The race is tight, but Bruce Fretts manages to pick a winner

January 19, 2001 at 05:00 AM EST

Who is the most annoying couple on ”Temptation Island”?

Okay, I confess: I watched the second episode of Fox’s ”Temptation Island.” But only because I knew I had to write this column. And NBC’s ”The West Wing” was a repeat. Yes, I watched last week’s premiere as well, strictly out of professional curiosity. But I felt like I needed to take a shower afterwards — and not a cold one.

This week’s episode seemed like one of the longest hours of my life. Even ABC’s increasingly hokey reality show, ”The Mole” (what was with that ”Man in the Iron Mask” motif?), flew by compared to the draggy inaction of ”Temptation.” But I amused myself by trying to pick the most appalling couple on the island. The competition was fierce:

Model/ air quote king Kaya made a serious bid for the title when he described his date with doctor/ Playboy model Alison: ”She’s, like, a doctor and very cool with a good personality, and I’m literally having so much fun.” Literally. He later added, ”I can honestly say that the rest of my time here, I want to be tempted.” Which is a good thing, since he signed up to be on a show called ”TEMPTATION Island.” But Valerie made it through the entire episode without saying anything jaw droppingly stupid, thus disqualifying them from the contest.

She lived up to the dumb blond stereotype by believing her date, PR manager (that should’ve been the tip off right there) Matt, when he told her he didn’t want anything to happen too fast. ”He’s not looking for the scam,” said Shannon, who clearly wasn’t seeing the scam he was trying to pull. Andy didn’t seem like a rocket scientist either when he said that he’d rate his schoolteacher date Megan’s legs an 8 1/2 or a 9, but that Shannon would be ”right behind her with an 8.” He’d better hope Shannon’s not right behind him with any blunt objects when she hears that line. But Andy did use the word ”aesthetically” correctly (although he used ”aesthetics” incorrectly) when explaining why he kicked model Lola off the island, so he gets extra credit for effort.

He’s got no hair; she’s got the worst reality show hair since Brittany from ”Big Brother”– an assortment of orange -y tonsure knobs arrayed on her skull. But when she said that being stranded on an island with 13 hot singles of the opposite sex ”would most likely never happen to anyone else,” she gave me hope that we wouldn’t see a second season of ”Temptation Island.” Then again, the show’s debut ranked 6th for the week among viewers 18 to 49, so there’s little chance of that.

”Conversating with Sean irritated the heck out of me,” said Ytossie of her masseur date. Really? People who make up words like ”conversating” irritate the heck out of me. Taheed refused to record a video message for his snit throwing significant other, saying he wanted her to ”take this two weeks to think about the way she acted.” If that condescending paternal attitude doesn’t prove the reports true that they were the couple kicked off for having a kid, nothing will.

It was a close race, but the winners are…Taheed and Ytossie! Feel free to disagree, but as for me, one thing is certain: I won’t be tempted to watch ”Temptation” next week. Unless ”The West Wing” is a rerun again.

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