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For those of you who haven't heard of Love Island, it is a UK reality TV show where single contestants all live together in a villa based in sunny Majorica where romance, drama, and tension all unfold over eight weeks with challenges, recoupling, and eliminations left, right and center. It has become quite the popular show to tune into every day from 9:00-10:00 PM.
I have found myself asking why I am so engrossed in this show, for I am not one who generally subscribes to reality TV. But, like many others I still religiously watch the show until its live final in August, so my question is: How has Love Island dominated our TVs?
As humans we're built to thrive from the personal relationships we establish, and, generally, a lot of time, consideration, and emotional effort go into forming these relationships and maintaining them. Not to mention, humans generally like to be quite nosey, and with Love Island viewers generally assume the role of the voyeur, overseeing the singles on their journey to finding love and/or fame. As the contestants are seemingly regular people like us e.g. have a job, have no prior experience with fame we find ourselves relating to aspects of the contestants, and thus form an attachment whereby we root for their wellbeing and examine their behaviours as if they are our own.
Another reason why Love Island is so popular is that it takes the whole premise of "being in a relationship," and flips it on its head. It's easy for us, the viewers, to roll our eyes when someone new wanders into the villa and steals the heart of a contestant who is already coupled up, but, after all, it's called Love Island for a reason. Viewers hearts are constantly torn when straying eyes are displayed right in front of them, and, in turn, can make them think a little bit more about their own views on dating and commitment. In a way, it allows us to wonder and ogle at their ability to develop romantic feelings so quickly and for multiple people. Since the contestants can only really spend time with another without contact to their home friends and family, the entire environment is centered around primal attraction, so, for this reason, it's no wonder our eyes are glued to the screen watching it all unfold.
Moreover, it puts into question what contestants value whilst they are in the villa. Some predominantly act on their base instinct aka "to find someone they like and pursue them relentlessly," whilst others generally take a bit more of a backseat when it comes to being a brazen Romeo in tight shorts and a golden tan, some people value the friendships they establish and therefore don't like to "tread on anybody's toes". This, again, is something that we notice as viewers and inherently judge based on our own values which connects us further to the show.
As a last point, even if you're not a romantic there is something inherently captivating about watching a budding romance evolve through ups and downs, because even if it's not something we're currently experiencing in our own lives, there is still something interesting about watching the evolution of relationships build and sometimes crash on this reality TV show. This TV show is not meant to depict how relationships work in real life, and it is that reason that makes it so interesting. There is often the question asked as to whether the relationship would work "on the outside" and it is one that keeps viewers drawn into the Love Island world long after the show has ended.
I'm not saying that Love Island is a deep-felt cinematic masterpiece, but it's definitely captured enough attention to earn it a BAFTA. Love it or hate it, it's what is on all our tellies tonight.