If you love reality dating shows and you’re not watching Temptation Island, what are you doing with your life? The reboot of the beloved Fox hit from the early 2000s has everything you could ever want in one of these shows: good-looking men and women, fun dates in a tropical location with breathtaking views, scandalous hookups, real human emotion and D-R-A-M-A.
If you aren’t familiar with the original show, here’s how it works: four couples agree to live apart on a tropical island. Once they separate, they live with 12 singles of the opposite sex and pick one to go on a date with each week. But it’s important to note that these couples are not married; they are young couples who have been dating for a long time and have found themselves at a crossroads with their relationship. At the end of the experiment, each couple has three options: stay together, leave the island with someone new, or leave completely alone. According to interviews host Mark L. Walberg has done to promote the show, all three happen at the end of the show.
As is the case with every reality show, there are twists and turns thrown in by the producers to shake things up. Just like in the original show, the men and women in the couples still congregate at the bonfires where they watch videos of what their significant others have been up to, whether it’s going on dates, having harmless conversations or hooking up with one of the singles. In the beginning of the process, they also had the chance to pick a single they want to veto their other halves from the potentially dating. Every now and then, the couples are also tasked with eliminating singles from the show if they aren’t feeling a connection with them.
I’ll be honest: at first, I thought this show sounded completely dumb. I thought it was a trash premise and that it would be all cheating, all the time. I personally saw no appeal in that. But a lot of Bachelor stars partnered with USA to advertise the show, which meant I was constantly seeing clips on my Instagram feed. My curiosity was peaked, but not enough to convince me to watch it. However, hearing Reality Steve, a blogger who has become the go-to source for all things Bachelor, praise it changed my mind. Steve saying it was “fascinating television” and that if you’re a fan of the Bachelor “I don’t know how you can’t watch this show” was enough to make me give it a chance. It also didn’t hurt that Allie DiMeco, one of the singles, was on one of my favorite childhood shows and I wanted to know what she’s been up to since then.
So I gave it a chance and I’m honestly glad I did. As far as dating shows go, I’m enjoying Temptation Island much more than this season of The Bachelor (but that’s an entirely different article). I’ve found myself much more invested in the people on this show and their storylines, regardless of whether I love them or I hate them.
I also think it’s just a really interesting social experiment. How much trust does one have to have in his/her significant other to be surrounded by 12 members of the opposite sex for 4 weeks without fear of them/you being tempted? What kind of introspection and growth will one have to do because of what happened on the show? How will these relationships recover, or not, from what happens on the island during this show? Every episode is utterly fascinating from this perspective.
My only complaint about the show is the length of the episodes. Right now each episode is an hour long, which means in reality it’s actually about 42 minutes long. How in the world do you take 1,400 hours of footage of 32 different people and cut it down into 11 episodes? The answer is you can’t, which is why I honestly think this hour-long format is doing Temptation Island a disservice. This show is so complex, which is great but also means certain storylines can feel extremely rushed at times. If they really wanted to do a hour-long show, they should have done two couples and half as many singles. So if this show is picked up for another season, I really think they should make them two hours long.
I could go on and on, discussing and analyzing every aspect of this show. But I’ll leave it at this: if you love reality dating shows, you should be watching this show. If you’re not, you’re missing out on some of the best reality TV in 2019.
Temptation Island airs every Tuesday on USA at 10/9c.