Friday, September 07, 2001
By Beth Snead
The Concord & Kannapolis Independent Tribune
Harrisburg, N.C. -- Harrisburg's William "Bunky" Miller was kicked out of the "Big Brother 2" house a week and a day ago, and is still amazed at the excitement generated by his 9-week stint on the show.
Bunky was one of 12 contestants on the CBS summer reality TV series who were in contention for a half-million dollar prize.
Two contestants are nominated for eviction each week and one of the two is eliminated. Bunky was ejected in week nine, having hung in past the midway point.
The two-person Hardy and Nicole alliance controlled much of the power in the house, and plotted to evict Bunky over fellow-nominee Will, because Bunky had become a threat to win the game.
Though sad to be out of the game, Bunky says he's delighted that his "I told you so" is ringing true.
"I love that 'I told you so.' I told them both, 'you'll regret this,' and Hardy said within four hours (after voting) he regretted voting me out and keeping Will."
Bunky will have part of the say in the final outcome of the game when all the evicted houseguests reunite in Los Angeles to choose the winner from the last two competitors standing. That happens on Sept. 20.
As for what's happening next in Bunky's everyday life, he's hoping to launch a "Bunkymania" tour and is looking for corporate or individual sponsors for it.
Bunky and friends hope to zigzag across the U.S., starting in Los Angeles and ending in Charlotte, performing a nightclub act in 100 cities over 100 days. The act will feature song and dance, autograph signing, raising money for charity, and crowning a Bunky King and Bunky Queen in each city.
"It will just be a big party to celebrate life," he says.
Bunky and his "husband" Gregg Ottman have started the Happygolucky Foundation for charity, and hope to raise money for non-profit groups like the Red Cross, or for agencies which aid mentally handicapped children. (Happy and Lucky are the names of the couple's dogs, and the "go" in the middle is for Gregg's initials.)
Bunky collected a number of his housemates' personal items to auction for charity, including locks of hair from handsome housemate, Hardy.
Bunky says he's looking to parlay his TV face-time into a career in show business. He'd like to do some talk shows, guest star on sit-coms, and get into comedy.
His dream gig is to do an ad for Target stores. To get the attention of the Target-powers-that-be he had their bull's-eye logo shaved into his prolific back hair while he was in the house. He'd also like to do endorsements for the diet drink Tab, he said.
Meanwhile, Gregg is encouraging Bunky to run for mayor of Harrisburg in a write-in campaign.
The current mayor, Tim Hagler, had negative things to say on local television about the couple's open homosexuality, saying the arrangement is Biblically wrong, and doesn't represent the Bible-belt town.
Bunky plans to have a talk with the mayor, saying, "I'm going to be very polite and ask him what his views are. ... I'll also ask him to make sure he exercises the separation of church and state."
A laughing Gregg says he figures out of a town of 4,500 people, Bunky can get 4,499 votes. That's with everybody voting for him but Tim Hagler.
The couple have lived in Harrisburg since 1995, and have encountered some open hostility from people because of their homosexuality.
The first fall the couple lived in Harrisburg Bunky found a pumpkin on the hood of his car. He thought it was a nice neighborhood gesture until he turned it around and saw the word "fags" carved in it. He told that story on the television program.
The incidents have continued until as late as Bunky's trip to California for last part of the "Big Brother" selection process, when the couple found their mailbox knocked off the post.
They've also encountered firecrackers in the mailbox, and in the tailpipes of their cars.
The trees inside their fenced-in backyard have been strung with toilet paper, and their home has been pelted with eggs and paintballs.
"It's to be expected with the level of ignorance here. These are teenagers who don't understand us."
The couple calls the police each time there is an incident, Bunky says.
"If we find out who it is, we're going to have to start prosecuting. ... They're not going to chase us away."
Though he has received some negative attention from the show, Bunky said the positive response has been overwhelming.
He has received more than 1,000 e-mails, and his phone has been ringing off the hook since he returned home. He spent the bulk of Thursday in interviews - not only with the Independent Tribune, but with a string of radio stations, a CBS crew from Los Angeles, and a phone interview with "The Advocate," a national magazine on issues affecting the gay community.
He has been so busy he hasn't had time to watch the tapes of "Big Brother 2" shows that aired while he was in the house. He has only watched the shows which have aired since he was evicted.
He hasn't firmly made up his mind whether he'll watch those tapes before it's time for him to help vote for a winner on Sept. 20, because he said he's afraid it will affect the way he votes.
There are two factors to weigh, he said, adding that he probably will watch the tapes before voting time.
"I may regret the way I voted if I wait and watch the tapes later. Or I may watch them and not want to vote for any of them to win."
From watching the handful of episodes that have aired since he was evicted, Bunky said none of his impressions of the houseguests have changed, except for his impression of Will.
"I had no idea Will was as shrewd as he is. ... But I have to respect a guy who is that honest about his dishonesty."
Bunky says he has no regrets about selling out his fellow houseguests for $5,000 and making them eat peanut butter and jelly for four days during one of the food competitions.
"I LOVE peanut butter and jelly, and since I'm trying to watch my weight I don't eat it very often. It's a treat for me to eat it."
Bunky says he was worried at first that the houseguests might turn on him, but then when he learned Hardy would have sold out for $7,500, "I didn't feel bad about it."
"I figured, 'Why should I eat peanut butter and jelly for three days so he can have 75-hundred dollars?'"
He said he hopes to see a different, kinder side of Nicole after she's out of the house, but if she turns out to be "just as bossy," he'll no longer be shy about dishing it back to her.
He left the house on good terms with Hardy, even though Hardy and Nicole were responsible for putting him out of the game, and though Hardy was "bossy" and could be "threatening," Bunky said.
Bunky said he's impressed with the way Will is playing the game - saying his strategy of lying is working, and it's not against any rules. "He's got a good chance to win the game."
Without saying how he'll vote, he says he really likes Monica, though he's afraid for her chances.
"I think Monica deserves to win, but I'm afraid she'll be seen as a threat and be voted out. ... She's a sweet person. She has played the game well. She's honest, and has not been mean spirited."
Bunky said his only regrets on the show were occasionally making catty comments behind houseguest's backs, and voting against his friends, Autumn, Kent, and Krista because he was voting with the Hardy-Nicole alliance.
"If I had a chance, I would go back and change my votes."
And regarding certain hot tub antics that took place on his last night in the house between houseguests Nicole and Will, (which subsequently got Nicole in trouble with her husband,) Bunky was circumspect.
"There's a hot tub there (at the house). The water is really hot, and there are a lot of bubbles. ... There are a lot of bubbles and you can't see what's going on under the water. And that's all I'm going to say about that."
The only other thing he wants pass along since stay in the "Big Brother" house:
"If anyone wants to know how I'm doing, I'm FANTABULOUS."