Reality dating television has been riding an all-time high as of late, and for good reason. The alluring genre makes for low-stakes, dramatic, and perfectly addictive TV that will hold your attention for an unhealthy amount of time. Some of Netflix’s best shows have stemmed from a foray into reality TV, from high-concept offerings like Love Is Blind to The Ultimatum and Too Hot to Handle. Meanwhile, The Bachelor franchise has been going strong for 20 years; Love Island continues to dominate conversations every summer; and USA revived Temptation Island in 2019 after being off air for 16 years. Many of these shows happen to be set on tropical islands, and in a sea of countless reality series, one that is totally worth the watch is HBO Max’s FBoy Island, which is currently in its second season.
The premise is simple: three beautiful women date their way through 26 hot men in search of love. The kicker is that half are self-proclaimed “FBoys” hoping to make it to the end and win the $100,000 cash prize, while the other 13 are self-described “Nice Guys” looking for something meaningful who would split the prize with their new partner. The girls must try to figure out what each guy identifies as (which is hard, since they’re nearly all walking red flags) and whether their intentions will ruin any desire to go further. The FBoys who don’t make the cut get exiled to Limbro—a secluded compound lacking mattresses in which they take time to heal through activities like “bro-ga” and a consent lesson guided by a “Consent Coyote” puppet.
The ultimate key to FBoy Island’s success is comedian Nikki Glaser, who makes for a genuinely funny host and always looks like she’s having the time of her life. Presiding over the women’s chaotic journey, Glaser is the show’s comedic heart and soul who never holds anything back, especially if it’s disdain for the men’s behavior. One minute, she’s having girl talk with the season leads in the living room—the next, she’s roasting the ridiculous contestants, who in turn eat it all up.
Created by former Bachelor producer Elan Gale, FBoy Island is aware it’s trashy TV—and completely embraces this classification. What makes the series work so well is that it leans into being a comedy that’s fully in on the joke, constantly poking fun at the women’s questionable taste in men and the many himbos from which they must choose. The women are clearly not on the island with marriage at the forefront of their minds, and the show never tries to convince us that they’re looking for a serious commitment, regardless of how many men mention settling down. What’s even more refreshing to see is the camaraderie between the women—they never fight over guys, always come to each other’s rescue during awkward situations, and are supportive of each other when faced with making tough decisions.
Unequipped with a well-defined set of rules, FBoy Island is a lawless show that places an emphasis on being entertaining as opposed to fueled by drama (don’t worry, it’s still packed with theatrical antics). Some rules and twists don’t kick in until the last minute, the elimination ceremonies grow increasingly unpredictable, dates are constantly being crashed by other jealous guys, and the masterful editing elevates its silliness (one date gets cut because, as the title card states, it was “incredibly boring” and instead we’re shown a montage of chiseled abs). In one of the first season’s most hilarious moments, one FBoy “breaks out” of Limbro and returns to the main house in an attempt to prove he’s a changed man—and to win a girl back. FBoy Island does manage to still bear the hallmarks of a typical reality romance, from pool parties to one-on-one dates to games like “Douche Tank,” but the show’s ability to revel in its inherent stupidity is what places it in another league.
While its title may be painfully cringey, FBoy Island makes up for it by being nothing short of a delightfully wild and thirsty show that, above all, never takes itself too seriously.