There’s a new reality TV dating show where singles are not allowed to speak and are encouraged to act like animals.
“Love in the Jungle” is a seven-part social experiment premiering on Discovery+ that’s been described as a “blend of natural history meets reality TV.” The dating show follows the same premise as most others, inviting a mix of attractive men and women to meet and try to attract each other, plus compete amongst themselves, all without using language.
“It was very difficult without words, but you can give them a little nudge on the shoulder to show that you’re interested. It almost comes from a place of being playful, so that was cool,” show participant Stephan Davis, 31, told the publication.
According to The New York Post, contestants meet in a private eco-reserve in Colombia, where they “flirt and participate in mating rituals pulled straight out of the animal kingdom.
“For me, it was definitely in the eye contact,” said Davis. “Funny enough, you do get a little bit used to it and make connections with people that you never talk to. It was the strangest experience. The hugging and the kissing were almost amplified, to show affection when we didn’t have the ability to talk.”
Singles are assigned different animals that they’re supposed to emulate. These range from the typical to the bizarre, with some contestants acting like tigers and some tasked with mating like sea creatures.
Paige Dacanay told The Post that she was instructed to channel her “inner starfish.”
“Starfish have a ton of nerve endings. So, I was trying to tap into my emotional side and not hold back,” Dacanay explained, saying she relied a lot on eye contact.
“For me, personally, everything, in the beginning, was based off physical attraction. It made me realize, ‘I might be physically attracted to this person, but I haven’t had a conversion with anyone. I could be attracted to this other person’s mind,’” she continued.
“Love in the Jungle” features confessionals like so many other reality dating shows. If contestants win a challenge, they can go on private dates and would then be allowed to speak to other contestants.
There are also challenges inspired by real-life mating rituals in the wild. While acting like male frogs, the men apparently had to try to push each other off a small rock on the water as the women observed, The Post reported.
“The men would do manly challenges to attract the females, and we were doing things like dancing,” Dacanay explained. “It’s super fun and sexy and different. It would bring out different sides of them, and you’d be like, ‘Wait, was that cute, I think I liked that.’ So, it would make you look at the guys differently.”
“Love in the Jungle” premiered on Discovery+ May 8.