Love in the Wild

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PluggedIn Staff

TV Series Review

Are you single? Have you tried everything—speed-dating, blind dating, online dating, matchmaking—to find someone special? Well, maybe they haven’t tried everything. Most likely, you haven’t tried wooing a potential match in the jungles of Central America. You haven’t tried building and sailing a makeshift raft in a crocodile-infested river for a first date. And you haven’t shared a kiss while clinging for dear life to a rickety rope bridge that’s strung high over a perilously deep gorge.

Such is the premise of Love in the Wild, NBC’s new reality dating/travel show hosted by Aussie import Darren McMullen. The series seems bent on proving the old hypothesis that danger fosters attraction. Well, that and the pipe dream that NBC can take already tired elements of numerous reality game shows, gussy them up with a back-to-nature vibe and hope audiences don’t realize that, really, they’ve seen it all before.

The setup this time around: Ten male and 10 female contestants looking for love and adventure pair up each week to compete in wilderness challenges that force them to get to know each other. And after the challenges, that “getting to know you” bit includes sleeping in the same room together, oftentimes in the same bed.

At the end of each episode, a guy and a gal are eliminated when they fail to play well with others—i.e., get along with their date and/or find a willing new one. Competition winners are awarded a night in a luxury treetop hotel that’s intended to spark romance, while losers stay in small, plainer cabins.

Alliances are formed and hearts are fractured. Backs get stabbed. We see primping, smooching and cuddling (sometimes in bed). We hear petty bickering and complaining. We feel loads of adolescent-like angst. And we can’t dodge the profanities (censored and uncensored), copious alcohol consumption, bikinis, bras and hot tubs.

Variety writer Brian Lowry summed it up like this: “Imagine Survivor and The Bachelor having a dimwitted child, and you’re close to capturing Love in the Wild.

Episode Reviews

LoveintheWild: 762011

The challenge is for couples to navigate a maze of (sometimes rickety) bridges high above the jungle floor while tethered together at the hip. The first to finish with all six tethers, which they must find and attach at various points on the trek, win a night together at the Oasis. Some couples hit it off. Others merely want to hit each other. A woman yells at her talkative date, telling him to shut up. She later moves out of their cabin. A scared man almost falls from an especially high and unsafe bridge; his date says he’s acting like a girl.

Language includes several uses each of “h‑‑‑,” “d‑‑n,” “b‑‑ch,” “a‑‑” and “d‑‑k,” along with many misuses of God’s name. The acronym “SOL” comes up. The s-word and the f-word are censored. Alcohol is downed. We see a lot of skin. We witness kissing and cuddling—in bed. Promises are broken. Two unhappy people get sent home, leaving 16 equally unhappy people to languish in the jungle of not-really-love.

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