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Sunday July 13, 2008 11:35 pm

Big Brother 10: Grandpa Got Game

Posted by Jacci Lewis Categories: Prime Time, Reality, CBS, Editorial, News,

BB10 Jerry

Maybe there is hope for presumed Republican presidential nominee John McCain yet? Right now the hottest guy on right now is a muscle-shirt wearin’, gravelly voice talkin’ ex-Marine who just happens to be a 75-year-old great-grandfather.

The new season of ’ perennial fish-bowl reality show is proving that old doesn’t mean obsolete. In the premiere episode of Big Brother 10 Jerry, the oldest person to every compete on the show, not only became Head of Household but also copped a feel of one of the hottest girls in this season’s cast. (Before his wife of 54 years has a heart attack that girl, April, sort of forced Jerry to do it.) Still, it was a good strategic move for the Magnolia,Texas retiree. In that instant you could see his fellow house guests quickly shift their concept of Jerry from Depends and defibrillators to babes and booze.

Season 10 began with a reminder from host that these 13 house guests are true strangers. There are no past relationships secret or otherwise to muck up the works this time around. We see the familiar scene as the house guests get their Big Brother key to confirm they made it on the show. The montage of their sassy one-liners set the stage for who seems tolerable and who just might make your skin crawl over the next 3 months. (My guess so far: April “I know how to handle men”, Memphis “I’m a hustler”, Michelle “I’m crazy and loud” and Renny “you can’t start the party without me” may be members of the latter group.) 

When we first see the group together outside the Big Brother 10 house we learn that they’ll pick a Head of Household even before they walk in the door. They are told to vote for the best HOH based solely on instinct and first impression. Apparently their first instinct is that an old military dude is the best choice when heading into the unknown (again, John McCain take heart). The house guests picked Jerry first and Renny, who is 53, a close second.

After the house guests finally enter and run screaming through the oddly-decorated rooms they popped some Champagne and got to know each other. Immediately some begin having reservations about Renny, a New Orleans-area salon owner. She is loud, brassy, eccentric and likes to wear feathered headbands or turbans. While that may make for some good TV the idea of living with someone like that for 3 months appeared to lose its appeal fast. Jessie, the “natural” bodybuilding champ immediately begins calling her out as annoying and old ‘like a dinosaur’. He is 22 and so far seems way to intense. But other house guests do note that Renny says inappropriate things… like when she asked Jerry if he was a Marine during World War II (he would have been like 9…so no).

As the 13 strangers went around the room introducing themselves and toasting their good fortune a few things stuck out. First we learn that Ollie, a 27-year-old preacher’s son from Minnesota, does not drink, smoke or even curse much. (This might be a first for reality TV and 27-year-olds alike.) Ollie may not end up being the life of the party but I sense that maintaining sobriety may be a powerful weapon in a house full of booze, boredom and betrayal.

BB10 April

Next, April identifies herself as a finance manager for a car dealership in Arizona and quickly allows the girls and some guys to feel her up to prove that her boobs are real. I’ll admit It was an oddly effective way to break the ice. But classy? Not so much.

Later, the house guests went outside for a food challenge that included a classic car as one lucky house guest’s prize. I won’t bore you with the details because I hate the food challenges but half the house is already on slop and mixologist “Memphis” now owns a classic Camero. (To clear up confusion, “Memphis” explained that a mixologist is someone who creates drinks not just slops them into a glass for a living. He also fancies himself something of a gigilo mentioning that a woman once gave him a $2,000 sport coat.)

As time passed, the house guests began to form preliminary alliances. Dan, the 24-year-old Catholic school teacher from Michigan immediately sees a kindred spirit in Brian, a cell phone salesman from San Francisco. They agree to protect each other in the game and bring the seemingly trustworthy Ollie into their cabal. Jerry took a liking to Brian as well, particularly since Brian served in the Air Force. Jerry wants to form an alliance with Brian called the “X-Factor” complete with crossed-arm signal (love it).

BB10 Renny

Later that night as some house guests tried to sleep, Renny burst into one of the bedrooms yelling that they were all locked in. When an exasperated house guest finally tried the door Renny burst into a bizarre fit of laughter, something like an owl’s screech crossed with a chain-smokers cough? No one was more annoyed by Renny’s late-night hi-jinks than Jessie, the stick-in-the-mud bodybuilder from California. He got up and complained to Renny that she was woke him up. Renny told Jessie to lighten up. Jessie stuck to his theory that Renny is crazy and old.

When it came time for HOH Jerry to pick the first two nominees for eviction from Big Brother 10 that little confrontation was not forgotten. Jerry used it as an excuse to nominate both Renny and Jessie for eviction. Jessie believes he is being targeted because as he said “my physique…(sighhhhh) handicaps me”.

That was pretty much the meat of the premiere show. My verdict so far?:

  • Jerry’s Got a Chance: Who can hate a grandpa who dearly loves his wife and fought in the Korean War? His collection of muscle shirts and oddly-comforting raspy voice don’t hurt his cause either. But it isn’t just nostalgia for the past that may help him fly under the radar. Jerry is a self-proclaimed Big Brother fanatic who admits to watching every episode of the show since conception. (So sad, but he retired after all.) He may have more strategy than this fellow house guests realize.
  • Dan Is a Threat: The Michigan school teachers says he is a devout Catholic and appears to be a mild-mannered whitebread kind of guy. House guests may think Dan is above dirty tricks but he has already said he’ll simply confess anything untoward he does in the BB10 house AFTER the show is over. (Gotta love those situational ethics.)
  • April Needs Attention, A Lot of Attention: Anytime you ask complete strangers to feel your rack one must question your self-esteem. I’m not blaming her parents or anything but I’m just guessing she will need to be the center of attention more often than not. The other part of this is that she may not get along too well with Keesha. Keesha, a Hooters waitress from Burbank, is just as blond and beautiful but seems to have a more easygoing personality than April, the self-proclaimed perfectionist.
  • Renny is no Sheila: In BB9, Sheila managed to last until nearly the end despite the fact that she was much older than her fellow competitors, had an unpredictable temper and rubbed some house guests the wrong way. The key difference between that middle-aged competitor and Renny is that Renny seems like she might be, well…completely off her rocker. Not to say she isn’t a kick in the pants and all but big, over-the-top personalities tend to be weeded out quickly in the clausterphobic confines of the Big Brother house.

So who will win the $500,000 Big Brother grand prize? Only time will tell and there is a lot of it between now and then (like 3 months, it is a questionable commitment I know). Big Brother 10 airs on CBS Tuesdays at 9pm et/pt, Wednesdays 8pm et/pt and Sundays 8pm et/pt.



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