King Edward VI School student Natasha Pryke, age 13, goes ashore on ITV2's Love Island
Slip on your swimwear and get out the tanning beds: Love Island has arrived on our screens to consume the summer once again.
The villa has opened its doors and the singles have come streaming in, all clad in swimsuits that look around two sizes too small, brimming with hopes of meeting ‘the one’.
Sadly for the series, the islanders aren’t the only ones who have been stewing. Already, the show has been slammed for its stupidity and poisonous impact on impressionable viewers. But how true is this really? Is Love Island creating a generation of halfwits who believe true love is finding someone with abs and shiny hair, or is it simply a bit of bad TV?
When you first hear the words ‘Love Island’, you probably think of a lot of attractive idiots trying to find love (or £50,000). I’d find it hard to argue. One of the contestants doesn’t know how to make a cup of tea and their favourite word is chive. Some believe that the series rots your brain and turns you into a slang-spouting moron, but as a viewer of the show, I have to disagree. You can take what you want from Love Island. At face value, it’s ridiculous, there’s no denying it. The contestants are far more in love with the prize money than each other, have a serious lack of common sense and egos bigger than Boris Johnson’s ambitions for our future relationship with the EU. But if you look closer, it’s actually quite an interesting commentary on the world we live in. Slowly, the contestants form an extremely dysfunctional family. You get to see who groups together, and who gets left in the cold. What type of person gets isolated by the rest? It’s like watching a tiny society.
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The other interesting thing Love Island has to offer is the media portrayals of the islanders. Maura is the mean girl, Anton is the clown and Tommy is the player. The internet twists them into clichés and the editors are more than happy to indulge the idea. You’ve got to wonder what happened in those 23 hours of the day we didn’t get to see. Who do the producers want us to think the contestants are? They’re the ones who hold the power. They can cut away scenes of people being kind and mash together a collection of all the times they weren’t. They ensure the contestants fit the role the public cast them in.
So, whilst it’s easy to get caught up in the Love Island storm, it doesn’t necessarily steal away your IQ. In fact, without even meaning to, it’s created a series that has a lot more than at first look. But though you can look at the programme through many different lenses and get multiple results, remember it’s not something to watch seriously. It’s nice to play in the sun, but stay for too long and you’ll get burnt.
-- Love Island, ITV2, 9pm nightly