reality tv

'I started watching Love Island for the first time last week. And I have precisely 7 questions.'

No.

No one TOLD me.

If I had known Love Island was essentially a problematic mixture of Big Brother and The Bachelor, but worse betterI would’ve spent the last few years living a very different life.

Instead, I was entirely oblivious. I’ve been watching reality shows where people wear clothes and pretend to find love on the basis of… values. Or shared… interests.

That was until last Monday night, when Love Island Australia season 2 premiered on Nine. After a few minutes, I knew this was different. As I watched five young women (the oldest is 26) line up wearing only their bikinis and and a pair of heels, to ultimately be chosen by five strange men on the basis of their looks alone, I thought: ‘nah, this is f*cked’. In the best way.

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YOU CAN'T HAVE A TV SHOW IN 2019 WHERE MEN JUST STRAIGHT UP STAND THERE AND PICK THE HOTTEST WOMAN. YOU CAN'T.

But you can.

Luckily, after those initial impressions, the show loses all superficiality and people start to develop far deeper relationships after getting to know each other.

Except that they... don't. At all.

They simply choose the most beautiful person to talk to about 'vibes' and 'banter' before immediately becoming distracted by the next beautiful person.

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'That OK?'
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Of course, once I started yelling about how no one had properly told me about the brilliance that is Love Island, people were confused. 'Dude, for six weeks last year it's literally all I talked about,' one friend reminded me. 'I explained how important it was.'

But that's a lie. NO ONE adequately emphasised that these people dress almost exclusively in swimwear. Or that these are by far the most vacuous conversations you'll ever see aired on television. Or that seven minutes as a cast member on this show would be enough to destroy a lifetime of self-esteem.

Having just discovered the bizarre and backwards concept that is Love Island, I've gone back and watched all of season 1, and dear God do I have questions. I feel like I missed the premise (mostly because I've definitely missed the premise), and I can't stop thinking about the multiple flaws in the way this whole thing is meant to... work.

1. Why are only people who are 10/10 hot allowed to play?

I... I want to play. But I'm not allowed. Because sometimes I look like a toe.

The standard of attractiveness on Love Island is genuinely distracting, and it raises the question why everyone who walks in the door has to be a semi-professional model.

Average looking people can also gossip and have sex and betray each other???? But they just get left out??

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2. Why do the women consistently wear bikinis and heels?

No woman in the history of the universe has ever exercised her own free will to wear a bikini and a pair of heels.

It's an outfit that defies logic.

Yes, there's a pool. But in what pool do you also need to be dressed for a black-tie event?

In no other context are women seen wearing bikinis and heels, except for beauty pageants, which deserve their own unique place in hell.

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Are we at the beach or at da club?

Of course, while the women have waxed themselves into oblivion to be hairless enough to wear a g-string bikini on national television, the boys get to wear mid-thigh length shorts. And fkn sneakers.

Which brings me to my next issue:

3. Why but more importantly how is everyone so hairless?

There. Is. Not. A. Pube. In. Sight.

These people are in a villa for six weeks, and it turns out no one grows any kind of hair. I'm genuinely baffled. Even if they waxed, surely they'd get that weird bikini line rash? And don't you have to wait until a certain amount of hair grows back in order to wax again??

My groin does not look like that.
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The girls literally run around in their bikinis, jumping on people and doing yoga (but actually), and not ONCE has a rogue pube escaped.

4. Why is there no clear... structure?

On The Bachelor, people get sent home every week, so as the series progresses, we get closer and closer to finding a winner.

On Love Island, there is no such... pattern. People leave, and then NEW PEOPLE ARRIVE. People leave, then we RECOUPLE. New people come, then AUSTRALIA VOTES OUT OF NOWHERE.

I want a spreadsheet. Of how the next few weeks are going to pan out. I can't deal with the unpredictability.

5. Why haven't they come up with a better solution to the microphone/bikini combo than a weird waist strap?

It's 2019 and I'm pretty sure if I wanted to, I could somehow get my iPhone to take me to the moon.

But on Love Island, the contestants need to wear the bulkiest, most obvious microphones, and what I can only assume is a battery pack (??) around their waist.

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'They're such a subtle black colour.'

THERE HAS TO BE A BETTER WAY.

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Of course, wearing chunky audio equipment wouldn't be such a big deal if the contestants were somewhat clothed.

Even with an unmistakable microphone draped around their necks, the islanders still try to whisper and it's awkward because we can hear and the show adds in subtitles if there's ever any ambiguity.

6. Why is there no incentive for winning any of the challenges?

The show is punctuated with regular challenges/games/activities, the results of which have no tangible consequence.

Islanders are made to touch each other's bodies, pash strangers, tell brutal truths, and engage in bizarre physical competitions, for no reason whatsoever.

Then, when there are rewards, they're completely random. It's like there's no planning and/or foresight, and instead, producers just shove in drama when they're bored (that's... exactly how it works).

7. Why do people insist on being monogamous in an explicitly polygamous situation?

'Come live in a villa with a group of other singles,' they said.

'Hook up with whoever you want and see what happens.'

And yet everyone is p*ssed off that there's no loyalty. 

When an islander says they want to 'explore' their 'connection' with 'other people,' everyone loses their sh*t.

NONE OF YOU KNOW EACH OTHER. IF YOU WANTED TO BE MONOGAMOUS YOU SHOULD GO ON AN ACTUAL DATE WITH A REAL PERSON IN THE NORMAL WORLD.

Of course, none of these questions are enough to make me... not watch Love Island. That would be absurd.

It's just worth acknowledging that this show makes precisely zero sense, and that's why it's the single worst greatest thing on television.

For more from Clare Stephens, you can follow her on FacebookInstagram or Twitter.

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