One of the guiltiest of summer TV's guilty pleasures returned this week when the latest season of "Big Brother" premiered on CBS. The show, in which a group of strangers live together in a home under constant surveillance and compete with each other for a chance to win $500,00, has a local twist this year: Mark Jansen of Grand Island is one of the houseguests. This blog will keep readers up to date periodically throughout the summer and track Jansen's prospects for the big payday.
The summer of temptation began in the Big Brother house this week with no delays in the twists, backstabbing, and competitions.
The Upshot: Host Julie Chen informed the houseguests that this would be the “biggest, wildest and most tempting summer in the history of the game." We'll see. But within the first hour of night one, “stay-at-home-dad” Kevin gave in to the first temptation by anonymously earning $25,000 in a game in which contestants had to react to a flower lighting up. By doing so, he unleashed the first twist of the game, allowing Paul, runner-up from season 18 into the house. Paul then learned he had eight friendship bracelets to give out which would keep half of the houseguests safe for night one, and put the others at risk.
Following a number of pleas and bribes, Paul made his decision, leaving eight contestants to battle it out in their first challenge “Tempted by the fruit.” Contestants had to balance on a trapeze for as long as they could. Once they fell off, they had to choose from a plastic apples that, once opened, were revealed as either good or poisonous. Jillian, Christmas, and Cameron picked poison apples and were given the opportunity to choose their fate by either a challenge or a vote. By a vote of 2 to 1, the remaining houseguests were given the chance to vote out one of three. Microbiologist and super-fan Cameron was devastated to learn he was the first contestant eliminated. In Thursday's episode, Cody was named the first H.O.H, or head-of-household. This title gives him the most power in the house for the week where his main responsibility is nominating two houseguests for eviction. He nominated Jillian and Megan.
Mark Watch: Jansen, a physical therapist, revealed that “the gym is my life.” Although one houseguest referred to him as “a giant and basically a tree,” Mark described himself as a big teddy bear, a lover of the movie "50 Shades of Grey" and the color tinkle-me-pink. He also said he is looking for a "show-mance." While working to earn a friendship bracelet from houseguest Paul, Mark promised that the next time he has a chance at power, he will ensure Paul's safety. He became the fourth of eight houseguests to receive guaranteed safety from eviction. In his first shot at one of the competitions, swinging from vine to vine, Mark injured his finger, but he still managed to lead his team to the final round of H.O.H.
What's next: After two nights packed with competitions, twists, and relationships forming, Mark appears to be in great shape. With Cody in power, he already is turning to and confiding in Mark. Although Mark confessed in the diary room that he loves Paul because he gave him a friendship bracelet, Mark recognizes that Cody is in power and his smartest move is to agree with Cody’s strategies to stay on good terms. Mark’s social game also seems to be strong going into the second week of competition. He proved himself to be a beast in competitions by competing with a dislocated finger. That didn’t go unnoticed. Before Cody nominated houseguests for eviction, Cody approached Mark to consider moving forward with him and another houseguest, Matt. The logic is to “maintain the bro thing,” and keep each other safe for as long as they can. Mark seemed thrilled with not only this conversation, but also his position after the first two days in the house. On Sunday, we will watch to see which houseguests are tempted in the “den of temptation” and then Wednesday, we will see if the Power of Veto competition saves either Jillian or Megan from the chopping block.