Here’s a funny story for all my Love in the Wild-heads, those of you who have been here with me since the beginning (God bless ya): This morning I tried to write a piece tentatively titled, “X Things I Learned About Love From Love in the Wild” (wherein I would replace the letter “X” with the number of things I discovered I had learned) but I thought and thought and reread my recaps and thought some more, and I could really only come up with two things that I “learned”:
– Men really, really LIKE asses all of the time, and really, really ARE asses some of the time. (Which I already knew.)
– Love (in the wild) means always needing to say you’re sorry. But never doing it, because it’s easier to just dump him/her for someone else.
Not so revealing. So I didn’t write the article. But I think that sets us up well for tonight’s Love in the Wild finale, which begins with its own recap of this entire season, which reveals about as much. All we get out of it is that Heather and Miles and Samantha and Mike are the only two real, solid “couples” that came out of the show, so it’s both shocking and fitting that they are the finalists here. These are four perfectly reasonable, tolerable human beings. And reality TV worked for them. Talk about WILD.
After Skip and Theresa skipped out of the last CCC, the finalists sit down to guage themselves against each other intellectually, physically and romantically. Team Eyebrows have won lots of challenges and seem like they’re already married (but, like, in those first few years of marriage when it’s still fun), while Miles and Heather have won no challenges and seem like they’re just dating (which, to be fair, they are). An omen in the shape of a bug embeds itself in Heather and Miles’ bed the night before the finals, but they’re not worried because they have the power of cuteness on their side.
Before the final challenge, Samantha opens a letter from her mother that contains a list of positive aspirational messages in it, and it brings Samantha to tears. Then, later, when Mike thinks about the letter and realizes how much he cares about Sam (and how much she cares about him), MIKE STARTS CRYING. Oh man, these two. I guess they have cuteness on THEIR side, too. I don’t know who to root for! Because I like ALL OF THEM! Has that ever happened in the history of reality adventure dating competition series? I DOUBT IT! (Because isn’t this is the only one?)
Aussie Monkey Man Host, PhD lays out the long list of rules for the final adventure, which will finally force the couples to stay in the wild for more than a couple of hours. Yep, this one’s an overnighter, ladies, so I hope you brought your cordless curling irons!
ALL PACKED AND READY FOR ANYTHING!
The instructions are these: Swim to a canoe. Find a map. Following the map, paddle up the river until it gets shallow, then drag your canoe to your backpacks, which contain overnight gear. Follow the map’s instructions until you get to your campsite, and then start again on Day 2. Day 2: Climb a mountain (NO BIG DEAL) and then, yadda yadda yadda, find the host and that’s it! There will be no CCC this week, and whoever wins the race wins the final prize, which is a trip around the world with each other. So if you like each other, you WIN! If you don’t like each other, you “win.” Luckily, both of these couples like each other, for real-real, so a trip sounds fun, not torturous.
The rules and stakes successfully laid out, the teams are off like lightning to their canoes. But it’s been like 2 days since he couldn’t swim before, and Miles STILL can’t swim! Samantha laughs at Miles as he flails around like a damp butterfly in the water, while she and Mike look like freaking Pocahontas and Kocoum in their canoe. But Miles and Heather, through the power of Heather’s nagging and Miles’ Minnesotan can-do spirit, manage to catch up.
Their next task along the way is to assemble an ox cart. Which is then strapped up to — you guessed it! — OX. One of which proceeds to put its diarrhea on display for Mike and Sam. That’s my kinda ox! Let’s make things more difficult for the show’s golden couple … with a golden shower!
It’s a back-and-forth neck-and-neck foot race to the end of Day 1. Once again, even though Sam and Mike are technically in the lead, they seem clueless when it comes to setting up their campsite. And their stove. And their fire. Sam is starting to reveal more reasons that she’s not quite Mike’s dream girl: She hates camping, she gives up quickly, and she’s pretty mean when she’s Hangry. (That’s “hungry” + “angry.” I suffer from a bad case myself on a tri-daily basis.)
Nearby, Miles and Heather are falling deeper and deeper in like, to the point where Heather can say “I feel like we’ve been dating for a year” and Miles doesn’t immediately go running for the edge of the island. I believe all this footage of Heather and Miles’ idyllic “Land’s End commercial” camping trip versus Mike and Sam’s more frustrating Blair Witch-esque experience means that the show wants us to want Heather and Miles to win. But does that mean they WILL? On to Day 2 to find out!
The morning starts with heavy rain. Their instructions tell them to trek to a lake at the top of a volcano. At the beginning of the day, Miles and Heather are 26 seconds behind Mike and Sam, and it’s a steep and treacherous hike up to the top of the volcano. It takes about five minutes in TV time for them to heavy-breathe themselve to the top, where they must then descend (INTO THE CREVASSE!) and swim in innertubes across the lake or something… I don’t know! Whatever! This whole episode is all race and no RACY, and I’m getting bored.
Mike and Sam are still in the lead after the swim, which once again turns into a hike-run. I wish this were more like Legends of the Hidden Temple, meaning that at random points in the race, boulders would threaten to squash them and aggressive natives would pop out from behind trees wielding spears. But no. Instead, it’s another Rocky-training-sequence-esque montage full of heavy-breathing, positive reinforcement like “Go until you puke!” and increasingly hectic music as the couples race toward the finish.
Hey look! The host got all dolled up for the final finish line. He combed his hair and his shirt has FULL SLEEVES.
And his face looks like a SERIAL KILLER
And the first couple to cross that final line are…
MIKE AND SAMANTHA! Look how happy they are!
WON IN THE WILD
Before Miles and Heather can show up and ruin the moment, they pop the champagne and celebrate their prize: A trip around the world with the one they love! …Now! The one they love now, at this specific moment in time!
Post-Challenge Interview: Mike says he sees a special future with Sam, and Sam cries with all the happiness that overwhelms her heart and loins. Miles and Heather are pissed that they lost, but the monkey bears the ultimate wisdom for them: Even though they “lost,” they really won, because they’re leaving deeply, deeply in like. They vow to “make it work” after they go back to the States. “It sucks that we lost, but you can’t put a price on what Miles and I have,” says Heather. She’s intensely logical, so I can only surmise that she really means that. I said it last week sarcastically, but today I mean it: These two crazy kids just might make it.
We end with a brief recap of Mike and Sam’s undying love as they sit down to a winner’s dinner at the Oasis. They’re going to Paaaarrriiiissss, the city of LOVE. The end.
Just kidding. It wouldn’t be a dating show without a POST-SHOW SEXY STATUS UPDATE. I’ll just let the subtitles do the talking:
Waaaaait a second! That last one’s not right. It actually said:
Hahahahahaha, WHAT? These subtitles are being screwy! OK, here’s the real one:
OK! Enough! It said they already met each other’s parents. DING DONG, CHING CHANG! (Wedding bells.)
(Images courtesy of NBC)