I’m just as surprised as you are. I’ve never really been a fan of reality dating shows, they almost always seem superficial and maniacally orchestrated for maximum drama. However, after seeing a preview of FBoy Island thanks to my handy HBO Max subscription (how about those Titans?!), I wanted to give it a shot. A trio of women on a tropical island trying to figure out if the men that they’re into are “nice guys” or “fuckboys”? That’s like everyday life for most of us. Except for the tropical island part.

While it sounds like an elementary concept, the FBoy Island is anything but basic. First off, the women of the show are remarkably likeable. Host Nikki Glaser has a wonderfully dry wit that can turn even the most cringe-worthy dialogue into a laugh track. The female “contestants”–CJ, Sarah, and Nakia– are all very attractive women (of course), but they are also smart, driven, and empathetic towards each other. They aren’t pitted against each other in the game, they actually use each other as sounding boards as they contemplate their next moves. They work together to help each other find love. And–because this eventually comes up–it is obvious that none of them are there for the wrong reasons. Anyone using the word “feminist” to describe this show would not be out of line.

The men on the other hand. Oh boy. They’re all visually appealing for sure, but for some that all changes once they open their mouths. The show starts off with 24 men, 12 self-proclaimed nice guys and 12 fuckboys, and it’s the job of the ladies to decipher who is who. Ring any bells? Yeah, it should. I will say that for anyone who has spent any amount of time on a dating app, most the men are clearly one or the other, with few surprises in the mix. Do the women sometimes get fooled by a pretty face and smooth swagger? Yep, but haven’t we all?

In classic Bachelor/Bachelorette fashion, each of the men vie for quality time with the women, eventually landing dates of various intensity and duration. The dates that they go on are very similar to things normal people going on a date would do. There’s cooking, there’s water sports, there’s picnics, and even boat rides. All the activities definitely have a bit of extra luster, but it’s all still relatively easy to relate to.

The inaugural season consists of just 10 episodes and they go by fast. There wasn’t one episode where I was like “This isn’t over yet?” From the conniving fuckboys to the nice guys calling them out, there was never a dull moment on this show. I won’t spoil the finale, but it’s one of the most unflinching and bold finales I’ve ever seen on any television show. Plus, once the men are eliminated, the nice guys get taken away in a limo, while the fuckboys have to walk to the local bus stop. How awesome is that?

The entire first season of FBoy Island is available to stream on HBO Max right now.

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