Wednesday's Big Brother 18 premiere was a (slight) case of expect the expected: former contestants Frank (Big Brother 14), Nicole (Big Brother 16), James (Big Brother 17) and Da'Vonne (Big Brother 17), as rumored, returned to the game. They joined the 12 new houseguests, and the whole group was split into teams of four, with a veteran on each one.
It's still not quite clear what the purpose of having the vets back is other than to just have them back, or adding the teams twist in a game where you're ultimately playing for yourself. This isn't like the duos or coaches twists. But, lbr, the teams thing is gonna last, like, four weeks. Remember #BBTakeover last year? Exactly.
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Naturally, not all the newbies welcomed the oldies with open arms. "These old relics. These old antiques," Jozea said. "Go get polished before you enter the Big Brother house."
He's not the only one who's unsure about these familiar faces. We caught up with some Big Brother alums at the Big Brother 18 premiere party to get their take on the twist and who they think have or have not changed from their first go-around.
Monica (Big Brother 2)
Ah, the true old guard. Monica is peeved TPTB don't/won't dig deep, deep into its history to cast alums, especially since her iconic second season birthed Big Brother as we know it. "There would be no Big Brother 18 without Big Brother 2," she tells TVGuide.com. "I think that they think people don't want to see Season 2 or 3 [alums], but I really do think fans would like to see some old-school, 'I'm going to go in there and play' players and see how they will do now since it's so different now. We had nothing back then! We had to wash our clothes on the rollers. The comps weren't so big and crazy."
And if they still won't cast true oldies-but-goodies, she has one suggestion. "I think for one week, they should make them live like we did in Season 2. Could you imagine them trying to put their makeup on with one tiny mirror and only have three outfits to change out of? They will lose their minds," she says. "But I want them to cast people from [Seasons] 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. A lot of people they cast now don't even know about the old seasons."
Michelle (Big Brother 10)
Why can't alums come back without some twist that protects them? Probably because they'd be easy targets for the noobs. "I say take the middle man out and put them in the house and let them compete. No coaches or anything like that," Michelle says. "Every man for themselves. If you want to bring people back, just let them play."
Adam (Big Brother 13)
With firsthand experience of competing against vets, the BB13 third-place finisher is not too fond of the melting pot. "On my season, they brought veterans back into the house and I thought that was kind of unfair because they know how to play the game," he says. "The fact that they know what'll happen next even though you expect the unexpected, they still have that advantage because they know how the production works. I want all-stars or all newbies. No mix. But no matter what, it's game on now. You're going to see a lot of people self-destruct early and I predict the winner to be a newbie. I want there to be a newbie!"
As for Season 18's returnees, Adam is rooting for Frank, who was a finalist to compete on BB13 but was held for the following season. "I saw him at the casting things. I was like, 'I wanna work with this guy.' So when he got on 14, I was rooting him. I think he'll do good again."
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Cody (Big Brother 16)
Of course Cody is pulling for his brother Paulie this season and is adorably stressed about it. "I am so nervous because I don't know what's already happened and I can't control it," he says. He hopes his bro can find his Hitmen bro in comp beast Frank (they are on the same team, Category 4). "If you don't like Frankie, I don't know what you're doing. He's the most likable guy on the planet," Cody says. "He was a monster [at comps]. Derrick and I both said, 'Dude, I hope Paulie links up with Frankie.' Paulie can be social. Frankie can be a competition beast. They'd be a great duo."
The BB16 runner-up loves "my girl Nicole" and Da'Vonne ("I thought she was so much fun"), but he wants Paulie to be wary of James. "James is a loyal guy like Caleb, but he opens his mouth too much like Caleb," he says. "I told Paulie, 'You gotta be careful with telling people certain things because you tell the wrong person something, the whole house knows.' That's what I feel like James could do. So I'm hoping that he realizes that."
Derrick (Big Brother 16)
One of the pre-season rumors that obviously turned out not to be true was Derrick returning. "I have no clue [how that started]," he says. "I was very vocal about me not being on this season. I'm doing a Discovery show that's literally shooting right in the middle [of Big Brother]. I have two babies, a pug, a boxer, a wife. I did a Hollywood Reporter interview and I said I'm going on record that I will not be on this season. And then two weeks later, Reality Blurred came out and said I was on. But I think that happens every year when everyone's excited and starts speculating. I think it's cool they're bringing people back and to see if they'll play any differently."
But will he ever come back to add to the $500,000 he won two years ago? "I would like to go on sometime," Derrick says. "If the time permits, I would love to go again. It's a very, very time-consuming thing that you have to do. Three months — you have to shut off your life. If it all works out, I will definitely do it."
Jason (Big Brother 17)
Needless to say, Jason is rooting for his girl Da'Vonne, who by her own admission played too aggressively last year to get booted second. That wasn't her only problem though. "When you're mouthy and playing hard, it's tough," Jason says. "Some of us did play hard. Audrey was playing hard from Day One. Vanessa played hard the whole time, but she's not mouthy. I think she knows what not to do now. The thing is, you learn things about yourself and how you interact with other people. The person you thought you were isn't the person you really are. ... I think this time Da'Vonne would not be so bitchy outside and would let the little things slide where last year we were like, 'Did you see the way that bitch looked at you? F--- her!'"
Judging by Day's complete fail in picking the insufferable Paul over Paulie for her hot mess of a team, and then arguing with him the whole time, she hasn't exactly learned her lesson. Nevertheless, "I'm putting all my poker chips on Da'Vonne," Jason says. "She's never going to have an easy road. She gonna have to fight to get to the end of the game in any cast. But without me, she's going to be a whole lot better. I have high hopes."
He won't say the same for BB17 resident pranskter/professional napper James. "James doesn't really play. He plays in closets. Shade and tea. It is what it is," Jason says. "James is the entertainment factor. He's Zach Rance from the South. I get it. He's good casting, but I don't think he's a strategist. Some people love the show because it's a game. He loves the show because it's a TV show."
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Johnny Mac (Big Brother 17)
JMac, who was totally robbed of America's Favorite Player last year, echoes Jason's sentiments of their castmates. "I think out of the two of them, Da'Vonne is smarter and I think she is more able to fix what she did last time and make it farther in the game, whereas James, I think it'll be the same thing again," he says. "Maybe he won't get as far as he got last time."
The Rockstar Dentist also likes Nicole, who like him returned after being evicted on her season, and Frank — now. "I pretty much like everyone who's ever played, but during [Season 14], I was a Dan fan, so I didn't like Frank too much at the time. I'm glad he's getting to play again and he's definitely worth watching. He won so many comps. I think he'll do well."
Liz and Julia (Big Brother 17)
Jamessss-uhhhh. Obviously, the twins are behind their kitty hat stealer and #BBChopped pal. Da'Vonne? Not so much. "James [returning] makes total sense. He was so fun to watch, he won fan favorite and he's not afraid to make big moves," Liz says. "But I don't get why Da'Vonne is there."
"Da'Vonne left second! I don't get it. Why is she coming back?" Julia adds. "Maybe they want her [Diary Rooms], but everyone coming back made it far and were decent players."
The twins don't talk to Da'Vonne, but they had one request for James before he went back into the house. "James could introduce these new houseguests to our games," Liz says. "We told James to invent your own games. You can't bring our games into [Season 18]. Big Brother 18 is going to be fun, but they're not going to have the creative games we had with BB Chopped, Potball, Slingband. It's going to be really hard to top us."
Big Brother airs Sundays and Wednesdays at 8/7c and Thursdays at 9/8c.
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