Love Island: the nation’s not-so-guilty pleasure

The ITV2 reality show has once again managed to steal the spotlight this summer, as its dedicated followers vary from pre-teens to MPs

Image: Love Island Youtube Channel

Love Island, the UK’s second most talked about subject this summer- alongside whether ‘It’s Coming Home’ and if waistcoats are a la mode for the mid-summer heatwave- where effortlessly primed and gym-honed people compete for £50,000 and their chance to find love in front of a nation of armchair commenters. But, I can bet that you already knew the premise of this ITV2 cultural phenomenon.

More than 2 million have been gripped by this reality tv show of greatness set in the sunny, calm and very Mediterranean surroundings in Majorca, where Brexit dumbfounded the contestants as it seems to do the politicians in Westminster. Although, Hayley was not completely and utterly clueless as she did conclude that Brexit will undoubtedly affect her holidays to those barmier climes.

One of this series’ most dramatic events to unfold was when the ever so loyal Georgia, our girl from Popworld in York, lost her Lothario LadBible presenter Josh to Kaz (or Kez or whatever her name is) in Casa Amor. Over the past 8 weeks, the audience came to, rather quickly, realise that Dr. Alex has the chat of someone doing French GCSE, but in English. Although Alex has been more than loveable, there are times when you question how on earth did he manage to get into the show, especially with the recent failure of his once promising relationship with Alexandra. Tonight, we will see one final dumping in the villa, sending another couple back on a late Ryanair flight (although this may not be as miserable as it sounds considering rapper Stormzy made an appearance at the arrivals lounge to greet most recent dumpees ‘new’ Jack and ‘new’ Laura).

But what exactly is the appeal of Love Island?

The producers are smart enough to realise the show needs characters’ in the form of good old Manichean proportions, worthy of Milton, Shakespeare and Pantomimes. We’ve even had the boys do their own Widow Twanky as a challenge. Jack, with his polar bear white teeth and the gift of the gab, and Dani, the adorable daughter of the gruff Danny Dyer, act as a pair of star-crossed lovers; our very own Romeo and Juliet just from Essex as opposed to Verona. Hopefully, like all those Shakespeare comedies, it will end a happy marriage or a quickie divorce for the tabloids at least with Danny Dyer plastered over OK magazine.

Then, there were those not star-crossed lovers; the disastrous pairing that was Hayley and Eyal, or the manipulative Adam, Iago-esque from Othello, constantly chopping and changing as if he is trying to replicate Henry VIII in the numbers of girls he gets through. Then, interspersed in the cast of characters is the cuckold, Dr Alex, never finding love and trying damn hard to, but falling at the final hurdle every single time with his received pronunciation and NHS job. The jesters could be found in contestants such as Georgia and West, with their constant pranking and jokes.

So, with this concoction of characters, constantly changing to add to more confusion, texts to move forward the plot like an engrossing Austen novel and challenges to win dates and parties, the producers and creators have created an engrossing reality dramedy. As a result, the nation has become gripped to see whether Laura will ever find a man who doesn’t dump her for another contestant, whether Ellie’s Geordie accent will be subdued after a few weeks on the outside world with Chelsea posho Charlie, and whether Megan and Wes truly are the real deal as they claim to be. We have been left in despair watching Sam and Georgia choose to split to stay in the villa (a decision which would then result in that controversial kiss), heartbroken for Samira when the boy she’d finally found a connection with was cruelly dumped, and left cringing at the many, many awkward attempts of certain contestants to flirt and make a move on their fellow Islanders.

Whilst the World Cup may not have come home, soon will the final batch of chirpy and sun-drenched bunch of Islanders who have served in cheering the nation up this summer, and giving us a hell of a lot to talk about with our friends, family, colleagues, and even strangers at the bus stop.