If you haven’t seen an episode or at least heard of the nation’s latest craze/current obsession that is Love Island, then what stone have you been hiding under? Even if you’re not inclined to watch beautiful yet unashamedly dim-witted people (except perhaps, for the likes of Dr ‘Do More’), swerve carbs and swan around in swimwear I am sure it will somehow, have seeped into your life a small ‘tit’ bit at a time. Whether that be your work colleagues incessantly chiming on about it or hearing reverberating anecdotes between programmes on ITV2.
Now, please do bear with me, there is a reason for entertaining this infuriating, occasionally stylish, frequently dumb show. Its sublime popularity is underpinned, in my opinion, by the following.
Firstly, it’s innocuously brilliant. The show inadvertently takes on many different guises from a documentary about gender and societal conventions to learning about human behaviours by imitating a highly charged, isolated, ramped up version of our own love lives. As a result, it panders to all kinds of people, even if you thought you were too clever for it. Some of us have decided that bemoaning about its lack of body diversity, recording podcasts of feminist undertones, grilling accusations of sexism, masochism, narcissism and any other ‘ism’ and pearl clutching over appetite suppressants in the ad breaks, will intellectualise it and in turn make us feel adequate for watching such a programme. The midsummer madness has even been compared to the great English playwright Shakespeare. This is attributed to the fact that Shakespeare, like ITV2, sought to entertain the masses, not the highbrow, pompous types. Either way, I’m not going to quibble over which long-dead literary giant underpins trash telly, I just think we like to discuss (judge) the star-crossed lovers in all their debauched glory. Unrequited love, unceremonious dumpings, and cringe worthy mating rituals are all brilliant to watch but awfully familiar. We see our own trepidation’s in this group of polished, poised mannequins and that is why we watch and whinge. It has become my sweet escape for when everything else has gone to pot, and it’s ok if it’s yours too, even if you do have a Masters from Oxford.
Secondly, it’s brilliance. There’s lots of fake tan and white teeth and preposterous, silicone-enhanced body types, and the sporadic night-time scuffle between the sheets. This titillating lust fest has turned us into a nation of mesmerised peeping toms. It comes complete with eye-popping abs competing in a daily snogathon. Once you’ve got over the initial body envy, realised you are beautiful as you are and don’t need a surf board belly you can really enjoy the abdominal muscles and trials of tribulations of their ‘relationships’.
Thirdly, it is an anthropological experiment: it reflects how isolated communities swiftly evolve unique forms of behaviour, from the brutality of ‘jumping ship’ to the linguistic inventiveness amidst all their canoodling – muggy, sack off, melt, pied and so on. Love Islanders are a young, daft bunch, and thus prone to doing and saying young, daft things. They are compellingly funny-silly and the dumb comedy factor along with the brutality is anthropologically fascinating.
Other than the seriously irritating voice over, I’m just enjoying watching hunks in trunks ‘woo’ babes in teeny weeny bikini’s and revelling in the laughs, loves and tears with the rest of the nation. You could probably make an argument that it’s all about gender and society, but personally I think 3.4 million of us like it because it’s trash TV and they’re sexy.
Which might just be the real secret to its success.
Check out some more picks from the official sponsor and real winner of Love Island, Missguided below, all as worn by the Islanders: