STUDIO CITY, Calif. (CBS) — Those who know me best know that I eat like a guy. Maybe even two guys put together. My co-worker, Alan, brings apple fritters the size of my head to the newsroom every few weeks and I often have two of them. With my lunch. Let’s be honest, I even had a piece of Fisher’s doggie Birthday cake last month. Suffice it to say, there isn’t much I won’t eat. But there is one thing I will never, ever eat again: slop.
The only thing worse than eating slop is eating warm slop, and only that, on the hottest day of the year. It was 112 degrees when I, along with seven other journalists, entered the Big Brother 10 house for 12 grueling hours of games, backstabbing and the most unappetizing menu known to mankind. (Or dogs for that matter. For the record, Fisher, your cake was MUCH better.) From the Head of Household (HoH) and Power of Veto (PoV) competitions to alliances and even a shocking eviction, we did it all in a day.
Although I work just yards from the house on the CBS lot in Studio City, they were kind enough to take us over to the set on golf carts. During that short ride, I met two other house guests, Brian Gianelli, a producer for of Yahoo! TV, and Kyle Buchanan of The Advocate. All slightly nervous and unsure of what was to come, we immediately established the “golf cart alliance” or GCA. Little did we know, 11 hours later, the alliance would be betrayed and one of us would be going home early.
We met up with the other five contestants and entered the house (after being assured the bathroom cameras would be turned off during press day). As great as it looks on camera, the set is actually very much like a bunker. An abundance of double-sided mirrors, a dark screen shutting out light from the backyard during lockdowns, and the noise of cameras shifting to capture your every move all make for a surprisingly cold environment.
But cold certainly wasn’t a word we used very often, if at all, that day. The HoH competition was absolutely brutal in the sweltering heat. Even more awful was being eliminated on the first majority rules question. Entertainment Tonight host and correspondent Kevin Frazier was crowned HoH and immediately forced to put half the house on slop. As previously stated, yours truly was subjected to such misery. The other “sloppies” included Kyle, press day bad boy Reagan Alexander of People, and in a surprise move, Kevin humbly jumped on the bandwagon. He’s clearly crazy. (Please note the green HoH robe he wore for the ENTIRE day.)
Kyle was first to dive into the cauldron of warm goo that Big Brother kindly left on the table for us. “It tastes like warm oatmeal mixed with clay,” he muttered, clearly wishing he had a spittoon in hand. I was next. Kyle’s description could not have been more accurate. But the worst thing about slop is that it gets more disgusting with every bite. You almost think you can stomach it at first, but the fact that it tastes like wet concrete mixed with Play-Doh makes it impossible to bear. The color is equally unappetizing; it looks like a cross between the greenish slime from Nickelodeon’s You Can’t Do That On Television and guacamole. In my desperation, I tried to make cookies for the four of us, but the slop just wouldn’t bake. It also hardened after being left on the counter for hours. All of this made me wish I would have eaten more Krispy Kreme donuts when they were provided for us hours before. Kyle conceded to eat brown sugar, soy sauce and ketchup for lunch. Kevin just didn’t eat. Reagan licked dabs of hot sauce, and in his anger, tore apart Mike and Ike candies and stuck them on Kevin’s picture, making a handsome headshot look like a frightening 3D version of Ronald McDonald. It’s easy to see why Kevin later nominated him for eviction.
As bad as slop was, it’s even more painful to see my experience on video. Twelve hours in the house and we were all given just 19 minutes of footage. A decent chunk of that footage includes me reading the nutritional information for slop. And I look BRILLIANT. (Note: The people who look stupid on reality TV shows may have only acted dumb for one minute during filming and that’s all you see, unless they really are THAT stupid… like Heidi and Spencer).
After my horrendous lunch, TV Guide senior correspondent Zoe Alexander Levin and I suffered a humiliating loss in the PoV contest. She just couldn’t get her footing while carrying 20 + cups of orange-colored water across a balance beam. Can you blame her? But we were happy to see that Gretchen Massey, who hosts House Calls on CBS.com, and Brian had won. Brian took a $500 prize and Gretchen, who was on the block as a pawn to help evict house outcast Reagan, took the Golden PoV. Gretchen shockingly chose to save Reagan and Kevin then put Brian on the block. It was at this time that the GCA had a special meeting in which Brian wanted to affirm our support for him. Kyle pledged his loyalty, provided Brian wear a pink poodle cape, which was really a hideous comforter from one of the bedrooms. I, too, vowed to support Brian. But shortly after our meeting, TV Week columnist Joe Adalian informed me that Brian had suggested nominating me for eviction earlier in the day. Feeling betrayed, I cast my vote to evict Brian in the diary room. Only one person voted to evict Gretchen (Kyle stuck with his poodle cape promise) and Brian was evicted. I was later informed that he never said any such thing to Joe and the two of them were still disputing this as we left the lot. Someone had better fess up!
When I finally in got back to my car that night, I felt as if I’d pulled into the parking structure a lifetime ago. I would not survive an entire season in that house, especially not without my husband. I have a new respect for Big Brother contestants and will now pray daily for those who are forced to endure slop for an extended period of time. I am quite glad to be back on my side of the CBS lot, at CBS 2 /KCAL 9, where I’m allowed to read the news, surf the Internet and eat whatever I want — even if it’s dog cake.
- Jenn McBride