Why spoil a summer romance fantasy with a dose of reality? When watching Love in the Wild, the reality-TV bickerbash that returns for a second season tonight with - cue noisy promos - a new host! a new location! even wilder adventures! more surprises and dramatic twists! - it's best not to take it too seriously.
After all, when a reporter once privately asked Survivor host Jeff Probst - and Probst would know - if Survivor is a natural setting for budding romance, he replied that when you're tired, hungry, wet, haven't washed, taken a bath or brushed your teeth in 30 days, or more, romance is the furthest thing from your mind. One of the reasons Survivor has worked as well as it has over the years is that the stress is real. And Probst - far from being just another game-show host quick-with-a-quip - can be a serious minded dude, when he wants to be. Love in the Wild takes the seriousness down a few notches.
The Dominican Republic is the show's new setting, and Jenny McCarthy is the new host. McCarthy is not particularly serious minded, as a rule, and neither is the show. Love in the Wild may not be Club Med exactly, but it's a long way from Survivorman, or even Survivor.
Again with the promos: "Relations (are) put to the ultimate test with exhilarating and wild adventures that challenge the participants, both physically and emotionally! Single men and single women, all looking for love, will experience a romantic adventure unlike anything they could have imagined! McCarthy will guide these contestants through rigorous adventures as well as the choppy waters of relationships in their quest to find love!"
In the four weeks McCarthy spent on location in the Dominican Republic, she got a taste of what it's like to host a Survivor-type reality show, crossed with elements of The Bachelor.
"I did not want to go through some of the things they were going through, because we put them through a lot, not only with the adventures, which were terrifying, but also the cat fights and being dumped," McCarthy told reporters in a recent conference call. "Who wants to go through that? So I found it entertaining, but also educational. I learned a lot from watching them."
McCarthy learned, for example, that reality TV comes with a script, a script that requires the host to, like, learn lines. Who'd've thunk it? After all, the impression most reality-TV shows give is that they cast a group of semi-young, quasi-attractive type-A personalities, drop them into an exotic location and just let the cameras roll.
"It's not like I could drag a Teleprompter into the jungle," McCarthy said. "I had intricate dialogue that was sometimes four pages, typed out - full pages - about maps and where those maps lead to, and what they needed to do specifically, and I couldn't mess up one word. So I was very, very busy memorizing four hours a night, and then working sometimes 14-hour days."
The horror, the horror.
McCarthy learned a thing or two, too, about human nature. She thought she knew who might make it to the end, but she was wrong, she admitted.
"Some of the (contestants) who started off really sweet turned out to be the biggest brats, and the ones who started off like brats turned out to be the greatest people. They were just kind of showing off their offensive sides in the beginning. So you got to see it all."
Well, not all. Not really. It's supposed to be a family show.
(CTV, NBC, 9 ET/PT)
Three More to See
- Canada Sings makes sweet music tonight - or tries, anyway - as the 13-member Dumas Rocks glee club, representing Dumas Mining of Timmins, Ont., squares off against InSPAration, representing Elmood Spa of Toronto. If InSPAration haa a physical edge, it will be because the song-and-dance team includes four professionally trained massage therapists, which can come in handy following the occasional muscle pull. (Global, 10 ET/PT)
- Pretty Little Liars returns for a third season, with the story picking up six months after last season's Big Reveal. The bucolic small town of Rosewood, Penn. will never be the same, but then fans of Little Liars wouldn't want it to be. Otherwise there'd be no TV show. (MuchMusic 8 ET/5 PT)
- Storage Wars returns for a new season of modern-day treasure hunters bidding on the unknown contents of abandoned storage lockers. Mind you, the contents are known by someone - the show's producers, for example - or else Storage Wars could unexpectedly and potentially turn into a real-life version