We're halfway through the latest Big Brother season, and it's about time we point out just how strangely pill-induced this cast has gotten. Xanax seems to be the drug of choice, and it's made for some weird moments. You can watch a video reel of them above, but it's out of chronological order and so requires some explaining:
1. During last week's Head of Household competition (which aired on Thursday), dream-boarding floater Ashley was so severely out of it that she couldn't even follow the idiot-proof directions given to her to name two different houseguests to compete before leaving the platform. General fuzziness followed, as seen on Sunday's episode. She appeared to be medicated. (Yes, this show is on three times a week. Did you know that? I didn't before I committed to it at the start of the season, and now I'm paying.)
2. Ashley woke up with what she said was severe back pain that then disrupted her ability to compete in the Have-Nots competition. Apparently, this isn't the first time she's mentioned it.
3. The week before during an episode of Showtime's Big Brother After Dark, a nightly supplemental series that curates the show's 24/7 live feeds (available to watch with a subscription) in a far rougher manner than what ends up on CBS, there was rampant discussion about popping Xanax, led by Big Brother genius Mike "Boogie" and Britney. (Also expressing an interest in the little blue pill: Ian, Janelle and Frank.) What followed was talk about putting in a "Xanax request," which seems to mean asking producers and/or the on-set doctor for the anti-anxiety pills that some members apparently brought into the house legally. Later, Mike and Ashley were seen retrieving plastic bags, though Ashley says hers just had Tylenol in it. She wasn't popping Xanax (...yet?).
In all of my competition-reality TV watching, I've never seen people speak so openly and hopefully about consuming drugs before. Granted, this is prescription medication that some people in the house seem to be taking legally. Also keep in mind that with its open-access policy, you can hear people talk about things via the live feeds and Big Brother After Dark that you never hear anyone talking about on reality TV ("You are not allowed to discuss production!" is a common announcement over the house's PA). And it all makes sense, anyway: They're bored, stuck in this house, constantly plotting, looking over their shoulders, trusting no one and hanging onto things for, like, hours at a time. That stress alone is worth a spoonful of heroin. In this environment, Xanax is kids' stuff.
I haven't committed to the live feeds (...yet?), and so I reached out to CBS for clarification on the show's drug dispensary process and why so many of the houseguests seemed so damn hopeful for Xanax to call their own. This is what the network said:
BIG BROTHER says "JUST SAY NO," unless it's a medically authorized prescription.
So there you go.