Big Brother is a game of relationships. When people think about the show, they tend to focus less on "alliances," which are rarely very durable, and more on pairs. As we look forward to the July 9 premiere of an eleventh season of in-house scheming, screaming, and hot tub hijinks, here is a list of the top 10 "couples" -- not necessarily in a romantic sense -- in Big Brother history.
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10. Adam and Ryan, Season Nine: The first and presumably last winter season of Big Brother threatened to sputter to a halt after most of the entertaining houseguests found themselves evicted by its midway point, but these two overgrown frat boys did their best to keep the good humor coming, and mostly overcame early fears that they would be too crude and/or boring. Someone should compile their Bible analysis sessions into a special comedy DVD.
9. Michael (aka Cowboy) and Nakomis, Season Five: They were half-siblings who had never met until the show brought them together, and served to illustrate just how different people who share a similar genetic makeup can be. Nakomis was a waitress with a vaguely "alternative" look and personality, while Cowboy was one step up from a cactus on the intelligence scale. He eventually wound up as the key to a scheme to vote his sister out. Happy Thanksgiving!
8. David and Amanda, Season Four: They were a very short-lived couple, as Amanda was the first person voted out. But they will forever be remembered as the first people to have sex in the U.S. Big Brother house, an interlude of raunch that capped several days of sweet flirting. The Head of Household room was donated to them for the tryst, apparently in the belief that by doing so, their boinking might be kept off-camera. Ah, how young and naive we all used to be.
7. Mike Boogie and Erika, Season Seven: They have been the only in-house romantic couple to comprise the final two, although there should be a king-sized asterisk next to the word "romantic." Erika, a serial reality show dater who lost all fan favorite appeal between her original season and her All-Star season, believed all the sweet nothings Boogie whispered in her ear, but viewers realized that he and Will were mercilessly mocking her gullibility in Diary Room sessions.
6. Natalie and Matt, Season Nine: Natalie was a unusual mixture of characteristics. She was avowedly religious (which evolved into an irritating self-righteousness by the end of her time on the show), but worked as a "bikini barista" and had as little personal modesty as any woman in Big Brother history, which is quite an accomplishment. Matt was your basic mook, but wins a mention here for being the favored recipient of Natalie's version of lip service.
5. Will and Nicole, Season Two: A classic pair of antagonists. Will Kirby was a witty young dermatologist who somehow made over-the-top egotism seem lovable; Nicole was a high-strung chef who was an original target of Will's alliance, but survived to become his foil, and eventually, the person he beat for the season title. When the married Nicole succumbed to the temptation of hot tub footsie with Will, the ensuing banner plane drama almost drove Nicole into using her kitchen knives for homicidal purposes.
4. Danielle and Jason, Season Three: It is notoriously difficult to keep a secret in the Big Brother house for more than a few minutes, but these two managed to keep their alliance hidden until the final days of the game. The key to their success was in being so different -- Danielle was an overdramatic young mother; Jason a soft-spoken Southern virgin -- that no one suspected they were working together until it was too late.
3. Ollie and April, Season Ten: She was an obsessive-compulsive blonde; he was a preacher's kid whose only serious weakness was women. Yeah, no kidding: in their brief time together in the house, these two had more sex than had been seen in all previous seasons of the U.S. show combined, on occasion without even bothering to cut the lights. Neither one was especially interesting outside their bedroom athletics, but they set a fine example for future seasons (take a hint, Season Eleven).
2. Dick and Daniele, Season Eight: You would think everyone else in the game would sense a danger in allowing a father and daughter to stay in the house together, but Big Brother has never been known to hold many casting calls at Mensa meetings. These two survived to the finals because Dick's love of a good time made his company the place to be early on, and because he simply scared everyone else to death later on. Dick was the easy winner over the whiny Daniele, which he has chosen to see as a vindication of his terminal immaturity.
1. Will and Mike Boogie, Seasons Two and Seven: I really can't stand the word bromance, but it certainly fits in describing these two, who each won separate seasons of the show even though everyone knew they were working together during All-Stars. While Will had charisma to burn, Boogie displayed all the charm of a fever blister, so we can only assume that it was a shared interest in famewhoring that brought them together.