Love Island cash-cow gets squeezed again
ITV has decided to tackle the long-running debate of what to have on TV in February by bringing back interactive cyber-bully machine Love Island.
They've found another 12 people, each and every one of them perfectly crafted and guaranteed to be totally devoid of any personality or any interesting qualities.
They probably all love travel, food and dogs. Nice, simple statements that guarantee you'll appeal to everybody. It's a good opening line when you're begging to be popular.
I suppose the reason people like me get so angry about Love Island is that it makes me realise how out of touch I am from mainstream society. I feel like the only person who can see that it's just one giant advert.
The whole thing is really cleverly done. It's like they've tried to tick all the boxes of how to make money: have sponsored outfits, make those outfits associated with paradise, have clips with those outfits go viral online, create a sponsored app for people to download, have cute props that can be sold in shops, get your product placement in every shot, go to an advert break every time something happens so people will go on Twitter...
It's genius, but it's a bit like Girls Aloud. Their songs made a lot of money but you knew straight away that they were only in it for the money. They were following a script, a mathematical formula for how to become rich.
That's the thing with Love Island. Each and every series is exactly the same. The "islanders" are all clones of previous contestants. The plot twists are all exactly the same. Each and every fight has been either scripted or edited to make it look as dramatic as possible, so that people can go online and start bullying one of them.
Even the scheduling is exactly the same. The first episode, the final, and any big moments start at 9pm on a Sunday. This doesn't happen by accident: it's finely crafted by experts.
Personally I find such predictable repetition incredibly boring but people don't agree.
This series does at least have one change: Caroline Flack has been replaced by Laura Whitmore. I like Laura: like most of the contestants on the show, she has absolutely no personality. She's a clean sheet, totally innocent. She wouldn't dare have an opinion on anything because if it's interesting then it would distract attention from the sponsors. She knows the formula. She's good.
It's not a complete surprise to me that Love Island is popular. If you look at the way people talk about it, it's exactly the same as the way people used to get excited about EastEnders in the 1980s.
EastEnders was designed to look like the average British family home at the time. Love Island looks like what everybody thinks their holiday to Magaluf was like. It's literally EastEnders for millennials: lots of forced drama, but now with hashtags, influencers and apps. Laura Whitmore should be introduced as the villa Airbnb host.
And just like EastEnders, Love Island will go out of fashion one day. The world of fashion is very fickle so I'd expect that day to come very soon. It will then be replaced by something which follows the same script, but with a different theme: my money's on it being an environment-based reality TV show.
Until then, every time ITV needs to grab young people's attention, they just give the Love Island cash cow another squeeze. The millennials will come running and retweet the videos, give their opinions on the fake dramas and buy all the merch. And if that's what makes young adults happy, why would I stop them?