I will confess, I am what you could call a relative newbie to the drama-filled world of Love Island. I actively avoided the first two series, and only really got into last year’s due to it being the staple activity within my group on my year abroad, originally watching under duress.
From the outset of my Love Island experience, I noticed that it was a hot topic across social media, and this year’s series has taken that to new heights with hundreds of new memes a week, op-eds on topics ranging from sexism and domestic abuse to racism and gas-lighting, and a flood of discount codes and #babesofmissguided Insta posts before many of the contestants have even been dumped from the Island. I can’t keep up with it all.
It seems that Love Island is now an institution, and wherever you turn, you are more than certainly going to witness or hear something about whether you like it or not. Viewing figures for the show have rocketed, becoming the most watched program in ITV2’s history, and yet, as it reaches the final stages, I can’t help but feel a bit bored of it all.
Don’t get me wrong, I am one of the first to message my multiple group chats when Alex wears a hideous shirt or Georgia talks about how she’s “loyal, babe”, but it’s becoming a bit of a monotonous routine. Perhaps it’s the amount of coverage; popular culture has become sodden in Love Island content. Or perhaps it’s simply the contestants.
I can’t speak for other series (I haven’t yet allowed myself to watch backdated series on Netflix quite yet), but last year’s contestants made the series fun. All I have really noticed this year is how toxic and argumentative most of the scenarios on the show have become, and although it is great that a show watched by millions is showcasing what not to do in a relationship and revealing several abusive and misogynistic elements to the 21st-century dating world, it’s also a bit overwhelming. This is what I imagine was the downfall of Big Brother; watching people in a big house argue over silly little things does get a teensy bit boring after a few weeks.
And we can’t talk about the evolution of the series without mentioning the producers and people behind the scenes. More than ever this year, the show has been under close scrutiny for being scripted, for scenes to be filmed multiple times (New Jack and Georgia’s kiss caused VAR replays across the nation), and for several things being edited out. Samira Mighty’s journey on the show was supposedly very different, with much of her relationship with now-boyfriend Frankie Foster being edited out of the show — both theirs and fellow couple Charlie and Ellie’s nights in the Hideaway were apparently completely removed from episodes. It begs the question why many of these decisions are made, especially given that so many of the scenes that are shown are reiterations of the conversations we have already witnessed multiple times.
With it being a week or so to go, it may well gain a bit more speed and excitement. It feels like there have been more new islanders than ever this series, but with the last week, I am sure the lie detectors, parenting tasks and all the drama comes with it will inject a last bit of excitement before the eventual crowning of Jack and Dani as S4 winners. Not to mention Danny Dyer entering the villa when the islanders have to meet each other’s families. Let’s just hope the producers remain loyal to their fans and don’t edit out all the juicy bits for the final week, eh?
Words by Kirstie Sutherland