Can you taste the schadenfreude? Oh sweet, sweet nectar. Drink it in, America.
If you haven’t been watching Big Brother this season, first, I can’t blame you. It’s been pretty terrible and has made me ask some really tough questions like, “Why does this exist?”, and “Why does television exist?”, and “Why do WE exist?”.
Above all else, the biggest reason that Big Brother has been the feel-bad show of the summer is the shockingly overt racism and homophobia that many of the contestants have demonstrated. And not to let any of the others off the hook (Ginamarie, Amanda, Spencer, et al), but Aaryn’s early-season behavior became the neon flashing sign directing viewers to how terrible this season’s crop of houseguests are, and turned her into a pop culture punching bag without her ever knowing about it. Aaryn has since cleaned up her act, but the social statute of limitations for saying the things she repeatedly said extends far beyond the 8 weeks or so it’s been since she said them.
The video above is Aaryn’s comeuppance, and oh boy, is it sweet. Immediately following Aaryn’s eviction, host Julie Chen eases into her interview. Rather than going directly on the attack, Julie plays coy, broaching the racism issue with the fairly soft question that the video above picks up with.
Aaryn answers with an indignant “my words were taken out of context,” which is never an argument you want to be making when, thanks to the 24/7 live video feed, literally everyone knows the context. Her answer draws a couple loud, sarcastic chuckles from the audience.
And that’s when Julie Chen morphs into the beautiful magical unicorn that she is and strikes down Aaryn with a lightning bolt of truth.
“Let me just read back a few of the things that you said…”
The crowd gasps. I gasp. Everyone gasps. Julie proceeds to directly quote three things that Aaryn did, in fact, say, as Aaryn sadly denies remembering saying them.
It’s a stunning moment, a rare completely real reaction caught on camera. Nearly all of reality TV is processed and manufactured to within an inch of its life, and part of the business of reality television is the people on-camera humiliating themselves for a paycheck.
But not like this. This is an entirely different animal. When Julie, an Asian-American woman, reads Aaryn’s words about “cooking rice” back to her, and the studio audience openly laughs at her response, that’s a special kind of humiliation that no person – reality star or otherwise – ever wants to experience.
Aaryn caps it all off by throwing her home state of Texas under the bus, claiming that everyone there talks like that (not shown in the video, sadly).
It’s going to be a tough few months of post-Big Brother life for Aaryn, and here’s hoping she learns something from all of this. But for tonight, watching her get what was coming was utterly riveting television.