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The Temptation Island Wedding: Bringing Back the Old Feelingsby David Bloomberg -- 07/10/2002
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So I tell Mike DeGeorge that he can cover Temptation Island 2 (click here for his introductory article). He begs. He pleads. But still, he has to do it. He does, however, get in one good point – I have to watch Temptation Island: The Wedding, because I covered the first series. Oh, sure, here I thought I was done with these people. But since I got to know and
I tried my best to forget these people, but as soon as I saw them again, it all came flooding back to me. There they were: Kaya and Valerie, Andy and Shannon, and, of course, Billy and Mandy – not to mention various tempters and temptresses.
Of course, host Mark Wahlberg was back as well. And he was here tonight to promote Temptation Island 2 and also bring us up to date on what happened to the first couples – well, three of the couples, anyway. They pretended that Taheed and Ytossie didn’t exist (probably having something to do with the fact that the couple sued the show). But throughout the hour, I lost count of the number of times Wahlberg reminded us that although all three couples left the island together, one had since broken up, one was still together, and one was getting married. It was like a broken record (for you kids reading this, call it a skipping CD).
Before we found out which couple fell into each category, we got to relive some key moments from the show, mostly focusing on the final bonfire ritual where they each confessed their sins and declared their love. Plus we got some new interviews and a small bit of previously unseen footage.
Kaya and Valerie were first. Valerie talked about how, before Kaya, she had jumped from boyfriend to boyfriend while Kaya had only been in long-term relationships. She felt they should go on so Kaya could answer any questions he might have. He said he wanted to meet other girls and compare, though he admitted that his statement, aired on the show, about finding his market value was just dumb. Yes, we know.
Valerie went into some details about the show itself. She said that the single girls were actively trying to get a piece of the guys (Kaya, Billy, Andy), but the single guys were more supportive of the women. In any event, as we saw pretty clearly at the time, she got sick of the show. She tried to make the best of it, but just wasn’t in it anymore. In part, this was because she said she heard something she shouldn’t have – that he said he was dedicated to her. So she just wanted it to end so they could go home.
Meanwhile, Alison – Kaya’s “dream date” for the final date, implied that something happened with him on that night. Then, as if to show her claws again, she added that after the final bonfire she heard Kaya and Valerie fought and she even slapped him. For her part, Valerie just said after it was over, every emotion erupted through at once.
After it was all over, they went home, locked the doors, and talked it through because obviously some parts of their relationship had broken down. They tried to watch the show together, but it was too difficult (yeah, it was difficult for me to watch, too). Valerie later moved out of Miami. But are they still together? Of course, we had to wait to find that out.
Before we heard from Shannon and Andy, some of the singles spoke out. They talked about how they were told they could not interact with each other (that is, the guys could not interact with the girls), and how frustrating this was. But I guess it wasn’t too frustrating, because several talked about all the things that went on off-camera, which included a lot of partying, kissing, and fondling. One woman said the show represented the entire country’s “what-if” – nobody wants to go, but they love to watch. Well, maybe somebody loves to watch, but I’m not really sure who that somebody is.
Next up is Shannon and Andy. Shannon repeated what she had said during the show – that she did not want to watch what Andy was up to, yet was forced to by the rules (and what would they have done if she refused? It’s not a game show; she wouldn’t have lost a prize). She says that during her stay, emotional boundaries were definitely crossed, but it was strange that those who were supposed to seduce her were also there to support her in discussing her relationship.
Andy somewhat echoed what Kaya and Valerie had said – the hardest part of it all was after they got home and had to watch the seven episodes. Hey, I hear ya, pal. Shannon was upset because the show portrayed Andy negatively. As if to bolster this, they then replayed some of his most asinine comments, like the one about how the island would be like the Pepsi Challenge, but with women. She asserted that he was just playing a role that he knew people would enjoy watching. What is this, an early version of Will from Big Brother 2? I don’t buy it.
Shannon said the experience forced them to scrutinize their relationship, and then we found out that Andy was moving down to Orange County. So, would Shannon go with him? Again, we had to wait to find out.
Finally was the couple that just made me want to vomit – Mandy and Billy. For anybody who doesn’t recall, Mandy was the one who went on a date, licked the guy almost all over, and then got mad when she saw Billy doing a harmless strip tease. The hypocrisy was overwhelming. Anyway, not surprisingly Billy said he felt a lot of pain when he was watching the nipple-licking scene. No kidding. For her part, Mandy said she knew they’d show it on TV and also to Billy, but she said screw it, and did it anyway. Ah, that’s the caring, loving Mandy we all grew to know.
Meanwhile, she felt sorry for herself because she saw a new side of him in her videos, and then they started getting back at each other in little ways. Then we were shown some of these little ways, in case we had forgotten.
Billy also relived the episode where he was walking down the beach trying to deal with everything, and the camera kept following him. He told them to leave him alone, that this was his life not the show. The cameraman or producer responded, “Your life is the show.” He said that at that point he realized that this was correct – he had signed up for this.
At the final bonfire, he was less than thrilled by Mandy’s comment about having had an “intimate moment.” It was so vague, it could have meant anything! Indeed, the single guy involved wasn’t really sure what she was talking about either. Must have been one of those little ways she was getting back at him.
But he had his own way – he came to the bonfire wearing a heart pendant that one of the singles had given to him. Mandy said she was furious – she was thinking the bastard brought another girl into their meeting to decide the fate of their relationship. Billy said that really pissed her off. Indeed, when they hugged at the end, she whispered into his ear to take it off.
That night, Billy said, was one of the greatest ever. But when they got home, things got strange because of the unexpected press. While the viewers still had to wait to find out, I’ll just jump ahead and let you know that they were indeed the couple that broke up (this caused me absolutely no surprise whatsoever).
While they both said the show brought back a feeling of newness into their relationship, it also gave them new career opportunities. As viewers of the first series saw at the end, Billy moved to L.A. to pursue a career there. He said here that he expected Mandy to follow, but she ended up going in a different direction when she was hired by MTV in New York. On different coasts, they still called each other, but they got used to being apart. As Mandy said, the show launched their careers but their relationship was sacrificed in the process. Billy still hopes they can get back together if circumstances put them in the same town again, but for now, they are not a couple. As Wahlberg said, ultimately, their fame was their undoing.
Well, yes and no. If they were truly committed to each other, they wouldn’t have allowed their fame to split them. But the show pretty much told us that they weren’t really all that committed to each other – just to having a good time.
Going back in time, we were shown some previously-unseen footage from the audition tapes of the three couples. To say these were uninteresting is overstating their worth.
Finally, it was getting close to wedding time. Wahlberg spoke to the pastor who would be performing the ceremony. The pastor noted that the show was rather unfriendly to relationships. No, ya think? I was kind of surprised at first that the show aired this admission. Then it occurred to me that this is, of course, what they want. They don’t get ratings by showing healthy relationships; they get ‘em by showing relationships in crisis – hopefully with lost of sex thrown in.
So who was getting married? Andy and Shannon, of course. It really wasn’t much of a surprise. They ended last year’s series by noting that, ten minutes after leaving final bonfire, Andy asked Shannon to marry him and Shannon said yes. So, since they had tested their relationship on TV, of course they would share their wedding with the TV audience as well (and with a bunch of the cast from the show, including Megan, who had been a fond choice of both Andy and Kaya, only to be left behind by both of them at the end).
So there you have it. Mandy and Billy split. Unfortunately people who watch MTV will still encounter Mandy. Kaya and Valerie are still together, but who knows? And Shannon and Andy are now married. Hopefully they will live happily ever after. I know I’m already happier – because I don’t have to watch Temptation Island 2.
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