Of Human Bondage
         By Maureen Dowd
 
          PASADENA, Calif.

          Besotted with reality dramas, looking for another monster hit like "Survivor," the
          networks are unveiling a slew of them at the press tour here. They are still importing
          European hits, including those bizarro formats from Holland. (What is it with that place?)

          Cheesy, mean-spirited voyeurism pitting people against each other? Or provocative, fun
          storytelling in exciting locales? You decide. Herewith a sampler of the new crop:

          "Temptation Island" on Fox. A "committed" couple goes to an island where their relationship
           is put to the ultimate test. The man who admits he has "stepped out" on his lady before
           is tempted by a bevy of scantily clad models and slinky career women desperate to find a man.
          Will Bill sell his soul on the temptation-filled isle of Manhattan? Will Hillary break down in tears
           and tell her guy he doesn't know how bad it hurts when he does these things?

          A couple on Temptation Island, the Fox press release promises, will get
          the opportunity to "find out if what they think they want is actually what they do want."

          "Chains of Love" on UPN. "From bondage to bonding, an
          ultra-interpersonal reality series," UPN calls this. A photogenic brunette
          has four illegal aliens chained to her, who must spend their days and
          nights laboring to please her. Their personal space is dictated by a
          10-foot chain with wrist and ankle cuffs, which the network says
          provides a lot of "funny physical comedy." Nobody moves, eats or sleeps
          without the permission of "The Link," as the woman at the center of the
          Chain Gang is known. She might give her immigrant captives their
          freedom, or she might not. Meanwhile, they must try to win her affection
          and get her help securing green cards by cheerfully doing her bidding
          vacuuming, picking up after her teenage sons, washing clothes and
          dishes, fetching dry cleaning, helping the caterers, following her dog with
          a pooper scooper and cleaning the neighbor's house for peanuts. At the
          end of each episode, Miss Linda (as in "Miss Linda, should I scrub the
          bathroom now?") will unlock the shackles of one slave, who will then run
          away as fast as possible.

          "Manhunt" on UPN. UPN says this midseason offering, modeled on the
          W.W.F., "catches the fast-paced excitement and ominous drama of
          human `hunters' pursuing human `prey' in a jungle-like setting." The
          wicked, menacing and competitive "warriors," armed with laser rifles
          firing paintballs, snares and booby traps, will be a quartet of familiar
          faces: George W.W.F. Bush, Stone Cold Dick Cheney, Donald "That's
          Right About Those Negroes, Mr. Nixon" Rumsfeld and Colin "Charge
          $200,000 a Speech if the Lebanese Are Paying" Powell. The action will
          take place on the grounds of the White House, in the rugged terrain of
          the Rose Garden. The fleeing "prey" will be lesser cabinet members and
          under secretaries, dressed up as annoying hippies from the 60's.

          The big-time, big-game hunt is designed to appeal to coveted young male
          viewers and to occupy the young male president, who gets cranky if he is
          not allowed long diversions outdoors after brief policy sessions indoors.
          The last hippie to elude the disciplinary forces is rewarded with a jackpot:
          a Brooks Brothers suit, a rep tie and the ambassadorship to the Court of St. James.

          "Destination Mir" on NBC. The network is buying a Soyuz rocket to
          launch the winner of a cosmonaut training contest into space to link up
          with the Mir space station. The first winner is Al Gore, who, as it turned
          out, was eager to leave Earth in the Balance and be shot off the planet.

          "The Mole" on ABC. ABC calls this a "gripping mystery adventure
          show" that follows 14 diverse members of the Bush cabinet as they try to
          figure out who among them is The Mole. The Mole is a secret agent of
          the Confederacy, trained in cultural espionage at Bob Jones University,
          whose goal is to foil the moderate efforts of the others. He will do his
          best to sabotage the compassion in the conservatism (in the conservatory
          with a lead pipe, a candlestick, a rope, a wrench or a revolver). The
          player who can ferret out The Mole before he dynamites rights for
          blacks, women and gays and makes the Supreme Court even more
          Neanderthal and partisan than it already is will take home up to $1 million
          and the thanks of a grateful nation.

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