Summer is sorted – Love Island is coming Back

Love Island

OMG, how sad am I? The only way I’m taking a holiday during June and July this year is if I’m guaranteed a hotel with a poolside sun-lounger and wifi powerful enough to live-stream this summers must watch UK reality TV series Love Island.

I’m such an avid fan that I’m already really excited at what this series might bring and I already know I’ll be watching every single episode just as I did last year.

Last year the TV show boasted record-breaking viewing figures especially amongst fourteen-year-old girls so why do I find Love Island such compelling television?

As an expert in human behaviour, there is nothing I love more than people-watching.

The enforced isolation of the villa location with its hand-picked young, single, attractive residents is an exciting opportunity to watch romantic relationships unfold in double-quick time with an intensity that rarely happens in the real world.

Love Island is literally a hothouse of romantic potential. It’s like watching relationships on steroids!

In real life, most people are busy balancing their affairs of the heart while at the same time juggling the more mundane demands of earning a living. This isn’t the case for the participants of Love Island. All the winning couple, who get crowned at the end of eight weeks, has to do is find a mate; compete with other love rivals; win their chosen one’s heart; resist temptation; mutually fall in love and ultimately be the most appealing couple to win the majority of the public’s votes.

Phew! No stress there!

Except the course of true love never did run smooth and this is especially true on Love Island.

The show’s concept ensures friendships and romantic liaisons are forged in a matter of days and weeks instead of weeks and months. Although on the surface it looks as though the contestants just get to hang around the villa’s pool in their swimwear the show’s producers throw in disruptive interventions like date nights, hair-brain team-games and even a lie detector session to add extra spice and potential chaos into the mix.

There is opportunity a-plenty for flirting, coupling-up, disappointments, trysts, betrayals and heartache.

In the real world, most relationships are played out between people in privacy and the way people behave with each other, handle conflict for instance, and the things they say to each other are not always easily interpreted or evaluated. This is especially true as many people resist confiding in their friends or family what is happening in their relationship for fear of betraying their partner or being judged or blamed.

Relationship rules aren’t taught to young people so that they know what to expect when they start dating. We all have to learn about relationships through our individual experience of how to behave, and we also learn along the way how we want people to act with us in return.

Some relationship lessons can feel pretty tough so that by the time many people find their true love they feel as though they have graduated from the School of Hard Knocks.

Love Island is the perfect opportunity for discussions between groups of friends, families with pre-teen and teenage children and even couples themselves to watch how the contestants behave with each other and assess how they feel about the behaviour they are watching.

I know in the UK there was a lot of debate last summer during the airing of Love Island Series 4 when many families decided to ban their teenage children from watching the programme as they thought it would be a bad influence on them.

I’ve never held the opinion that keeping our children in ignorance keeps them safe and many of the more controversial aspects of the programme provided the greatest opportunities for the most meaningful discussions.

Issues raised by the Love Island series don’t just go away for our children by us banning them watching a prime time TV show.

Our young people live with the reality of casual sex and how society still judges girls more negatively than boys who have multiple partners.

Young people are curious about aesthetic surgery and having the perfect face and body and yet being beautiful, lithe and slim is no guarantee of happiness.

Being subtly told that it is your fault you made your partner hurt you or abandon you can feel confusing but its also ‘gaslighting’ which once you have witnessed it is easier to recognise as the abuse it is.

Having outwardly the most perfect life can be smoke and mirrors to hide despair, depression and worse. There are lessons even from some of the tragic past-contestants of Love Island for us all to keep talking with and keep checking in with the people we love.

All of this and so much more happened on Love Island and will do again as the microcosm of our modern world plays out under the hot Spanish summer sun.

I recommend you ditch any TV Snobbery and tune in come June. Love Island is annoying, frustrating and often shallow but all human emotion is there. There is a vulnerability in all the contestants as there is in all of us just below the surface. Some hide it better than others, and that’s what makes it all so fascinating.