Love Island: Vacuous, Shallow Nonsense Or Filled With Deep Beauty?
My favourite slightly drunken debate this summer was not about the football, animal rights, veganism, politics, economics, psychology or any other high brow nonsense, it was about Love Island.
I’ve had this debate with at least 12 people and every time, it goes a similar way.
Them: “You don’t watch that trash do you?”
They’re fooled by the fact I clearly (and badly) cut my own hair, have worn essentially one pair of shorts for the entire summer, ride a bike older than I am and drink tiny bottles of overpriced beer that I can’t afford.
Me (staring them proudly in the eye):
“Yea, I love it, I’ve not missed a single episode, don’t you?”
Them (slightly shocked and bewildered):
“Everyone’s been talking about it, so I watched 10 minutes the other day to see what the fuss is about and they were eating whipped cream off each other’s chests so I turned it off, it’s crap”
Me (getting excited by what I’m about to do. Having pretentiously read Dawkins while on a lads holiday as a teenager in Magaluf, accumulated approx £30k of student debt, spent a lifetime of thinking I’m smarter than I am, it has all brought me here):
“So you’ve barely seen it, yet formed a very strong opinion about it? A bit like walking into a cinema mid way through a movie, then leaving again, but telling everyone it was terrible? Or eating a tiny part of a meal and then loudly telling everyone how disgusting it was?”
It’s at this moment I’ve got them, they’ve walked into my bear trap and they’re helpless, like a deer in the headlights, putty in my hand. At this point I’m Buddha, ready to drop some enlightenment on their heads (in reality I’m just a bit sunburnt and slurring my words slightly).
I tell them laudably, as I begin my impassioned monologue, I once thought the same way as you. I dismissed it, I couldn’t be in the room while it was on, but then slowly I saw the light and it was beautiful.
It is vacuous, shallow nonsense, where a bunch of attractive people with too many abs and too few clothes are vying to get the best Instagram #ad deals they possibly can, aiming to peddle flat tummy tea (harmless lies), natural birth control apps (not so harmless shaky lies) or the ultimate, their own Boohoo for men/Missguided collaboration (pure evil incarnate).
But it also brought gas-lighting to the mainstream consciousness.
It highlighted the inherent racism that purveys dating, particularly to females.
It probably contributed to Danny Dyer going on daytime TV and (accurately) labelling David Cameron a twat, twice (wait for the second one below, comic genius) as a bemused Jeremy Corybn, Pamela Anderson, Harry Redknapp and some other random characters watched on, confused, in what can only be described as the perfect embodiment of post-Brexit British politics.
Nobody has any clue what the f*ck is going on, but they’re powerless to stop it.
Yes, there are questions to be answered.
Should there be weight loss and plastic surgery adverts during the show? 👎
Why is everyone cisgender, heterosexual and predominantly white? 🤷♂️
But when I watch it, it feels like my brain is being massaged, all the rest of the shit we all deal with and worry about fade away. I don’t have to worry about those things for an hour a day.
And there is undeniable beauty. Watching Jack, a very charming pen salesman with a dad-bod, and Dani, an aspiring actress who also happens to be the daughter of Danny Dyer, fall in genuine love, was one of the most beautiful things I’ve witnessed within the confines of a TV screen.
It made me shed happy tears on at least 3 occasions and I'm as stoic as they come.
So to conclude, If you haven’t watched it, then it’s worth a punt. It will be up on ITV's on demand thingy for an eternity and if you decide it's trash (which it undeniably is) you'll hopefully see a bit of beauty and probably get hooked.
Oh and that is basically how that debate goes, me babbling on and them unable to get a word in edgeways.