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26th Jun 2018

Not watching Love Island doesn’t make you any smarter than people who do

Jade Hayden

not watching love island

If you’ve been watching Love Island, congrats to you, join the club, you’re one of the seven million of us who’ve been stuck to that villa from day one.

I start watching Love Island this year because I thought it’d be handy to have the inside intel of whatever was going on in Majorca for work purposes.

Just over two weeks later and I’ve found myself totally invested in Wes and Laura’s disaster of a relationship, scowling every time Adam’s head appears on the screen, and desperately hoping Samira Mighty finds someone to spoon her in the dead of night.

Most evenings I’m rushing home to make sure I’m positioned comfortably on the couch by 9pm. The predominance of Netflix in my life has made sure I’m not an avid television watcher anymore, but for some reason, Love Island is different.

I, like most people, can’t stop watching. And I, like most people, am sick of those who don’t watch the show pretending like they’re better than me.

When the programme kicked off what seems like years ago (it was only 2.5 weeks, shocking), a tweet began circulating around social media declaring that more people had applied for this year’s series of Love Island than Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

The tweet presented this line as a fact, but the connotations were blatantly obvious: people are more interested in stupid things than intelligent things.

Except they’re not though. It’s entirely possible to be interested in academia and slim people falling in love on the telly at the same time.

Also comparing Love Island and college applications is pointless. Love Island is a two months holiday in Spain. College costs a lot of money. No question what one you’d rather thrown in an application for, no matter how many degrees you’ve got to your name.

And yes, the show has it’s flaws – most of them fairly considerable ones at that.

The lads are sleazy, they’re childish, and the majority of them seem to be treating the girls like dirt and pretty much getting away it thanks to the blatant lad banter mentality.

The editing is questionable at best, nobody goes for that many off the cuff ‘chats’, and the idea that you could fall deeply in love with a stranger over the course of a week is fairly unlikely. A few women wearing some bikinis upwards of a size 10 wouldn’t go amiss either.

And then on the other hand, Love Island is total, unmitigated, perfected escapism.

In a world where we’re facing constant oppression, genuine tragedy is around every corner, and the most popular genre on Netflix is true crime, can we really berate anybody for watching a few fame hungry 20-somethings run around a Majorca villa for an hour every night?

It’s ridiculous but it’s incredible TV. It’s mind numbing but it’s addictive. It’s totally stupid that we’re all obsessed with it this much, but we are – and we shouldn’t have to apologise for that either.

After spending nine hours sat in an office, the majority of your evening stuck in traffic on the world’s slowest bus, and the remainder of the day being bombarded by sad and upsetting news, Love Island isn’t just something to switch off to, it’s something to look forward to.

Watching shows like these doesn’t make you stupid.

The target audience for reality TV isn’t anyone who dropped out of school in third year and doesn’t know their 12 times tables. It’s anyone – literally anyone who is even mildly entertained by real people doing questionable things on telly and maybe falling in love at the same time.

And that’s why Love Island has become such a hit. It’s got legit everything any of us could ever want from a solid decent hour of TV – good looking people, sex, and drama. It was always going to be a winner.

And you’re not any smarter than us for not watching it.