Big Brother is kind of near the bottom of the reality-show hierarchy. At the top you have the award winning, generally positive shows like The Amazing Race and Survivor, and the ones that are simply unstoppable ratings grabbers like American Idol and Dancing With the Stars, and then BB is more towards the ‘voyeuristic and vaguely guilt inducing’ end of the spectrum. Last summer’s season of BB found an even more select (and possibly deranged) subset- people who were not only willing to participate in the show once, but twice: Big Brother 7- All-Stars.
In the next to last week of the show, the final 4 left in the game were Will, Mike, Erika, and Janelle. Will and Mike had been working together the entire season, continuing a friendship that started during their original season. Erika and Janelle had been brought in for voting numbers, and because Will and Mike thought they’d be the most likely people to stay loyal: Janelle obviously had a crush on Will, and Mike and Erika had gotten involved in a relationship during the show. The Will/Janelle dynamic was fairly harmless since both of them had significant others outside the house so there was nothing really riding on it, but Mike continuously told Erika that they’d still have a relationship after the show- people were talking about them having children someday knowing how much Erika wanted them, and neither said anything to contradict it. There are some other reasons that make the way Mike used Erika even more horrible- she’d just gotten out of a bad relationship, her mother had been ill- basically she was in a very vulnerable place and that probably made her much more likely to believe what he was telling her. Will and Mike had told both Janelle and Erika that they going to be the other person in the final three, which meant things were going to turn ugly, fast.
Mike won the competition that meant he would get to determine who would be nominated for eviction, the person who was not nominated would be the sole vote for who was leaving (nominees don’t vote, Mike would only have voted in a tie). Erika begged him not to nominate her, saying that it would make her feel like a “ho-mance” (a disgusting parody of “showmance” or “show romance”) and that wouldn’t have been hard for him to do – if he trusted her at all she would obviously vote Janelle out and save his friend Will. I genuinely believe she would have done it, too. Mike nominated Erika and Janelle, and Janelle won the power to take herself off the chopping block, so Will went up in her place.
This is when Erika finally realized that she was in a very bad place. So she did the right thing to stay in the competition. She went to Janelle (now the sole voter) and laid out all of the stories they’d been told all season: that Will and Mike were using them, they had both been promised final 3, they’d frequently been given the same assurances verbatim, and that Will and Mike were not loyal to anyone but each other. I actually bounced up and down on my couch at this point yelling “Finally!” And it worked! Janelle actually sided with another woman for the first time ever, and evicted Will. Will was smart enough to realize that it was coming, but Mike was convinced that “those bitches” wouldn’t take control. And he ended up with his jaw on the floor when it happened. That’s when he turned mean(er). In the Diary Room (where the contestants can talk to the audience without anyone in the house hearing) he declared:
“Showmances can be very effective for you. It kind of turned into a ho-mance. And I’m just glad that America now knows that Erika is in fact a ho. So I’ve used that girl up for all I need, I’ve gotten myself in a position to win this game, and, uh, that’s all she was good for.”
Can’t you just see the contempt dripping off that speech? That’s not anger that someone outplayed you at a game, that’s genuine malice. The intent to hurt someone, someone he knows will see this when it’s over when she can’t do anything about it. An attempt to humiliate someone on national television that has no idea, and no opportunity to defend herself.