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Set sail for the anthropological reality TV paradise of Love Island

Tara Ward washes up on the shores of Love Island, the British reality sensation that has been compared to the works of Chaucer and Shakespeare.

I am late to the Love Island party. I am Jessica, sauntering in with my pleather swimming togs, ready to board the love train after every other bastard has already coupled up. I am also this woman, a mesmerised bystander watching the Love Island quest for true love explode before her eyes like a suitcase stuffed with too many tiny swimsuits, and I will never finish my fish supper.

I’ve only just discovered Love Island, but UK viewers have spent their summer going batshit crazy over the reality dating show where 15 strangers couple up to win £50,000. The Guardian even compares it to the works of Shakespeare and Chaucer, ffs. Those two geezers are right up there with Nicholas Sparks in the ol’ romance stakes, so you know it must be good.

But wait, I hear you say: how can a show about island survival and a search for love possibly be a winner if doesn’t feature Barb lying in a hammock or Zac wearing too-short trousers?

Love Island, thou art more temperate than an infinity pool under a hot Majorca sun. Let me count the ways:

It’s every reality show you’ve ever watched, but better

It’s Big Brother without the mindplay, Geordie Shore without the shitfights, Bachelor in Paradise without Chris Harrison. Love Island chewed on a smorgasbord of reality shows, spat them into a televisual Thermomix and turned the dial to ‘blend the beejesus out of it’. Ta-dah, out poured a silky cocktail of self-deprecating entertainment that intoxicates from the very first sip — nay, the first sniff.

It’s even convinced the Spanish insect world to couple up, bloody great work Love Island.

It’s not even set on an island

I prefer my reality TV 100% landlocked, so I was as pumped as an Island newcomer when I realised the only sea on Love Island was one of human emotions. Whether it’s Camilla’s “I can’t believe I pashed someone who doesn’t believe in feminism” meltdown or Marcel’s grief at discovering freshly-evicted Harley’s half empty water-bottle abandoned in the rock garden, Love Island is a heavy mass of feelings bobbing aimlessly amongst a steaming sea of desire and I AM HERE FOR IT.

Also, no man is an island, but if he was he would definitely feature this giant spin the bottle challenge.

I like to watch people and this is the least creepy way of doing it

Love Island is an anthropological gift. You’re welcome, The Future.

 

The contestants actually seem to like each other

Chuck a bunch of strangers into a luxury villa, order them to couple up to win a shitload of cash and what the flipping heck, they become friends? Of course they do, it’s not Lose Your Shit Island, and I’ve spent many a happy hour listening to cracking banter about whether Jesus was God’s brother or if their ideal type is ‘budgie smugglers’ or ‘normal dungarees’. It’s a bloody tough choice, to be fair.

 

It leaves me with more questions than answers

What makes a shy landmine disposal expert go on television to find love? How does Chloe make her left boob twerk? Do they have enough sun cream? I’m worried they’re not using a high enough SPF. Why does Montana wear socks with her bikini? Is she cold? Why don’t they use the hot tub? Will I really see Marcel at the crossroads? Why are thong togs even a thing?

I will not avert my eyes until my soul gets the knowledge it craves or someone slip slap slops, whatever happens first.

  

My kids won’t stop watching Doc McfuckingStuffins and I need to escape

Love Island is a magical land of eternal sunshine and clean surfaces. The Islanders don’t have 90 loads of washing drying on the clothes horse for the fifth day in a row, or lock themselves in the bathroom while their children hiff Lego at each other until they bleed. On Love Island, the cushions stay on the couch and the lawns are beautiful and tbh I’d like to couple up with that villa please and thank you Caroline Flack.

 

Ultimately we are all just a girl in a thong bikini, standing in front of a boy in budgie smugglers, asking him to love her

Chuck all your eggs in one basket because it’s all about love, innit?


The latest season of Love Island is available to watch on TVNZ OnDemand.

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