I haven’t watched many dating reality shows and none of the foreign variety, so Love Island was a completely different experience for me. While I’m familiar with The Bachelor—where one person is chosen out of many—I know nothing about group dating shows. I won’t be making an effort to learn more either. The setup and formula are just weird to me: form a couple and hope to be the last two left in order to win a £50,000 prize? This isn’t for me… but it is entertaining.
The titular Love Island is an enormous open villa where 12 contestants (6 girls, 6 boys) will reside over the course of the 6-week show. All of them share the same living space, including the bedroom with 6 queen beds. The boys arrive on the island first, and then the girls are brought in. As each girl is introduced, the boys can step forward if they “fancy” her and then she can choose from any boy that she wants to be coupled with. This seems like a pretty basic way for contestants to be paired and it goes well for all but one girl who no one chooses. She’s paired with the last remaining guy and they don’t exactly hit it off as she’s five years older and his interests are pretty much singly focused.
Things get shaken up a bit when the couples play a game on how well they know each other. The winners of the challenge are allowed to swap with any of the other couples and they choose to do so. This is good for some, not so good for others. Of course the real kicker comes later when a set of twins are sent in to take two of the contestants on private dates and potentially separate a well paired couple. You’ll have to tune in next time, to find out what happens on the dates.
I’ve always been skeptical of reality shows because I know they are filmed and produced and in a way that’s most enticing for the audience. We’re supposed to want to return week after week to find out what’s going to happen and for what it’s worth, Love Island achieves that. Their host, Caroline Flack is cheery and a little sassy but not over the top. Plus she has a great accent making her my favorite part of show by far. Even with a lack of interest in dating reality shows, I will say this was at least fun to watch. Of course it doesn’t help that I’m nearly 10 years older than the couples and my fuddy-duddy brain just kept asking, why would you be a part of this? While I didn’t care about any of the contestants, I was anxious to find out what their reactions would be to the twins. I may not be returning to Love Island, and wouldn’t recommend it as a first look at reality shows, but for those who enjoy this genre of television, it is worth checking out.