For a long time, Love Island fans have wondered whether the show is scripted. With new catchphrases being hammered home to us every year, conversations that seem staged and syntaxes that just don’t feel natural, watching the show is often jarring purely for its confliction between reality and what seems like fiction.
Last night was no different, when during a recoupling that saw our favourite contestant - Yewande - dumped from the villa, four of the boys used the exact same line, despite it not being true for most of them.
‘I would like to couple up with this girl because ever since she walked in to the villa I knew we had an instant connection and it was special,’ started Tommy Fury when choosing Molly-Mae. A moment later we saw Michael give his speech for Amber, ‘I want to couple up with this girl because from the second I walked in to the villa I knew we had an instant connection, even if I did have to prove it to her first.’
Then came Tom choosing Maura, ‘I would like to couple to couple up with this girl because from the moment I set eyes on her there was an instant attraction and I’ve enjoyed almost every moment I’ve spent with her since.’
Finally, Jordan rounded us off with the marginally more unique start, ‘I want to couple up with this girl because before I entered the villa I thought she was an absolute rocket, she’s got an unbelievable body and from the first moment that we met we had a unique natural bond that I think is rare.’
Let’s investigate this shall we. Tommy was pursuing Lucie when he met Molly-Mae, and while he definitely seemed to fancy her after their hot-tub date, he also went on to pursue Maura soon after.
Similarly, when Tom went on his first date with Maura it not only seemed awkward but he then dedicated all of his time to Elma, telling her that he wanted to get to know her and seemingly having a difficult time deciding between the two women. The only couple that did look to have some sort of instant connection is Jordan and Anna, but even then Anna showed reluctance in falling for someone too quickly.
But the kicker really comes with Michael, who literally did not pursue Amber until a week after they had already met. In fact, the outside world was convinced for that entire time that he fancied his initial partner Yewande, although she ultimately friend-zoned him. And hours before Michael told Islanders he was intrigued by Amber, she had been telling Yewande she couldn’t wait for someone to come in that she fancied.
The thing is, Michael and Amber are clearly the most compatible couple in the villa so far. They deal with any relationship issues in a healthy way and clearly have a strong bond. If anything, their ability to develop a friendship first, take stock of their surroundings and get to know everyone in the villa has served their relationship well. So why pretend that it was instant? It seems like Love Island pass the same script around every Islander during a recoupling, even when it really does not make sense.
Michael and Amber have fast become fan-favourites...
So, is it the islanders that are obsessed with having an instant connection, or the producers? Is it just that the islanders don’t have access to clocks so think everything is instant, when it’s literally been a week, or, is the show peddling the false idea that in order for a love to be true and all-consuming, it has to be that love at first sight, soul-mate kind of love?
The first time I saw my first love, moving into the university building we shared, I almost physically balked. That’s a bit strong, but really, I was not attracted to him in the slightest. It wasn’t just the fact he wasn’t my type physically – and was wearing an (unintentionally) oversized patterned cardigan(?!) – it was his whole vibe, he seemed at first to be overpowering and if anything, a bit try hard.
Cut to one week later, I’m kissing him in a club, clearly suffering from exposure after seven days of 24/7 contact. We started dating, cooled it off a week later, and after a month of being just friends dated again – soon to become exclusive. Our relationship, which ended up lasting near three years, was clearly not the result of an instant connection, and yet it was the most fulfilling and valuable relationship I had for years.
In the real world, instant connections aren’t necessarily a thing, are they? You might meet someone and have a great conversation, or good banter, but do you ever really instantly feel like you’ve met your soul-mate within the second you’ve met them? Inadvertently, Love Island basically answers this question with a resounding no.
The entertainment of Love Island comes from its messiness. The love triangles, the doubts, the confliction of fancying two people at the same time. These are the factors that make Love Island ITV2’s most popular TV show, so to roll out the same line once a week about them all being instantly obsessed with each other – when we’ve literally seen with our own eyes that they weren’t – seems like a jarring way to force a rom-con style narrative that just doesn’t apply.
PSA to all future islanders: it’s okay to have a 7-day connection, or a 4-week connection, just have it right before a recoupling so we can continue enjoying the drama