But that's not the show?s most fascinating stupid human trick, says Justine Elias

By Justine Elias
Updated January 29, 2001 at 05:00 AM EST
  • TV Show
  • USA Network

Mandy does body shots on ”Temptation Island”

There are no sexier sounding words in the TV lexicon than ”Next week, on FOX!” And there’s no smuttier sounding show on the Fox network than ”Temptation Island” (Wednesdays, 9 p.m.), where four attention starved couples put their relationships — and their skimpy swimsuits — to the test under the blazing Belize sun.

But when all’s said and done, the preview for next week’s show always looks more sleazily entertaining than what you just sat through. For three weeks, we’ve seen the red haired Mandy (the one with the bizarre, ever changing hairstyle) grow increasingly distressed over her boyfriend Billy — and glimpsed the anger of the show’s only African American couple, Taheed and Ytossie. But the promised explosions never happen.

This week’s episode, though, delivered more than the teasing antics of the first two shows, which introduced the four couples and an undulating tribe of singles intent on breaking them up. Who’ll be left standing? Here’s how the competition played out:

Blonde, lifeguardlike Shannon had a dull date with Charlie, an entertainment reporter (Not one of ours, Shannon!). Though Andy is setting himself up as the biggest jerk on reality TV with his rude remarks (”Hi, I’m Candy!” said one singleton. ”No,” Andy corrected. ”You’re just eye candy.”)

Yet Candy seemed to think that was cute: When Andy selected her for a date, she dove into the pool like a Labrador after a thrown stick, and actually dog paddled over to greet him. Fox cameras were not along for Candy- Andy’s romantic drive, so we didn’t find out whether she liked to ride with her head hanging out of the passenger’s side window too.

The relatively circumspect (in reality TV terms) Valerie exercises mind control over her boyfriend. Evidence: Kaya is left shaken and tearful by a deviously simple video message from her: ”She just said she really loves me… and… and… really misses me,” he stammers.

Valerie gets almost naked (in a mud bath) on her spa date with Matt, a PR manager, but Kaya’s date with Heather, the backup singer for Jimmy Buffett, ends mysteriously: The next morning, host Mark Walberg announces that Heather has left the island, but doesn’t explain why. (Heather counts as this week’s ”voted off” single woman, and the women decide to eject single guy Keith, perhaps because he displeased them by demanding ”honesty” in a lover, but admitting that he has, yes, cheated on his girlfriends.)

Taheed goes out with Lisa, a preppy blonde who wouldn’t look out of place in a Lilly Pulitzer catalog. She seems to be having a better time than he is; at one point, she demonstrates her ”street cred” by hopping up and down, and saying, ”Right on! Right on!” Ytossie chooses a date with Tom, the ”Ivy League graduate” — or rather, he chooses her, since Mandy and Shannon wanted him too.

For the first time on ”Temptation Island,” someone is able to penetrate Ytossie’s regal facade: As she and Mr. Ivy wolf down sandwiches on the beach, she notices some mayonnaise on his chin. ”Wipe,” she commands, with something like tenderness creeping into her voice. But then, she would find that sort of clumsiness endearing: She is the mother of a 2 year old child, and next week on Fox — there, I got to say it — it looks as if she and Taheed are going to get sent home for breaking the no kids rule.

At last, the fireworks: Well, it was the philosopher Andy who said it, but it certainly applies here: ”I’m not talking about making love, I’m talking about hooking up, and there’s a huge gap there.” Billy, whose shaved head ”Texas Seven” coiffure is most definitely ”In” this week, kept his hands to himself on his date with ”Perfect 10/ Cover Girl” Vanessa, even though she kept kissing his cheek.

But Mandy, oh Mandy. What a good wife you won’t be. On her date with Johnny, a soulful ”singer/ poet” who probably travels with a set of etchings and a CD of Miles Davis’ ”Kind of Blue” cued up, Mandy let her hair down, rubbed foodstuffs on Johnny’s nipples, and squealed with delight as he drank liquor out of her navel (Did Fox screen for ”innies” as well as childlessness? Because the body shot stunt wouldn’t have worked as well with an ”outie,” I think.) Then, in a moment of unsurpassed stupidity, she insisted on watching a video of Billy’s date — which meant that he would see a video of hers. Guess whose door Billy knocked on that night.

I’m telling you, this show’s getting good.

Temptation Island

  • TV Show
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  • USA Network