Bizarre love triangles

Episode 7: Andy gets a mud bath, becomes less of a man! Plus: Is someone getting lucky?

Published February 22, 2001 2:23PM (EST)

Last week on "Temptation Island," Barbra Streisand sang songs of love and self-aggrandizement.

This week, suddenly -- just like that -- it's the 11th day, the penultimate hour, damn near closing time.

And boy, has it flown by -- soared on the scrofulous wings of a diseased pigeon.

We never did get to know those singles.

Tonight, the girls have gathered together to select their final "dream date" from a lineup of previously sampled man-boys. The date will last two days, which means -- you know -- there will be sleeping.

A whole night's worth!

We wish we could have a dream date.

Before the selection begins, the insatiable Mandy, who still has some unknown species of orange, bulbous sea life attached to her head where her hair should be, has a special request: She would like to be allowed to choose someone she didn't date so much as attempt to seduce while he was on a date with someone else. That someone else, we know, is Shannon. And the man Mandy wants is "I can't believe he's not Ivy League" Tom.

Sure, she can see that Shannon and Tom really like each other, and, yeah, she's probably aware that anything that helps Shannon come to her senses about Andy is probably a good thing, but Mandy can't help herself.

She's a bitch.

Luckily, Shannon gets to pick first and she and Tom fall into each other's arms in a Dr. Zhivago-style hug that makes Mandy look down, purse her lips and blink hard.

Next up is Valerie, whose exquisite disgust deepens with every passing moment. For her date, she chooses the "really upbeat" Dano, as Shannon and Mandy laugh from the sidelines. The other guys look relieved.

"I need someone to take my mind off of what could happen at the end," Valerie says, once again proving her commitment to suffering and her unwavering dedication to spreading bad vibes.

Finally, Mandy, who unlike Valerie, just wants to have as much one-on-one fun as she can squeeze into a short series, takes a moment to survey the spoils. Then she leaps like the unholy spawn of Bozo and a baby giraffe into the arms of the young Adonis Jon -- who doesn't really ring a bell -- and wraps her legs around his waist.

Um, have they met?

Meanwhile, Johnny -- who had lapped fluids from her navel only days earlier -- throws his head back in slow motion and lets out an agonized silent sigh.

And Johnny wasn't the only one surprised by her choice.

"Frankly, I'm stunned," Jon says. "We haven't spent as much time as some of the other people have together."

Why did she choose Jon over Johnny, whose nipples she had so recently tipped in strawberry? Mandy credits her choice to his "shyness and quiet intelligence."

"I'm so curious to find out why he puts knots in my stomach!" she says.

Hmm. So are we. Could it be that:

A) his (shiny!) blond hair momentarily distracted Mandy?
B) "Temptation Island" is like a box of chocolates and Mandy's a little Gumpy?
C) a slight breeze would tie Mandy's stomach in knots?

Meanwhile, five miles south of the singles, Taheed and Ytossie remain infected captives on the toxic island of their love.

Taheed tells Ytossie of the time his lips touched Alabama's.

"Was your tongue involved?" Ytossie needs to know.

Taheed assures her that his tongue was under wraps, and that he was, in fact, thinking of her when the incident occurred.

"I hate it," she reflects on a voice-over, "when he turns things around and he's the angel and I'm just a psychopath."

And they're off! There is screaming, followed by images of Ytossie contemplating the vastness of the ocean and Taheed's rightful place at the bottom of it.

We don't really understand what happens next, but we think we can safely assume that it's either a weird moment of reality-show meta-reality or just random filler.

Taheed and Ytossie join a new couple (the man is identified as a "Scuba Steve," a guide; the woman is identified only as his fiancée) at a table and regale them with stories of resentment and recrimination. Ytossie tells the couple about how Taheed used cooking and listening to "get" her. The woman, meanwhile, looks somewhat confused. Could she be a naîve betrothed caught, by some cruel quirk of fate, in a bizarre portentous glimpse of her marriage to come?

Host Marky Walberg, who has been lurking off-screen, eyes wide with piggy greed, suddenly emerges so that Ytossie and Taheed can "decide the fate of their relationship," like, now. This classic Walbergian moment is interrupted while we cut to the reject-singles-say-goodbye sequence.

Kaya looks but exactly like George Hamilton, doesn't he?

Anyway, back to Walberg. He is a prurient little monkey. While grilling Ytossie about why she loves Taheed and whether she plans to stay with him, we notice he keeps making the international symbol for "very large breasts" with his hands.

No wonder Taheed despises him.

Anyway, Taheed and Ytossie are brought together and asked to "speak your mind, speak your hearts," which they do, as if on cue.

As Walberg looks on, eyebrows erect, Taheed drones that he loves Ytossie and wants to spend the rest of his life with her. Ytossie replies that, with counseling, she "wouldn't mind" spending the rest of her life with Taheed. Then they reluctantly lean in and give each other a peck.

It's really moving.

"All right," says Walberg, satisfied after a job well done.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

That night, the three boyfriends sit down to a candlelit dinner with their decolleti dream dates.

Kaya has mercifully lain off the tight, see-through printed shirts for the evening, and everyone looks happy.

Walberg suddenly erupts on the scene.

"Good evening, everyone! Well, it's awfully intimate now."

Well, it was, anyway.

Ignoring the smirk on Amanda's face, Walberg continues, "We'll be beginning the new level of temptation." This level involves, apparently, activities. Walberg describes the three possible date scenarios they will soon enjoy:

Jaguar Paw: A rustic resort. "They have caves."

Aruga Resort: A spa on a private island featuring facials and "mud-painting." Andy, who is committed to reminding all those around him of his feral masculinity all times, makes a face.

Kave's Branch Adventure: "An extreme date ... " [at the word "extreme," Andy quickly rearranges his features to convey excitement and keen interest] " ... which includes rappelling down the side of a cliff."

When Kaya, who drew the lucky straw, picks the rappelling date, Andy attempts to drive his fists into his forehead.

"Kaya is kind of type-cast as 'the soft guy,'" Andy, the world's most secure guy, explains later. "And I don't think it's an image he really wants. Kaya knew that was the date I really wanted. So to have to sit there and hear him choose it ... in front of me ... I was pissed."

Andy is the type of guy who probably still doesn't let his friends touch his toys at his own birthday parties.

Of course, Kaya's no show pony, either. And come to think of it, these guys make their girlfriends look really bad. Valerie tortures herself over a self-obsessed model; Shannon continues her campaign of fidelity to a reptile; and Mandy happily wraps her legs, lips and grabby fingers around anyone who so much as glances her way -- all while deep, soulful, bald, gentlemanly Billy grapples with their moral dilemmas for the both of them.

Andy is still sulking about the massage. You'd think the spa offered chemical peels and gelding.

Walberg then pops over to the girls' side of the island for more of the same. The girl-dates are more sedate and uniform -- a lodge here, an inn there -- so no major power struggles ensue.

Later, Valerie wonders if Dano will try to put the moves on her. She hopes not; she's saving herself for Kaya's humiliating rejection. And Shannon wonders whether she "should act" when Tom inevitably does. Part of her says she should, she says -- and we sincerely hope it's the big, heavy part where her brains are located.

"Temptation is something that's put in front of you that you're normally not allowed to have," says Mandy, dangerously unclear on the concept. "With any other circumstance, I would not be allowed to have Jon. But with this whole trip, all of a sudden I am. Hee, hee!"

Ah -- tonight, Billy grapples alone.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

And now! It's time for meltdown and heartbreak!

As Mandy gets ready to go out on her date with Jon, she says she will leave her picture of Billy and a letter from him behind. Mandy keeps acting like Billy has done something terribly wrong, but we think she has him confused with herself.

Valerie, the madwoman of reality TV -- who is becoming unhinged before our very eyes -- takes 35 vitamins in preparation for her date with Dano. Unfortunately, any health perks these might have provided are lost when Valerie and Dano run into the banished single girls on their way off the island.

Valerie does the math and figures out who Kaya is spending his last two days with.

She dissolves instantly into a grief pudding.

The once "upbeat" Dano hands her a tissue -- or maybe it's a T-shirt.

"I again have a visual in my head," warbles a sobbing and involuntarily snorting Valerie. "And I'm just tired of having to have that!"

Believe us, so are we.

Cut to the smug and glossy face of Dr. Bunny, the nude M.D., as she kicks back on the plane with Kaya.

"I said all along I wasn't going to limit myself in any way," says Kaya, still justifying his self-love. "I came on this island to be free and open and kind of find my market value, which I never really knew before."

We'd like to thank Kaya for providing his own material for this joke.

We'd also like to congratulate the intrepid "Temptation Island" story editors for the moment directly following it: Alison informing us that Kaya is "really smart," intercut with a shot of a blinking, open-mouthed Kaya sitting in a tree looking like a dazed bonobo.

We used to worry a lot about Andy, yes, but now it's time to concede that Andy -- as a self-eradicating zeta male -- may pose no real threat to anyone 

... except perhaps, now that we think about it, maybe us here at "Temptation Island" recap central.

Anyway, for Andy the whole experience has soured. The ladies have let him down.

God, wouldn't it be great if Shannon ran off with the fake Ivy League graduate? Even if he isn't a real Ivy League graduate, he could maybe get his masters at Brown! We get the feeling he would make Shannon so much happier. She's so much happier already.

"Casting picked the perfect person for me," she says emphatically. "Because we are totally connected."

Mandy, like Andy, has passed through the dark side and into the place where she's kind of in the way and we wish she'd move.

"John only makes me happier the more I get to know him."

Yeah, yeah. A hundred bucks says she says that to all the guys.

"He helped me take my braids out," Mandy giggles, intent on turning every hygienic interaction into a very special one loaded with erotic possibility. "It was so sweet, I loved him touching my hair. When you're taking out braids, it's like releasing and I felt like I was releasing myself a little bit."

While a relaxed Shannon and Tom talk about the ease of being together, how much their relationship has grown and how easily they could fall for each other ...

... Andy lies on a cot having a tantrum.

His annoyed date snaps, "This date was not meant for you."

"Kaya!" Andy screams, punching the cot. "I can't believe you are not here and I'm not rappelling into some cave!"

It's really, really too bad that Freud has fallen into such disfavor, because that was a good one!

Andy is terrified that his masculinity will get sloughed off along with his dead skin cells. Elizabeth shrewdly tries to reassure him by pointing out that, for him, rappelling would not be a challenge. "This is very challenging for you."

He is such a man that mud treatments threaten him.

We have to admit, shiny and shallow as Kaya is, he and Valerie are a really bad couple. While Kaya and Alison rappel down the side of a cliff like Effeminate Tarzan and Jane, Valerie is actually refusing to walk on wet grass because her shoes are slick.

Dano goes to look at a grotto while she waits for him on a log.

"Hopefully I can wear Dano out during the day," Valerie says later, perhaps overestimating Dano's interest and/or patience. "I know tonight I'm going to want to go to my room early and shut the door. I know I'm not going to be able to stop thinking about tomorrow."

Later, on the bus, a valiant Dano tries to make the best of a situation with Valerie in it. "What did you think of those waterfalls?" he asks. She looks at him as if he's just asked her what she thought of those dessicated dog turds.

Actual minutes go by before she deigns to repond. "Really cool," she says. "It was," he replies, then turns away.

Boy, yeah, she better wear him out or he's going to be all over her.

Elizabeth calls Andy a "unique individual."

Shannon and Tom: Still in love. How about now? In love.

At dinner, Valerie talks about Kaya obsessively, then finally tells Dano, "I turn into a pumpkin at 9 o'clock."

They say goodnight, Dano tells her that if she needs him, he's right there. After she shuts her door he sits on the couch and mimes shooting himself in the mouth.

Mandy and Jon: Footsie. Smoochie. Tee-hee.

Kaya and Alison: Shiny. Glistening. Um ... having sex?

Mandy and Jon: Still making out.

Amanda and Billy: Still sorting out Billy's issues.

Vanessa helps him work this train of thought out by reaching over and playing with his nipple.

"When I was a little kid," Billy is saying, "I used to be riding in a car and I'd have a sudden urge to hold my most valuable object out the window, and see how lightly I could hold it without losing it. It's actually a perfect analogy for what I'm doing with Mandy."

It's actually a perfect analogy for what we here at "Temptation Island" recap central are doing with our lives.

(Carina Chocano)

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By Carina Chocano

Carina Chocano writes about TV for Salon. She is the author of "Do You Love Me or Am I Just Paranoid?" (Villard).

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