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An Alternative Love Island: How the Show Should Actually Be

After years of blissful ignorance, I recently watched the final of the show that nobody can stop talking about: the hit ITV reality show, Love Island. In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past 5 years, Love Island’s concept is essentially placing some of the nation’s most stereotypically beautiful people in one place and watching them fall in love.

Whilst the hour-long show dragged on, I was transported back to the days of being 13, when I had the time and naivety to care about things like what the Kardashians wore and who was going to win The X Factor. Unfortunately, though, I’m not 13 anymore, so for me watching Love Island for the first time was more of a cringe-fest than anything near engaging. Although I recognise it’s captured the hearts of many of my peers (which is perfectly fine), I would like to propose an alternative version for people who aren’t interested in the show’s current format. One that doesn’t involve having to deal with headlines and gossip they don’t care about coming up on their news feeds all year round.

Here’s how Love Island should actually be.

  1. 1. Includes people of all shapes and sizes

    It cannot be denied that Love Island is a show for the fittest bodies around, but in a country where, according to The Guardian, one in three UK teenagers are ashamed of their own bodies, I can’t help but wonder if idolising this unattainable level of ‘beauty’ is doing more harm than good. This is not supposed to be an insult towards the candidates; they should completely own their bodies, but so should everyone else. Exclusively showcasing this one single body image seems to me that the show is suggesting it’s what everyone should be striving for – not only is this not a possibility, but it shouldn’t have to be considered as one. What’s wrong with having a show that includes a range of body types, from ‘extra-small’ to ‘extra-large’, and everything in between? This could be a great opportunity to show young people (the show’s main target audience) that everyone should have the right to own who they are, and you don’t have to be one size or shape to find love.

  2. 2. Covers a wide age range

    Carrying on from this point, just having young people on the show is really limiting the demographic that such a popular show has the potential to reach. Not only that, but it is reinforcing the idea that everyone should strive for one look, which for people past a certain age is to retain an appearance of ‘being young’. This can, again, be damaging for mental and physical health, so why not promote the beauty of all age categories and have a wide range of men and women, ranging from their early twenties to the later stages of life? Producers could draw upon another popular ITV show First Dates for inspiration, which is a great show for highlighting the fact that there’s beauty in everyone, and you’re never too old to find love.

  3. 3. Takes place in the UK

    Another problem I have with this show is in the name; the fact that it takes place on an island, or at least in a remote location far away from the grim weather and daily toils back home. In my opinion, this is why so few of the couples that pair up on the show actually stay together when they return home; love doesn’t just exist within the realms of a fancy villa with a pool and love heart decorations everywhere. This is one of the main reasons why I’ve never really been interested in the show, because why care when it’s probably not going to last? Instead, why don’t producers run the show here, in the UK, alongside the everyday life in which the couples will have to continue living in after the show ends? That way, the candidates will still get the glitz and glam of being on a popular, prime-time TV show, without enduring a culture shock when the cameras stop rolling.

  4. 4. Showcases a range of sexualities and sexual orientations

    Something that surprises me in today’s society, which has at least started moving towards increasing on-screen inclusivity and diversity, is the show’s strong focus on heterosexuality. Not only does it feel very outdated, but it could be restricting even more demographics from their audience. Surely it’s just no longer representative or appropriate of UK television to have a show centred around romance, but that is purely about straight people? Love exists in so many different forms, why is possibly the biggest love-themed show around seemingly incapable of celebrating more of them?

  5. 5. Stops pretending they're all madly in love!

    They’re in there for eight weeks, and most of them change their partners around at least once in that time. So, please forgive me, but I’m really not convinced by the whole performance of them claiming to be madly in love with their final partner. Sure, they might stay together after the show ends, but it just seems a little soon for most of the stuff they claim to be feeling. And don’t get me started on the soundtrack, which clearly reinforces this idea that every couple in there has found ‘the one’, despite the show’s track record suggesting that’s quite unlikely. Yeah, they like each other, and that’s great, but can we all just stop getting ahead of ourselves and recognise that there’s no rush when it comes to falling in love?!

So, there you have it. Although I highly doubt the high-flying TV producers making big money off this show care very much about what I think, these are the things that I believe would make Love Island far more realistic and, in my view, far more interesting. But since when did reality TV reflect real life anyway right?