Hello. You have reached Editing Hell. I have absolutely no patience for anything even remotely human right now, especially given that it's four-thirty in the morning, so I'm going to hang up on you. Please call back at some point when I might stand a chance of giving a damn. You may leave your curse at the sound of the click.
"That means you've still got plenty of time for me! Since when you do consider me to be even remotely human?"
*sigh* Will, I don't have the strength for this. I have to get through this section and settle out the merge...
"The what now?"
The merge. You know. Survivor?
"...how long have I been in this damn house?"
...never mind. Look, I'm touched that you snuck down into your secret overlord lair beneath the Jack Shack again just to give me a call. And you're also touched. In the head. Probably with an icepick. It would explain that stupid fabric you keep wrapped around your hair most of the time: it's a pressure bandage to keep your brains from leaking out. I have a long way to go, a short time to get there, and now the Cage Bandit wants to steal my last available working hours, or at least the ones I haven't been gaining by skipping your pointless show. So if you don't mind, and even if you do --
"And you know why you're not watching?"
Because idiocy just might turn out to be a disease and that much exposure might mean a chance of catching it?
"Because you know you can rely on me to call and give you the inside dirt that no one will ever believe."
Will, what's wrong with you? Seriously. You have the whole Diary Room for boasting. The producers know what you're up to. Mike may know as much as ten percent of what you're up to. There are people following the live feeds who are making charts. I know you have this built-in need to brag, but...
"I love the live feeders! I just gave a shout-out to the Sucks people , Jokers, the FORT..."
While completely ignoring one certain board.
"I didn't want to give out any hints about our special relationship."
Oh, for... Okay, Will. If you insist on continuing this phone call, I'm going to go get the air horn and detonate the thing right next to the receiver. You have been warned.
"I know a series of sounds that hurt even more than that."
"Previously on Big Brother..."
I swear you are this close to a full-fledged charge bugle.
"James left our happy home, and brother, when I next see you, I'm going to need that knife back. Danielle went on the warpath because Danielle was convinced Jimbo was the only person she could trust completely, which makes anything that happens to Danielle in the next few days fall under the category of 'mercy killing'. We had an HoH competition, and kid, if you think I won it, you really haven't been paying attention this season. Erika got it -- I did think about trying for it for all of two seconds, but just because at this point, I'm really starting to wonder what my room would look like -- and after we had a food competition that I still can't describe without laughing in your ear for twenty minutes, she put up Janelle and George. Janelle because she's this tremendous challenge threat, and George because -- well -- he's this tremendous environmental hazard. Do you know what a constant diet of slop does for your internal methane production? I'm getting a JAMA paper out of this. We gave him that one-week pass to save our lives. Oh, and speaking of saving lives -- if it's in the wee hours on Wednesday, we must have done something with the veto! Can anyone be saved? Janelle? George? Who cares? As long as I'm safe, they can do whatever they like!"
Honestly, Will -- what the hell are you still doing in there? You're the most obvious target in the house, and even if everyone's convinced they can beat you at Final Two...
"Well, that's pretty much it exactly. It's all about who you can beat now, and a lot of people think I'm it. I basically stayed off the block this week by reminding Erika that she couldn't beat Janelle in front of the jury. I even planted some seeds about her not being about to beat her best friend, supposed alliance partner, and all-around drinking buddy Danielle. But right now, Janie-doll is the primary target in the house, which is good for Chilltown -- as long as no one actually hits her."
Because as soon as she's gone, the next priority is to break up you and Mike.
"Exactly, kid. And Erika was giving some serious thought to putting me up -- believe me, it's on her mind. She thinks she can beat me in front of the jury, but she's not sure -- and she wants Mike all to herself. Of course, she won't be HoH next week, so she can't nominate me right away -- but some of the others... Well, Danielle would put up me and Mike in a heartbeat. No question. And that brings us to Chilltown's plan for the week: win the Veto competition."
Let me guess. And save Janelle.
"Bingo-bango-bongo! Best-case scenario, I won the veto, took Janelle off, couldn't go up myself because I had the trinket -- which leaves Erika to choose between Danielle and Mike. She's not going to put Mike up because she actually thinks there's something real in that showmance, up goes Danielle, and the one most likely to nominate half of Chilltown out of the house is packing her bags and heading for a talk with the Chenster."
Who would probably put you on slop for the rest of your life if she heard that nickname.
"Tell me about it. No sense of humor... So we would be solid for the rest of the week, Janelle would still be around and a bigger target than we are, she thinks she's with Chilltown now, Erika can't play... that means our biggest risk for HoH is George. Think about that."
I've got it. Can I assume your brilliant plan worked and hang up now?
"No. Because it didn't work."
"That's more Mike's job."
"That made it through the feeds, huh? Figures... Wait until he gets to the Finals with me: the man's gonna suffer a premature evotetabulatuion... But no, it didn't work. And things started off so well, too. You had to see my Diary Room tap right after the nomination ceremony. Janelle's complaining about Erika because being nominated really doesn't strike her as the world's greatest sign of respect, George is wearing an outfit that basically makes him invisible in there -- oh, if only -- and saying he's getting used to the block..."
Well, you'd know what that felt like.
"Can I help it if it's actually the most comfortable chair in the house? Erika's doing the whole 'I can't beat Janelle!' speech -- she's right, too, but I don't think she could have beaten Marcellas -- and I even ducked in there to let the viewers know I didn't care who went, as long as it wasn't me. Of course, you know different, you lucky person you. I still don't care, but I can at least pretend to care about keeping Janelle around. As a player, she makes a great bullseye."
As a human being, you make a great rat.
"I'm touched. By the way -- I don't have a tap into the Sequester house. How are Marci, James, and Howie doing on their not-so-routine expedition?"
Your guess is as good as ours: no one's been shown much of anything. Half the board thinks we won't get another Sequesterville scene until the producers can scrub away the last of the blood.
"I believe it... Actually, I don't give George enough credit, which means it's probably time to give him any. He actually realized Mike and I were still in the house. That's major progress for George. And he knows we're almost as deadly as he is around two in the morning with a strong headwind. The poor guy cannot figure out how we're still here and not nominated instead of him, and I've got to tell you, kid: there's days when I'm right there with him. But he realizes we're a danger, which is why Janelle or Mike has to win HoH next week -- preferably Mike."
Assuming Janelle's still around.
"Which brings us right back to that part of the problem. So I got together with Janelle -- remember, she thinks she's with us right now -- and sent her up to Erika to give her the No Hard Feelings speech, with a twist. Janelle promised Erika that if she somehow stayed around, Veto or votes, she wouldn't nominate Erika next week. Temporary truce, get someone else out of the house instead. And Erika -- are you ready for this -- bought it!"
Seriously? She thinks Janelle will go after you and Mike instead?
"Looks like it. She was so happy in the Diary Room -- look, every HoH has two motivations: get someone they don't like out while they have the power, and have no one come after them looking for revenge after they lose it. And the second one never works, which is the whole reason I've avoided my private decoration scheme for the entire season to date. Any chance Erika had to come a little closer to the mythical no-backlash term, she was going to take. But that doesn't solve my Danielle problem -- Danielle was starting to realize that Janelle was working with us, Erika hadn't nominated us, and she blames me -- justifiably -- for James going out... Even if Janelle stays, like I said before, there's one person left who would definitely put Mike and me up first chance. George, we might be able to make an honorary and temporary member, but Danielle? No way."
So you had some plotting to do.
"No, I had some jumping to do. Remember the food competition? I got my trampoline back, and it grew up! It missed me so much, and I missed it... that's the real showmance. I went under the blockade while it was still being raised just to get at my sweetheart! It's not just a little circle of rubber any more: it's this big rig that's a few feet off the ground, big enough for everyone to lie on at once, netting around it to help keep us from going off onto the pool... Sure, it was a little selfish, putting the house on slop for one day to get it, but remember what Janelle did to the non-Veto players in the graveyard competition? I still look good. Even if Danielle spent the whole time hoping I'd go off my Mac Daddy and break my neck against the pool table."
I always liked Danielle as of eight seconds ago.
"'Like' is a strong word, but you can respect her for waking up. While I was still playing on the Pimpoline, she went up to Erika's flower hell and called me the devil. Which is wrong. Supposedly Daniel Webster beat him, and no one's gotten me yet... She said I was dangerous, they'd made a mistake letting me get this far, she and Erika had to discuss every option as part of their friendship alliance -- and here's the crucial part: she wanted Erika to backdoor me. If she, Erika, or George won the Veto, then save someone and put me up in their place. Of course, Erika thinks she's part of Chilltown -- said so in the Diary Room -- but she's also still thinking about who she can beat, and maybe it's me, and maybe it's best to get rid of me... My rear is on the line again, kid, because the Bad Danielle from Season 3 is back, and this time, no one's making any confessional tapes."
And now it's more important than ever for you to win Veto. So how did the competition go?
"It didn't matter for a little while. We went to bed, we got up -- and we had the next part of our food competition reward: slop for one day -- in exchange for Christmas in August. Gifts, kid! Wrapping paper and presents and trees and -- you're not going to believe this -- a special guest."
Someone came into the house? Who?
"Who's my favorite actor in the whole wide world?"
*sigh* Neil Patrick Harris. I memorized it around the seven thousandth time you said it. Was he your inspiration to become a doctor or something?
"Shhh... Well, guess who the rats gave us for FauxChristmas!"
Seriously? Wow. I'd love to see his contract... there must be some really nightmarish promotional clauses in there.
"Nah... he's just a huge reality TV fan. I'm a fan of his and he's a fan of me! How cool is that? I kind of lost it in the Diary Room, I freely admit it -- went total fanboy in there. But I don't care, because in here, I can save the shots of us together for all time, along with all of his Diary Room footage..."
He went in the Diary Room?
"Told you he was a fan! I got to shake his hand, I hugged him, I told him how much I admired his work, I hugged him again..."
You do realize Howie is going to get some extra incentive from this, right?
"Who cares? It's Neil Patrick Harris! And he brought the gifts! The first new person we'd seen in two months, he had a Santa outfit for George --"
-- wait. You had the old houseguests visit during that one week of competitions, remember?
"I said person. Not hamster."
Oh. Right. Good point. So you wined and dined him, you seducer you?
"We kind of all gave him slop."
And there goes the showmance. So what were the gifts?
"Nothing on Janelle's multi-million-dollar wish list. Clothes, mostly -- we all needed a change of pace there, and the rats were getting a little sick of Mike pimping our restaurants on every other shirt. George got new shoes -- Janelle did get what I guess is an expensive bra -- and we all got Nintendo portables, but I don't know if we'll get to use them or not -- it's too much of a distraction from the game. Not as much as watching Neil call George 'simple' in the Diary Room, though! And you should have seen him do a somersault on my Pimpoline!"
I'll register your china pattern in the morning. But eventually, he had to leave...
"Yeah... they took the Christmas tree down from the backyard, cleaned up all the wrapping paper, and Neil went out. But still -- coolest Christmas in August ever. I got my bouncie back, I got presents, I got to meet Neil -- what's next? I win for the second time? Best. Summer. Ever! But then it was back to the same old people, and the unbelievable new stories..."
"George told us he was once struck by lightning."
I can totally believe that.
"Actually, so can I. But holding it back for two months? Unbelievable. He said it was a long time ago, there were no side effects, and just because I asked, he didn't develop any super powers --"
-- beyond a magnetic attraction to hideous clothing --
"Read my mind, kid. Read my mind. This explains pretty much everything about our George, and I thought the lights flickered when he went by because of the gas! Actually, that's just about a power in itself... Anyway, I really didn't want to think about the implications, so I went out to update Janelle on our plan to save her. The blonde brain cells were firing that day, so she saw the flaw: Danielle winning Veto. But our odds were pretty good, and I really thought Mike and I could talk Erika into the backstab together -- no way she beats Danielle in front of the jury, that's her whole motivation right now..."
No way she beats Julie in front of the jury.
"Now there's a picture... So Mike and I rehashed the plan, Mike put a few whispers in Erika's ear that night -- I'd tell you all about it, but even my tolerance isn't unlimited and I want to finish this phone call without throwing up -- and then came the Veto. We ran this one in the backyard at night --"
-- as opposed to on location in Hawaii at high noon --
"-- I'll ignore that -- and it was a pretty simple one. Video screen here, button here, wall with the names of the eight evictees and a light switch near each name over there. The screen flashed facial features from two houseguests. You had to identify them, flip the right switches, then hit the button to see if you were right, racing in between stations. Fastest time on the three pairs of matches got the Veto. The right pairs turned out to be Alison & Jase, then Howie & Diane, and last up, Jase again with James. And I finally had to win one... Simple enough?"
They obviously knew exactly who they were dealing with.
"So we all got stuck in different rooms on lockdown while they sent people out one by one -- Mike had to read the rules for nobody, and he doesn't do any better without an audience than he does with -- and we all did our best. Except for Mike -- we agreed he'd throw this one, because if he's got the Veto and saves Janelle, then suddenly, I look a lot better to Erika."
Sensible. So how did you do? Keeping in mind that you already told me the plan didn't work.
"*sigh* Super-Evil-Doctor-King, Competition-Blow, Go. I've been throwing the things for so long, I didn't remember how to win. I swear, it felt like I was running at top speed, and I was thinking as fast as I could, but -- I don't care about these people. Why would I be spending time memorizing their features? I barely care about their names once they're out of here. What I care about is numbers: one of them goes, one of me stays in the house. My favorite math. So by the time I hit enough random buttons to find the matches, I knew I was probably out of the running. No Veto, no way to protect myself and keep my favorite target at the same time -- Chilltown was in deep trouble again. And by Chilltown, I mean me. I felt confident enough going in to lie in the Diary Room -- hey, there may have been as many as three seconds where I thought about saving George instead, but they weren't in there and they all came from the lightning story -- but the results weren't there."
Naturally. So who actually won the thing? I'm guessing your worst-case scenario is still Danielle...
"Absolutely. And when Erika brought us all out to the backyard and peeled the times, we saw just how close Chilltown came to the deep stuff. George was no threat -- 24:23. Honestly, at this point, we're not sure the man knows where he is. Erika set the bar a lot higher at 1:51. I was out with 3:19 -- and then came Janelle."
I think I can see this coming.
"Everyone saw it coming except Janelle. One minute. Even. She thought she messed up and said she could have done better, but -- one minute. The girl is a challenge force. Erika almost fell apart right there. Mike and I started laughing -- we couldn't help it: can you believe that time? And then Danielle comes in at 1:23 -- so close, but thank you for playing! -- and Mike, who you'll remember was trying to blow it so I could have a better chance, finishes out the laughter with a 7:32. So Janelle wins Veto for the fourth time, the producers in Sequesterville have to clean pieces of James' head off the walls, and Erika's got to decide who's going up..."
So it was a half-success. You've got the slot for Danielle to occupy -- but you could go in it. And there's no real way Erika's going to nominate Mike, so it's really you or Danielle at this point: no other options.
"Tell me about it. It's almost enough to make me wish they'd twisted Kaysar into the house for a fourth run, just to give me an extra person to work with... So now I've got to go into overdrive. I have to play the jury card -- Danielle can do a lot less harm on it than she can sitting in front of it. Will's life is now completely centered around saving Will's pale rear for another week. I like to call it 'noble cause'."
I like to call it 'annoying.' But didn't you tell me Erika promised Danielle she was absolutely safe within seconds of Erika winning HoH?
Oh. Right. It's just that it's so short-term at best on your show, it's easy to dismiss...
"True enough, but in this case, the shade says much. Janelle went from the competition right into Erika's ear -- trying to get her to put Danielle up, just like the good girl I want Janelle to be. Credit where credit is due: she's a whirlwind of challenge madness -- she couldn't even stop to breathe with that time -- but she twists in the wind, and I am the hot air. Mike and I celebrated our half-win in the pantry -- dance moves, laughter, mad skills, the usual -- and then it was time to go back to work."
Janelle doing so well is actually an advantage for you, isn't it? Right now, people have to be terrified that she'll get final Veto and HoH -- the positions that essentially control the game.
"If you can't sleep, nobody sleeps?"
"Gee, thanks... Well, we've got a couple of edges. First, Erika's sleeping with Mike: big plus right there. Second, she plays with her heart, which leaves us free to get inside her head. Mike and I talked to her and gave her the facts as we wanted her to believe them. Danielle's dangerous. Janelle will go after Mike and me if she wins the next HoH, leaving Erika alone. George a threat? Please. It's Danielle or she's doomed. And then she's Final Three with Chilltown -- just like everyone else. She confronted Mike afterwards, basically asked him if he was with me or her -- me! -- and she was having a really hard time in the Diary Room, because she always forgets what I always remember: it's a game. That's it. Just a game. Whatever happens in here happens because of game play and has nothing to do with life outside the house. She thinks if she backstabs Danielle here, it's the end of the world. No, it's the end of Danielle's stay. That's all. We have house lives and real lives -- if Erika ever figured that out, she'd be dangerous."
So you're saying you're not full-time evil?
"Let's not go too far here."
Sorry, I'm sure.
"By this point, Erika was so desperate, she called Janelle up to the HoH room for advice, because that fake truce is everything! Erika had this whole speech in the Diary Room about only being able to go so far with an alliance before you have to dump them, she can't see it happening to her any time soon, and suddenly, Janelle is her best friend and most trusted voice... Let's all just sit back and enjoy the nervous breakdown! One minute, Erika's reassuring Danielle in the pantry that she won't go up, then she's asking Janelle if she should put Danielle up... What's this girl's middle name, Sybil?"
I like to call her Altogether Erika.
"Or maybe Diane -- she said that to Mike later, that she was afraid of being the girl who threw things to the boy at the wrong moment. But that was after Janelle did a great acting job. Janelle said she thought every man in the house sucked, I was no better than George, and she was only too happy to team up with Erika and go gender versus gender starting Thursday. Erika brought Mike up to the HoH room and the topic went to me for a few seconds -- she does not like my still being around and having his ear, no matter what other body parts she's laid claim to -- but Mike brought it back to Danielle. Convinced her Danielle had a better chance to win than anyone, with Janelle right behind her. And since for Erika, this is all about who she can beat -- finish it for me --"
*sigh* Danielle went up. So your plan worked after all.
"Not the way I wanted to get there, but as long as you're standing at the finish line, the route doesn't matter much. Here's the thing, though. Erika told her the day before the Veto ceremony. Danielle took it with repressed anger -- 'Okay, that's fine' -- and left Erika to her crying jag, because Erika still doesn't understand this is a game. But when you get a day, you get a night, and remember what we're on foodwise this week? Meat and alcohol. Danielle had a heaping helping of Option #2."
"Oh, yes. Danielle was drinking in the hot tub for most of the night, the best liquor CBS could buy, and babbling to George all the while. You know the routine -- ultimate betrayal. What's that, the tenth one this season? Gotta give George credit here -- he was sitting there quietly, listening to her while she went on about Erika's real allegiance being with us and not caring about him at all -- he didn't say a word -- but then Erika came out back and started listening to it. Danielle spotted her, George decided it was in his best interests to clear out before the blood started flowing, and Danielle really lost it. Got out of the hot tub, went to Erika, and you know that stage of drunk where everyone's either your friend or used to be? Erika's in the second category. Danielle looked in her eye and gave Erika her heart. Danielle loves Erika more than life itself. Danielle is going to have a lot of explaining to do with her husband when she gets home. But that's what it was, over and over. I cared about you, I may have even loved you, and -- ultimate betrayal! And for his ultimate, George ultimately decided to hang around and listen to all of it. Erika finally lost it -- went inside because she couldn't stand being near Danielle any more, and went straight for comfort."
"Good guess, but wrong. Me. She woke me up, took me into the HoH room, locked the door, and I started telling the other side -- building her ego back up by helping her see how necessary getting rid of Danielle was, especially after that incident. Which is when Danielle came upstairs, found the door was locked, and helped me make my case by ringing the bell about fifty-five times. In between knocking on the door about a hundred. I'd turned on the spy screen so we could see her coming -- once we saw the sick little-girl expression on her face, Erika and I hid in the bathroom and made no noise, pretending we weren't there -- but she would not go away. Over and over and over..."
Sounds like a rough night.
"And I had to finish it in Erika's bed, just in case Danielle tried to come back. Mutual protection more than anything else. She was three shots away from bulletproof and two from looking for the gun."
Truly, you suffer so. I take it Erika didn't change her mind before the Veto ceremony.
"Not a chance, and Danielle didn't say a word during it. Just kept her hangover-hiding sunglasses on and plopped her rear down into the seat as softly as possible so the noise didn't trigger another migraine. And naturally, that's when Erika decided to play the 'it's only a game' card and pretty much begged for Danielle's vote right there, with Danielle on the block in front of her -- but the silence broke her down, and she left to go and cry. She had a Final Two pact with Danielle, she finally realized it wasn't going to work -- it is just a game. And she'll forget that again by Thursday."
Probably. When emotions come in, people go out...
"Word. Chilltown had another good week, kid -- I'm safe, Mike's safe, my favorite target is still around, everyone somehow thinks they're with us, and after that little drinking episode, Danielle's going to the Sequester house. No doubt in anyone's mind. And if we can give her me versus Mike at the end -- well, it'll be something to see. Sure, I've got to worry a little if Mike doesn't win HoH, and Janelle might have another brain cell fire -- but overall, I'm actually starting to like my chances. It's like I've always said: just give me a few days to plot, work the angles, get into people's heads, and any nominations can be beaten. Even if it's me up there. All it takes is time."
...nothing. Just a yawn.
"Well, you're not going to bed yet."
"Oh, come on! I've gotten you up to date -- now you do the same for me! Fair's fair, right?"
What would you know about fair?
"Hey -- I've been trapped in this house all summer. So help me, in the rush to get into the house, I completely missed that Survivor was going to start early! Erika never even said anything, damn it... First summer run since the original, and I'm missing it? I love that show! I could totally win it! Come on, kid -- get me up to speed so I'll be ready when we clear out of here? They're just at the merge, right? It shouldn't take too long to give me the highlights from the first six or seven episodes."
"No television -- no newspaper -- no Internet -- I'm dying here... Oh, hell, you're gonna make me say it... please?"
But – hmmm... okay. I'll give you exactly what happened. You'll be ready as anything when you get out. Everyone will be majorly impressed at just how prepared you are to call the endgame.
"Cool! So where did they put them this season?"
South Pacific, a little under the equator. It all began when they threw sixteen people off a boat...
(If you didn't get the Episode #14 summary, you can probably give up on this one.)