For years, Big Brother has been the queen of trashy reality TV, at the forefront of the Daily Mail gossip column and has produced some class celebrities out of the general public (Nikki Graham anyone?). However, this year, despite the best efforts of Marco Pierre White Jr., Big Brother has been sent to the back bench by none other than Love Island.
I hold my hands up and say that I binge-watched 30 episodes in 3 days because I was behind on the show, and was hooked from episode 1. There’s something glorious about seeing couples fighting and making up 3 times a day, and genuine relationships blossoming in front of your eyes. The format isn’t dissimilar to Big Brother in its attempts to stir up trouble for the couples by placing new boys and girls into the villa and having challenges that are designed to produce paranoia with success. It’s clear that the islanders are genuinely good friends underneath, because while the format provokes manipulation and back-stabbing, there is no live eviction or nominations like those that cause hatred within the walls of the Big Brother house.
Zara Holland’s fall from grace hit the headlines after a one-night stand led to her title of Miss Great Britain being taken away from her, and since then, the series has continued to grab headlines and viewers. From girls going mental over a spilled wine glass or the possibility of their man wandering to shock exits and shock re-coupling, Love Island is a dose of pure guilty pleasure. Part of why it’s so good is also down to the unpredictability of the show. Couples you thought were in it for the long hall (such as Malin and Terry, who hooked up with Tom’s ex Emma a day or two after Malin was voted out… awkward) are suddenly splitting or breaking up then making up constantly like Kady and Scott.
The show did garner criticism in its portrayal of male and female stereotypes. The boys on the show were typical ‘lads’, often flippant with their girlfriends’ hearts, labelling them ‘sluts’ or ‘frigid’. Likewise, the girls seemed to play on their sex, moaning that of course they ‘overthink’ things because they are ‘girls’, which seems to give the general idea that all females are needy and completely obsessed with men. There was no representation of homosexual relationships (until the entry of Katie), arguably an oversight for producers considering the diversity of society.
Nevertheless, the show was made by the brilliant commentary of Ian Stirling (ex-CBBC presenter for all you 90s kids) and its ability to take the piss out of itself (‘Cue the Text!’) which is a breath of fresh air when compared to the rather stale format of Big Brother (although Emma Willis is arguably a far better presenter than Caroline Flack). Furthermore, it didn’t shy away from sex, making a point of featuring it on pretty much every show, which, while some would call it tacky and degrading, is rather refreshing when compared to other shows which stick to the right side of political correctness. The abundance of tattoos was quite something, but many of the boys (and girls) were very good looking, and made for a good watch.
Despite all the dramas, it was heart-warming to see the relationship between winners Cara and Nathan and Scott and Kady develop throughout their time in the villa. Olivia and Alex made for a good-looking couple, but whether they’ll go the distance is another matter. My shipper heart hopes for a relationship between Sophie and Tom, and with any luck, Adam, who finally got some action in the last week with Katie, will find someone (or indeed Katie?) to warm his bed (and put up with his metaphors!)
Verdict: If you didn’t watch it, then what have you been doing?! Epsiodes are all on ITV player, so crack on and enjoy.