One Question Quiz
Image: Tina Tiller
Image: Tina Tiller

Pop CultureJune 27, 2023

How does Love Island keep winning us back? 

Image: Tina Tiller
Image: Tina Tiller

Two people who will never be on Love Island meet around the digital fire pit to try and figure out why Love Island UK keeps on turning our heads. 

Alex Casey: You’ve got a text! And it is from me, in capital letters, demanding to know if you’ve watched Love Island yet. As of writing, the last thing I witnessed was musical theatre darling and day one cast member Molly getting mercilessly dumped from the show out of nowhere after Love Island alumni Kady McDermott walked in, looked around with her infamous eyes (blue, two of them), and stole basketballer Zach with a single glance. I am breathless. How are you doing? 

Tara Ward: That incredible power play from old mate Kady will go down in Love Island history. I have no doubt that’s exactly what she was sent in there to do, but this was a bombshell dropping a bombshell. The jaw-dropping shock of the other islanders! Molly’s wide-eyed surprise! The bleak blue light of doom as she read that brutal text message! 

And thank goodness, because lock me in the hideaway and throw away the key, but I’ve had the ick with Love Island for the last few seasons. This surprise eviction of arguably this season’s biggest star is just what the show needed. 

Alex: I know what you mean, my head has turned so many times when it comes to Love Island that I could put Linda Blair out of a bloody job. In 2022 I was so deeply lipsing the show (these were the days of Ekin-Su and Davide, of course) that we successfully campaigned to get the show played in pubs. Then, earlier this year, I mugged it off in a big way and said that the sun was setting on the villa. Now that they’re messing with the format again, I’ve torn down my walls, the door is wide open and am ready to give 100%. 

Tara: It seems we’re not the only ones. TVNZ revealed yesterday that Love Island UK has already delivered two of the biggest audience weeks in the history of TVNZ+. It has become the number one streamed show on the platform, with over one million streams on TVNZ+ – nearly as many eggs that Molly had in Zac’s basket.

What is it about this season that’s pulled you back? Or have you simply been blinded by the Turkey teeth? I am loving the constant recoupling at all hours of the day and night, and amazed at how nobody in the villa seems to like each other. I also really like how Tyrique wore socks and jocks to the hideaway, in what I can only assume was a socky jockey tribute to Curtis wearing socks to bed during the great Spanish heatwave of 2019. 

Alex: Aside from Molly and Zac (RIP), everyone is keeping their options open which makes for a much more interesting show. The day one golden couple goal has been massacred now that the public get to pair them up in the premiere, and Casa Amor looms over any loyalties like a big sexy spectre. Frankly, the £50,000 (~$100,000) prize money for sticking together is frankly nothing compared to being a runner-up and making millions selling flammable fast fashion to tweens. 

But this is also quite a good and weird cast. I love the Glaswegian savagery of Ella, the Parisian romance of Medhi (“look at le frogs, they are fucking”) and the aesthetics practitioner realness of Jess. I love Mitchell flailing his way through every interaction he has, I love everyone spinning off the planet because Leah knows how to make eye contact, and I love whatever or whoever Mal is. Who else are you liking the look of so far? 

Tara: Honestly, it takes about four weeks of the islanders saying “how are you feeling?” to each other before I remember any names. How am I feeling? Elderly, out of touch and vitamin D deficient, but thank you all for asking. It is what it is. Mostly, I find my head turned by the plastic wisteria that decorates the terrace. So pretty! Absolutely my type on paper. 

Alex: That plastic wisteria is hiding a multitude of sins and I, for one, am sad we won’t get any more shots of Molly furiously peeping through the foliage like Jack in The Shining. 

There’s just something so comforting about the fact that, especially as we plummet into the depths of winter, a new episode of Love Island UK will almost always be there at the end of the day. Obviously, not gonna lie, there’s simply too much TV to choose from and sometimes you just want to watch a group of people in their 20s try and figure out if a prawn is in the sea or not. Also, as Iain Stirling himself said, Love Island is fundamentally about people finding people and that is always interesting, regardless of whether those people have a working knowledge of crustacean habitation or not. 

Tara: Indeed, Love Island is the hearty casserole in TV’s winter crockpot. What do you think lies ahead for the rest of the season? It seems there’s no real love matches yet (and what if there isn’t?!), but I hope things get even more hectic. Maybe Molly will turn up again in Casa Amor? Perhaps Maura will swing by to give Sammy a piece of her mind? What if the women go rogue and refuse to be coupled up with these plonkers? Give us all the chaos and drama!

Alex: Honestly, if they are willing to be this savage and boot out the golden girl of the show for a pair of striking blue eyes, who knows what else season 10 will be capable of? My predictions are that Maya Jama will run away with Medhi, the amorous Spanish frogs will take over the hideaway in socks and jocks, and Ella will give Tyrique a Glasgow smile by the season’s end. And me? I will be curled up under a blanket with my pale, dry skin and enjoying every moment. 

Love Island UK is available to watch on TVNZ+

Keep going!