ABC’s smash hit The Bachelor and its sister show The Bachelorette (Monday nights, 8:00 pm) are not, as statistics go, successful vehicles for finding a lasting love. This past January 2011, bachelor Brad Womack, given a second chance after he walked away from a bevy of beauties during the show’s 2007 season, found what he thought was his lasting love. Only his chosen love, Emily, didn’t quite love Brad as much as he loved her and this relationship is rumored to be no more.
Ashley Hebert was also a contender for Brad’s affections and as is this show’s methodology, Ashley ascended to the position of bachelorette after her rejection by Brad. There are two marriages on record from The Bachelorette but in most cases the “love” fizzles when the cameras go off.
Now there’s another show for singles seeking love that has a very different approach to finding one’s soul mate. Love In the Wild is a new reality offering from NBC, airing Wednesday nights at 10:00 pm. This show's a real smile.
The Bachelorette has one person seeking a love from a crowd of contenders who are eliminated in various numbers, episode by episode, until the finale, which has the bachelorette choosing from the final two to great drama, pathos for the rejected, and, as is the plan, unbridled joy for the new couple.
Love In the Wild , hosted by Darren McMullen, has an equal number of males and females. Pairing up is by choice, on turn, by females or males. The couples are then given some sort of task that might involve bats, dangerous raft rides in alligator-infested rivers or climbing across canyons on wobbly rope bridges.
The idea is for the couples, with such an intense interaction, to get to know each other quickly, to ascertain how they interact under stress, to feel the connection if, indeed, one is there.
Before “The Couple’s Choice” ceremony, the singles interact in a social setting that allows them to meet the other contenders.
The Couple’s Choice ceremony is the equivalent of “The Rose Ceremony” in The Bachelorette. In the Rose Ceremony, the bachelorette gives roses to those contenders he/she wishes to continue on what is popularly called the “journey” in "bachelorese." In Love In the Wild’s Couple’s Choice ceremony, the couple who won first place in that episode’s challenge gets to either keep the partner who helped win it, or can then choose another partner. For the first place couple, should they choose another partner, the new partner they choose must accept.
The procedure of choosing either to remain with the partner of the episode’s task or choosing another continues on (without the guarantee of acceptance given the first place couple) in order of winning. Eventually one couple will be left, unwanted and un-chosen. That couple goes home.
The Bachelorette’s Rose Ceremony continues with the bachelorette choosing contenders to remain until only one is left, also un-chosen, rose-less, and subsequently sent home.
Love In the Wild does provide an immediate interaction that will, if nothing else, eliminate partners totally unsuited for each other quicker than the one-on-one and group dates of The Bachelorette series.
While I’ve been watching the current Bachelorette series closely, Love in the Wild is a recent entry to the reality TV dating genre. This season’s bachelorette, Ashley Hebert, is said to be intelligent, quick-witted, quite the catch. Only for some reason she kind of fell hard for a reprobate contender, the infamous Bentley. This guy revealed in an on-camera vignette that he didn’t much like Ashley, that he entered the series on a whim, that he wanted to go home.
It had to be part of the scripting that had Ashley going so overboard for this fellow when she had eight other guys desperately vying for her hand. Bentley was not especially attractive or personable. It’s a guess how an intelligent woman like Ashley got herself so wrapped in such a self-centered fellow.
Bentley eventually returned to the show as arranged by the show host, Chris Harrison. He told Ashley, firmly, that he wanted to move on and that strange bit of drama, which I still maintain reflected poorly on Ashley, ended.
As of the first of July there were six contenders left for Ashley’s hand. It’s a bit early but if I were to predict Ashley’s choice I’d go with J.P. for now.
He’s not an especially handsome fellow but he's okay. He’s about nine years older than Ashley, a bit high perhaps. But maturity is a good thing, right? J.P. did reveal that he’d been married. There are divorcees and widowers on The Bachelor series and, as in real life, people learn. Or they don’t. Ashley did choose J.P. for two one-on-one dates so she obviously is attracted to him.
Since Love In the Wild is new it’s still a task in process ascertaining who’s the unserious one, who’s the witchy woman, the sorts of characters often scripted in these show.
Both of these reality love match shows will likely end around the same time. We’ll keep watching and will report if love is found or love is forlorn.