Summer's ultimate guilty pleasure is back: "Big Brother" returns, and it's as twisted as ever.
Season 17 could be one of the best if things unfold the way you may want them to.
First impressions say a lot, but these houseguests were in for a surprise the moment they were allowed to enter the house.
Being a devoted fan, I had already read about the cast beforehand. It was rumored that one of the houseguests is transgender. The only problem with knowing that ahead of time was that not even fans could know exactly which person it was until the first night
"Big Brother"?has always been known the push the envelope with houseguests, but this is a first for the show. They've had gay houseguests before, ex-boy/girlfriends, a pastor, a Muslim, twins, father and daughter, beauty queens, jocks, geeks, nerds, disabled, multi-generational people, black, white, Asian, and Hispanic people. People from all walks of life have played "BB," but not someone who is transgender. I think Caitlyn Jenner had some influence with producers.
Not knowing who it was until about 15 minutes into the premiere was superb. I'm glad they did it that way. Audry entered the house looking fully female, even catching a few of the guys' eyes. She shared her transition right up front with her houseguests. It was quite a shocker to some, but it was amazing how quickly they accepted her.
Joining Audry is Shelli, Da'Vonne, Becky, Meg, Jackie, Liz and Vanessa. Right away, Audry tried forming an all-girl alliance with Shelli and Da'Vonne within minutes of being in the house. Here's the thing -- Da'Vonne is a professional poker dealer and can read people well. Vanessa happens to be a professional poker player, too, and has the same ability to interpret people. Neither one knows about the other.
Liz, on the other hand, is part of the twists this season. She is playing the game with her identical twin. I love it when BB does this. It's so much fun to watch. They've also brought in former "Amazing Race" contestants Jackie and Jeff to mix things up.
As for the guys, there are James, John, Austin, Clay, Jace, Jason, Jeff and Steve. James, by far, is my favorite. They're your typical BB male cast members, but the tone is slightly different. The jocks aren't calling the shots, as in other seasons. Jace already has been evicted due to James' actions. James is a Korean-born Texas cowboy. He's hilarious. Steve is the one to watch, though.
We've learned a great deal about the houseguests so far, including the fact that Becky was hit by a train a year ago and her face was disfigured. We've also learned that Audry is playing the game way too hard and fast, which has already hurt her game now with several of the houseguests. And, we've learned about Liz and her twin.
Audry's fate might be sealed this week, but it's "BB" -- expect the unexpected.
David T. Farr is a Sturgis, Michigan, Journal correspondent. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.