It’s not like I’m saying that karma will definitely manifest into a stomping-fire-breathing-snaggle-toothed monster who will gnaw Evan’s testicles off in one swift gulp as a means of achieving some form of retribution for the insultingly cavalier way he moved beyond his love for Kaci, but I would advise the guy to keep his eyes open and his ears peeled for signs of danger. Like, if I were Evan, I wouldn’t necessarily go walking underneath rickety ladders anytime soon. I wouldn’t meander alongside anything even slightly resembling a cliff. And I certainly would not return to Hawaii in the coming months with Morgan because I’m not so sure whichever Goddess controls shit like volcanic eruptions is about to spare a man who got over a five year relationship like other people get over a common cold.
I feel the need to inform you, dear reader, that the initial wager I so cavalierly threw down about which couples would destruct into heaping piles of shit before our very eyes and which couples would survive their time on Temptation Island and go limping off into the sunset has completely fallen to pieces. It’s hard to recall exactly what I said back then (and scrolling through my earlier recaps for clarity just seems like an awful lot of work), but I’m pretty sure I boldly bet that Kaci and Evan would remain solid and faithful and Shari and Javen were doomed. Yeah. I used the word “doomed” to describe those two, though to be fair, that was before I heard them refer to one another as “Baby Girl” and “My Love.” But c’mon! Who could have foreseen such a thing? Didn’t they appear miserable together? Who could have known then they would be even more miserable apart?! And who could have predicted that Evan would not only sleep with, but also fall hopelessly in love with one of his Tempters? Evan and Kaci seemed so solid! I’m wondering now if what we saw early on was simply intentionally misdirecting editing designed to make their commitment appear unbreakable. After all, doesn’t it make for far more explosive television when people we’re certain will behave end up turning into emotional heathens?
While I absolutely commend Kaci for the brilliant strategy she whipped out during the last Bonfire – refusing to open her eyes so she wouldn’t have to see footage that would likely cause her insides to feel as though they were sizzling – I think it’s important that we acknowledge right here and now that her plan will not work moving forward. I’m positive Kaci will want to continue to avert both her eyes and her mind from the truth, but these producers know exactly what they’re doing and they will not so much as pretend to entertain the notion that one of their contestants will manage to avoid all the hours of incendiary footage they’ve nabbed of her boyfriend. See, effectively skating around misery is not how reality television works. If Kaci refuses to watch what they stick in front of her face, fine. There’s another move here: play on a sense other than sight. I’m predicting the next thing Kaci will have thrown at her be a sound bite and it will be of Evan telling Morgan he loves her and such a thing will prove devastating. Hearing the synchronized moans of your boyfriend and some chick during probable sex is horrible. But hearing your boyfriend of five years declaring his love to a woman he’s only known for a few weeks? That’s takes “horrible” to another level entirely and that level is subterranean and it’s guarded by demons who have terrible breath and you’d probably have to slay them with a really pointy scythe just to escape and slaying demons is hard.
Where last we saw Evan, he was writhing beneath Morgan in a bed. And though he was insistent that they not have sex (and he took care to remind her the next morning that full-on fucking needs to be off the table – and off the bed…and off the floor…and out of the shower – for the foreseeable future), they are still very much behaving like two people in a legitimate relationship. There are consoling touches. There is full body cuddling. There is high-octane chemistry. But you know what also exists in the shadowy corners of Evan and Morgan’s world? AN ACTUAL GIRLFRIEND exists, and what nobody seems to be considering right now is the sheer avalanche of emotional baggage that will surely plague both Evan and Morgan if they actually end up together. It may be all spend-the-day-in-a-villa-and-do-not-even-think-about-your-bills-piling-up-or-your-girlfriend’s-family-watching-you-rub-your-hands-across-another-woman’s-ass fun now, but the real world will eventually rear its tear-streaked face and whatever decision Evan ends up making will surely devastate at least one woman.
I’m really not sure how much worse it can get for Kaci. It was her idea to bring her boyfriend on this show. It was her logic-over-emotion mindset that put this now-scorching plan into motion. And after only a few weeks, it is her boyfriend declaring his burgeoning feelings to another woman, even as the woman he has been with for five years has decided for sure that their relationship is very definitely worth saving. To move forward while literally being stuck in this horrible little experiment that’s being televised to the masses, Kaci either has to take her mind off what she now knows is going on by trying to lose herself in something that, at the very least, mimics infatuation, or she can remain focused on everything she very well may lose. Listen: I know Hawaii is beautiful and spending your days hacking pineapples off a bush must be kind of fun, but when your future is dying and you feel impotent in your present, how much fun can slicing into any kind of fucking fruit really be?
If the ultimate goal of going on a show like Temptation Island is to perhaps discover new and exciting things about yourself, Kaci and Evan should be shoo-ins for the first Self-Awareness medals. I’d like to recommend to production that these prizes be given out at the end of each Bonfire of Doom, as I truly believe a shiny consolation prize might help soothe someone’s ravaged insides after she’s, say, forced to watch footage of the love of her life canoodling with a stranger. Kaci’s medal (I’m gonna go ahead and say she deserves the gold, and that’s only partly because her soul will soon be crushed into smithereens and at least gold will make those smithereens look pretty) should be awarded for having the realization that Evan proposing by a certain date is no longer important to her. Evan’s medal – let’s give him the bronze; it’ll highlight the new sun-streaked highlights in his hair – is for realizing he is able to crush on someone who is not his girlfriend. Oh, and the silver? Let’s save that one for the therapist these two should very certainly make an appointment with the second they arrive back on the mainland.
Just as the ash from the Bonfire of Doom goes scattering into the night sky, so too does Shari’s sanity. You really can’t blame the girl, not when the editors and the producers made quite sure the footage she’d see (involving the boyfriend she already doesn’t particularly trust) would be the most incendiary of the shit they could locate. True: Shari has no idea what Javen’s out of context blubbering even pertains to, but he does sound really fucking guilty. They’ve only been in Pretend Paradise for a couple of weeks! He’s already crossed a line? The guy is dead to her.
The experiment – you know, the one you’d only participate in if your entire existence was predicated on craving the kind of fleeting faux fame that Fiji water girl just experienced – is now fully in swing over on Temptation Island. The couples have been split apart, the Tempters are calculating exactly what they need to do in order to snag the maximum amount of camera time without having to resort to either murder or actually developing a talent, and Javen is releasing deep sighs of relief into his pillow because every second of every day is no longer scored by the sound of Shari’s annoyed sighs. Oh – and two Tempters are rocking necklaces that may as well be fashioned out of rotting forbidden fruit.
I’m pretty hard to shock at this point, but a lot of reality shows I’ve seen have seriously stunned me. Like, there was once a show where some woman dated men wearing Phantom of the Opera type masks to prove she was looking for love instead of looks. Do you remember it? The masked men would only get to remove their bizarre facewear in the pitch black darkness of a cellar where the woman would take them to go make out and, while they were down there, the woman would all but feel up the guy’s face to assure her obviously-terrified mind that no, this man who willingly donned a mask for twenty hours a day did not have boils growing off his cheekbones. Another show I watched involved two strangers marrying each other after a mock beauty pageant and it only came out later that the groom had restraining orders out against him for stalking. So yes, much of the reality television that’s come out has been (at the very least) mildly grotesque, but it was the first installment of Temptation Island that was on back in the day that freaked me out entirely – and now that nightmare is back.
Remember how shocking it was when twenty-two utter fools actually managed to pair up correctly at the very last minute of the seventh season of Are You the One? Remember the fleeting look of accomplishment smeared across their faces as they sauntered off that island with approximately $40,000 and some very probable invitations to appear on even more reality shows in the way-too-near-future for my comfort? Remember when this cast acted like they were entirely capable of forgetting all the fighting and the furniture smashing and the sociopathic bullshit they’d inflicted on one another all summer long? Remember how they instead clung to one another super tightly and swore they’d be like family until the very last second of time? Well, it seems time is relative and this little televised family is even more dysfunctional than the Manson Family after a particularly potent acid trip. The sweet goodbye that blasted across our airwaves occurred months ago and the sweetness between these people faded – much like genital warts eventually do. Now it’s Reunion time, most of these people officially hate one another, and if you’re surprised that the majority of these relationships didn’t work out in the long run, you too are an idiot and such a thing means you should immediately apply to be on this show because you’d be a motherfucking natural.