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I Re-Watched The First 'Big Brother' Episode & WOW Was That House Ugly

I Re-Watched The First 'Big Brother' Episode & WOW Was That House Ugly

Hi everyone! Welcome to my brand new blog addition — ChatCaps of TV show pilots! I’m teaming up with all my favorite television experts to relive the first episodes of classic shows. I’m kicking things off with a re-watch of the first Big Brother episode from way back in the year 2000.

I’m joined by Allison Piwowarski, lifetime BB fan, to talk about the good, the bad, and the REALLY ugly of this classic reality show’s pilot episode. But first:

A: OK two quick things in this first minute. 1.) Julie is Benjamin Button-ing and aging backwards. 2.) they NEVER have cameras in the toilets anymore.

M: They do! They just don't show anything that happens unless it's relevant like when that one contestant washed the toilet with the other contestant’s toothbrush.

A: OH right.

M: Also this is so early 2000s, I can't. But I appreciate this BTS look at how the cameras operate. I always wanna know how things work on shows like this.

A: Oooh this these song music is catchy sax. Also, I kind of like the mystery behind this opening. Like, SUVs driving in the night on an abandoned highway? Sign me up.


A wild second host appears named Ian. He is obviously nowhere near as memorable as Julie Chen, who now hosts the show alone.

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M: Who is this man?

A: Who is Ian? Also this house is so bare bones. Like if someone took a heavy sigh, those walls would come crashing down.

M: Omg that FRIDGE is an actual minifridge. This is a dorm.

Check out the house in the gallery below by clicking on the left or right sides of the photos to scroll:

A: I do not like this. What year was this? 

M: 2000.

A: Why are the colors so primary? 

M: The yellow walls are scary. I would self-evict.

A: Same. I'd throw my mic pack in the pool (shout out to Chima) and get out.

M: Did they have Ian here because they didn't think Julie could host on her own because WRONG. SHE DON’T NEED NO MAN.

A: I do not like this man. [Editor’s Note: After a few bit parts on TV, Ian reportedly went on to a career in radio. That’s probably why no one remembers his face.]

M: They used to only get two hours of hot water a day for ALL of them to shower? Does the US torture department know about this? Seems like they can pick up some tips.



It’s time to meet the cast of people who heard about a reality show where you get locked in a yellow-walled house for a summer and thought YES PLEASE. Most importantly, it’s time to meet Chicken George.

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A: I honestly don't remember anyone from Season 1 .

M: Imagine being the first one on this show — like hearing the concept and being like, “Yep, sounds good!” Omg, this girl is going to miss lattes the most. You can make a latte in the house! It’s just coffee and milk!

A: I'm obsessed. with. these. people. 

M: WHERE ARE THEY NOW

A: Honestly imagine not knowing  what you were getting yourself into. Was the term showmance even coined yet? 

M: I think anyone who agrees to go on an unestablished first season of a reality show is a little too much of a risk taker.

A: IT’S CHICKEN GEORGE omg.

M: Wait. I have heard about Chicken George.

A: Chicken George was on All Stars. He's HORRIBLE  AT THIS GAME.

M: I mean, his name is Chicken George. This is expected.

A: He is very nice, though. He was the ultimate floater in All Stars (Season 7).

M: The thing about this filming in 2000 is that it's really just still 1998 in all of these people's wardrobes.

A: Honestly I feel like i'm wearing the same earrings as Chicken George’s wife right now.

M: Hahaha, well the ‘90s are in.

A: They always cast one "old guy." It's so weird to me.

M: And he's always like the first one out.

A: YEAH doesn't stand a chance. But, if they were smart, they should align with him. He's a vote. God, I'd be so good at this game. 

M: Same. I want to audition so badly. Also, I love these ‘90s, ‘00s looks so much.

A: I'm going to say it, Julie's outfit (aka an orange separate set) is also trendy again. History does indeed repeat itself.

M: It’s true. Although I think modern hair is better. She looks a little matronly here, as Tim Gunn would say.

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A: I am still thinking about the house. I really really really hate the colors. It shakes me to my core. 

M: THAT WAS IN. THIS WAS A STYLE. Do you remember the original Trading Spaces? I shudder.

A: OMG BUNK BEDS. This looks like a horrendous camp experience.

M: It's like grown up sleep away camp. Omg, wait, did Ian say they leave the lights on all night? This is true torture.

A: Was this pre-night vision cameras? [Editor’s note: Ian later explained that they don’t leave the lights on, but they do film all night because, yes, night vision was invented back then.]

M: I’m pretty impressed with this camera quality, to be honest.

A: I do like how they're describing night vision like it's a new invention… because it was? 

M: This was like pre-internet basically.

A: Did they have feeds online back then? When did the internet come out? 

M: They must not have had them. [Editor’s Note: slow down, Martha. The World Wide Web was invented back in 1990, actually.]

A: This camera guy is named Scoop.

M: Hi, Scoop. Also I looked it up and apparently the first season did have live feeds on a website hosted by AOL.

A: AOL! what would your away message be if you were going to Big Brother?

M: I never had AIM! I can guess maybe ~brb w1nn1ng $500,000, pls VHS t4pe What Not to Wear~

A: mine would be:  "I want to see you out that door... Baby bye bye bye - *NSYNC & Me, when I win $500,000.”  Bye Bye Bye came out in 2000, I think? [Editor’s note: Yep, January 2000. Allison’s entertainment editor is showing.]

M: I was 9 when this show came out.

A: I was 8 and honestly I think I watched it? Live? My parents and I loved it.

M: I know! You're a hardcore fan. That’s why I wanted to do this with you. Also your parents are on the cutting edge of like every show. Don't they watch Stranger Things? Did I make that up?

A: They love Stranger Things but they also watch like Billions and Ray Donovan? IDK is it cool to watch Ray Donovan? 

M: Hey, people love Billions.

A: I don't want to put them on blast, but they DVR Big Bang Theory. 

M: Hahahah I mean… that show is award-winning?

A: Martha. No. 

M: THEY’RE UR PARENTS I’M BEING NICE.



Um, this show used to have a chicken coop in the backyard and suddenly Chicken George’s nickname makes so much sense.

M: THE. CHICKENS.

A: OH OK  i am now seeing where Chicken George got his name. Maybe those were his friends

M: Why did they have chickens? Did they have to make their own food?

A: Yes, I think they did, but not with the chickens? I think just the eggs.

M: Wow, modern day Big Brother contestants don't know how lucky they are. Geez.

A: I feel like having pets would be nice.



Ian is back and so is the hideous house.

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M: Oh good the diary room is also terrible.

A: There’s Ian again. Wow people are calling Ian the Brian Dunkleman of Big Brother. BRU-TAL.

M: I mean yes, he is.

A: I wish the swimming pool was just a blow up kids pool based on everything else about this house.

M: I can't believe this show was Survive In This House With Competitions And Also Be A Farmer.

A: LOL that's a whole additional layer of challenge.

M: Of course they're all like New Yorkers who have never seen a garden.

A: I also feel like this was before people knew that reality TV can ruin your life? 

M: Well, yeah, because it aired once and then it went away. No memes. No social media

A: No internet! 

M: No fit tea to sell!

A: Like this guy who says he's gonna be a prosecutor after the show? Imagine now if someone was like, "I'm going to be a federal judge when I get out of the house." It's like OK SURE.

M: Nowadays even the people who start as lawyers on reality shows don't go back to it.




Enter Karen: A housewife and mom who actually has the wildest story on this show.

M: I want Karen to win.

A: LOL based on what?

M: Nothing, it's just a gut feeling.

A: I like her familial unit.

M: it's so cute how much her husband is sad that she's leaving.

A: WHOA wait look what Wikipedia says about Karen. “She later asked her husband for a divorce while on the show. Upon her nomination, Karen asked the viewers to banish her because she missed her children and hoped to divorce her husband after her departure. On Day 43, it was revealed that viewers had banished Karen. Her appearance on the series was criticized in her hometown, and led to Karen divorcing her husband and moving in with Brittany. She has since reconciled with her husband.”

M: holy sh*t also BANISH?

 A: I think it was called banished? Before evicted? 

M: Karen. Who knew.

A: This Karen stuff is WILD.

M: She seemed so normal! I guess BB was an actual escape from her life for her. Like I DONT KNOW HOW TO LEAVE THIS SITUATION SO IM GOING ON A REALITY SHOW.

A: OMG WAIT WAIt. Karen moved in with this other contestant Brittany after after she and her husband broke up this is WILD. I want a full breakdown of Karen and Brittany. 

This is Brittany.

This is Brittany.


M: Ok I really am gonna do a deep dive on all these people later. I must know what happened to them all if KAREN's story is that wild.

A: I'm so so stuck on Karen. I can't believe they called it banishment. Why hasn't Ian gone over that with us! 

M: that's some Survivor sh*t idk. They have addressed 0 gameplay. So far I’m not convinced this is a competition show

A: Apparently in Season 1 the viewers voted for who went home. This is so confusing. No wonder Chicken George was so bad in All Stars, he played a completely different game.

M: Yeah, it's not his fault. On his season he just had to garden. Anyway, I may... watch this full season now. I need to know what happens to Karen.

A: You know what's crazy is that this show has brought together more couples than I think The Bachelor has. 

M: It's basically a dating show. SPEAKING of which — Fessy and Haleigh from Season 20 are still together and I’m shook by that.

A: No way. I'm honestly still shocked by Nicole and Victor which was like years ago at this point. Anyway, it’s nice that these Season 1 contestant get to say goodbye to their families. Wait… these goodbyes are weird now. They’re  going on too long. I turned on them very quickly.

M: This whole episode was just meeting the contestants! We don't even get to see them play! How did anyone keep tuning in after this.

A: I mean, I'm hooked on Karen.

M: hahaha but the 2000 audience didn't yet KNOW about Karen.

A: I do love that after this many years Julie is STILL trying to hustle contestants to stick with the time limits 

M: Omg I know. she's always corralling them. Nobody LISTENS.

A: All of these people are so young.

M: Except for Chicken George. I love the slow fade to black so we don’t get to see too much until NEXT EPISODE.

A: Julie: “WOW THAT WAS INTENSE.”

M: It was, Julie. It was.

A: IT WAS ON FIVE NIGHTS A WEEK [Editor’s note: it’s now on three nights a week, which is still a lot but I plan to watch it all.]

M: There wasn't a lot going on in 2000. Omg Julie just said to check out their “Internet Site.”

A: INTERNET SITE omg.

M: I’m dead.

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A: This is incredible. I can't believe they have it on 5 nights a week.

M: This was even better than I imagined. Thank you for taking this journey with me. Any final thoughts?

A: I have a lot of negative thoughts on the house, a lot of great thoughts on Karen's journey, I don't think any of them would last longer than 2 days on 2019 television, and I am glad CBS learned Julie Chen didn't Ian to drive this vehicle. 

M: hahaha I agree 100% except I also don't think any of the 2019 contestants could last two days on this version mostly because of the yellow walls and the chickens.

A: hahaha true and the minifridge. 

M: Hahah yes. Now I'm gonna go read everything I can find on Karen.

A: Haha I'm probably going to do the exact same.


Want to talk more about Karen, the ugly house, the chickens, and more? Talk to us on Twitter @allisonpiwo and @marthasorren.

Have a suggestion for a show I should Chat? Email me.

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