”Temptation Island” is less than alluring
It was with great resentment that I tuned in Wednesday to Fox’s ”Temptation Island,” where four super hot couples are separated on different resorts, each member to be tempted by 13 equally super hot members of the opposite sex. The linchpin of the whole game show: Will any of the partners succumb to the seductive wiles of their island mates?
We’re supposed to feel sympathy for attractive guys with gorgeous girlfriends because they might be forced to sleep with other gorgeous women? Oh, the humanity! That’s as rewarding as watching Microsoft’s Bill Gates play ”Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”
Fortunately, I stuck around for the whole show, because when it ended I felt pretty good about myself. It turns out that, at least judging from these examples, really attractive people are as dull as a flattened lipliner. We were introduced to Andy, owner of a kayaking company, who described this trip with his girlfriend as being able to take the ”Pepsi Challenge,” but instead of trying ”soft drinks,” it’s ”ladies.” Andy accentuated each and every quotation mark with finger quotes, a gesture so frequent I was concerned he’d develop carpal tunnel syndrome. And then 22 year old red haired singer Mandy explained that on her 21st birthday, an ex- boyfriend came up and kissed her in front of her beau Billy, and gee, wasn’t that kind of nice? The Vanessa Williams lookalike Ytossie, on the other hand, said that she was testing her five year boyfriend Taheed since he had recently cheated on her.
Imagine yourself on ”Temptation Island”: You’d stand around all day watching Mandy dry hump her exes while trying to protect your eyes from being gouged out by Andy’s wildly jabbing, air quoting fingers. Not to mention trying to maintain an intelligent conversation with a woman who thinks the best place to repair a relationship is on a place called Temptation Island. The parade of 26 Tempters didn’t make a better case for the pulchritudinous. In an endless segment, each one introduced him or herself briefly, and were apparently tutored on ”opening lines” by watching old tapes of MTV’s ”Singled Out.”
Heather, 26, a backup singer/ dancer for Jimmy Buffett (was the Steve Miller Band not hiring?) said, when describing her geographical origin, ”I’m wherever you want me to be from!” Keith, 26, a ”small business owner” (Sounds like someone’s piloting a pretzel cart!), said he likes water sports, so women should show him something ”wet and wild!” Then there was Ace, a name likely assigned by the producers, who said — while gyrating — something barely intelligible that might have been either ”I love salsa, gimme a vibe,” or ”I’m a saucer, give me five.” (I immediately ruled out, ”I love Chaucer, his prose comes alive.”) All were fine statements, if the request was, ”Reduce yourself to a 1970s pick up line in 10 words or less.”
The other 23 added up to a parade of bikinis, surfing trunks, and questionable job descriptions, like ”kindergarten teacher/ former Laker girl,” ”family practitioner/ former Playboy model,” and two social workers, which begged the question: Would you want to be counseled by someone who thought being on ”Temptation Island” was a healthy life choice? That’s like seeing your dentist in a commercial for an all Coke diet.
I endured this roll call of vapidity in the hope that eventually I’d see some good old fashioned reality TV fightin’. But aside from an angry storm out by Ytossie during the couples’ goodbye period, there was just a lot of navel gazing — an activity that’s no more interesting just because the navels were centered in the middle of washboard abs.
The flaw in the show’s whole setup is that the couples are separated for the entire two weeks of their stay. So if one finds out the other one is cheating, he or she can only sit, weep, gnash teeth, or give the vibe to the salsa loving guy. But until the final episode, you’ll never see the hollering and berating that is the staple of all the greatest moments from MTV’s ”The Real World” and CBS’ ”Survivor.”
Perhaps all of this adds up to a public service announcement to those of us not blessed with model looks. A weekly hour long glimpse into a land where the attractive gather to showcase their flatlining personalities and generally bore the bikinis off each other is enough to make one glad to stay home, read a book, and bless every roll of love handles and every strand of your back hair.