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There are more abs in this picture than there are episodes of Love Island. (Image: Tina Tiller)
There are more abs in this picture than there are episodes of Love Island. (Image: Tina Tiller)

Pop CultureJune 30, 2021

Why people keep coming back to Love Island

There are more abs in this picture than there are episodes of Love Island. (Image: Tina Tiller)
There are more abs in this picture than there are episodes of Love Island. (Image: Tina Tiller)

It’s the series people love to hate, but long-time Love Island fan Tara Ward knows why the reality show is exactly her type on paper. 

Love is in the air, and so is a new season of Love Island. The Bafta-award-winning series is back for its seventh season on June 30, with a fresh group of gorgeous singles all looking for love, or at the very least, a million new Instagram followers. 

As always, 15 gorgeous twenty-somethings will move into the iconic Spanish villa, where they’ll couple up to avoid elimination while the British public votes for their favourite couple to win £50,000. Their every move will be captured by hundreds of cameras and microphones, every steamy moment screened to a hungry audience of millions. Add in some wacky challenges, delightful contestants and unexpected twists, and Love Island becomes a highly addictive piece of escapist television. 

If you haven’t dipped your toes in Love Island’s waters before, don’t panic. Neon’s The Best of Love Island UK will bring you up to speed, as it revisits the most memorable moments from the past six seasons. 

With so many reality shows to choose from, what is it about Love Island that keeps us coming back? It’s an entertaining soap opera filled with humour and scandal, but it’s also problematic, having been criticised for everything from fuelling unrealistic body images to being overtly heternormative to promoting fast fashion. Despite the criticism, the show remains a highlight of the reality TV calendar. It’s like a dodgy lover we keep going back to for one last night, which then turns into eight glorious weeks, and now we can’t stop screaming “I GOT A TEXT!” every time we check our phones.  

We can’t get enough of Love Island, so what pheromones is this reality juggernaut giving off? The results are in. We’ve cracked on, we’ve put all our eggs in one basket, and in the words of many Love Island veterans, it is what it is.

It’s the perfect winter escape into a fantasy world

As the ancient philosophers once said, “give me a winter solstice and I will give you a Spanish villa filled with beautiful hornbags”. In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s winter in New Zealand, cold and bleak and too chilly to wear a thong bikini at the local outdoor pool. Turn towards the sun, my pretties, and soak up your daily recommended dose of vitamin D via the spectacular Spanish sunshine of Love Island. 

The sun always shines on Love Island, the waters are forever warm, and the lawns are astroturf so you don’t even have to mow them. It might be pissing down in Aotearoa, but with one push of your remote you’ll be transported to the horny heat of the northern hemisphere summer, a world so idyllic that the grass never grows. Aaah, I can feel my bones getting stronger already. 

It’s the original bubble, before being in a bubble was something everyone did

The Islanders are living their best lives, free from responsibilities, worries or clothes. Love Island is a luxurious haven from the real world, an isolated bubble of SPF and privilege where every need is catered to. New clothes? Take your pick from our official clothes sponsor. Spend your days sitting on a beanbag talking about current affairs? Be our guest. This is the life most of us dream of, and that’s why we love it. Did I mention the astroturf? Amazing. 

The cast of Love Island UK Season 7. (Photo: Lifted Entertainment)

It’s a fascinating window into human behaviour

Love Island has the intrigue of a political drama and the tension of a one question showdown on The Chase, but it also mirrors the best and worst of human behaviour. From gendered beauty rituals to questionable ideals of masculinity to gaslighting, Love Island captures the complexities of human behaviour, helping us to recognise and understand them better. 

Science shows that when you put a group of people into a small space and make them play “Snog, Marry, Pie”, you’ll see human nature at it’s finest. The casting of Love Island is always strong, and who can forget Islanders like hilarious firecracker Maura, angelic Ovie, or bomb disposal expert and staunch feminist Camilla? As the season progresses, we become invested in these strangers and their quirky ways. Their tears become our tears, their arse-shaving ritual will become your next Google search. 

It refuses to take itself seriously

Love Island’s tongue is placed firmly in its own cheek, thanks mostly to narrator Iain Stirling’s self-deprecating commentary. There’s plenty of cheesy innuendo and hilariously pointless challenges scattered throughout the series, because even Love Island knows how ludicrous its whole premise is. This is a show about love on an island, but you can’t see the sea from the villa. See? Sea? Ridiculous.  

They’re pretty much us

Feelings. We all have them, apparently. We all want to be loved, and we all need to be swept off our feet to a romantic Hideaway filled with wipeable surfaces and questionable duvet covers. Whether it’s hope or heartbreak, rejection or rejoicing, our emotional journeys echo those of the Islanders’. Peel back the budgie smugglers, and we are all the same. We live, we laugh, we love and then we find a new partner at Casa Amor, and that my friends, is the circle of life.  

You can watch Love Island on Neon here.

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