Every night at 9pm for the past few weeks, I have sat in front of my TV in my pyjamas with a warm beverage of some kind, awaiting Iain Stirling’s voice to announce the start of my latest obsession: Love Island.
For those of you
with lives who don’t know what Love Island is, it is basically a reality TV show which involves a group of single people being stuck in a villa in Spain together with the aim of “finding love”.
Even if you have never watched it, anyone with a Twitter account is probably sick to death of the hashtag #LoveIsland taking over their feed every weeknight.
I have never watched Big Brother or any other reality show that just watches people interact with one another in a small environment, the typical result being a programme of arguments and sex (or a combination of the two) amidst inane conversations about their most important topic: themselves.
It’s predictable and stupid and mind-numbing – yet here I am, every night, eyes glued to the screen. This isn’t my usual kind of entertainment; I prefer reading to movies most of the time, and if I am watching TV, it’s usually a fictional series with a clever pot, well-written dialogue and developed characters (Game of Thrones, Mad Men, and Girls are recent favourites). Watching a group of people talk to each other for an hour about absolutely nothing whilst sitting in swimsuits and smoking should be my idea of entertainment hell.
I confess: I am too invested in the melodrama of these people to stop. But it’s MTV double, Ex On The Beach, holds no appeal whatsoever to me. What is it that makes me watch this show over any of the others that are literally following the exact same format?
I reckon that it’s a case of FOMO, or the Fear Of Missing Out. Everyone online is talking about, everyone in work is talking about, the girl who does my nails, the people behind me in the queue at Tesco, some randomer I walk past in the street whose conversation I only catch a snippet of… It’s all about what happened last night on Love Island.
We’re fascinated by who kissed who, who got kicked off, or who the new islander is. The phrases said over and over by these people who have the conversational range of planks of wood, are now entering our conversations. Is someone our type on paper? Have we been mugged off? Did you know that Marcel is from Blazin’ Squad? These are inside jokes that have saturated our speech, and although we use them mockingly, didn’t we do the same with ‘YOLO’ and ‘bae’? We made fun of it and then suddenly, it was just another part of our everyday language.
So maybe it’s a subconscious worry that I’ll miss out on conversations if I don’t know what they’re talking about. There’s also the fact that it feels almost like a community. Yes, I am in most nights watching tv, but so is everyone else. We can be lazy and antisocial but it doesn’t feel it because you know that so many other people are doing the same thing as you at the same time. You’re not missing out on anything, because Love Island is where everyone is.
Or perhaps I’m overthinking it. After work, it’s nice to sit down for an hour and not have to fully engage in anything. It’s quite pleasant to let idiotic chatter wash over you and take a break from your life to watch other people cause drama for the sake of entertainment.
I’m not sure, but I can tell you one thing: you’ll know where to find me at nine o’clock tonight.