Antonio Sabato Jr. is looking for love. In Hawaii. With the help of his mother. His journey,the 10-episode My Antonio, premieres Sunday at 10 p.m. ET on VH1. Here, the 37-year-old former General Hospital star and Calvin Klein underwear model tells us why we need to tune in:

1. It’s classy. (Correction: As classy as a VH1 dating show can be.) “When I was talking to my mother about the show, I said no matter what’s gonna happen, whether the girls are drunk or alcoholics, you have me and you. And we’re different. So automatically, you’re gonna have different discussions. The Bachelor and other shows agree with that kind of lifestyle; I don’t agree with it at all. So for me to be around it and be okay with it, would be impossible. You’ll see a lot of it in the show where they go too far, and it’s either ‘I’ve just had enough, you guys can enjoy yourselves, I’m gonna leave,’ or they’re gonna leave, or I’m gonna put ’em through a test.” (One of the show’s rewards challenges: Sculpting him nude!) Also making the show somewhat unique: Sabato flat-out told producers he wouldn’t be having sex during the five-week production, which wrapped in February. “I said no to that. I don’t know where the girls are from, what kind of lifestyle they had. So it ain’t gonna happen. It’s my life. I have kids. I don’t want to die. I don’t want to catch anything.”

2. But not too classy. “They were drunk, and they were going off at each other, and they were throwing fits,” Sabato says. “Two girls were fighting over what to watch on TV. One girl wanted to watch Nickelodeon, the other one wanted to watch Cartoon Network. I’m serious. I had to hear this, okay. It was Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network. It was like, ‘I want to watch this,’ I don’t know if it was SpongeBob or whatever. One was crying because the other one was pissed at her. I’m like, Is this f—ing real?” It gets better/worse. “They were slapping producers in the middle of the night,” he says. (Yes, a woman gets kicked off the show for slapping a producer!) “So all that stuff happens, but you have me… I’m sure I’ll get criticized for all kinds of things, but at the end of the day, I’m proud of the show.”

3. His dates are not your standard reality show dates… “I asked for swimming with sharks. The insurance company wouldn’t allow it because it was too dangerous,” he says. “I asked to skydive from 20,000 feet, to put these girls on a plane and just push ’em off.” Okay, that makes him sound like a bit of a misogynist, which he’s not. Oh, he enjoyed seeing the women suffer in the premiere when they’re asked to climb a mountain to get to him (in their short, pretty dresses), but there’s a reason: “These girls all told producers, ‘I can do anything.’ ‘I can skydive.’ ‘I can ride motorcycles.’ ‘I can ride horses.’ ‘I’ve done this my whole life.’ From my perspective, it’s like, ‘Okay, cool. We’ll check it out tomorrow morning at 6 a.m.’ [Laughs] I needed to find out whether they’re telling the truth or not. For the most part, they weren’t. At the end of the day, if you can’t do it, you can’t do it. But at least be honest and say, ‘I can’t do it.'” The craziest date he was allowed to plan? “Jumping out of a helicopter into the ocean,” he says. “It was a lucky winner, and this particular girl thought that we were gonna have this amazing date — which we did — but there’s a catch. Out of the blue, there’s a helicopter that lands. She’s like, ‘Oh, we’re gonna go on a helicopter!’ We go on the helicopter, five minutes later, we’re in the middle of the ocean. The door opens, you either jump or you don’t. I jump first. I’m out. I’m already gone. Then she has to decide to do it.”

4. Some of these women lied about more than their adventurous sides. “One girl was so upset about calling her son. She’s crying. Hysterical. ‘It’s hard being here without my family. I need to call my boy!’ I’m like, ‘Here’s your phone.’ She’s like, ‘I don’t know the number.’ It’s just an act. They’re using everything. I had to do deal with a lot of stuff like that,” he says. How exactly did he deal? “I want to be there for them. I want to say, ‘Listen, why are you acting this way? What’s going on in your head? How could you possibly lie to me right now? You’re lying to the world.’ So I tried to be as nice as I could being honest, but it was tough. Somebody’s just bawling in front of you. You know that she needs medication or she needs a psychiatrist. I’m not any of that.” (Note: There are women on the show who appear sane, at least in the premiere. Go Brooke the nurse!)

5. His ex-wife, Tully Jensen, surprises him, and joins the show to try to win him back. “I haven’t seen her since I was 18; I’m 37. I had no idea that she was gonna be there,” he says of her late arrival. “I wanted to find out why she was there, but that particular night, my mother had to deal with her.” (We’ve seen a clip in which his ex is in the hospital, and his mother is standing at her bedside. If there was a plug involved, we feel like his mother might pull it. “Yeah, because my mother, to this day, thinks she was just faking everything: Being sick, being at the hospital, being on the show, the marriage, too,” Antonio says. On the show, Tully insists she’s still in love with him. Watch her audition video.)

6. Though there is a lei ceremony, he’s free to send any woman packing at any moment. And does. In the premiere, he dismisses someone as soon as he meets her because he’s not attracted to her feet, and his mother makes her grand entrance insisting that he get rid of a busty blond during a pool party. “If I don’t like someone, I’m not gonna keep her on the show just because she’s on the show,” he says. “That’s what I wanted the producers to know. I don’t want to be fake; it’s gotta be real. If I don’t connect with this person, or this person is rude to my mother, or she’s rude to me, or she says some absurd things, then she’s gonna go right then.”

Watch a sneak peek of My Antonio

Photo Credit: VH1