'Survivor' meets 'Temptation Island' in 'Love in the Wild'

Wednesday, 29 June 2011 12:00 AM Written by 

loveinwildNBC tries to mate "Survivor" with "Temptation Island" in "Love in the Wild" (10 tonight, WPXI), a reality dating competition series where tribal council looks like a key party from "Swingtown." (UPDATE: Actually, Gail Pennington is right, "Paradise Hotel" is the better comparison. I thought of that show but could not remember the title, just that it was set ona cliff at a Mexican resort.)

"I have always been with bad boys, players and liars," says one female contestant. "Who knows, maybe I'll find somebody better than all the guys I've dated in the past."

Yes, because reality shows are certainly not known for welcoming with open arms bad boys, players and liars.

Read more after the jump. ...

 

 

Filmed in Costa Rica and hosted by Hobbit-haired Australian "Minute to Win It" host Darren McMullen, "Love in the Wild" is an odd mix of previous shows. The first half shows male and female players pairing up for a jungle adventure (in the premiere, they have to build a raft and set sail on a crocodile-infested river). The second half is more "Bachelor"-like soap opera as contestants decide whether to stick with their current mate or bail for someone else at what's essentially a tribal council/rose ceremony.

 

In the first episode there's much talk of finding love but by episode two, only one potentially real couple has formed. Everyone else is playing games to the point that producers have to splice dialogue to get the notion of love back into the show. Vanessa says the following with dialogue helpfully spliced in midway through her sentence: "I have an opportunity to meet someone else -- and hopefully find love -- and this is my opportunity to do that."

The winning couple will get a first-class trip around the world but they'll have to endure a lot of nonsense en route. So far only a few contestants seem particularly awful (that would be Ben, who, when he learns Heather is Catholic, declares, "So you're a naughty Catholic school girl?), but only two episodes were sent for review (yes, I felt guilty after watching the first one for continuing to play the second one but I wanted to see how the game changed, so duty called).

And strangely, everyone on the show seems determined to embrace gender stereotypes. The women want their men to be manly-men and one contestant gets upset when her man is not sufficiently take-charge. One guy feels like he has to jump into a pond of muck to get a clue, saying to his companion, "You're lucky you're a girl."

Everyone on the show, female and male, is a different shade of beautiful and could easily be a model, so it's not terrible to look at and the soapy elements are somewhat fun if you're into that sort of thing. But there are no two ways about it: "Love in the Wild" is undeniably a waste of time and brain cells.

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