It’s just about the halfway point for the current season of the superaddictive CBS reality series "Big Brother." Tonight also marks the debut of a new weekly TV MoJoe feature in which we’ll check in with "Brother" executive producer Allison Grodner about the latest evictee and all the goings on in the House From Hell.
If you don’t watch "Brother," you’re missing one of the most underappreciated reality shows on TV. Some critics dismiss it as mindless blather; to me, it’s the frothiest, funniest three hours of fun you can have on broadcast TV each week.
Throw in live feeds and a three-hour nightly series on Showtime 2, and you’ve got the makings of a serious habit.
For those who do watch "Brother," don’t read any further if you haven’t seen Thursday’s episode. Major spoilers ahead.
Diving right in, I asked Grodner her reaction to tonight’s eviction of Ronnie, the ever-scheming "dorkapotamus." Specifically, I asked her what Ronnie’s fatal flaw was.
"Playing way too hard," she said. "He was always thinking way too much about the game. And he (poorly) played both sides."
That said, Grodner seems to have a soft spot for Ronnie. When asked what his "Big Brother" tombstone would read, she replied: "Superfan done good."
"This really was the biggest fan of ‘Big Brother’ we’ve ever had," Grodner said. "He could list every eviction in order. He was giving everyone in the house information about what would happen next . He was steps ahead of us at times. We’ve never seen anyone like him. Love him or hate him, he gave us a good show."
Grodner said fans definitely had mixed feelings about Ronnie. When he exited the "Big Brother" house tonight, "The applause wasn’t nearly as much as it’s been for the other players," she said. "It was a little more tepid."
Fittingly, Ronnie was ousted at the behest of Russell, the muscle-bound hothead who a couple weeks ago began attacking Ronnie as the "rat" of the house. But while Russell accomplished what he set out to do, Grodner worries he may be on shaky ground going forward.
"Russell overplayed and spun out of control this week," she said. "Paranoia will destroy ya."
She says Russell "got his feelings hurt" by Chima when it became clear to him that Chima might have schemed behind his back. The two had been building something of a romance.
The other big reveal tonight was that Jeff has won the mystery power (a k a the Power of Coup d’Etat). With Chima the new head of household, Grodner says she thinks the power will be used next week.
Indeed, it seems likely Chima will go after the three people not in her alliance– Jeff, Jordan and Russell. Assuming any of those folks are on the block next week, Grodner wouldn’t be surprised to see Jeff take them off– in order to put up Jessie and Natalie (aka Scrappy Doo).
"This will be very interesting," Grodner said.
So at the halfway point of the game, is Grodner surprised by anything that’s played out so far this season?
"There are a lot of hardcore players in this house," she said. "Right out of the gate the game has been on, and it’s been on intensely. What’s been most surprising is how emotional and serious they’ve been."
Got any questions for Grodner? Ask them in the comments– you might see them answered next week on MoJoe.