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Love In The Wild Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

This is an interview with host Jenny McCarthy on May 10, 2012 about the show Love In The Wild.

Jenny McCarthy

Question:
How long were you down there taping it and was your son able to be down there with you at the time and were you staying in some kind of a neat old hotel? And also during that time while you're watching all these other people have their romances, what were you doing for your love life?

Jenny McCarthy:
I did go down there for about four weeks. We shot pretty much every day we were there. I was staying in a place that was secure and nice because I had my son with me the entire time which I like to drag him everywhere I go, as a single mom I kind of need to. And it was one of the most kind of incredible experiences of both of our lives. Evan fell in love with the island, I fell in love with the culture and I had a ball while working with these little youngsters and was really happy at times I was me and they were them. I did not want to go through some of the things they were going through because we did put them through a lot not only with the adventures that were terrifying but also to go through the cat fights and to go through kind of being dumped. Who wants to go through that? So I found it entertaining but also educational. I learned a lot from watching them.

Question:
When you saw them occasionally really find romance were you able to find any romance to have a new love while you were there or did you have to just wait on that?

Jenny McCarthy:
By working every single day it's not like I can drag a teleprompter to the jungle. I had intricate dialog that were sometimes four full pages typed out about maps and where they need to lead to and what they need to do specifically and I couldn't mess up one word. So I was very, very busy memorizing four hours a night and then working sometimes 14-hour days so there really was not time for me to kind of check out the candy at the candy store, if you will. I really concentrated on making my part the best it could be.

Question:
As the host how much interaction did you actually have with the competitors?

Jenny McCarthy:
Anytime I was there I had interaction which was basically the kickoff of adventure time. So I would hang with them, explain the rules to them and then we'd kind of go through more game rules on the sideline and then I would be there at the finish line to check the items that they were told to bring back and deliver the bad news or good news in terms of where they're staying and make commendations if they did horrible, they were staying in a lean-to which was a nightmare.

And then I got to interact with them at the couple's choice ceremony which is kind of like the tribal council and that's where I kind of got to be the ringleader in trying to pull out information and motions of what's kind of been going on the falling in love scale. So I'm glad I wasn't with them on the adventures or inside their cabins. But from what I did, from the time I had with them I definitely feel like I got to know each one of them well and they would probably say the same.

Question:
After you started to get to know them did you get a sense of who was going to make it to the end?

Jenny McCarthy:
You know me and my sister, who was on the job with me, we put bets like Vegas who we thought was going to make it till the end and we both lost by the way, Some of the ones that started off like really sweet turned out to be the biggest brats and the ones that started off like brats turned out to be the greatest people. They were just being kind of their offensive selves in the beginning. So you got to see it all. And I couldn't be happier with the outcome. On a producing level I was literally saying prayers for no rain and for certain couples to really fall in love and it worked and it happened and I can't wait for everyone to find out who it is.

Question:
As a host what did you want to bring to the show that maybe wasn't there last season?

Jenny McCarthy:
When they first asked me to do the show I thought to myself to go on a show on the second season I needed to know that the format worked. If the format didn't work, no amount of bleach or pushup bras going to help the show. So I sat down and I watched every episode back to back and I saw that the format indeed did work.

What was missing was more of a romantic location and a little bit more pizzazz from a host, someone who can like call them on their stuff and have fun with them, make fun of the guys a little bit, cheer on the girls and you know be a girl. We know how to gossip a little bit more and get somebody to admit something a little bit more than a guy can, it's true we're better gossips and I think it did play off like I was able to kind of chum it up with girls and do the job that I wanted to do which was just have a little bit more fun with it and not take it so seriously.

Question:
What was the most shocking thing that happened during the shoot that you weren't expecting?

Jenny McCarthy:
There were a few. One of them is these kids were doing such dangerous adventures like I couldn't believe what we were asking them to do. I mean huge athletes couldn't have done half of the stuff we made these kids do and I was the one that wound up on crutches. I pulled my hamstring so for like two episodes I had to be like carried around on crutches and I pulled my hamstring while I was sleeping so I felt like a real wuss. But that was the biggest surprise for me of the whole trip that I was the injured one while these poor kids diving off cliffs managed to make it.

Question:
Could you specifically go over the changes from season one to season two?

Jenny McCarthy:
The difference between the first season and this one is that I think the last one was shot in Costa Rica and they realized that that kind of jungle was a little bit too extreme where they couldn't get the couples to get as romantic maybe as they wanted to because of the amount of bugs, heat and chose the Dominican Republic which is still known for its jungles but the beaches there are just breathtaking, some of the most beautiful in the world. So this way it had a better combination of giving them the adventures but at least being able to have that beautiful sunset to get romantic with later on. So that was key. And it does show. It's just such a visual difference from last year from this year.

Then me of course as the host is different. Instead of just being a deliverer of rules I wanted to add a little bit more of what I did on Singled Out to the tables. So looking at the show I knew that I could cheer on the girls, I could kind of make fun of some of the guys, I can have fun with them, I can give them wrong direction and then tell them I'm kidding. So I kind of messed with them like a big sister would and it just added a little bit more flavor to the series I believe. We'll have to see.

But then the last change was the accommodations. This year they added a lean-to which is basically I don't know how to describe it. It's a wood-plank floor with a leaf over their heads and no walls and we had so many mosquitos and usually everyone woke up and had at least 50 mosquito bites just on their face. So we decided to do that this year to make the couples really try hard in the adventure so they wouldn't want to come in last place for that reason.

Question:
How were you approached to do the show?

Jenny McCarthy:
I was approached through one of the execs at NBC had dinner with me and just said listen there's no question in our mind we want you to consider doing this show and again as I said previously that I wasn't sure because it was a second season show, I just wanted to make sure that what I could do would help it but I can't help something that's already like really broken.

So I watched all the episodes and I saw that the format of how the game plays not only was clever and interesting but also I thought poignant because being in the dating world myself I find that it takes a long time to kind of break that fake self. You know I say you send out your representatives when you first start dating and that representative is selling you.

In the show, and this is the reason why I said yes to it, is that by forcing these kids to get into the adventures so quickly within the first hour of meeting them they drop their representative. Their representative can't survive what we're making them do and their true colors come out. So you can really see who that person is rather quickly which is why throughout the course of the series you see people staying with their partner or switching because they saw things immediately like red flags they didn't like. And I think in the real world it might have taken them six months to see that red flag whereas they see it by day two because of the show. So that was another reason that I said yes to the show.

Question:
Why do you think danger and adventure are so arousing for many people and are you one of them?

Jenny McCarthy:
Danger and drama is arousing. It's the same reason why probably we like to ride rollercoasters, you get a little bit of an adrenaline high from it and it takes care of the appetite of gossip and soap operas for women. That's one of the reasons why I did like this show too because you really have both elements of the show being incredibly dangerous for these contestants and you're scared for them but then it also fulfills that kind of soap opera falling in love, Harlequin novel, if you will. By having those both I think it satisfies both those case, danger and drama.

Question:
What's the wildest place you ever made whoopee or are gone to on a date?

Jenny McCarthy:
I've been asked that question and it's really hard for me to even come up with something. I'm a traditional girl. If there's not a bed there you're probably not going to get it.

Question:
Did you have any initial reservations about it?

Jenny McCarthy:
I had an initial reservations about the fact that it was a second season. I wanted to figure out what was the reason that they wanted that switch up and if I could do something with it. I know that I could add some flavor and add some jokes and some fun but if the format of the show doesn't work I can't do anything about it.

So I watched the show, I watched the whole season back to back to back in my living room when they asked me to do the show and I saw that it did work. The format I fell in love. I thought it really brought out people's authentic selves quickly, it had adventure, it had drama. So I decided to say yes because I could clearly see that I would be able to add something to it.

Question:
How do you think that you would have done as a contestant on this show? I mean are you competitive at all when it comes to love and the dating game?

Jenny McCarthy:
I am an incredibly competitive athlete. Me and my sisters all had scholarships to college. Unfortunately I took cheerleading, there wasn't many scholarships for cheerleading but I was still really athletic. And watching the contestants do their adventures I think I would have done great on the adventures but it would have cost me finding me a guy because I probably would have punched him in the face for doing some wrong on the adventure because I would have wanted to win. I would have gotten sidetracked and went, "Oh no wait I'm here to fall in love." So that athletic girl probably would have ruined my chances so I probably wouldn't have done well.

But I did fall in love because they had those adventures on the show I respected the format because it really brought out who people really are in those adventures and usually I found in dating it takes me six months maybe longer to see kind of who the real person is because we're sending out our representatives and in this format really people got to see their true colors quickly and make decisions off of that.

Question:
Seeing as this is a dating show, can you share any past dating tips or words of wisdom for our readers?

Jenny McCarthy:
While on this wonderful journey of dating hell I've been on I would say I tell my girlfriends I've realized on your first date, your first few dates keep an eye on how your man treats the service industry, your waitress, your waiter, the valet person. You can kind of see someone bleed through, if you know what I mean, if they're snappy or rude or not respectful to people that are trying to help you out, I take that as a big red flag and that person doesn't usually get a second date. That's a quick tip.

And then if you kind of make it to that two weeks or a month when you're dating then the next litmus test is to go on a weekend trip away somewhere. Spending at least three days somewhere you can again see true self even if it comes out for five minutes somewhere in those three days. So that's usually how I keep going or end it immediately and it seems to have done me well like I'm getting rid of the bad guys quick that way.

Question:
What do you prefer - acting, hosting, writing, is there one medium that you prefer and why?

Jenny McCarthy:
I kind of rotate. Like sometimes I like going on the treadmill, sometimes I like going to Boot Camp, sometimes I like going to Yoga but if I do too much of one I get bored so I feel like blessed and I kind of go with whatever I'm feeling at the time. All of a sudden I go I'm ready to write another book, I'm so feeling writing a book and then there are other times I'm like I'd rather like get a root canal than write right now and then sometimes I'm like I can't wait to get lost in this role, acting in it and then sometimes I'm like acting's so fake and then I'm like I miss hosting, I miss like being a ringleader and like guiding people through it. So I keep this weird rotation and it's been so helpful for me because I don't get so bored out here being able to do different stuff.

Question:
I understand in addition to hosting you have another book coming out. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Jenny McCarthy:
That one's called Bad Habits: Confessions of a Recovering Catholic and it's basically my coming-of-age story from the time I was six until now and all about the hilarious and sometimes horrific stories and being raised by nuns and sins that have gone on along the way and questioning the rules and it's really insightful. I hate when people say this is my best one yet but as a writer you do get better, you do get better at expressing yourself and becoming more vulnerable and raw. So this one is my little baby because it's coming of age, where is the alignment now and all that is about.

Question:
Would you give a little preview of what some of the adventures are that the kids are going to go on?

Jenny McCarthy:
I've had 17 pages of dialog that I had to memorize for these adventures and they all start to run together. Basically it usually starts with a map and sometimes I say the map is in like 15 pieces and they're buried in this field so then they have to go and figure out where these pieces are and then they have to tape it back together which causes much stress as you can imagine for the guy and a girl.

Then they have to locate pieces on the map. For instance like one of them I said there was like this really old farmer that's going to be on this journey and he's going to have information for you but in order to get the information you have to catch a guinea fowl for him and give it to him and in order to do so you have to build this net. And I give them all the pieces that they have to build to create this net and then you see this couple like running around the chicken farm trying to chase these guinea fowls and deliver them to this farmer to get the information and get to the next spot.

We always shackle them together along and it's really hard. I mean I would have probably cried and quit by the second adventure but they really did find a good group of kids that wanted to do a good job. But cliff diving, the jumping ropes with snakes, having to carry tarantulas over, I mean all that stuff it's like Fear Factor and Survivor all combined in the same soup.

Question:
How did the addition the extra single men impact the group?

Jenny McCarthy:
Ooh that was fun. I like twists. It did impact them. The girls looked of course so giddy with excitement and the guys it was fun to see puff up their feathers, you know? I saw their kind of chest get more broad trying to over charm the ladies so it was really fun to watch guys really kind of fight and woo over the girl the just met.

Question:
As someone who's done so much television I want to know, in your free time what do you like to watch on TV?

Jenny McCarthy:
I love watching like Whale Wars, and what's that other show, I like a lot of the National Geographic stuff, I like the History Channel. I'm getting old as I'm hearing myself talk like this. I also like, I'm going through my channel list right now, I am a Jersey Shore watcher, I'm sorry, I just get a kick out of them.

Oh I also like shows like the makeover ones, not the like flip it shows but there's some blonde-hair lady that goes into businesses and she tells them what's wrong with the business and she fixes it into this great business. I don't know if you guys know the name of that show but it's awesome. I'm a little bit more entrepreneurial in my head so I like to figure out how to fix things myself. So all these shows, I don't know what's wrong with me but that's what I like.

Question:
Anything interesting on your DVR right now?

Jenny McCarthy:
I've not even attempted to record on my DVR. I think I've got Saturday Night Live on there.

Question:
Love in the Wild has been compared to reality shows like The Bachelor and Survivor, if you had to choose which one would you be on?

Jenny McCarthy:
Without a doubt probably Survivor. I like way more of a challenge. I enjoy putting myself through hell for some reason. I think it's a test of your soul, of your strength so I would probably do that.

Question:
Last season all the couples fell for each other and were happy with who they were with right from the beginning and that was nice and all but there certainly wasn't a lot of drama and cattiness. Will we see anything different this season?

Jenny McCarthy:
I saw that same thing when I was watching the first season and I thought to myself uh-oh because even though you want people to fall in love you still want to see some drama, you know? And what the producers did this year was add in twists. They added enough twists in there that they changed things up and made people kind of forced to look at each other and mingle at the cabin, if you will. So without a doubt it was successful because I mean I think during the couple's choice ceremony you guys will see me say, "Oh my God, no way." And I'm without a doubt shocked at every couple's choice ceremony.

And everyone every time we did one I would say to myself, "Oh I'm so scared" because this was the best one. Next week's going to be horrible because how can we out do that? And then next week happened I went, "Oh my God, we did it." It was just so dramatic and then it just kept going. So without a doubt the drama gods were with us and so was Cupid because it did turn out to be love at the end.

Question:
We're going to see some more backstabbing and maybe some people being blindsided then?

Jenny McCarthy:
Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes.

Question:
Although people on the show are there looking for love it's also a competition with a really awesome prize at the end and I'm wondering do you think you need to be in love to win it? Do you think a good strategy is to keep winning it? How do you balance that?

Jenny McCarthy:
The thing I came to realize is I'm glad there's not like this cash prize because then I would kind of question who's really wanting to be with each other. It is a trip together around the world. You are not going to want to be with someone that you don't like because that would be, to me, a trip from hell. So I enjoyed the fact that the couples realized that and did talk about it a lot like if I'm going to go on a trip around the world I don't want to be with so and so and they would get rid of them. So to me it was the perfect prize for the show.

Question:
Do you have any idea what the success rate of the couple from last year, do you know if the winners Mike and Samantha are still together or do you know anything about any of the other couples?

Jenny McCarthy:
I sure do. The first and second place couples are still together. I was kind of bragging about with the show because people were asking me like well you guys have only been on one season and your success rate is amazing, why do you think that is? And I said it's because of that format that we have. I mean versus The Bachelor you still can't really see who the real person is yet because there's not something going on that's forcing them to drop their representative whereas we've got to see these adventures. And as any of us knows when we do something with our partner that's very difficult we get cranky, we get bossy, we get victimy so by forcing this upon these couples, you do get to see all the colors of the people. So that's why I think we will continue to see success rates and I know so even in this season.

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