Expect the (Un)Expected: "Big Brother" Is Back in Session

"Big Brother 21" is shaping up to be a rollercoaster ride.

Monty Brinton/CBS

CBS's human zoo is officially open for business! Welcome to Big Brother 21: the human chess experiment where strangers live in a house with zero privacy, a bajillion cameras and microphones, and monster-sized squirrels that break in and stuff them into sacks.

We're only a little over a week into this summer's shenanigans, and it seems the men have already lost their shirts while the rest have lost their sanity. Thanks to the sheisty powers of editing, the 16 houseguests have been reduced to mere caricatures, including Token Old Guy, Nerdy Long Islander, Beefy Attractive Guy #1, and Beefy Attractive Guy #2, in addition to a Broadway dancer, a therapist, and a truck driver. Each guest is equal parts quirky and annoying in his or her own way, but they're all primed for the game and ready to backstab. As last season's winner, Kaycee Clark, would say: Let's go!

While Big Brother's motto is to "Expect the Unexpected," the show has become rather formulaic, despite coming off a series-best season with #BB20. As far as twists are concerned, our neighbors to the north at Big Brother Canada have been running circles around BB:US. But let's just be thankful for the steadfast delivery of super extra attention-whores, hungry for camera time and reality TV glory. Bless.

While we pray for savage backdoors, blindsides, and emotional turmoil, the show has more or less primed us to "expect the expected." But Big Brother fans are nothing if not patient and loyal, and no matter what happens, we're here for all the pots, pans, unitards, broken promises, and shattered hearts—bring on the diary room tears!

Here are a few predictions and first impressions following the show's first batch of episodes:

This cast is going to try to mimic last season's successful Level Six alliance...and they are going to fail miserably.

"Big Brother 21" predictionsCBS

Camp Director Jackson had his crew of jocks in tow (Nick and Aquaman Jack), and they recruited Holly, Bella, and new HOH Christie to their ranks. My money is on them falling apart the second someone outside their alliance wins the crown. I know it's early, but I don't believe for a second that any of these six have the social skills and gameplay of Tyler and Kaycee. In fact, I'd bet a week of slop on it.

The outsiders need to stick together.


The outliers seem to be Cliff, Nicole, Kemi, Ovi, and Jessica, but if these five want to survive, they're going to have to start their own Quack Pack and fire a direct hit at the main six (we need silly alliance names ASAP please!). Jessica's emotions could land her in hot water, but Nicole is the outsider you should have your sights on. She's a big fan of the game and seems to have a good head on her shoulders, but will she be able to assimilate herself into this crowd of hot LA bartenders? It's a toss up.

David and Ovi aren't going anywhere...yet.

"Big Brother 21" predictionsCBS

David, the photographer from Atlanta, was kidnapped by a furry and banished from the BB house, only to return in a new twist called Camp Comeback. After Ovi's eviction, Host Julie Chen Moonves announced that the first four evicted houseguests will compete for a chance to re-enter the game, but they're going to live inside the house while they wait for that chance. So a pre-jury Battle Back is in our future. Shocker. I'm not a fan of the Battle Back; the "twist" was overkill when Victor won his way back into #BB18 about 72 times. If an evicted houseguest is going to re-enter the game, producers need to get creative and zig when we expect them to zag. To be fair, the show did get creative with last season's Power App, but Kaitlyn wasn't able to finish a six-piece puzzle ofherself. Sometimes, it's hard being a Big Brother fan. Sigh.

Jackson had a serious case of HOH-itis, and he was only the Camp Director.

"Big Brother 21" predictionsCBS

His choices for banishment weren't surprising. It was all very jock-picks-on-perceived-weaklings. If we must have an evicted houseguest back in the fold, David returning with a vendetta against Jackson could be something to root for. In just a single day, Jackson certainly got some (wait for it)...blood on his hands.

With David and Ovi in Camp Comeback and Jack as the new Head of Household, who will be the third houseguest sent packing? Find out next time, kids! (Or, you know. Check Jokers Updates for feed deets.) And let's just pray to OTEV that this season is filled with strategy, shifting allegiances, and cunning gameplay. A killer Big Brother season is exactly what Rockstar's daughter deserves for her birthday.

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Julie’s Facing the Jury

Julie Chen (Moonves) Makes a Simple, But Not-So-Subtle Statement on Big Brother

Moonves. Julie Chen Moonves.

She's best known for heading up lively discussions and lingering debates on television's The Talk, but Julie Chen (or as of last night, Chen Moonves) is not talking much at all about her husband Les Moonves' current sticky situation. As you've surely heard, he recently resigned as CEO of CBS, but Chen has not appeared as head of her talk show since allegations of sexual harassment on the part of her husband made news.

OK, so Chen is taking some time away from The Talk. Understandable, since her family's dirty laundry (or at least allegations of such) is hot in the headlines. The rest of the show's panel is filling in, discussing the debacle, and feeling the pressure of being pulled in too many awkward directions as their co-host, friend, and former boss are at the forefront of their cringeworthy conversation. Will Chen return to The Talk and face both fans and foes? Time will tell, but that hasn't stopped her from keeping her career kicking as longtime host of Big Brother (also on CBS).

And last night, Chen was on television, showing her face for the first time since her husband's resignation. "The show must go on," as they say, and she did her part to keep things running smoothly. But it wasn't the show's content itself that made Big Brother fans inhale a collective gasp as the reality competition came to an end. It was the host's final words to close out the program, signing off as Julie Chen Moonves. "From outside the Big Brother house," she said, "I'm Julie Chen Moonves. Goodnight." According to Us Weekly, "In the show's 20-season history, she has always referred to herself simply as 'Julie Chen.'"

People are freaking out. Some are confused. There is support and there is frustration. Is she in denial? Does she believe he didn't do anything the however-many women claim he did? Perhaps he confessed to her yet she chooses to work things through. Maybe she's just not sure how she feels yet, but she holds her marriage vows sacred. And has anyone stopped to think that there is, in fact, a chance that Moonves is innocent?

We don't know what Chen is thinking, but we can see that she is standing by her husband at this time. And that's OK. She is a woman who has the choice to live her life the way she sees fit. If it comes out that Moonves is charged, we will see how Chen reacts. And if she still chooses to remain Mrs. Moonves, that is her prerogative. If we'd do something different, we can (heaven forbid we find ourselves in a similar situation).

That said, as host of The Talk, it only makes sense for Chen to get back to the table and start doing just that. If she needs this time to be with her family and sort out how and when she'll make a comeback, then fine. But if she dodges this whirlwind and comes back in a few weeks to discuss Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin's upcoming wedding or whatever may be stewing on the Stormy Daniels front, viewers will be the first to call her our for being hypocritical.

Being in Chen's position must be beyond stressful. Accusations like these are not to be taken lightly, and this is her husband we're talking about. And none of this is private. Her whole world is crashing down around her and she is holding on to the person she chose to be her partner for life. The truth will unfold and her marriage will either make it or this will break it. But until Chen talks on The Talk, all we can do is speculate on how she's surviving.

Stay tuned.

Melissa A. Kay is a New York-based writer, editor, and content strategist. Follow her work on Popdust as well as sites including TopDust, Chase Bank, P&G,, The Richest, GearBrain, The Journiest, Bella, TrueSelf, Better Homes & Gardens, AMC Daycare, and more.

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