Whether you watch it or not, when Love Island lands, you can’t avoid the drama from the villa. It’s everywhere. But whilst the show is all about finding ‘the one’, the legacy of the isle of love is marred by tragedy.
The passing of Caroline Flack, whilst not directly related to the show, really shone the light on the welfare of the islanders, which was originally bought into question after the tragic deaths of Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis.
The current series, is the first full series since the be kind movement took flight and the shows protection of contestants in regard to their mental health and wellbeing is said to have been stepped up. Lo and behold, on just the first week of the new series, Love Island took to it’s social media platforms to release statement reminding people to think before they post, following strong reactions to Chloe’s arrival in the villa.
Initially I was impressed. But then I got to thinking. Is the show being a little hypocritical? Does the whole format need a re-think if they are truly going to practice what they preach and be kind?
With the show designed for entertainment, it compromises the protection of the contestants and opens them up to a whole new world; one which some will deal with really well and some won’t at all.
Let’s look at the challenges – already this week, we’ve learnt that PE teach Hugo has had sex in a road, and kissed 10 girls on a night out. Some may say, the revelation of these secrets is bad enough, but following the episode, the school Hugo was placed with, swiftly released a statement saying he would not be returning post villa. So now not only have his secrets been aired, but his career prospects have taken a knock too. Ok, so he might not need to go back to teaching but that kind of public statement and judgement is bound to affect even the most resilient of people.
I understand the islanders have agreed for these confessions to be aired, however, it’s one thing to share that with a production team, and another entirely to have them aired for all to hear and judge.
Another moment that stood out during the first week for the wrong reason was during the first beer pong game of the series. Brad was dared to kiss the girl he fancied the most, followed by the girl he fancied the least. Is this a ‘kind’ challenge? I think not. Faye seemed to handle it with a large helping of feistiness, but to be singled out like that in front of everyone is bound to have hurt.
Talking of being singled out in front of everyone, watching poor Hugo being completely left out in the Line of Booty challenge was not entertainment. It was humiliating and awkward and certainly not kind.
Those are just a couple of examples, and there have been more in these first 12 days, and I’m sure even more to come.
In previous series, one of the most potentially damaging challenges has been the headline game, where real headlines, articles or tweets are shared based on the events in the villa. We’ve all seen how much of an impact this has, and if we’re honest, I’m sure we all love the drama, but this game penetrates the island bubble and reveals some of the unkind rumours waiting for them on the outside. I wonder if they will keep this challenge in this time round, is it necessary? No. Is it kind? No.
On the surface, the idea of the show is great. As someone who loves love, watching people get the feels, get giddy and genuinely find connections with people is lovely. And obviously, love isn’t all roses and happiness, but the concept pitches women against women, in competition for the men and vice versa, which isn’t kind.
Of course, one of the biggest factors for islanders is the public reaction, trolls who get some kind of kick out of puling apart someone else, and there’s not much a production can do about them sliding into their DMs, but I feel their responsibility lies in how these people are portrayed. Editing plays a huge part in creating villains, building drama and developing ‘storylines’. Is everything really necessary to show? Is everything really as it seems? And should we feel bad for finding it so entertaining?
I, for one, do hope it continues – sometimes the summer of love is just what we need, but I do think Love Island needs to rethink its final destination, and head to kinder shores before it gets a one way ticket off our screens.