Mar 31, 2020
Big Brother All Stars: TV Character Edition
Summer is just around the corner. For interesting people, this means any number of things: exotic travels, days off from school and work, endless hours lazing on the beach, perfecting tans, outdoor sports, and parties until dawn. For me, summer means . . . an embarrassing amount of time spent in front of the tube watching Big Brother.
For those of you who have yet to be indoctrinated into the Cult of Big Brother, this is an educational series that teaches you about all the important skills you need to succeed in life . . . like, for example, the ability to hang from a moving popsicle stick for as long as possible, while various unclassified liquids are squirted in your face . . .
The ability to appear to be charmed and amused, while being viciously insulted by a robot from a 1980s B Science fiction movie . . .
The ability to act as though you are madly in love with, and not at all grossed out by your roommate, whose breath reeks of slop and who hasn’t showered in over a week . . .
The ability to recount every mind-numbing minute of your life to an unseen cameraman, multiple times a day, and not feel like a mental patient, suffering from severe schizophrenia . . .
For Big Brother fans, summer is a time when seemingly nonsensical words and phrases like “backdoored,” “vote with the house,” “floater,” and “showmance” become your go-to conversation starters . . . when “jokersupdates” and “live feeds” become your crack cocaine . . . when all your Twitter hashtags contain the cheesy names of alliances about which you are sure to forget entirely come September.
This past week, a friend of mine, and fellow shameless Big Brother binger, expressed dissatisfaction over the news that the summer reality series was holding an open casting call this Sunday in Orlando, because this meant that the show was forgoing its long awaited “All Star Season” for yet another Summer-Long Liaison with Unknown Losers . . .
And this got me thinking . . . what if an alternate universe existed where the next season of Big Brother could be the ultimate All Star Season, starring not third rate, D-list celebrities we’ve met with briefly for a few weeks, but beloved television characters we’ve known and loved for years?
Let’s see how some of our favorite TV characters would fare on the world’s most ridiculous, guilty pleasure, summer reality game show . . . shall we?
Contestant #1 – Cookie Lyons – Empire
“Most likely to start a catfight.”
Real life Big Brother Alter Ego: Amanda Zuckerman – Big Brother 15
Lucious Lyon may be the reigning king of the music industry on Empire, but at the water cooler Thursday mornings after an episode of the new hit series, it’s his saucy, sassy, former jailbird queen who’s got everybody’s tongues wagging. If your inner id had a face and a voice, it would probably look and sound a lot like Cookie Lyon.There she is on your screen right now, shelling out all the nastiest insults you had in your head but would never say, and in a cleverer, more hilarious way than you would ever say them.
Everything about Cookie is loud, from her voice to her her animal print clothes to the sound of her high heels stalking across the floor. But don’t let her brashness fool you. Sure, Cookie may not exactly have an Ivy League education, and she has spent quite a bit of time in the slammer—but she’s also whip smart and can scheme, charm and connive with even the poshest of Boo Boo Kittys.
Like her show alter ego Amanda, Cookie would likely enter the Big Brother House as an early, odds-on favorite. From her hilarious confessionals to her fun, life-of-the-party personality, Cookie would form powerful alliances early and lead the charge in banishing the meek and unworthy. But also like Amanda, it’s highly likely that Cookie’s larger (and louder) than life persona and short temper will eventually alienate some of the more softer spoken folks in the house. It’s equally possible that a few ill-timed outbursts may ultimately lead to her undoing and subsequent excommunication from the Big Brother Casa.
Contestant 2 – Littlefinger – Game of Thrones
“Most likely to orchestrate a night of debauchery with significantly younger female contestants.”
Real Life Big Brother Alter Ego – Dr. Will Kirby – Big Brother 2 (Hopefully, with Varys chiming in as his bromantic buddy, Mike Boogie.)
While Cookie’s game play involves publicly charming and bullying her competitors on the front lines, Littlefinger’s strategy will be one marked by more nefarious, behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing. On Game of Thrones, many an adversary of Littlefinger discounted him, to his or her peril. Sure, at the start of the game, he’s neither particularly monied or titled. And on paper, there are surely more attractive and interesting candidates.
But Littlefinger has always been an expert at moving various human chess pieces around the board in the manner that suits him best, without anybody realizing that he was the one to have moved them. And like his alter ego Dr. Will, while sometimes Littlefinger’s machinations are aimed toward world domination, and other times, he schemes and double deals just because he enjoys watching the chaos devolve around him.
Sure, Littlefinger may be a little oily, and also like Dr. Will, he may be just a bit too interested in hooking up with some of the younger, more nubile contestants, which may briefly distract him from the ultimate prize. But you’ve gotta admire the guy’s smarts and unabashed ability to get things done, while getting minimum blood on his hands.
Well . . . unless you count the whole, “throwing Lysa out of the moon door” thing . . .
Contestant 3 – Fiona Gallagher – Shameless
“Most likely to star in a season-long showmance.”
Real Life Big Brother Alter Ego – Jordan Lloyd – Big Brother 11 and 13
Having raised an entire brood of rambunctious kids (and one alcoholic dad) all on her own, while bringing in a meager salary doing odd blue collar jobs on the mean streets of Chicago’s south side, Fiona Gallagher will undoubtedly find the harsh and often claustrophobic conditions of the Big Brother House a breeze. Eat slop for a week? No problem, Fiona’s lived on slop for years. No sleep? No privacy? No big deal. Fiona has never had these things to actually miss them.
Like her alter ego Jordan, Fiona is tough, quick-witted, laid back and inherently likeable. This will make her popular in the house and quick to be invited to join alliances. But also like Jordan, Fiona has a tendency to get swept up into whirlwind romances that become her life’s focus, sometimes at the expense of other things, like actually playing the game.
But who exactly will Fiona hook-up with in the house? Perhaps, our next contestant?
Contestant #4 – Captain Hook – Once Upon a Time
“Most likely to be his Season’s Beefcake”
Real Life Big Brother Alter Ego – Cody Calafiore – Big Brother 16
Being sexy, charming, and inherently athletic may not be enough to win Big Brother, but it will certainly help get you far in the game, or at least past those pesky early rounds. While girls like Cookie will dominate the game as a leader and bully in equal measure, and guys like Littlefinger will scheme behind the scenes, Captain Hook’s game play will come less from machinations and more from the joys of being Captain Hook.
Athletic and spry, Hook will easily do well in the weekly Head of Household, Veto and Have Versus Have Not Competitions. And like his alter ego Cody, Hook will undoubtedly cash in on his looks and megawatt smile to earn the loyalty of a number of lady contestants. But at the end of the day, Hook’s chance at a victory will fall to someone who wanted it more and worked harder at it than he did.
Not that he’ll mind that much. I mean, look at him . . . It’s hard to be unhappy when you are that pretty.
Contestant #5- Amanda Clarke / Emily Thorne – Revenge
“Most likely to convince her fellow castmates she’s an entirely different person.”
Real Life Big Brother Alter Ego: Derrick Levasseur – Big Brother 16
In Big Brother 16, Cody’s good looks and athleticism took him to the final two, but it was ultimately his fellow Hitman alliance mate Derrick who won the big prize.
On Revenge, Amanda Clarke was nothing if not single-minded. From the time she was 18-years old, her entire life was based on the most elaborate, longest con ever there was. She ate, slept, and breathed vengeance. And because her orphaned, rough-and-tumble childhood spent in juvie persona wasn’t the kind that would get her into the posh Hampton parties she needed to attend in order to execute her malevolent plans, she simply discarded her natural persona for an entirely different one.
Unlike Amanda Clarke, “Emily Thorne” was pedigreed, glamorous, and exceedingly polite, but with a cold hard edge that belied her monied smile. Likewise, on Big Brother 16, Derrick knew that his blue collar, late 20-something cop persona would make him seem like a narc to his much younger, more vapid, cohorts. And so he changed the way he dressed and spoke, lied about what he did for a living, and reinvented himself entirely, all for the purpose of winning Big Brother, which he ultimately did.
Derrick’s charade only had to last one summer. “Emily Thorne” survived at least four summers in the Hamptons before she had to come clean about her true identity. I’m thinking a vacation in the Big Brother House would be a walk in the park for her. (Though she’d undoubtedly miss the great wine and classy food they serve at those posh Hampton parties. She won’t get anything like that in the BB House, for sure.)
Contestant #6 – Sheldon Cooper – Big Bang Theory
“Most likely to win the Big Brother Academic Decathalon” (Bazinga, there’s absolutely nothing academic about Big Brother)
Real Life Big Brother Alter Ego – Ian Terry – Big Brother 14
Though street smarts and social game are typically valued above traditional book smarts when it comes to seeking out a prospective Big Brother MVP, Ian Terry, an undoubtedly wise if more than a bit shy and socially awkward engineering student from Tulane University, proved that the right kind of nerd does, in fact, have what it takes to win Big Brother.
Though the obsessive-compulsive, comic book-loving genius Sheldon Cooper might be just a bit more arrogant and a bit less socially acceptable to his peers than his counterpart, we think this Moonpie might just be brilliant enough to have a go at winning the big prize. Sheldon’s eidetic memory will undoubtedly serve him well in many of Big Brother’s mental competitions. And though his finicky food tastes, rampant germophobia, and rigorous bathroom schedule might hinder his ability to survive in the house, we suspect his genius mind would be able to find a loophole in there somewhere.
Besides, as Leonard has always said, Sheldon is one atomic accident away from becoming a super villain. And what Big Brother House doesn’t need a super villain to liven things up a bit during the long hot summer?
Speaking of super villains . . .
Contestant #7 – Helena – Orphan Black
“Most likely to leave the Big Brother House in a straitjacket”
Real Life Big Brother Alter Ego – Evel Dick Donato – Big Brother 8
Sure, Cookie’s been in jail, Amanda Clarke’s been in juvie, and Fiona Gallagher’s been poor—but no one knows hard knocks like everyone’s favorite Killer Clone, Helena. Raised in a bunker, kidnapped into a cult, shoved into a box for days with only a scorpion to keep her company, Helena will find a summer in the spacious Big Brother House like one of her wildest avant garde day dreams.
Crass and crude at times, with a voracious (and strange) appetite, a penchant for getting herself into danger, and an at times unintentionally hilarious knack for telling people exactly how she feels about them, we think Helena’s game play would look a bit like aging rock star Evel Dick’s: aggressive and destructive, but also undeniably entertaining.
Unlike Evel Dick, Helena likely lacks the knowledge of social mores needed to ultimately win a social game like Big Brother. Then again, if she murders everyone in their sleep and ends up being the only one left alive, she may win by default. This is actually a distinct possibility for Helena, particularly if her paranoid mind starts believing that her competitors are out to hurt any of her beloved Sestras . . .
And there you have it: my pick of the first seven contestants to star in Big Brother All Stars: TV Character Edition. Who would make your roster?