As I accurately predicted, I am completely obsessed with Glass House, ABC's newest "strangers living in a house" reality show. It is everything I wanted it to be, but sadly I think that the premiere is lost on most people (and, yes, no one watched it) because viewer voting really won't kick into high gear until next week.
There were actually a few problems with the first episode. First, it really is quite a lot like Big Brother. It looks and sounds quite like it and has a certain BB spirit about it that I like. That said, it's still dramatically different, since the audience gets to decide most of the major action throughout the game. That element is going to be huge. Sadly, we didn't see it yet.
The other problem is that, from the first minutes, the game was highjacked by someone who refers to himself as "Prime Time 99 Alex Stein" with the well-rehearsed cadence of someone who gives himself his own nickname. Now, I hate to use this word, but Alex Stein is a douchebag, plain and simple. He's is just the blandest sort of arrogant prick who takes a lot of pride in his meager accomplishments who thinks that he can be the most "epic reality show villain" of all time. Sorry, dude, but like nicknames that stick, the best reality show villains don't elect themselves, they just happen as a matter of course.
After a little round where viewers answer the contestants questions, but the other contestants don't know the questions only the answers, Alex takes America's decision that he should become such a villain as an excuse to go around the house insulting everyone. This isn't being a villain, this is being a dick. That means for the rest of the hour, all eyes are focused on Alex and we don't really get to learn much about the other 13 yahoos who are getting their glass kicked by this show.
There is a challenge that was inventive, difficult and looked a lot more professional than most of the fly-by-night hokey contests in the Big Brother back yard. The team captain of the losing team, an idiot whose name I already can't remember, got sent to limbo (in future weeks, we'll choose the captains so put two people in danger of losing) and we saw the housemates vote Alex to join him in "limbo," which, according to my Catholic education, is where unbaptized babies go or, according to my New Mutants comic books is a realm filled with demons run by a mutant named Magik (with a K).
Now we get to decide whether Alex or Nameless Yahoo goes home. Yes, us! That's why Alex is such a huge douchebag. He's walking around the house going, "You're going to have to lie to people and people are going to be mean to you." No, Alex, because this is not a little show called Big Brother, the only thing that will help you is having America decide to keep you around. You can remain friends with everyone in the house and cry when the mean viewers at home send your best friend packing and you never have to get your hands dirty. That's why Apollo's strategy where he leaves it to chance who he votes for sort of makes sense. He just wants to stay out of it, and finally there is a reality show where he can. However, his name is Apollo Poetry and he is a poet who wears a kimono and I want to punch him and his wishy-washy strategy in the face. Conversely, Alex knows that the only people he has to please are the ones at home, so pissing everyone off won't necessarily come back to bite him in the ass, even if those in the house put him in limbo every damn week.
That's what worries me about this show though. Our natural tendency is to mess with the contestants (and just wait until we get to vote who is sleeping in the "Enemies Room" together and who is sharing a bed in the "Hookup Friendship Room") so that makes me think America will keep stupid Alex so he can keep messing with people. Please, guys, don't be that stupid. Vote him out. He is so smug and annoying! He will ruin this game. But we'll probably keep him, cause we are cruel and sadistic, and this is our damn show. Let's try not to screw it up.
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