. First, Zach is afraid of raccoons, which might be a problem if the secret twist this season involves a raccoon cast member. And if it does, the raccoon has my vote for MVP every week.
Second, Zach aspires to be a professional caddy someday… which is sort of ambitious? I think? I’m assuming he means golf caddy, not shower caddy. Because that would be very strange if it’s the latter.
And lastly, Zach’s life motto is “Money over everything” — a refreshingly honest statement that sure as hell beats out “Shine bright like a Frankie.” Nevertheless, look for Zach to be a stoic asshole with perhaps a quiet, misogynistic streak (I just get that vibe, which is probably unfair to him. But hey, I’m on the internet and can say whatever I want!!!!!)
What do you think about these jokers?