The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
I’m what you could call an untreated reality T.V. addict. I love watching the Kardashians shake their salad bowls and stare at their phones, and the most recent season of Bachelor in Paradise was the highlight of my summer. But the reality dating show that makes my head spin the most? Love Island.
Love Island is one of the most fascinating social experiments I’ve ever witnessed. I personally like to watch the U.K and Australia versions of the show, and the dramatic antics fueled by sexual tension and semi-scripted theatrics keep me clicking “watch next episode” until I’ve chewed through a whole season in one night.
I love the concept of the show because it’s designed to mix and mingle different couples until the best possible matches are made. Rather than the twelve-to-one model of the Bachelorette, Love Island gives everyone opportunities to explore different partners. This allows for more juicy gossip and fights, but also gives us an important look into the inner-workings of the male and female psyche.
One phenomenon that the show sheds light on is the power of the ‘shiny new object’. The show is designed to test contestants’ commitment by introducing new men and women every week- and sadly, it often proves how quickly people can lose interest when a flashy new option is presented to them.
Physical chemistry is one of the most important parts of a thriving relationship, and it’s interesting to watch the successes and failures of couples who have sex versus those who hold out. It’s devastating to see the heartbreak that results for couples who fool around too soon, and it’s equally disappointing to see partners give up on each other when one person doesn’t want to have sex yet.
On Love Island couples share a bed whether they’re into each other or not, so the opportunity is always there and creates a dynamic that can be difficult to navigate, especially during the early days of the season.
When things start to heat up and get more serious in the final days of the show, many contestants notoriously back out at the last minute, putting their fear of commitment on display for an international audience. Some of the couples who appear to be fully invested in pursuing one another seem to always have a change of heart when they realize an actual romance is materializing.
However, we can’t blame the mishaps and misfortunes solely on the Instagram models and personal trainers who come on the show searching for love. On the first episode of each season, the first round of pairs are formed by a simple selection process based on looks- women line up in a row and partners are chosen on the basis of physical appearance.
So, the show is inherently a platform that supports superficiality and non-monogamous dating. But that’s what makes good television, right? We’ll never know how much of these shows is scripted, and how much influence producers have. Should people be rewarded $50,000 for managing not to cheat on each other? Should the dress code on the first day still be bikinis and stilettos? Again, I don’t know the answer to these questions, but I do know it makes good entertainment- and that will likely never change.