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xmag.com : February 2001 : Behind the Hype

Let's break away from the medium of radio (where I ply my trade) just for a moment and examine something in that other realm that has been serving the salacious public faster than a lunchtime binge at McDonald's. I'm talking about that all-time drive-up window of instant gratification--the look into the lives of supposed "normal" people in outrageous environments. "Reality TV" is a game show of epic proportions, and the queasiest to date is Temptation Island. Call it the recipe-for-scandal in this little gem that is sure to dominate the water-cooler gossip section for months to come. The premise is chimp-simple: Take several 20-something professional couples; put the boy monkeys on one island, the girl monkeys on the other and proceed to tempt them with the choicest grade-A bananas. Maybe it's a cut above monkey mind intelligence. After all, in one scene you see an orgy of bodies splashing and cavorting in bathing suits straight out of Rio, and in another, there's tears of pain witnessing their significant other's "encounter" with the opposite sex caught on tape. The "big moral questions" that arise almost immediately are: "which couples are really meant for each other;" "will these two be faithful to one another the entire time;" "who's going to be the first to kick that obnoxious host's ass" and "is this really right?"

I'm currently writing the proposal for
"World Wrestling's Most Tempting
Survivalist Chases..."

The women are hot, but the guys demonstrate their slacking intelligence from the get-go. Of course, you knew that would be the case. It almost makes you wonder why the better half bothers with these refugees from the Planet of the Apes...or, how does a blonde lawyer have a body like that! Reality TV? In reality, no woman just takes time off from her clerical job to be on an island and happens to already sport a tan, a tight six-pack tummy and tits that kill. In this "MTV Beach Party Meets Change of Heart," I'm curious to see all the couples that didn't make the cut.

Try as I might, however, I cannot boycott the show. After all, there's fun, excitement, heartbreak and an underlying sexual urgency all packed into an hour's worth of programming... all that and barely a three-syllable word spoken, kids! Should I take offense to the fact that a network is encouraging infidelity among modelesque professionals? Nah. In following with the tradition, you'll notice in Survivor 2 that the couples are a trimmed-down, younger, sexier and more tanned version of the original competitors...and fraught with sexual tension, too. Actual real people on TV? Please...that is so last millennium.

Temptation Island may outrage some, but the majority will be go back for more McNuggets (tm). Tears may be shed when one participant views his partner locked in a hot and heavy embrace with a racially non-specific Tommy Hilfiger model-stud, but then all is strangely glossed over in an impromptu beach party and a good old fashioned game of "Truth or Dare." So, what's the point to all of this? For one, you no longer need to frequent an underage nightclub to catch the trials and tribulations of young people and their mating ceremonies. The generic public is so lazy these days that they can't be bothered to go out and get in the emotional mud themselves...they can watch others do it on TV.

I say that the networks should just go for broke. I'm currently writing the proposal for "World Wrestling's Most Tempting Survivalist Chases"--where The Rock and Chyna pilot a stolen Camaro along the LA freeway whilst fighting their sexual feelings for one another and completing specified tasks along the way (laundry, nails, trainer, tanning, cappuccino). All this while trying to outwit a legion of cop cars and choppers whom viewers get to vote out of the chase from time to time. Soundtrack in stores soon.





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