Television

Help! Love Island has taken over my life

“Did you see what happened with Amber and Kem last night?”

“Who?”

“From Love Island…”

“Oh- I thought you were talking about people you actually knew.”

This has been a situation I’ve had to deal with a few too many times over the past few weeks, and I feel like it’s time to accept my fate. My name is Maria Loizou and I’m a Love Island addict. It’s been just under 3 weeks since the 6 episode a week series has started this year, and I’m ashamed (or maybe a little proud) to say that I’ve not yet missed an episode. That’s 17 whole hours I’ve spent watching people I don’t know engage in inauthentic relationships, and I say I never have any spare time?

It doesn’t seem to be just me either, if I was to check into Love Island rehab I could bring at least 10 people with me, in fact we could even book out a wing. There’s clearly something about the show that’s engaging people – but what actually is it? I’m definitely not saying it works on everyone either, in fact it seems to be one or the other- love  or hate, the marmite effect strikes again. Except I actually despise marmite, so why am I so invested in Love Island? I’ve thought of a couple of reasons why…

  1. It’s escapism. Although technically it is a reality show, it’s not like we all sit in bikinis by a pool, discussing what our type would be ‘on paper’ (what does that even mean?) In a frankly shit world right now, the chance to take an hour out of your evening and watch people who’s biggest issue is which (unnaturally attractive) person they can date is a refreshing break from all the horrible tragic news that’s going on in the world right now.
  2. It’s a social experiment. Like all shows of the type (and there are so many right now) I find it fascinating to put a group of people together and see what actually happens between them. What’s even more interesting about Love Island is that, whether they like it or not- they’re pretty much all THE SAME PERSON. So why do some get on and some clash? And how can one person coming in change dynamics so much? We all know that people are interested in people, and although it’s not exactly David Attenborough stuff, we’re still watching (technically) a species interact with other species here. Hey, I didn’t say my reasons were scientific…
  3. We love a show. No, I’m not being as literal as this may perhaps seem, but remember every Christmas as a kid? What would you most likely go and do? You’d see a pantomime. In the end, that’s what programmes like Love Island, Ex on the Beach and Big Brother are like, they’re pantomimes. We don’t switch the TV hoping that everyone will be sat around a table drinking a cup of tea, we want action, we want drama, frankly, we want to see someone ripping someone else’s hair out. There’s a reason why Come Dine With Me is so popular, not because of the meals people make, but because we love an argument. There’s no denying it. The proof is even in Love Island itself, when it came to a public vote of who should stay and who should go, the most harmonious couple was voted into the bottom- and they got split up. The next day it was all over the tabloids that one of the couple had gone straight out of the Love Island villa and slept with a fellow evictee- who was not her boyfriend. Did we feel sorry for either of them? No- we soaked it in, because we LOVE it.

Now I know that there is much better TV out there, much MUCH better. But I don’t see half as many people tweeting about what’s just happened in more high-brow shows such as Poldark, and that doesn’t mean that they aren’t good… they just don’t strike up that sense of ‘OH MY GOD’ that trash TV often does. Perhaps I’m wrong, I’m not sure my social media bubble is the most accurate way to poll, but I think I’m onto something. Now I’m off to do a quiz on which islander I’m most like… I hope it’s Montana.

I told you- I’m hooked.

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