Love in the Wild: Does This Reality Love Show Have What It Takes to Survive?

By , Contributor

I’d been writing about this series by combining the early episode summaries with my Bachelorette reviews here and here. The series, aided by being introduced via America’s Got Talent, was obviously NBC’s answer to the Bachelor/Bachelorette popular shows that have contenders searching for love amongst strangers.

Love in the Wild has a very different gimmick, of course, as they all do. This reality love series had an equal number of males and females to begin the competition. Throughout the duration of the series thus far, males were paired up with females then the couples were issued various challenges. The pairs were then allowed to either keep the partner who’d scored the current challenge with them or to choose another partner in the order of that finish.

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It was a kind of complicated system and I, a dedicated aficionado of reality love shows, got confused as to who was who, who seemed to be fond of who, and who did not like who. Part of the lure of these types of shows is for the viewer to become distantly involved out in TV land in the contenders’ fates and foibles. Through clever camera craft and sometimes outright scripting, the audience might come to be quite fond of one contender over another, dislike yet another contender, often while the other half of the on-screen couple might be reacting very differently than the viewing audience. With Love in the Wild, it’s difficult to get to know the individual contenders for the emphasis on the couples.

The practical concept of the show is for would-be couples to experience a high-intensity relationship right from the start as opposed to darling dates set up by producers that tend to block the real world from silly intrusions into a budding romance. On Love in the Wild, the potential loving couples are straightaway diving into raging waters, dodging alligators, or zip-lining wildly through dense jungles. This sort of thing will filter out those who fare well together from those who do not.

While this might seem like a good premise to quickly discover compatibility, or lack of same, for the audience it takes a longer time to establish the empathy with the cast that will have the viewer tuning in for the latest on their beloved.

My viewing feelings for Bachelorette Ashley, for example, were formed early on in that show’s series. I could not have told you much about any of the contenders on Love in the Wild until the most recent episodes. Indeed I had to remind myself to watch the recorded episode as opposed to my viewer desire to see what’s happening.

That being said, I can now say that, without a doubt, Samantha is probably the prettiest female contender on any reality dating show of recent years. Samantha is teamed up with Mike, and has been for most of the series. Indeed, if there is to be a “connection” between contenders, it would seem that Mike and Samantha might be the pair. But will inquiring minds want to know what happens to this couple after the series ends? It’s this public interest in the future of the finalists that keep reality love shows popular and I’m not sure Love in the Wild manages to garner enough interest to make us care.

It’s not for any lack of publicity or tease that Love in the Wild hasn’t managed to grab an audience. Goodness knows there’s enough reference to sex, not to mention females running about in tiny bikinis for no reason whatsoever except, well, to have females running around in tiny bikinis. There’s also the sharing of cabins by opposite-sex couples and the coy questions about favorite body parts asked by the show’s host as part of an elimination quiz.

love-logo.jpgWhatever the future of this series, the final show airs next Wednesday night, NBC, at 10p/9c. The competition is down to two couples, Samantha with Mike and Miles with Heather. The only thing I can tell anyone about those four is that Samantha is strikingly pretty. For that shallow reason, I hope she wins both for the grand prize of a trip around the world but also because she does seem to like Mike.


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Pat Fish has been a blogger for almost ten years. She has been published numerous times in the Chicken Soup for the Soul and Cup of Comfort book series and wrote for Blogcritics. She has written a few books and vows to write till death does part her from the keyboard. Pat loves to write about current…

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