TelevisionSeptember 29, 2021

Are we finally getting a local version of Love Island?

Could TVNZ’s new mystery summer dating show finally be our ticket to Love Island NZ? Alex Casey is just asking the question. 

This week TVNZ dropped a tantalising and mysterious casting call out into the ether, inviting singles to apply for “an exciting new dating competition” billed as “New Zealand’s hottest new show”. For those of us who need the absurdity and intrigue of dating shows to keep the bees in our head at bay, it was thrillingly cryptic news. Could it be that we are indeed staring down the barrel of New Zealand’s first ever Love Island?

The Spinoff asked outright and was rebuffed faster than Aaron leaning in to kiss Lucinda, or a giant wheel of brie leaning in to kiss Brett.“We’ll be revealing more information about the show in due course, but we’re sure viewers will be as excited as we are about this show coming to TVNZ,” a spokesperson said. With nowhere else to turn and only four walls to climb, the only option left is to interrogate the evidence as it currently stands. 

 

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First of all, what’s with the working title of this mystery series?

The series is being teased only as Summer Show, which doesn’t give us a lot to go on at first glance. Summer Show. Summer. Show. Could really include anything from Home and Away to White Lotus. That is, until you look hard at the cryptic lettering which reveals a clear message: UMM, SHOWERS? Love Island famously has umm showers that are umm outside so the audience can umm see the umm chiseled bods. SOW HUMMERS is another clear clue – the latest season of Love Island gave viewers the ick for having an irritating humming noise playing throughout Liberty and Kaz’ conversation about Liberty getting the ick. 

Me reading the press release

What kind of people do they want to apply to Umm Showers? 

A very specific type of person aged between 18 and 30. For the men, they are looking for either: nice guys who are sick of women thinking they are players (sad!) or just guys who are “hot, single and keen” to enter the romance arena to win a “massive cash prize”. For the gals, they are are looking for those who are “winning at life, but the love of your life is taking forever to show up”. There is also mention of having the chance to meet men “on your own terms” and “calling the shots”. Just call this island Themyscira, because it seems like the ladies are going to be running the show. 

Hey, I am a sexy single winning at life but I am over 30! Am I dead? 

I’m very sorry, but you are unfortunately dead. Over 30s are simply too decrepit to wash up on Summer Show. I turned 30 in lockdown and the next day, I forgot the word for “banana” in the middle of a conversation. I’m in no state to appear on a dating show. That said, getting confused by simple fruits and vegetables is a Love Island staple, so perhaps there’s still hope for some of us if they ever get funding to do a geriatric grocery-based version. 

Vegetables are really confusing

Wait, hasn’t New Zealand tried to make Love Island already? 

Great memory! You could probably tell me what one of those curvy yellow fruits are too. Love Island NZ was originally set to appear as the big shiny marquee reality show for Three in 2019, but was scrapped amid cost-cutting and hiring freezes

“Love Island is a prized piece of content and given the challenges we are facing in the market this year, it does not make sense to schedule it into this environment,” chief executive Michael Anderson wrote in an email to staff at the time. Most painfully of all, they had even got as far as making a promo:

Sources at the time told the Herald they were still confident a New Zealand version of Love Island would work in a primetime slot the following year, but unfortunately the following year was 2020 and we all know how that went. 

OK, so networks have phunked with our hearts before – what if this isn’t Love Island? 

Look, it might not be Love Island. Maybe it is the formidable return of Heartbreak Island? 

What was Heartbreak Island again? 

It was a show that was basically Love Island in every single way, except they filmed it on a giant sexy foot and sometimes used an inexplicable golden sundial to determine which new lad or ladette to couple up with. It is also remembered for having a very big iPad, Matilda Rice hosting, and famously launching Harry Jowsey to international fame via Netflix’s Too Hot to Handle. 

Ooh, maybe Summer Show is a local version of Too Hot to Handle? 

Interesting idea. Although Too Hot to Handle is very much a Netflix original, it’s not crazy to think that TVNZ might be doing some kind high-flying switcheroo on these presumably hot and appropriately horny applicants. In the latest season of Too Hot to Handle, contestants believed they had signed up to a show called Parties in Paradise, only to have it revealed 24 hours into the production that they were instead trapped in a no-touching hellscape hosted by a sentient air freshener. 

Are you suggesting a casting conspiracy? 

All I’m saying is that if this isn’t Love Island, surely it is about time we rebooted a twisted Truman-show social experiment like Living the Dream for the influencer generation? Once again, just asking the question.

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