Okay, yes, I know this is a film blog. But, I haven’t seen many new films recently, and also have been hooked to my TV screen watching this over the summer, so felt it was necessary to talk about it, one way or another, and get my (unasked for) opinion out into the world.
Firstly, I feel the need to say that I am not a massive reality TV-watcher. I never hopped onto the Keeping Up with the Kardashians bandwagon, I’ve watched a couple of episodes of The Only Way Is Essex but that was mainly because of my housemates at uni who were avid watchers, and I didn’t get into it. I watch Strictly Come Dancing and used to watch The Great British Bake off (if those even count?). I don’t judge people for watching reality TV, honestly I get the appeal, but its not something thats ever really attracted me. Until Love Island.
To anyone who doesn’t know, Love Island is a British reality TV show which airs for six nights a week, for eight weeks, every summer, on ITV2. Several young and attractive single people are put in a gorgeous Villa in Spain, and encouraged to date, couple up with one another, and just generally get up to no good to entertain the general public. The aim is for these singletons to find love, and at the end, the public votes for their favourite couple, who then win 50 thousand pounds.
I was late to join the Love Island hype. I hadn’t watched any of the previous series (even after the were uploaded to netflix) and hadn’t planned to watch this year either. Although, living in the UK, it’s difficult to ignore the show’s hold over people, with everyone talking and tweeting about it. So, after three weeks of it airing, I watched episode 17 on the 22nd of June, and immediately I was obsessed. Now, it’s been a few days since this, the fourth series, officially ended, and I just wanted to talk about it quickly.
Before watching it, I thought Love Island would be stupid and sexist, filled with airheads who cared only about appearances, with the women vying for the attention of all these men. And while most of what I have just said is probably true, its also about so much more. Yes, most of the men have abs that don’t look real, spend their lives at the gym, and yes, the women do spend a lot of time getting dolled up in the evenings. This year, there were some astoundingly stupid conversations (one of which included one islander asking if Brexit meant the trees would be cut down, and another in which one stated that Essex was a continent).
But you also get to see really beautiful friendships develop between the islanders. You get to see some of them grow, and witness some really strong relationships between the girls, which is so lovely to see in a world where women are constantly pitted against each other. Even though these girls are supposedly competing for the man of their dreams, they remain friends, often valuing friendship above romantic relationships. One islander, Megan, was consistently ranked as one of the most attractive women in the villa, but her history as a stripper had made her very shy, and had resulted her in having low self esteem. She was very conscious of men only liking her for her appearance, and for them and their families judging her for her body or her job history. But the women around her support her, and she visibly grows in confidence throughout the series.
The couple who won, Jack Fincham and Dani Dyer, had been coupled up since day one, and audiences got to watch their relationship grow, laughing with the couple for many weeks and rooting for them from the beginning. I for one genuinely believe them when they say they’re in love, and look forward to seeing what their future holds as a couple.
Yes, the show is obsessed with appearance, and the fact that most of the islanders are young and white, and that they are all heterosexual, really isn’t great for representation. And it needs to be better, and I sincerely hope that in the future the show works on it so that next year we can see some more variety and some more realistic people and relationships.
But I also appreciate the show for what it is. It is entertaining, and you do grow to love the contestants. The show is exactly what it needs to be, it’s summery, its funny, and its enjoyable. And thats what I want out of reality TV.