Like the entirety of Vice News, “Temptation Island” nags at my inability to resist trivial media. A reboot of the 2001 hit, the show centers on four couples who are questioning their relationships and places them on an island with a handful of hot singles whose sole purpose is to get the couples to cheat on each other.
If “Temptation Island” sounds like it was genetically modified in a lab to be as scandalous as possible, that’s because it definitely was. One moment I’m getting “Jersey Shore”-style bickering, the next moment I have tension inspired by “The Bachelor” — all of this is only made better by the host Mark L. Walberg. This man makes me think he would’ve hosted “Survivor” if only he didn’t get too “in his feels.” The show might as well include a disclaimer warning the audience that the show is best viewed while scrolling through your Instagram feed in one hand and typing a half-finished essay in the other.
Despite the low barrier of entry, “Temptation Island” isn’t a bad show. In fact, I was sufficiently entertained while watching it. The vicarious nature of watching other couples potentially cheat on another gave me a giddy, omniscient feeling. Watching “Temptation Island” is akin to being the cool kid that everyone tells their secrets to, yet not being expected to give any dirt in return. This sometimes blurs the line between genuine and scripted reactions but if you actually stop to think about it you realize it doesn’t matter because it’s “Temptation Island,” and who cares.
Though “Temptation Island” exists solely to fulfill our need for gossip, comparing the 2000’s version to this current rendition, an interesting conversation about how reality television has changed before our eyes is provoked. Today, it is expected that everyone who appears on reality television will be palatable enough to be deemed attractive by the average viewer.
However, if you compare the singles who appeared on the 2000’s version and the singles in the reboot, you can see plainly the drastic shift in our expectations for who can be on a show that is supposed to be present reality. It’s almost as entertaining as the show itself to watch USA Network dictate what the “ideal American” bachelor and bachelorette looks, dresses and acts like. And if that means cheating on your significant other, so be it.