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The Dartmouth
June 20, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

'Temptation Island' fails to allure second time around

Directors and writers could not have planned the scene to be more comical. Two lines of hooded druid figures filed onto the camera to a climactic "Pure Moods" score. Four anxious couples watched the scene in complete and utter terror. The real highlight, however, came when the druids shrugged off their robes and revealed twenty-six tanned, smiling faces and sculpted bodies beneath. Fear abated and the couples stared down their competition.

The first episode of "Temptation Island 2" was officially underway.

The men and women underwent quick introductions as anticipation mounted among viewers new and old. Would "TI2" live up to last season's catastrophic climax and sentimental success? In a show where sex is supreme and seduction publicly sanctified, the question is irrelevant.

The four couples to be tortured and tempted this season are: Catherine and Edmundo, Nikkole and Tommy, Genevieve and Tony and Shannon and John. All appear sturdy in their youthful relationships except for Tommy and Nikkole, who bickered and argued during pre-game goodbyes. Almost all players said their main reasons for coming to the island was the chance to test their relationships and discover more about themselves in the process. Funny how after date one, it seemed that the couples themselves weren't making subjective judgments, but rather the singles who spent time with them asserted their opinions on camera like true actors and actresses.

Each partner drew a number to decide their first-date match after "blocking" one potential candidate from dating their boyfriend or girlfriend. Catherine and John were then sabotaged and rendered ineligible from first dates, destined to spend the day alone instead of with the rest of the island's eligible singles. Later, basking in the admiration of her male slaves, Catherine admitted to getting the princess treatment she'd always wanted, but lacked, from Edmundo. John, a bartender from California, eventually charmed his horde of ladies after taking an annoyingly long nap instead of keeping them company poolside.

The remaining six enjoyed their dates, using them as self-expanding opportunities. Genevieve decided right off that surfer Kevin was not the type of guy she came to "try-on." Instead, he was a replica of her current boyfriend, laid-back and compassionate Tony. Shannon decided that her date, Kaine, had higher career aspirations than John, and when hunky Jeff gave Nikkole the respect deserved of any human being, she finally realized how horrible Tommy actually treats her.

Meanwhile Tommy was busy indulging in his time spent away from Nikkole and with Kristen, a bikini clad blonde well endowed in the bust area. "When I put my arms around Kristen, it felt right. I haven't really felt like that since the early stages of Nikkole and I's [sic] relationship," he confessed to the camera. Edmundo tasted the flavor of an independent woman in Hilary, and Tony passed his day unfazed by his passive date, Donna.

At bonfire the first night (a time of reflection and rejection) the couples of "Temptation Island 2" gave in to curiosity and all chose to view tapes of their significant other's first arranged dates. Actions quickly carried more weight than words. All members, both male and female, were visibly shaken when presented with the actions and apparent enjoyment of their partners. The women gave way to tears and comfort hugs as the men shook off expressions of anger and fear.

"Temptation Island 2"holds the grotesque appeal of viewing human suffering and self-inflicted emotional pain. Turn to host Mark Wahlberg (no, not Marky Mark Wahlberg) for the best of reality television guilty indulgences. Last season's episodes quickly morphed into outrageous spectacles of deception and revenge, but all remaining couples chose to stay together in the end. While Nikkole and Tommy's relationship seems doomed and better off for both of them as defunct, the fate of the rest of the clan is still up in the air. The main plot and subplots of "TI2" have yet to unfold and resolution only comes in the end.