Love In The Wild is a reality television program on NBC that is in its second season this summer. That may be hard to believe, since no one watched the first season of Love In The Wild, at the end of which two couples, Samantha and Mike and Heather and Miles, did indeed find love. In the wild. Allegedly. This storied event went largely unnoticed by America, with the exception of my roommate and I, who watched the first season religiously (R.I.P., Darren McMullen’s job hosting the show! We still say “Cool, cool, give her a hug” to each other all the time in your memory).
Basically, the premise of the show is that a bunch of single people are dumped into the Dominican Republic, teamed up into pairs, and made to compete in various miserable-looking “adventures” in the jungle. Their placement in these contests determines if they sleep in a suite, a cabin, a tent or a lean-to haphazardly thrown together by a PA. At the end of each episode there is a “Couple’s Choice” ceremony, which usually results in the elimination of the couple that finished last in the adventure, although occasionally all hell breaks loose and half the cast sends themselves home, which tells you something about what it’s like to be on the show. And what it’s like to watch it.
Anyway, this summer Love In The Wild returned for a second season, confirming that it was not just a fever dream that I had last summer, but mystifying to me for many other reasons. I mean, the show is not good. They made a few tweaks to the format — a lot more switching of partners and Jenny McCarthy seriously phoning it in as the host — but it’s still a boring nightmare. Nonetheless, I find myself watching it live almost every week. In an effort to understand this upsetting phenomenon I sat down with Ellen C. and Carly M., two very smart friends of mine who also, inexplicably, love this show. This is our sad journey.