HBO Max’s ‘FBoy Island’ is a golden ticket to guilty pleasures
Even the most casual reality dating show viewer knows the unspoken rules. No one should ever, under any circumstances, have a love interest back home. Everyone must participate for The Right Reason — to find the deepest true love with their forever person. Though these tenets seem tried and true, HBO Max’s FBoy Island revels in throwing them right out the window, and the result is more stupidly delightful than any show of this nature has the right to be.
On FBoy Island, three outrageously beautiful single women seek true love amidst 26 male contestants. While all are suitably reality-TV hot, some guys are there for The Right Reasons, and some are there for other reasons, namely, to win money.
After all, what’s the point of a dating show if it doesn’t end with a cash prize? In the finale, any of the women who ends up with a nice guy gets to split $100,000 with him and skip off into the sunset holding hands. However, if anyone selects an FBoy, he can keep the jackpot for himself or share as he sees fit.
Host Nikki Glaser fully appreciates the absurdity and definitely knows she’s the smartest person on the island, which makes her an excellent proxy for viewers. Her knowing wit and obvious amusement balance everything out in exactly the right way. While she cheers the ladies on and encourages them to follow their hearts, she also understands their need to follow another body part. But, maybe, they’re following both?
One of the most fun elements of FBoy Island is the secret identity factor. Whether a guy is one of the nice guys or one of the FBoys remains largely unknown to the competitors and audience throughout a good portion of the game. This gimmick works because of the on-point editing, which elicits the “No way!” and “What! How?” moments that make junk food viewing like this absolutely delicious.
At the end of each episode, the men selected for elimination plead their cases, and once given the boot, reveal their true identity to a flurry of shock and amazement. Glaser ironically intones the appropriate absurd dismissive catchphrase, which is either, “Nice guy, nice try,” or the ultra-ridiculous “FBoy, fbye.” What does that even mean, and why is this trash so fun it doesn’t matter?
Nice guys are whisked away via limo to bask in the spoils of the stately Nice Guy Grotto, while FBoys must travel to Limbro, an open-air gated purgatory replete with clay pillows, dirt floors, and wooden beds. It is here they must work to survive and think about what they’ve done, ostensibly becoming better men in the process.
As the series progresses and more information about each man comes to light, FBoy Island becomes a strange study in sociology. Even unequivocally knowing a man considers himself a player isn’t enough to keep the ladies from hoping he’s changed his entire way of being in the world to earn her love. This might be the most realness we’ve experienced from any of the dating shows.
Prior to the finale, Nikki releases all the men from their various holding zones for a mega Mansplaining session, a tongue-in-cheek take on The Bachelor’s popular tell-all episode. Experiences are rehashed, life lessons shared, and finally, the losing contestants are allowed to go home before the ladies make the most important decision of the last few weeks of their lives.
While FBoy Island’s first season allowed plenty of space for chaos to unfold, Season Two makes no bones about its desire for wanton bedlam. These hot dumbs in paradise making terrible decisions provide an excellent reason to stay inside and binge, especially since it’s not time for the new season of Bachelor in Paradise yet. The worst thing about this show is that there are only 10 episodes before we must say fbye until next time.