As we approach the finale, I’ve got to admit that I have developed a genuine affection for this show. It’s stupid, but benignly so, unlike this other show I’ve recently begun recapping. Compared to THAT show, this show is so… quaint. The people on it are so pretty and nice to each other (mostly) and ahhh-not-ahhh-sosmart, but they mean well and — GET THIS — the final three couples genuinely care about each other. One of the couples even toyed around with the “L word” tonight! Not to say that it’s a good or smart or dignified idea to go on a reality dating show and fall in love (or convince yourself that you fell in love) with a person you met on that show, but it’s refreshing and endearing that the lovers (in the wild) on Love in the Wild believe that is how they feel.

Not only that, but it strikes me now that the six classiest, most likable people from the original cast (remember Kym? remember Vanessa? remember STEELE?) are the ones who made it to the finals. Well don’t that beat all? Love in the Wild, my standards might be very, very low, and you might be very, very stupid, but you’ve managed to burrow yourself into a tiny little crevice in my heart through your sheer earnestness.

TONIGHT: The final three couples go on a nonsensical challenge that ends up not really mattering, but it’s fun to watch nonetheless. Then their bonds are tested in a shocking(-ly bland) quiz game. And I try to spice up the following recap with the WILD-ness that the show seems to have forgotten it’s promised us.


The Challenge: I’m going to be honest. As dumb as this show is, I lost track of the rules of this challenge within, like, 0.3 seconds of the host explaining them. Here’s what I gathered: Each couple must swim to an old Somalian pirate boat, where they then must untie a map from the anchor rope and grab a paddleboard. Then they have to hunt and hike all over the place looking for five bags of coins. Once they collect all the coins, coins which BETTER have the host doing the “WAZZAHHHH!” face on them, each couple must venture into the local town (GASP! NATIVES!) where they must find a local bar named “Coco’s,” to meet a guy named “Mambo,” who, in return for their bags of magical coins (WOULDA BEEN BETTER IF THEY WERE BEANS), will teach them a phrase that they then have to memorize and repeat back to the cute little greasy Aussie monkey man.

“Then you must find the monkey named Chuckles in the Candy Cane forest. Wink twice, then tell him the password, IN ELVISH. In return, he will give you an enchanted scepter, which you then must sell on the local black market and use that money to buy me more peyote because by the way I was super high on peyote when I wrote this challenge.”

In summary: Pirate boat, magical coins, Coco’s, Mambo, password.

The couples sprint into the ocean, and Heather worries that because Miles “can’t swim” (like “can’t” or CAN’T can’t?) they’re at a disadvantage. Team Eyebrows (Mike and Sam) are the first to retrieve their map and paddleboard, but Team Pretty But Dumb (Skip and Theresa) aren’t far behind. Mike falls off the board, which frees up Skip to skip right past them, aided by the motivational powers of Theresa’s ass in his face. They get extra points for both ingenuity and honesty:

Coin Junk < Coin Boobs

Miles and Heather are in 3rd place, but quickly catching up with Sam and Mike. But it’s not Sam’s FAULT that her limbs are like telephone poles and it takes her three times as long to rotate them when she swims!!! Skip and Theresa are just so happy to be in the lead and to be with each other that it’s actually adorable. Skip even takes time to flirt with his partner when they’re under adventure pressure — what a gem. Despite my every promise to myself regarding this show, I genuinely find myself rooting for them. But then — OH NO! Disastupidity strikes! Theresa loses one of their bags of coins.

Instead of circling back and stealing a bag from Mike and Sam (that would be my plan), they retrace their path to find the bag, and lose their crucial lead. Meanwhile, Miles tries to reclaim his access to Heather’s bags by taking one for the team and diving deep down into the water and untying one of their money bags. Mike and Sam take over the lead. They’re perfectly nice (and bland) but they’ve been the leaders this entire season — it’s just no fun when they win. Wait, what am I saying? I DON’T CARE! Sigh… yes, I kinda do. But it’s not my fault that Theresa started crying and kickstarted my heart!!!

To find the fifth and final bag (WOULDA BEEN BETTER IF THIS BAG HAD COCAINE IN IT AND THE REAL “CHALLENGE” WAS GETTING OUT OF A COSTA RICAN PRISON) they have to paddle out into a “creepy” lagoon. It’s creepy because there are lizards, in the trees, far away from the water. “Wild”!

Skip and Theresa have officially given up. “We’re defeated,” says Theresa. That makes it official. Meanwhile, Sam and Mike are still ahead, but not by much. Miles: “We’re makin’ pretty good time here, ya know? We’re doin’ pretty well, you betcha, sure there!”

Sam and Mike find Coco’s, but they can’t find “Mambo.” The bar is full of patrons, but ain’t nobody talkin’. “Are you Mambo?” Mike asks. “Mambo, I got your money! Mambo? Mambo! Mambooooo!”

Finally, an “old, crusty guy” (Mike’s not-at-all racist assessment) says quietly (comma, crustily) “I’m Mambo.” They clearly paid him off with a small bar tab to participate in this nonsense, and he is Over It. Sam and Mike give Mambo the (fake) money, and he gives them the password, which is “amor salvaje,” which is Spanish for “wild love.” (WOULDA BEEN BETTER IF IT WERE LITERALLY ANYTHING ELSE BECAUSE ANYTHING ELSE WOULD BE MORE CREATIVE.)

The Winners: Mike and Sam. In Heather’s words, “Blahbedy blah.” Heather is super pissed that she’s been saving her gold sequin bikini for the Oasis but has never gotten to use it. Seriously, that’s what she said. Skip and Theresa aren’t automatically eliminated for losing their coins and giving up, but things don’t look good for them.

At the Oooooasis: Sam and Mike are really laying it on thick, and meaning it. She wants him to meet her parents. When he closes his eyes and pictures his bride-to-be (wait, guys actually do that?) he sees Sam. Then they go sailing. It’s LOVE in the wil–fancy high-end sailboat!

Amor Aburrido

The CCC: Newlywed Game Edition

Each of the couples goes in to tonight’s mysterious CCC as a solid, self-entitled unit. “We deserve to be here!” each girl proclaims as she carefully curls every hair on her head. Only perfected coifed hair can save you at the CCC! “We’re the beeeeest couple,” they whisper into their curling irons.

The host explains tonight’s unique circumstances: That old “Stay or Swap” dance is played out. Tonight, the two couples who “know each other the best” will move forward. As with all solid romantic relationships, this will be determined by a short and superficial “Newlywed Game” style quiz game.

But the challenge doesn’t quite mean squat: For winning, Mike and Sam get 2 bonus points, and Miles and Heather get one. Skip and Theresa get dick, but they have spent SO much time in their hammock of solitude together that I feel confidence in them. Let the game begin!

Question 1: Where was your first kiss? (Ideal answer: “THE FIRST NIGHT, WHILE SHE SLEPT.”)
Mike answers, “At the Oasis,” which Sam also answers, so they have 3 points. Miles says “2nd night in bed at the cabin,” and Heather agrees. Skip and Theresa get their “cabin bed” answers to match as well.  It’s a 3-2-1 game.

Question 2: Who’s more adventurous? (Ideal answer: “BOTH.”)
Mike and Sam say each other and get no points. I bet they’re a “No, YOU hang up!” kind of couple. Miles and Heather both say Miles and get a point. That makes sense — Heather seems tense. Skip says himself. And says it in the funniest way possible:

Me Skip!! Me Want Trip Around World with She-Skip!!

But Theresa throws a CURVEBALL (off the field, over the fence, into the ocean next to their bag of coins) and says “BOTH.” Oh good grief, Theresa. By “ideal,” I meant “ideally idiotic.” Skip, like a real caveman, proclaims his frustration on the closest object to him:

Me Skip!! Me Want to Smash Skull on Unnecessary Candle Decoration!!

Question 3: What is the nicest thing he’s done for you? (Ideal answer: “Agreed to tell people that we met on eHarmony.”)
Mike and Sam agree that Mike’s lunch date was top-notch. Snoresville, Population: These Two. Heather thinks Miles’ surprise picnic was nicest, but Miles forgot about that and said something else that wasn’t even that nice, whomp whomp. Theresa says that Skip “hung out with me while I was changing,” which OF COURSE Skip didn’t think was the nicest thing. “I watched her change?” he says with a defeated shrug. He wrote down that time that he let Sam and Ben go ahead of him to the Oasis. Theresa is the absolute worst at reading Skip’s mind. Though, to be fair, Skip can barely read it, either.

Question 4: How many children does your partner want to have? (Ideal answer: “A million? No, wait. A BILLION?”)
I guess they have to agree on this huge, hypothetical, way-down-the-road answer after 5 weeks of kind-of-dating to get this point. Mike says it’s “come up” between them (STOP BRAGGING, GOD!) and he wants 2. Sam remembered and wrote 2, which means they have 5 points and are moving on to the finals. “WELL GOOOD FER YOOOOU,” all the Christian Bales out there yell with me. (I don’t hate their happiness, I just hate how their happiness has never been tested.) Miles guesses 3, but Heather puts “the generic 2,” so they’re stuck at 3 points. Skip puts 3, but Theresa put 2, so they still have 1 point. This game is getting boring. Bring on the sex questions!

Question 5: “Who typically makes the first move when it comes to intimacy?” the Australian host asks with a giggle. (Ideal answer: “Neither. We’re waiting for marriage.”)
What a roundabout way to ask, “Who’s hornier?” But have these people even HAD sex? No, don’t answer. I don’t want to know. Heather says Miles, and Miles says Heather. They don’t know each other at ALL! Theresa puts Skip, and Skip puts… SKIP. They have finally racked up two whole points, thanks to Skip’s unquestionable horndoggedness.

Question 6: What is your partner’s middle name? (Ideal answer: “DANGER.”)
Miles gets Heather’s Japanese middle name right, “Hideku,” which is impressive. But the real game-changer is that Theresa’s middle name is VELMA, and that Skip KNEW that! Really? “Velma!” I take it back: Velma is the ideal answer.

Question 7: Which part of her body do you like the most, fellas? (Ideal answer: “Her personality.”)
Theresa says her butt, and so does Skip. They’re tied up, thanks to her butt! It’s all down to which part of Heather’s meat that Miles likes most. Heather thinks Miles covets her butt the best, and… she’s right! They get 5 points and that means they’re moving on. Sorry, Skip and Theresa. I guess that’s what I get for believing in you.

The host does a mini exit interview with Skip and Theresa. Skip is still pissed that Theresa put “both” on that question, but they are proud to say that they DID find love in the wild. Unfortunately, they still have to remove their jungle dating bracelets and get the hell out of there. As they leave hand in hand, Skip doesn’t see what would ever hold them back from continuing their relationship forever. (Skip’s pretty slow, but luckily, Theresa loves that about him.) These two crazy kids might just make it work! (…we tell ourselves as a group and then never bother checking up on ever again, thus making it true in our heads forever.)

Next Week: It’s the FINALE! Top Dogs versus the Underdogs. Mike and Sam duke it out against Miles and Heather in a challenge that will definitely involve rowboats and crying. Everything else is left shrouded in mystery. Try not to bite off all your nails and rub off the edges of all your seats in anticipation!

(Images courtesy of NBC)

Meghan Carlson

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Meghan hails from Walla Walla, WA, the proud home of the world’s best sweet onions and Adam West, the original Batman. An avid grammarian and over-analyzer, you can usually find her thinking too hard about plot devices in favorites like The OfficeIt’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and How I Met Your Mother. In her spare time, Meghan enjoys drawing, shopping, trying to be funny (and often failing), and not understanding the whole Twilight thing. She’s got a BA in English and Studio Art from Whitman College, which makes her a professional arguer, daydreamer, and doodler.