Imagine “Survivor” and “The Bachelor” having a dimwitted child, and you’re close to capturing “Love in the Wild,” NBC’s stab at a dating show/travelogue. Two by two, 20 Calvin Klein and Victoria’s Secret models (OK, they just look that way) are set loose in the Costa Rican wilderness and forced to undertake various adventures where (and the host really says this) they just might find “the greatest adventure of all: Love.” Watching what transpires is like taking a hot date on a camping trip, only to have them complain the entire time: Exhilaration soon gives way to annoyance.
The aforementioned host, a stubbly Darren McMullen (which, based on his hosting resume, is apparently Australian for “Jeff Probst”), guides his charges through the rules of the game, which basically involve participating in a sweaty challenge, stripping down to cavort in the hot tub, and finally deciding who to do it all over again with next week.
Maybe central casting is wearing thin, but aside from being beautiful (naturally), there’s not a personality in the bunch more interesting than the crocodiles, ants or bats on display. Well, there is Vanessa, who’s 26, buxom, and already talking about locating a candidate with whom she can conceive two boys and a girl, which as we all know, gals, is a major turn-on for young single guys with names like Skip and Steele.
The adventures are scenic enough, among them a cross-country schlep that involves traversing a bridge straight out of “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” in the second hour; it’s the dating hijinks where the show quickly wears thin, included the protracted game of musical chairs played out at the end.
For all the dating and partner switching and room sharing, nothing much happens that couldn’t be found at any Club Med, including the fact visitors must remove their bracelets when they leave.
“Love” arrives a week after ABC’s similar-looking “Expedition Impossible,” though at least that had the advantage of extensive promotion during the NBA playoffs.
NBC’s alternative, by contrast, has to try to survive the summer’s original-programming jungle pretty much on its own, with nary an original thought as company.
Like the hunks and babes crossing that bridge, look out below.