In love with Love Island?

Hannah Parker examines just why everyone is so obsessed with ITV’s reality show this year

The Apprentice, Dragons Den, Big Brother, TOWIE, the list of reality shows that have had us hooked is endless. But the newest of these addictive series is Love Island. Although the current season on our TV’s is the third, this one has EVERYONE talking about it — even Jeremy Corbyn has got in on the fad, backing the ex Blazin’ Squad member, Marcel. Corbz isn’t the only celeb to get in on the action, with Liam Gallagher admitting he was catching up on it at Glastonbury.

But of all the reality shows on at the moment (Big Brother, Ex on the Beach etc.), why has Love Island managed to dig its claws into our nightly routines the most?

The basic premise of the show is hot singletons living in a villa in Majorca with the aim to find love. Once they find someone they like, they couple up with that islander. However, there’s a weekly recoupling in which couples can change. At the end of the season, the public votes on their favourite couple and whoever wins gets a load of cash.

Emma Parr is a first timer to the reality show, and she simply can’t get enough. “I’ve never watched Love Island before this year,” she says. “But now I can’t stop watching it. If anything, my boyfriend is even worse!”

“But now I can’t stop watching it”

This addictiveness seems to be a running theme throughout the season. Rachel Fisher and her friends are avid fans of the show. “I am addicted to Love Island,” she says. “Me and my friends have a WhatsApp group. I know, it’s pretty sad, right?”

Well in fact it may not be as sad as it sounds. Twitter users have turned the social media app into a Love Island group chat. #LoveIsland is trending most nights, and you can see everything from memes of the islanders to arguments about which couples are real and which are fake.

So, why do people love Love Island?

Rebecca Daurat is a huge reality show fan, watching everything from the old school Laguna Beach to the business-style The Apprentice. “My favourite is Love Island,” she says. “I don’t even know why. Maybe the drama, and shamelessly judging the islanders.”

Being allowed to judge these people, or rather gossip about them without the repercussions or guilt you’d get from gossiping about friends certainly seems like the main attraction to the show.

Chloe Challis has watched both previous seasons of Love Island and is hooked on season three. “We treat these people like we know them,” she says. “We get enjoyment out of judging and gossiping about them, as if they are people we know.”

When we watch films and drama series, we like to relate to characters. If there’s no one we can relate to, it’s difficult to understand why characters do what they do. We have no connection, nothing drawing us in or tugging at our emotions. However, if all we’re doing with reality shows is judging people, surely they themselves aren’t relatable.

Emma agrees, claiming that this is almost the selling point. “I don’t feel like I can relate to most of them,” she says. “If anything, that’s another reason why I like to watch it. Their morals and everything they stand for are pretty much the opposite of how I feel about things and it’s interesting to see it from another perspective.”

Rebecca Daurat is also of the same mind-set, saying that she “can’t relate to them at all.”

However, Chloe’s disagrees when it comes to the current season. “This is the only one I feel I’ve related to,” she says. “I think we’re more invested in the relationships this time.”

Reality TV gives us a platform to judge and gossip. It almost fills our need to talk about people so that we don’t have to do it about our friends. Perhaps some viewers relate to the islanders, and perhaps some don’t. But, one thing is for sure, they enter our living rooms every night from 9pm-10pm and for the brief hour, we vent about the contestants as if we know them. That on top of the entertainment value from the constant drama is the appeal. Maybe after all the slack that these shows get, in a way, they’re somehow healthy for us.

Written by Hannah Parker

Order your copy of the first edition of Stand Up here.