REASON TO WATCH
To see what's behind the cheesiest reality show title since "Temptation Island."
Wednesday at 10 p.m. on NBC/4
There are 10 single guys and 10 single women -- serial daters all, unlucky, or just lousy, in relationships. They've all been plopped down in a particularly lovely part of Costa Rica -- jungles, distant volcanoes, ants. None of these people, of course, know each other, but each is asked to pick someone of the opposite sex; the resulting teams then compete in various challenges, as the couples either learn to like or loathe each other.
As Scottish-Australian host Darren McMullen explains, "Each adventure will put the relationship to the test because how well they work together will determine if they're meant to be together." There is a winning team (they get a nice room at the Oasis, described as a five-star hotel), and there is a losing team each week. Won't say here how they are eliminated in the first episode or what happens in the final act, but think "musical chairs." By series end, only one canoodling couple is left.
MY SAY Ah, love. Ah, nature. Put them together on a reality show and what do you get? Mosquito bites, bad hair and maybe a relationship that has withstood the misery of both. At least that's the theory behind this summer trifle, and it's not a bad theory -- nor is the show. Dating reality shows all have the same basic narrative hooks -- flirtation, embarrassment and rejection. Certainly no one expects true love to come out of these. We've seen too many "Bachelors" and "Bachelorettes" to believe that hogwash. But we do expect the contestants to give it the old college try, and this crowd looks reasonably game.
Tomorrow night's competitive round is lame-o -- paddle log raft across river! Avoid toothless geriatric alligator!
BOTTOM LINE Sure, it all looks and sounds achingly familiar and blandly dumb, and maybe some of it is. But check the brain at the door. You could do much worse.