After last season's summer of bigotry, sexism, racism, homophobia, and just all around hate, Big Brother's 16th installment has, uh, a lot to live up (or down) to. And while you'd like to imagine that this year's group of poor saps stuck in the L.A. compound won't be as awful as the previous batch, I realized watching tonight's season premiere (part one of two), that every season of Big Brother is, for viewers, mostly an exercise in figuring out who is what is best referred to as The Least Worst.
Due to the show's new rules (two HOHs, four nominees, other borderline nonsensical stuff that won't matter come week five) and a desire to drag this out even longer than usual, the premiere only introduced us to half of the cast. But first impressions mean everything and it's crucial who you know is not entirely terrible and who will probably end up as part of an uncomfortable headline come mid-July. Here are the early Big Brother Least Worst Power Rankings, from WORST to Least Worst.
8. Please go away: Paola
Here's the good news about Paola: she, as of yet, does not appear to be a full-stop bigot. For Big Brother, that's progress. The bad news? Mostly everything else. Paola is the kind of person who brought "three months worth" of eyelashes to a show where everyone slinks around in sweatpants and ugly hoodies by week two and asks really awkward questions just so she can say that she's the kind of person who asks really awkward questions. Also, she had to count on her fingers the difference between 27 and 23. In an initial group of eight, there are two people with notable accents we're supposed to laugh at (Donny and Nicole), but it's Paola who has the worst voice. Go away, now.
7. and 6. BROS: Cody and Devin
Shout out to Cody and Devin, the former semi-professional athletes, both of whom ceased being semi-professional athletes before their late 20s. It's okay to just admit that you weren't good enough dudes, you don't have to make up excuses like "I wanted to be there for my kid who I see on FaceTime." Neither Cody and Devin presented telltale signs of true awfulness, but they're also bound to get stuck in showmances and/or constantly be baffled at their underperformance in challenges because of how much they lift.
5. and 4. Yokels: Donny and Nicole
You sort of feel bad for people like Donny, the school groundskeeper and only person in the cast over 40, and Nicole, the season's "dumb blonde" stock character type, because they're just tossed into this cesspool of exploitation, sexualization, and general sludge of humanity, but then they start saying things like "I feel like I've been shot out of a cannon and landed on Mars" about the "house" and you just want them to go back to their one stoplight town forever. You don't belong in this world, and it's better for you and for us if you escape sooner rather than later. Don't be anybody's hillbilly puppet, Donny!
3. Fame-adjacent: Frankie
Would you believe it if I told you that the show cast a quote-unquote YouTube celebrity and the brother of Ariana Grande to be on a season where social media votes (or something) matter pretty substantially? Oh, you would? Well then. I absolutely expected to despise Frankie from the word go, and he almost got there by referencing his sister repeatedly, calling her, and WEARING TANK TOPS WITH ONLY THE POUND SIGN (#). But as the episode progressed, he appeared to be your run of the mill fame-seeking goofball who knows where the cameras are and knows what his 'persona' is. It could have been so much worse.
2. Check out my cool hair, it's going to be my only notable trait: Joey
The Big Brother casting process is a thing of beauty. I don't know if this is true or not, and it's better if I don't confirm it, but it feels like there's somebody, usually female, with WILD HAIR on this show every season. Because white ladies with wild hair are just crazy y'all! This year, it's Joey, who's from Seattle, does weird gestures with her hands when she speaks, and is 100 percent going to ruin the all-girl alliance (the lovely-named "El Quatro") because she can't lie, or something. But blue hair! What a wild card!
1. The Least Worst: Amber
Amber isn't interesting. She likes rock climbing and guns. She also likes her men "tall, dark, and handsome." She probably only reads books from the front table at Barnes and Noble. Nevertheless, Amber threw the first challenge out of fear for the show's new rules, which is always an entertaining play and managed to do so in amusingly fake fashion. She might as well have stopped and said, "I am throwing this challenge right now. This one here. I'm purposefully not winning it. I am losing it." Big Brother is the kind of crazy world where a woman who is introduced when saying "You don't have to worry about my dad with a gun, you have to worry about me" is the least annoying/offensive of the initial group.
All in all, not the worst group of people that have been on this show. But the great news is that there are still eight more to come; there's bound to be some truly horrible and hateful things coming down the pike. I can't wait!
What'd you think of the first part of the premiere? Who do like the most thus far?
AIRED ON 9/21/2016
Season 18 : Episode 42