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'Big Brother': Zingbot, sweat, and tears

Ken Tucker
Critic-at-Large, Yahoo Entertainment

This week, Big Brother is all about musclebound Mark’s morose mood, his tiny-eyed tears, his heaving pectorals, and wracked sobs. The young man who used to simmer serenely while Josh ran around the house slamming pots and pans together and bellowing “Meatball!” has receded, and now Mark sits on the edge of his bed reading a Bible — which, from the camera angle, always seems bookmarked at the Book of Revelations, which is a bit too on-the-nose, Mark. Then he drags himself into the Diary Room to moan to us about how he’s alone in the house, how he’s lost his allies, and how he’s doomed to be evicted on Thursday night.

And indeed, Mark’s eviction does seem inevitable, because who can summon up interest in Matt long enough to vote the bland Mr. Salt and Pepper out? With the relative lack of suspense this week, it’s time to ponder other things, such as: When on God’s green astroturf did Christmas and Josh become soulmates? On last Sunday’s BB, we were treated to a lengthy segment in which the hobbled Christmas and arrested-adolescent Josh had long, earnest chats about their philosophies of life and how supportive one has always been of the other. Really? If so, poor editing, Big Brother. I was away on a vacation for a little while and missed a few episodes, but I never saw this eccentric alliance forming.

Thank goodness for Zingbot — a sentence I never thought I’d be writing when I was studying for a degree in English all those years ago. The ear-splitting ripoff of Robbie the Robot arrived just in time to level insults at every houseguest. His zingers included an especially hurtful parody of “The 12 Days of Christmas” with lyrics about Christmas’s painful foot injury, and a hot dog joke directed at Alex that was so dirty it had to be bleeped. Bonus points to Kevin for giving Zingbot the finger, with both hands. Or at least, I think Kevin was giving him the finger — his hands were pixilated, so maybe he was just retelling Zingbot’s Alex joke in sign language.

The veto competition was a good one: Making houseguests slip and slide to fill up a big fishbowl with green goop led to a lot of sweaty pratfalls, face-plants, and wipeouts. (If Christmas had been permitted to participate, her uninjured three limbs would have been in casts as well.)

It was also one of the few competitions in which Mark’s burly strength actually worked against him — his gym-generated bulk seemed to leave him off-balance. I wonder if I’m writing Mark off too soon, though. It’s possible that, in the final moments before tonight’s live eviction, he or Paul will somehow convince his colleagues he’s more valuable to have around than Matt, who is a nonentity in the house. The producers may even manipulate the vote somehow, because I’m sure they don’t want to lose anyone Josh loves to torment — clanging frying pans and bellows of “Meatball!” are what define this season of Big Brother.

Big Brother airs Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday on CBS.

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