Georgia: So what do you think about Brexit?
Hayley: What’s that?
Georgia: Where we’re leaving the European Union
Hayley: I seriously don’t have a clue…
Samira: So it was to leave the EU so we wouldn’t be part of Europe
Hayley: Oh the EU, yeah, yeah
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Georgia: Which would mean like welfare, and like things we trade with would be cut down
Hayley: So does that mean we won’t have any trees?
Georgia: No that’s got nothing to do with it Babe, that’s weather
Dani: Why wouldn’t we have trees?
Kendall: No we’re just not in the European Union, we’re still classed as like being in Europe
Georgia: But doesn’t it mean it would be harder to go to like Spain and stuff?
Hayley: So it would be harder to go on holidays?
Georgia: Yeah I think so
Hayley: Oh I love my holidays!
Nope, not a transcript of senior Tory staffers talking over lunch, but this year’s Love Island contestants.
Love Island has returned for its 4th season. It’s a reality show where young and beautiful contestants move to a Spanish villa for two months and attempt to couple up, with the nation’s favourite couple winning £50,000 at the end.
Piers Morgan, one among many of the smug twitterati turning their nose up at the entire show, tweeted: “Here’s why I’m snobby. They really are even more stupid than I thought they were,” before adding “I’m not interested in THICK people.”
Why so closed-minded Piers? Firstly, yes the show might not be providing us with incisive commentary on Brexit, but they’re not all thick. There’s a solicitor and a doctor on the show. But more importantly, who cares? Love Island is near perfect TV. Don’t we have enough musing and commentary on Brexit in our media. Aren’t we utterly saturated with Brexit content? Aren’t we I-want-to-rip-my-hair-out-and-
Love Island comes along as the perfect antidote to my general malaise with hearing more about the DUP, or Arlene Foster, or The Grieve Amendment, or the utterly dull and confusing Backstop that I’m convinced everyone only pretends to understand.
So, Reaction readers, I suggest you don’t make like Mr Morgan and indulge yourself, nay, immerse yourself, in the greatest joy of British media right now. Reaction is a Love Island fan magazine now.
The ‘Island’ (not an island, just a very naff Balearic villa) is filled with 15 under-30s with threateningly chiselled abs and conditioned hair. But we don’t really know anything about them. We know that Hayley is a model, and that she hasn’t the foggiest about Brexit (I for one am jealous). But as for her past? Or her motivations? Or her dreams? Nothing. Nil. The contestants are just floating entities of whom we have no understanding beyond their scattergun interactions on screen. And we get to watch these people attempt to find love under the most distressing of circumstances.
For example, the fact that contestant Kendall was jilted by her fiancé before deciding to go on the show should probably take more a central role in the show’s presentation of her. But that probably-quite-traumatising-po
It strips these people of everything that make them, well, people, and throws them together and challenges them to fall in love. Who on earth could in such circumstances.
When Jack (classic Essex wide boy with teeth brighter than the sun) tells Dani (soon to be the nation’s sweetheart) that he can’t wait to meet her family the moment jars. I’m reminded that Dani has a family, and probably a life, and she probably went to school and has a favourite food and a driving license. But when on screen, these people have none of that.
Love Island is an egalitarian utopia where class and education and belief and background not only don’t matter, but simply don’t even figure on the radar.
A world where the most insight you have into someone’s true nature is based on what colour palette they lean towards while bikini shopping. (Megan – blue, Hayley – pink, Samira – a questionable lime green).
We don’t know anything about them, they don’t know anything about each other. I don’t want to know anything about them.
So what Love Island doesn’t do is give us real portrayals of what it means to fall in love, or provide biting satire on the state of modern relationships. It’s remarkably unrepresentative of what it means to feel romance or friendship. And that’s why it’s so great.
We have to deal with all of this everyday. I have to read about Brexit everyday. I try my best to avoid thinking about Theresa May, but somehow, I still end up doing it everyday. Love Island is so far from reality, the least real reality TV show that’s ever graced our screens. And I love it. Because for just one hour a day I get to watch Hayley not know what Brexit is, and Eyal (a floppy haired North Londoner who has hummus where his brain should be) try to express a basic human emotion and utterly fail.
There are no backstops, maxfac proposals, John Bercows or Northern Rail disputes on Love Island.
All there is are a group of people who I don’t know anything about, or want to know anything about, pretending to fancy each other for 5 minutes of fame and eventually the inevitable career of being a club promoter in obscure Northern towns.
Piers is possibly justified in calling Hayley thick.
Hayley (speaking about Eyal): “he’s a bit deep, asking me questions like ‘what’s my favourite animal and stuff.’” Ok Hayley.
My favourite contestant is Alex. He’s a lovely doctor from Wales who no-one likes. They either don’t like him because he’s a doctor (when Hayley swerved to avoid kissing him in some manufactured snogging gladiatoral contest she said “I just find it a bit awkward with Alex, I think that he’s got a professional job or something.”). Or they don’t like him for the genuinely valid reason that his whole body is a striking shade of literally salmon pink. (Alex if you’re reading this, which I’m sure you aren’t, someone who is that pink shouldn’t wear pink shirts, ever, you can’t pull them off, you look ridiculous).