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Temptation Island

TV review by
Jenny Nixon, Common Sense Media
Temptation Island TV Poster Image
Reality reboot showcases iffy gender stereotypes.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Many questionable messages about gender roles, trust, and self-esteem.

Positive Role Models & Representations

While the cast is more racially diverse than the 2001 version, but there is a generically slim and attractive look they all seem to adhere to -- and all seem to be young people under the age of 35. Men are portrayed as horndogs, women as cunning and scheming or deeply insecure.

Violence

One of the contestants is fixated on her partner not being "manly" enough for her, they are shown skeet-shooting with guns. One of the other contestants talks about his father being murdered by the woman he was having an affair with, which has led the contestant to feel very hesitant about getting married himself.

Sex

Some very revealing outfits and bathing suits, tons of frank sex talk and innuendo. Close-ups of heated kissing and scenes of couples canoodling under the covers. There's a lot of alpha male-type commentary, guys grabbing women's body parts and saying things like "that ass is mine" -- men fist-bumping one another when they see a sexy woman.

Language

"Bitch" is used frequently, as are "pissed", "damn", and "hell". Stronger expletives are bleeped. There's a lot of aggressive verbal taunting among cast members.

Consumerism

Zoomed-in shots of champagne bottle labels and the like, an overall air of luxury-obsessed consumerism.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Champagne, cocktails, and wine are frequently consumed by guests.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Temptation Island is a reboot of the 2001 Fox series of the same name. The show features four couples in crisis who travel to a private resort in Hawaii, where they're pursued by aggressive young singles hoping to lure them away from their partners. There's nonstop arguing, backstabbing, and sleazy innuendo. Couples bicker and treat each other disrespectfully, insults are traded frequently. Lots of revealing outfits and bathing suits, people drink to excess. There's frank sex talk, as well as some swearing ("bitch" is thrown around a lot, stronger expletives are censored).

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What's the story?

TEMPTATION ISLAND reboots the 2001 Fox series of the same name, wherein four troubled couples are whisked away to a luxurious island resort where they'll be separated from one another for several weeks and given a free pass to explore relationships with other partners. Bikini-clad beachcombing and champagne-soaked hangouts are par for the course as contestants test the waters with new love interests, hoping to come to some sort of conclusion about whether or not to stay with their original partners.

Is it any good?

Why anyone truly invested in their relationship would go on a show specifically designed to make them break up is a puzzler for the ages -- but as problematic guilty pleasure viewing, it kinda works. It's easy enough to get caught up in the tawdry, sun-soaked glitz of Temptation Island, but after a while, the retrograde gender representations and constant bickering become tiresome and depressing to watch. Sticking around until the end to see which of these obviously unhappy couples break up and which couples stay together has more to do with schadenfreude than actual entertainment value, but reality show junkies may not be able to resist.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what would inspire someone to appear on a show like Temptation Island. Can a relationship really grow stronger by purposefully straying outside of it? Does participating in an experiment like this seem like a constructive way to address one's doubts and fears about a partnership, or does it seem like it would hurt more than help?

  • Talk about the messages Temptation Island sends about gender roles. One of the contestants questions how "masculine" her partner is, due to the fact that he doesn't pursue stereotypically male activities like hunting and fishing. The single women engage in catty smack talk when introducing themselves to the couples, which is returned in kind by the female contestants, as both sides claim to not be intimidated by one another. Does this seem like genuine behavior, or like something that is being played up for the cameras?

  • Why are dating and marriage-related reality shows so popular? Why do viewers enjoy watching singles find potential matches? What about this concept is appealing or interesting to viewers? Would it be as interesting if the contestants were unattractive?

TV details

  • Premiere date: January 15, 2019
  • Network: USA
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-14
  • Available on: Streaming

For kids who love competitions

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