Temptation Island (31 January 2001)

by Amy Sidwar


31 JANUARY 2001

A Dangerous Scenario

When the producers of Temptation Island showed up on their designer beach, the contestants knew that something serious was about to happen. However, Ytossie and Taheed did not seem too surprised when they found out that they were being removed from the show because, it was revealed, they have a son together—very against the rules. Instead, the couple quietly sat there, stoically accepted their punishment, and then decided to stay on the island in a separate location, hopefully to work through their problems and come to some sort of an agreement. The Fox producer broke the news to this couple by stating, “Some information has come up that is problematic.”

cover art

Temptation Island

Director: Jean Michel Michenaud, Chris Cowan
Creator: Chris Cowan
Regular airtime: Wednesday, 9pm EST


The producer told Ytossie and Taheed that their child created a “dangerous scenario,” and Fox was not interested in potentially “fracturing” a relationship involving a child. Well, as far as I’m concerned, it’s a little late for morality, dear Fox. I personally cannot understand how the producers could have gone through the entire selection process, and never known that this couple had a child. I mean, if it’s so “problematic,” then why was the question, “Do you have a child?” never posed?

The only possible redeeming aspect to come out of all this is that it should be making *TI* viewers have second thoughts (if they haven’t had them already). The questions arising are important ones, for instance, should unhappy couples stay in relationships for the sake of their children? Can unhappy people raise happy children? Ytossie and Taheed are clearly miserable together, and each has lost complete respect for the other. I can only imagine that, since it is evident, their son feels this tension between mommy and daddy and I can’t imagine that it makes him feel good. I really do hope, for their son’s sake, that they figure something out, and gain back just a touch of respect for each other.

Now that only three couples remain, I predict that Billy and Mandy will continue to amuse us with their immaturity, Shannon and Andy will continue to be lackluster, and Valerie and Kaya will surprise us with some actual debauchery. Of course, I am basing my predictions on the deceptive trailers that pop up each week, the trailers that consistently promise drama that never actually occurs. This week’s preview showed Kaya kissing his dark-haired date on a moonlit pier, but I’m sure that the reality of the situation is far less dramatic. He’s probably kissing Valerie.

Actually, the best fun on this show are the teen hysterics performed each week by Mandy and Billy. These two poor souls plainly fit the mold that Fox had in mind. Both are attractive, self-centered, and just “crazy” enough to seem dramatic. But more importantly, both are idiots. They routinely fall directly into the show’s obvious traps. This week, Mandy was upset that Billy was doing a striptease for the female escorts, so upset that she actually ran to the bathroom and cried, with the cameras following her into the stall—creepy! I agree with her that her boyfriend looked like an ass, but did she even factor in the amount of empty glasses on the table in front of him? We all know that alcohol can make relatively intelligent people do really stupid things. All of the tapes offered during this week’s bonfire were oozing booze. The only tape that didn’t have drunk people in it was the one with Andy and his designated single cuddling in a hammock together.

It was, however, this tape that elicited the best response from contestants. Shannon has opposed watching these tapes throughout the entire show—“I don’t need a visual,” she says. She doesn’t want to see them because she knows that they are designed to manipulate her. They always offer just enough “visual” information, and then abruptly end, allowing your soon-to-be-drunk brain to imagine the worst, and your soon-to-drunk “friends” to fanning your greatest fears into full-blown horror. I mean, would you really want a spy-cam trained on your significant other in such a situation? And then have someone with bad intentions edit the tape and offer it to you to watch with absolutely no context? Honestly, this seems like a no-brainer.

My roommate has come up with a much better idea for a show of this sort. Instead of manufacturing an island setting to test relationships, Fox should come out with *Temptation College*. Place first-year college students at different schools from their high school sweethearts, and turn on the cameras—hey, it’s already happening on a daily basis. True, it’s likely that MTV would pick up this idea before Fox, who still pretend not to be exploiting young and ill-advised participants. And I think that MTV might do it right—their show would be far more interesting and reality-based than the Fox fluff. Temptation Island keeps descending into further realms of stupidity. The best bet for next week is not that Kaya will cheat or not cheat, but that the show will somehow manage to sink yet another level.

We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work. We are a wholly independent, women-owned, small company. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing, challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. PopMatters needs your help to keep publishing. Thank you.

//Mixed media