This month’s look at “Days Gone By” takes a look back at the ninth episode of the revamped Big Brother 2, airing on July 24th, 2001.
Up to this point, New Jerseyite Justin had been disqualified on Day 10 after a night of drunken debauchery with Krista somehow left him holding a knife to her throat in an act of disturbing foreplay. Two nights later, Sheryl was the victim to the often used and abused “pawn” strategy of targeting one houseguest, and using another as bait as a sure fire way of removing them.
As often seems to happen, the rest of the house saw right through the plans of the first ever HOH, Mike “Boogie” Malin, a name we would hear from a few more times in this show’s history. Next to fall at the hands of new HOH Krista the following week was the often victimized Autumn, whom Boogie made improper advances towards, while Shannon had left a bag potato chips in her bed after the aspiring singer called the buffed-up model/realtor a “prim princess” to her face.
It couldn’t have been a surprise to viewers that the third HOH, the aristocratic Hardy Hill, had a strategy to drive a wedge into the Chilltown alliance of Shannon, Will, and Boogie. On Day 21, he nominated Will and Shannon, the first ever “showmance” in BB history. With the “Power of Veto” twist a season away, it assured that this first-ever house couple would be broken up, and while Will took it somewhat well, Shannon called Hardy a “coward” on multiple occasions.
Bunky, Shannon, Kent, and Nicole won a luxury competition where teams swapped identical but differently colored clothing to get their wash professionally dry cleaned that week. In the first two Survivor-style BB seasons, the house had a dryer, but no washer. It meant houseguests had to wash their clothes by hand, which many found a tedious process. America’s Choice. a segment where fans had input into house developments, brought the group a brand new toaster.
After a few brief segments covering minor moments of the house, we cut to a moment where Shannon is covered up in towels on her way back from the shower. Finding something humorous (though we never find out exactly what), Hardy is brushing his teeth with an electric toothbrush, laughing away. Shannon, thinking the laughing was at her, seethed and vowed revenge. What happened next was an unforgettable moment in early US Big Brother history, as she would take Hardy’s toothbrush and cleaned the house commode with it.
Shortly after her brief efforts, the automated voice on Don Wollman summoned Shannon to the Diary Room. Production and Shannon hatched a plan to tell Hardy that the head of the now fouled electric toothbrush had been broken, which Hardy quickly found suspicious, calling her explanation asinine, eventually confronting her.
Eventually, Shannon had to pay restitution for the damage done in her fit of rage. This begs the question: had Justin not been disqualified on Day 10, would Shannon have gotten the boot from show producers for destroying Hardy’s toothbrush? A hard question to answer.
The house had a counter-alliance known as TOP (The Other People) with Hardy as their leader, along with Nicole, Kent, Bunky, Monica as firm members. The reigning HOH was also working at that time in a partnership with Krista, although some, most notably Kent, didn’t think Krista was a full-fledged member of the alliance. At this point in the season, Hardy wanted his alliance members to remain loyal to him, while Kent was beginning to have doubts in his leadership.
Bunky offered prayers one night before the entire house sat for dinner, and found it hard to find the words to express himself, overcome with emotions. While others paid their respect, it seemed Shannon and other members of Chilltown led the way in not containing their laughter at Bunky’s sincerity. Monica quickly took those laughing to task, pointing out their disrespect. This did not lead to improving house rapport, as Kent and Shannon had a brief verbal spat to the dismay of the others, comparing how they thought each had been rude to the other inside the house.
The episode culminated with a weekly held house meeting, the forerunner of the veto meeting that would be held from BB3 onward. The meeting tended to resemble a group therapy session you’d find in a psychiatrists office, with houseguests free to express themselves as they saw fit. Kent took the opportunity to ask Shannon to clear the air about the toothbrush incident, something Shannon had no intention of explaining any further.
Hardy interjected on Kent’s behalf, though Kent felt his questions deserved answers and re-attempted to interject. Hardy and Shannon both insisted he be quiet so that they and they alone could argue. They exchanged veiled threats at each other, for which Hardy strangely apologized for moments later. The episode ended with Hardy and Nicole in the hammock, with Hardy crying, wondering how he had become such an ugly person.
A couple of days later, Shannon was the fourth houseguest to exit via a unanimous 6-0 vote, which left Will in the game. Kent would become the fourth HOH a few minutes afterward, which would lead to him becoming the first of two HOH’s to ever execute Mike “Boogie” Malin from the game. Eleven years later, Shane Meaney would do likewise on BB14.
It also led to Kent’s downfall in the game, belaying the seemingly inevitable blowup between Kent and Hardy for a week. The following week, Hardy won HOH a second time, going after and evicting the Tennessee conservative with an unlikely friendship with Bunky. Many felt that when Kent reigned as HOH, he had become a powermonger, with many in his alliance seizing the moment to turn the tables on him.
This is my last post for the year of 2015. I wish you all a Merry Christmas (or the nearly year-end religious holiday that is your preference), and a Happy New Year in 2016. Next month, a look back at all the English-speaking BB games that took place in 2015.