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NBC Love In The Wild Cast

I’m sure a lot of you have been watching the horrible magic that defines NBC’s Love in the Wild, but if not, I’ll try to sum up it’s awesomely badness in a few quick paragraphs before starting last night’s recap.

In a nutshell, ten dudes and ten ladies got sick of the dating game madness and decided to come on a Costa Rican jungle-based reality show for love fame. The couples pair up and compete in rigorous adventures which send the duo straight to a “normal life” date number six, when the sparkle has dulled and you realize that your new paramour can’t read a map, has a very short temper and picks at his toenails while watching Law & Order. Basically the show makes these couples skip dates one through five. It’s amazing. The winning couple wins a night at the posh Oasis while the remaining pairs are banished to the “Cabins” which aren’t too shabby either. The partners not only share the adventure, they must also share a room with one bed.

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At the Couple’s Choice Ceremony (even the name is kicking “Rose Ceremony’s” ass), the first-place pair have immunity and can’t be refused should they choose to switch partners. Each week, it switches off as to whether the girls or the guys pick first. Should the winning couple decide to stay together, perfectly scruffy host Darren McMullen (complete with accent! yum!) moves on to the next pair. However, should the winning pair decide to switch it up, NO ONE is allowed to refuse them. The remaining couples then pick in the order they finished the challenge. Say one guy doesn’t pick his partner, he gets to choose one of the remaining girls. If she accepts, original girl partner is sent to the “unmatched area”…and no one wants to be there. If new girl declines, the dude is in jeopardy of going home. I should point out that if a couple decides not to stay together, the guy or girl can pick someone out of the unmatched area, basically saving the unmatched loser and potentially banishing their partner. This bout of nail-biting continues until there are two sad, love-starved peeps in the unmatched area, who must remove their bracelets and say their good-byes. Best. Tagline. Ever. It’s such a rip-off, but it’s so random (a leather friendship bracelet? Brilliant!) that it works on all levels. Not watching yet? Start…clearly it’s easy to catch on quickly.

So, getting to last night’s adventure and couple time, we are now down to sixteen lovelorn singles…eight guys and eight girls. Last week’s post-ceremony couples are stirring in the Cabins, getting ready for the day’s adventure. In Ben Hooker and Brandee Dillehay’s cabin, the hot-and-cold couple, who bicker as much as they flirt, are celebrating Ben’s birthday. Brandee serves him breakfast in bed, while Ben, a self-proclaimed diva (but actually an MBA grad/bartender who works mere miles from me), says he wouldn’t mind a birthday cake from Brandee, a mental health specialist (pairing at it’s most Freudian finest?)…if she were jumping out of it naked. I feel like I’m watching Matthew Lillard’s character in “She’s All That.” But Ben wears it well…if “it” is being a frat guy right before last call.

The couples convene, and host Darren reveals this week’s adventure, which involves traveling to an island, retrieving a large crate, and then heading back to camp. The pairs will canoe to Snake Island, a place so scary, even the locals won’t venture there. The locals must be pretty timid, considering NBC’s production crew has no problem going to Snake Island, building a totem and recreating a plane crash complete with cargo crates covered in snakes. The couples are off, and immediately travel executive Jess Debolt and medical salesman Derek Leach are in the lead. Real estate broker Mike Spiro and wedding planner Samantha Woods, the golden couple since episode one, are not off to the best start. Communication and rowing seems to elude them, and Mike insists they go the opposite way around the island. Hey, let’s go a totally different way the other fourteen people. And let’s turn around when we can’t continue on our errant way. Sam is pissed and it seems there is trouble in paradise, literally.

Derek and Jess are first to arrive on the island, with loan underwriter Skip Sullivan and Hooters girl/real estate agent (now there’s a carer slash!) Theresa Trujillo not far behind. Skip opines about how he really wants to win, but he’s paired with a princess, not a tomboy…and he loves that! He wants a princess, even it means he has to do all the work, because Skip thinks Theresa is super hot. The first few couples get to the staged plane crash and realize the crates they must haul back are swarming with snakes. No one freaks out in a stellar reality tv way, so I must give them all props. Still in first place, Derek grabs the 50+ pound crate and heads back through the jungle, stoked about the massage Jess has promised him if they win.

New couple Kym Nguyen, a hairstylist, and Steele Dewald, a golfer, are moving in quickly, and sales rep Jason Jackson is trying to woo retail supervisor Jessica Soares with his jungle skills. Sadly, Jason bites it in the jungle while trying to balance the crate. Former sweethearts, Sam and Mike continue to argue, and Mike especially is feeling the disconnect. Brandee and Ben are next to last, and like Jason, Ben buckles under the weight of the crate. I should point out here that I have it on good authority that Ben is not as big a douche in real life as he appears to be on the show…however, in the real world, the dude also sports A LOT more hair product. The first four couples are neck and neck getting back to the canoes, but poor Steele seems to do more capsizing than getting into the canoe. With so much water in his and Kym’s boat, I am shocked it hasn’t completely sunk. Sank? Sunk.

Erica Scherle, who works in musician management, and Miles Haefner, a client service manager are making headway. If memory serves, they were coupled on the premiere but were with other partners last week. Erica is excited to be reconnected with Miles, but feels guilty because he’s doing all the work on this adventure…all the crate-carrying and all the rowing. It could lead him to pick another lady at the Couple’s Choice Ceremony.

Jess and Derek make it to the finish line first, gaining immunity, a night at Oasis, and a bottle of champagne. Skip and Theresa are second, followed by a sour Sam and Mike, rekindling?? Miles and Erica, awkward Jason and Jessica, ambivalent Ben and Brandee, and come-back canoers (if next to last is a come-back) Kym and Steele. Finally, it’s Chinstrap McGee, er personal trainer Adam Rose, and his new (this week) partner, Heather Pond, a PR executive.

Derek and Jess seem to hit it off at Oasis, although they take an odd fully-clothed dry hot tub dip. Throughout their evening, the pair flirts, kisses and seems like a perfect fit, until Derek goes into total guy mode…he talks about his desire for marriage then relishes in his inability to commit. He cuddles in the pool with Jess, but in his interview reveals that if something (or someone) comes easy (cough, cough), he quickly loses interest.

Back at the Cabins, Steele is attracted to Kym but contemplates switching her out for Erica, if Erica’s willing. Heather is hoping this will happen, because if Erica partners with Steele, that leaves her former flame Miles available. Sam and Mike have a difficult time venting their frustrations regarding the adventure, which makes Samantha even more irate, while Mike believes they have finally reached “old married couple” status. Theresa removes the hair extensions she sported in the day’s adventure so she can shower, nude, with partner Skip. Just a friendly wash, I’m sure. Jason is sleeping in a comforter cocoon on some rattan chairs, too scared respectful to sleep in the bed with partner Jessica. She admits she doesn’t feel awkward easily, but Jason’s admissions of admiration from underneath his fort are creeping her out just a tad. Erica is considering a switch from Miles to Steele, and Mike plans a romantic picnic the following morning to rekindle his former connection with Sam. The couple is able to discuss their issues during Snake Island, and joke about their “first fight.”

While Jess and Derek have immunity, regardless of whether they stay together or pick others, Jess is beginning to doubt that Derek will pick her. This week, the men choose first. Steele is leaning towards current partner Kym, but still toying with the idea of Erica. Jessica wants to stay with Jason, not because she thinks he’s incredibly sexy on his wicker cot, but strategically she thinks that it will allow her to remain on the show longer, allowing her the time to form connections with other cast mates. Oh Jason.

It’s the Couples’ Choice Ceremony! Derek gets to pick first, and although he seemed to waiver earlier, he chooses to stay with Jess. Next, Skip and Theresa choose each other, and a newly revamped Mike and Samantha remain together. Yawn. Next up, it’s Miles and Erica, with Miles choosing first. Yea! He mixes it up and turns his back on current partner Erica in hopes of reconnecting with past partner Heather. Heather accepts Miles’ invitation, leaving Adam alone…and at risk of being unmatched. I can’t be sure, but I think a lone tear rolled down his cheek, getting caught in his chin strap. Erica now gets to pick someone from the gallery, and asks Steele to couple with her for the next adventure. Steele waxes on about how much he adores current partner Kym, but quickly throws her under the bus to join Erica. Welcome to the unmatched area, Kym.

Jason, of course, picks Jessica, and she accepts, but says it more for exploring than for intimacy. Jason seems shocked, but he may want to remember that he slept on some chairs instead of looking for intimacy. Brandee and Ben know they have a good thing going and stick it out together like they’ve done since the premiere. Sadly, Brandee had the option to accept Ben’s invitation or save Chin Strap from excommunication, sending Ben packing. Buh-bye Chin Strap…and take Kym with you. I have to say, I do think Adam Chin Strap was truly on this show to find love. Next week, Miles and Heather heat up, Jason loses a horse (you read that right), and the Steele curse strikes again.

ARE YOU WATCHING LOVE IN THE WILD? WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE EPISODE AND THE RECAP?

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