Fox's finale is long on tears but short on excitement, says Justine Elias

By Justine Elias
Updated March 02, 2001 at 05:00 AM EST
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Credit: Billy and Mandy: Jason Willheim/Fox
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  • TV Show
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  • USA Network
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”Temptation Island”’s couples stay together

The finale of ”Temptation Island” revealed not winners and losers but lots of weepy reconciliation for the three couples. Boring! You’d think with all the flirting, hot tub splashing, and drunken limbo dancing that had come before, Fox would have the (in)decency to compile a proper montage of our straying lovers’ greatest moments of runaway desire, like Billy’s inept striptease for a bevy of squealing temptresses, and his girlfriend Mandy licking berry juice from the nipples of her instant friend Johnny the songwriter. No such luck. Here are some of the highlights of the series wrap up:

ANDY & SHANNON Andy, who seemed to fear that his ”dream date” spa treatments would remove the thin veneer of his masculinity along with his skin impurities, got a little more torture over breakfast from Elizabeth the realtor. ”To know that you have a girlfriend and you’d still [go on a show] like this only makes you less attractive to me,” she sniffed. Reunited with girlfriend Shannon, Andy confessed that he kissed four girls — but only one of them (whom Shannon instantly recognized as the ”hammock girl,” the pliant Megan) did he feel a ”connection” with. Andy blamed Megan for being ”put here to screw with me; she was like a mail order bride,” and confusingly described their relationship as both ”pretty platonic” and ”physical.”

Then it was his turn to squirm as Shannon extolled the virtues of her dream date, Ivy League Tom (”J.D.! M.B.A. Started an internet company! WHAT an incredible guy!”). But, she conceded, ”Every time I walked in the water, Andy, I felt you around me.” (Was it a warm feeling, Shannon? Might be time to have a chat with the pool man.)

VERDICT ”Ten minutes after leaving final bonfire,” Andy — his eyes opened at last to the Tom threats out there — asked Shannon to marry him. ”She said…Yes!”

BILLY & MANDY ”Jon’s taught me so much,” said Mandy in voiceover, as the camera revealed that, indeed, her ”dream date,” shy special education teacher Jon, had taught her how to locate his groin with her hand — and if a quiz were given right then in stroking technique, she’d get an A! When ”Island”’s most energetic couple confronted each other, Billy’s interlude with Vanessa was glossed over, but there was still his striptease to deal with. ”I was furious, borderline out of control!” Mandy told him. (So, the body shots with Johnny — that was IN control, Mandy?)

What really frosted Mandy was not Billy’s public lewdness or the girls pawing at him, but the fact that her boyfriend hadn’t revealed this hidden talent to her and her alone. Because of this, Mandy said, ”I’ve been able to give myself the power to let go of you,” which conveniently freed her arms and legs to grab whomever came into pheromone range. Mandy’s dalliances were ”nice and comforting and new,” but they weren’t Billy, she said. ”And I never want to play that game again.”

VERDICT Billy moved to L.A. to pursue an ”entertainment career” (let’s hope it’s not exotic dancing); Mandy stayed in Atlanta. Nonetheless, ”they have a passionate long distance relationship.”

KAYA & VALERIE Valerie, the only one of the six who did not stray during the seven show stint on ”Temptation Island,” seemed to be edging toward a complete emotional breakdown. Separated from boyfriend Kaya, she bored her dates by talking nonstop about him — and early on, when she spotted Kaya from far away, imagined that he saw her and ignored her. ”I didn’t see you,” sighed Kaya. ”You know I can’t see long distances without my glasses.” After a melancholy Valerie read a predictable prepared statement (”You’re the one that I want”), Kaya gleefully recounted his adventures: ”I scuba dived, I rappelled, I rock climbed! I took emotional chances — I have no regrets.”

He did admit ”two connections” — with doctor / Playboy model Alison and Megan the Hammock Girl — but in true Willie Nelson style, he told Valerie, ”You were always on my mind.” All this honing of his skills (sexual and otherwise), he rationalized, will make him a better man for Valerie. ”Let’s get out of here,” she sobbed, like a traumatized horror movie heroine — which, in a way, she was.

VERDICT Upon their return home, they ”locked themselves into their condo for seven days and ‘reconnected’ — they’re still very much in love.”

As for us, it’s celibacy until Fox decides to produce ”Temptation Island” 2.

Read EW.com’s ”Temptation Island” episode guide.

Temptation Island

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  • TV Show
seasons
  • 4
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  • USA Network

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