This week's episode of "Temptation Island" begins with a thorough explanation of how the Fox show will proceed. We're not sure if this is a repeat from last week or not; we were so appalled a lot of important information got by us, we're pretty sure.
We paid attention this time, refusing to be distracted by the ambient noise droning from the host and the accompanying soft-core bikini montage.
You'll recall that the premise of the show sees four couples taken to an island off the coast of Belize for two weeks of fun in the sun. The catch is that they're to be separated by gender and then put into the company of a dozen overdeveloped members of the opposite sex, who presumably will be trying to induce the promised pairs into a little Belizian beach-boffing.
To create a little friction, each week the segregated boyfriends and the girlfriends will, as a group, vote the "least-compatible" overdeveloped single of the opposite sex off the island.
To stir things up some more, at the end of each day, the members of the couples will be given the chance to watch their partners' "experiences on the other end." (Read: Cue the retaliatory sex!)
Host not-the -Mark Walberg caps his commanding rendition of the instructions the same way he did last Wednesday, by asking: "Who will stay together? Who will be torn apart?" (Who wants to bet this becomes the next annoying catchphrase of the day?)
Credits are followed by yet another montage -- "Last week, on 'Explanation Island'!" -- summarizing the previous days' infinitesimal progress, which is followed by another montage of everybody waking up.
Finally, Walberg joins the boys at breakfast and tries to make small talk, which he tries to pass off as a natural part of any early-morning guy conversation, before laying the big rhetorical questions on them:
"So, last night: Did you guys go home and cry in each other's arms?"
We know what happened the previous night -- the boys went back to carouse with the babes in a beach cabana, while the women ended up huddled on the beach comforting poor Ytossie, who has the misfortune to be involved with the biggest jerk of the four men, which is saying something. (We learned last week that Taheed, her boyfriend, has been "stepping out" on her already.)
Kaya explains to Walberg that the "wild girls that wanted to have fun kind of disrupted the sadness."
They were part of the healing process, in other words.
"A couple of gals actually got into it a little bit and threw each other into the pool," says Andy the malevolent dwarf, in the mock-innocent tone of the profoundly perverted.
"Catfight?" asks Walberg casually. Really. We swear: In his most laid-back, "I'm just a regular guy, getting paid to chill and ultimately humiliate and destroy you" tone of voice, he asks, "Catfight?"
This gives the show's producers the chance to yet again show footage of two bikini-clad babes romping in the pool and playfully slapping each others' behinds.
Our male readers will want to know that this is typical behavior between females who have just met each other -- merely the equivalent of a little locker-room towel-snapping.
Walberg wants to know if the boyfriends are starting to get butterflies in their stomachs. We wonder if perhaps there aren't any more virulent intestinal bugs crawling around the premises, looking for a host.
But here's a bit of news that made the boys' guts flap: Turns out, Kaya continues, that there are "three or four girls who are, I guess, self-proclaimed 'divas' ..."
"No-no-no!" Andy breaks in -- "Crocodiles!"
"'Crocodiles'!" agrees Kaya. "And they will stop at nothing to get us," he continues seriously. It's funny: Kaya looks and acts human, but speaks as if he's entirely lacking in irony or self-consciousness or basic cognitive skills.
"Now there is a game afoot," says Marky Mark.
The boys all nod their heads as thoughtfully as they can manage.
And now it's time for the show.
Each boyfriend and girlfriend will go on a monitored date, sharing their intimate moments on the experience and then reflections on it with handy camera crews. Scenes from the dates will then be intercut with the intimate reflections and edited for maximum shock value for the viewers back home.
The results will look something like this:
Kaya, the pretty-boy, inch-deep male model, goes out with Alison, the doctor who posed in Playboy.
"Alison is really my type," he says. We see the two of them swimming in a spring in the attractively named Blue Hole National Park. Alison, clad in the skimpiest of bikinis, spends a lot of time agreeably arching her back to accentuate her chest for Kaya.
We ponder for a moment whether she learned to do that in med school or on her Playboy photo shoot.
Valerie, Kaya's girlfriend, goes out with Charlie, the "talent coordinator."
"The date started out very strange," she says. "I saw Kaya on his date."
Cut to Kaya walking down the beach with the buxom physician as a faraway voice yells, "Kaya!"
"Who's that?" Kaya asks, laughing nervously. Alison's hair blows in the breeze.
Valerie spends the rest of her date thinking about Kaya ("He was walking down the beach with a pretty girl, her hair blowing in the breeze!"), while Kaya lobs playful getting-to-know-you inquiries at Alison, such as: "So, you were saying you have a wild side?"
Next, Taheed and Ytossie go out, respectively, with LaWonna, the teen crisis counselor, and Sean, the massage therapist the women were cooing over.
The luckless Ytossie is soon gazing balefully out the window of a bus while Sean relentlessly assaults her with his effusive inanity.
He got into massage, he tells her, because he met "so many cool people."
Of course, valet parking attendants can say the same thing.
By the end of the day, she's not even civil. "Conversating with Sean annoyed the heck out of me," she snaps.
Meanwhile, Taheed and LaWonna cavort lakeside. ("She was the total package," Taheed says.)
Next, an even more upsetting scenario! This time, the rapacious, amoral Andy goes out with Megan, the sexy teacher, while the sad, deluded Shannon goes out with Matt, the oily public relations manager.
"When I looked at him," Shannon says of Matt, "my first thought was 'Great, this guy's not looking for the scam!'" It's becoming apparent -- isn't it? -- that Shannon does not have a flair for picking them.
Andy's reflections on Megan are typically crude: "She was gorgeous. My favorite body part of Megan was probably her legs. Shannon has great legs, too. On a ratings scale, I would give Megan probably ..." -- here he gives us the well-known look of a guy industriously working out something of interest only to himself -- "eight and a half? Nine? With Shannon right behind her at probably an eight."
Cut to Matt, poor Shannon's date, saying: "Personally, I'm a booty man. I'm a 'tight ass over a big breasts' kind of a guy."
Cut to Shannon holding up her wine glass. "Here's to being in the same frame of mind!"
It's a big moment for Shannon when Matt offers to pick up the tab: "Because the only potential problem that I see between Andy and I? ..."
... is that he's a snake?
"... is that his career doesn't produce the highest income imaginable."
... is that he's a freeloader.
The loser part she doesn't mind. It's the broke loser part that worries her.
Next, Billy goes out with Lisa, the bartender, and Mandy goes out with Keith, the entrepreneur. Billy and Lisa like each other's eyes, etc. Keith compares Mandy to a mermaid.
Mandy, forgetting one small but pivotal detail, muses, "This whole experience is the opportunity of a lifetime. When and where else would you ever have a chance to be in an environment with 13 single guys who have been chosen for you because they're your type?"
Billy is screwed.
A few scenes of island life follow, including one in which the single girls decide to put money in a pot -- whoever hooks up with any one of the four guys takes all the money.
"Otherwise, we'll just be too passive."
Meanwhile, back at the dude ranch, the conflicted boyfriends describe the single girls as man-hungry sharks.
And now it's time to banish one of the singles! The girlfriends and boyfriends must each choose to throw one off the island.
We see a sequence in which the girlfriends line up on beach lounges and have the single boys parade in front of them to explain why they should be allowed to stay.
Most communicate the best way they know how -- by flashing their genitals.
The banished boy -- Maceo -- takes it like a champ, were a champ ever to find him or herself in a pathetic situation such as this.
We thought it might be that he was found lacking in the equipment department. But it turns out Maceo'd gotten drunk one evening and acted stupid.
The gals find swearing a major turnoff, it turns out. Tough break for Mace!
But the girl chosen for ejection -- Lola -- takes it hard: "You don't care for me? Nobody loves me!"
She starts to cry. We sincerely wish she hadn't done that.
Andy explains that he found her superficial. Coming from Andy, this is an epochal insult.
There follows a long and confusing sequence in which Walberg takes the guys out to the other side of the island.
There, in the glow of a bonfire, he presents them with the opportunity to see a video of their girlfriends' intimate date reflections. If they choose to see it, however, their girlfriends will be forced to watch their own date recaps as well. Then they all have the opportunity to send video messages to their beloved.
Kaya and Andy say no, for opposite reasons. (Later, Valerie and Shannon are not surprised, for opposite reasons.)
Billy and Taheed say yes. Mandy is not surprised because Billy "makes up the worst scenarios in his head." Ytossie is shocked that Taheed cares.
But when Walberg asks the guys if they'd like to send a video message to the gals, Taheed says no.
"The way that she left, I was completely embarrassed and hurt," he says.
When they'd split up, an obviously pained Ytossie tried to get some reassurance from Taheed; he didn't give it to her, and she went off in tears.
"And I think that she should take her two weeks," he contiues, "and think about the way that she acted. I won't give her the satisfaction."
Andy, looming over his shoulder like a malignant tumor, says, "Tough guy. Great call!"
Over in the girls' camp, we are distressed to report that Mandy has taken to doing her hair up into odd little yellow knobs on top of her head, à la Brittany -- aka Li'l Tufty of "Big Brother" fame.
There are, we suppose, fashion exemplars out there of less dubiousness, but we can't think of who right now.
Mandy watches the innocuous tape of Billy's date and starts to cry, mainly for the attention, just as Brittany would. "I don't want any girl to have a good time with Billy! I want her to have a terrible time!"
Walberg then hands the monitor to Ytossie, who slips the headphones over her ears. On the screen, LaWonna reveals that she and Taheed talked about his problems with his girlfriend, and that he told her it was the best date he'd ever been on.
When Ytossie is finished, she takes off the headphones and hands them back to Walberg.
"And?" he asks.
"She just said she had a good time and she didn't want it to end."
"That's about it?"
Ytossie nods, through the pain, through her teeth.