The nation's sweetheart of a show
Ok, let’s be honest, just one look at my Twitter and you’ll know that 9 pm every night, I’m sitting in my bed surrounded by an unhealthy amount of snacks, ITV2 streaming on my laptop and my phone in my hand, Twitter open, ready for my commentary and thoughts on the show the nation is unapologetically obsessed with. Each year that it has taken over our Summer television, Love Island has gained more and more considerable popularity and nearly all of us are finding ourselves gripped to the lives of the contestants and their love life.
And hey, I love it. It’s an easy watch, it (sometimes) is a barrel of laughs and
it is just so easy to become attached to the people on the show. I mean, I honestly think I might be Dani’s number one fan. But with anything as big as Love Island is, it comes with its issues. And with talk of lack of diversity, heightened and staged drama that didn’t need to happen and 200k surgeries, there is definitely enough to talk about. Here are my personal issues with the show the nation is obsessed with and why we all need to remember to be nice.
The Game Playing
I don’t know, maybe I like the idea of romance, ‘true love’ and all that fairytale type but the game playing in the show definitely frustrates me. I get it, you’re one of the most talked about people on telly and social media and you’ve got yourself a pretty big opportunity to really take advantage of that when your phone gets handed back to you outside of the villa. I don’t know what last year’s Amber and Olivia were doing before they stepped foot in sunny Spain, but whatever it was, they didn’t need to go back to it. Becoming celebrities in their own right, with their own TV shows, clothing collections, regular features on gameshow and talk show panels. They have, what I’d consider in reality TV talk, ‘made it’. Nail social media especially and you’ll never have to work a 9-5 again, it seems.
Which is why I get so wary of game playing on the show. This year's contestants know that by playing their cards right and simply just being on the show, they could probably have a whole new, exciting career before they even land back on UK soil.
I like the show because I love the idea of all these strangers (mostly) living in a villa together and genuinely wanting to find love. But, with talks of Jack using Dani (god forbid), Megan coupling up with everyone who walks in and people trying to couple up with new people just to stay safe and apparently, it’s all in the name of love... but is it?
I’m personally bored of the game playing and would much rather the people go in there completely genuinely to hopefully find love and hey if they get a career out of it, even better! The many, many joys of reality TV, I guess.
"This year's contestants know that by playing their cards right and simply just being on the show, they could probably have a whole new, exciting career before they even land back on UK soil."
I completely understand that you can fall in love incredibly and love at first sight and all that. You can’t put a time stamp on love at all and in the most, (at least what I think) genuine case of love in the villa, i.e the royalty that is Jack and Dani, I think they have truly fallen for each other and the main reason I believe that is because they show it as opposed to just saying it. They don't need to go around telling everyone and pushing it. We can just see it.
In this series alone we’ve had Adam jump ship twice whenever a new girl entered the villa, Megan do the same thing, initially saying she really likes someone then switching when someone new comes in. We’ve had Josh tell Georgia he really likes her then had his head turned and Wes telling Laura he can see a future with her, swiftly dumping her when Megan made her advances. Oh, and just a couple of nights ago, Megan told Wes she loved him, before kind of taking it back the next morning. Awks. Not to mention, G's loyalty (yet not really being loyal...?), and Alex dumping someone who actually really liked him, for someone who didn't.
The show itself can’t help this, it’s a fact of life, we meet people and then sometimes we meet new people who we feel have a greater connection with and whilst it isn’t always nice for everyone involved, it does happen. But on this show, is it just a case of ‘the grass looks so much greener on the other side?’ Is it just a case of being in the same place for eight weeks, having everything intensified with a dose of pressure that leads these people to perhaps thinking they are really falling hard when perhaps they’re not? Is it the case of simply being attracted to someone new and wanting to explore who they are? Or is it just the case of money signs flashing in their eyes?
I don’t know, but as someone who does consider themselves loyal (sorry G, you ain't got nothing on me girl) and honest, I struggle with the idea and watching people jump ship seemingly without much thought for their previous partner for someone else who is “like, really attractive.” It definitely makes me question their affections and genuinely.
The Morals (Or Lack Of...)
Of course, watching twelve or so people living in a contained space for over two months, you’re bound to expect some questionable behaviour but for me, it’s never nice watching it play out. Watching Adam smirk (though he says the producers didn’t show the full conversation… I guess we’ll never know) whilst an upset Rosie poured out her feelings angered me endlessly, watching Megan ask an (at the time) taken Wes to give her a kiss upset me. Wasn’t Laura supposed to be her friend? Do you go for a guy who’s seeing someone else just because you want them?
The show shows the ups and down and it is good and normal to see all angles but I definitely do struggle with some of the morals of the people in there. Nobody is perfect and I am certainly not saying I am but this is a definitely a case of becoming ‘attached’ to people and who you think they are and then having their actions and words mess up your view of them in your head.
At first I thought Megan was genuinely having a tough time picking between Eyal and Alex but then watching her now end it with Eyal only to ask Wes to kiss her, smirking when Wes dumped Laura and then showing that new relationship off in front of Laura to only then have her head turned by someone else to ONLY THEN kiss Wes on a date and say she was confused. Phew. I’m not saying I don’t like her as at the end of the day I truly don’t know her, but, of course, those actions are questionable to me. The same way Wes ended it with Laura within a few seconds, not even trying to give her the comfort she so deserved at that moment, the same way Josh didn’t hold back with Kaz (and Kaz either…) when he knew Georgia was gutted.
And then, (yep that’s not even it), you have Georgia so clearly kissing a guy who her mate was seeing and who told her she wasn’t happy with the situation to only come back and make it the biggest deal the villa has seen since Dom dumped Montana for Jess back last year. She lied and as of when I'm typing this out, she is continuing to lie about it. Other people are then coming in (hi, yes Idris, talking about you...) and lying about it too! Seemingly just to get what they want.
It’s not always easy to watch or consume and sometimes the show genuinely frustrates me with the hurt they cause each other, even if it is just for drama. But hey, it is definitely a good reminder to be a better person, or at least, I think so.
The Online Commentary
One of the best things about Love Island is the community outside of it. I love having a little scroll through the Love Island hashtag on Twitter whilst the show is to see the divide of opinions and I do find it genuinely interesting (and hilarious) to read through the tweets.
But, again, like anything on social media, it has its demons. I want to see hilarious commentary on the boys doing Yorkshire accents and the dance challenge, not people slating the girls for their looks or the boys for their uneven eyebrows. I mean, when Ellies' introducing VT played before she entered, the number of tweets slating her voice was unreal and it frustrated me because that is literally her voice, she cannot change that. And yeah sure, it is a little annoying that you can nearly always see Laura’s extensions but a) does it even really matter and b) there isn’t exactly much she can do about them whilst she’s stuck in a villa, can she?
And the amount of nasty Tweets and even articles regarding Megan's possible surgery and it's possible amount is insane. Sure and don't get me wrong, she has not presented herself as the nicest girl you'll ever meet but her appearance has nothing to do with that. Do we need to drag someone's looks (or old pictures) just for, perhaps a bit of confidence ourselves or a few likes and retweets?
It is the same on the actual show itself. Ellie calling Georgia an "ugly c**t", Megan and Laura both calling each other slags, girls egging on other girls to steal someones else man and so on. Just why? We always say we want to empower other women yet none of these instances does that.
You don't have to like everyone but is it really that hard to be nice? It kind of scares me the barrel of abuse the girls have to come out to and god knows how I would react in that position. Coming out of the cushty little bubble after eight weeks and thrown back into the world where you are going to be greeted with a sh*t ton of horrible tweets, Instagram comments and articles. I can imagine it is pretty damaging. Yet it begs the question, is that the cost of drama and entertainment (and a few Instagram followers)?
Annnnd everything else
Discrimination. Let's be honest, perhaps with the exception of newbie Alexandra, there isn't a wide range of body sizes on the show. Either male or female. It's a shame because Love Island is such a popular show and don't get me wrong, I am a 23-year-old woman who knows that there are so many more different sizes and looks out there than the narrow image the show displays but does a young, impressible teenager know that? If I was watching it at 13 (and I'm not saying this show is appropriate for a 13-year-old but c'mon, we all know they watch it too), would I think this is how I'm meant to look? I mean, is Love Island a good representation of 'real' life in that respect? I very much doubt it and it is a real shame to see.
It's the same with Samira. We are only realising now that she was just so much more than your typical gossip yet that is all the show really showed us. Samaria was someone who could never quite find a connection with any of the lads who entered yet when her coupled-up partner left the show and she broke down, we all sat completely confused as to where this reaction and emotion came from. Fast forward a few days and it turns out she and Frankie were so much more than we saw, including a secret hideaway escape. Why didn't we see this? I can't answer this as I genuinely don't know why none of this was shown. Especially when we've just had about five episodes still on the topic of THAT kiss. Samaria deserved so much more from the show and guess what, we'll never really know who she was or what she was really like as it is becoming clearer and clearer the show was editing her for a certain narrative. One I'm still not really sure of myself.
And that comes onto my last point. The show itself. I think this year more than ever we are really realising the lengths the show will go manipulate and cause drama. Don't get me wrong, you need drama and you need entertainment but is shoving twelve or so people into a villa for eight weeks not enough to create a bit of drama?
Is it morally right to send a worried Dani a completely out of context video of Jack seeing his ex enter without letting him even tell her first? If the show is about finding love, why, at that moment, was it ok to put her in that position and possibly ruin a perfectly happy relationship? Is it fair not to show Laura the clip of Georgia and Jack kissing just so she can put her mind at rest and stop mistrusting everyone around her? Is it fair to just have her sit there in constant torment? I live for the drama, I really do but even I don't think it needs to be even half as constructed and 'staged' as it is.
So what started as a brain dump has ended up as some kind of essay (clearly those university roots don't you leave you!) but I really wanted to get this out there. I love the show, don't get me wrong, and will definitely be watching up until the final but I still have my problems with it and I guess I just wanted to get it all off my chest!
What do you think of the show? Are you a #LoveIsland fan?