Beliefnet
The Reality TV Guru

NBC, Wednesdays 10:00 EST

The first impression is that this show is not in the wild at all! Set in La Fortuna, Costa Rica, it looks more like what you’d find at some $250/night tropical resorts that are well beyond the means of local residents, with modern accommodations and even a large jacuzzi to party around in. No, it’s more surviving the clash of not-so-wild personalities than it is surviving the wild elements.

This show is already driving me batty. The first major “challenge” (if you want to call it that) is to walk through a bridged enclosure where there are bats flocked on the ceiling. After a leisurely stroll on a well-developed canopy walk (way up there), a wooden plank bridge with quite a few planks missing is next. It’s obvious that it’s set up by the production crew. None of the planks look worn or rotten, just either dangling or tied too loosely to withstand much weight. The first guy drops on one plank in the middle, but of course he is saved by the safety rope used along the handrope on either side. Eventually after a bit of traffic with fallen planks, the bridge has about a 6′ hole in the middle which is still fairly easily traversed by using the feet on the plank supporting ropes. Still, it’s not a task for acrophobes.

Some earlier lines after they are paired off with new partners:
“There’s only one bed.” Read: “We’re sleeping together, but we’re not sleeping together.”
“Leaves fall…” (by a soporific guy quaffing what appears to be a longneck Bud, probably not his first. Leaves. Fall. Portent.)

There’s about as much suspense in the editing of the foot race between the last two teams to reach the finish line as there is in watching people race for the shortest line at a local tourist souvenir shop. The last place guy tosses his pack toward the line, thinking that if it crossed first, it might count. With bad camerawork and no music, it looked more like a home video. With still too many personalities to track very closely and like or dislike, it’s like, well, ok, that team finished last, now what?

More lines:
“I annoy you and you annoy me.” Right. Let’s just be honest about it. You’re annoying. And we later find out that you’d rather sleep outside with a bottle of wine for a self-indulgent nightcap.
“I don’t deserve to be alone. *sniffle*” Oh, dear. And she’s expecting to find the love of her life here?
“But, I… I – I, I…” There’s about a 100:1 ratio of “I”s to “we”s in the conversations. How telling. (Telling indeed, as this guy ends up going home.)

Copious amounts of alcohol. Wine with dinner, wine or beer in the jacuzzi, wine with breakfast and lunch. And it isn’t working. Plenty of loose tongues, but No. Action. At. All.

The couple choosing ceremony is rather lengthy, but there’s a massive wealth of body language going on here. The first few couples split up. It’s gals’ choice night, so when a gal decides to split and ask another guy, they all say yes. The look on the gal’s face who had her guy taken away says it all – either she’s happy he’s gone or her jealousy rises and her confidence level goes way down as she fears elimination. One gal wanted to stick with her guy, but the guy wanted to take another gal, but the other gal refused him, putting him in the “match area”. Oops. Turns out he ends up being the only one there and out he goes for good.

In summary, it’s hardly Love in the Wild. We’re not seeing the love, although it looks like it might bud for the two or three couples who stuck together, and it’s neither wild nor in the wild. This show could be staged just about anywhere and it wouldn’t affect the content or outcome at all. It’s all about them (or “me”, as the case may be). Will this show even survive the summer?

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