For the past few years, we’ve been tuning into Love Island religiously, despite many tweets complaining about the show’s structure, contestants, and the mental wellbeing of participants. Now, with continuous complaints about the show’s practices and content to Ofcom, I wonder if maybe season 8 should be a curtain call…
The concept of the show is good entertainment, but there are issues that could have been addressed and improvements that could have been implemented by the showrunners that have gone ignored. Is it time to take a break and go back to the drawing board before announcing another season?
When we had some light and engaging drama, bombshells that were dropped and made explosions, we were licking our lips. However, as time has gone on, this season has exposed us to a lot more misogyny, toxic masculinity, and double standards than we bargained for. From the bullying of Tasha by the boys, the slut-shaming of Ekin-Su and the general treatment of the girls, when the boys have acted in ways on the same level or more egregious.
I believe that actions should have consequences and people should be called out for their bad behaviours. However, the boys regularly hang the actions of the ladies over their heads, whilst having amnesia about their own actions. For example, it was okay for Jay to explore his options outside of Ekin-Su, it wasn’t okay for Tasha to do the same whilst coupled with Andrew. When it was okay for Andrew to “lick Coco’s t*t or whatever”, it wasn’t okay for Gemma to have conversations with a boy she showed no interest in. The double standards have been clear!
On top of the draining and constant misogyny, the content of this season has been mixed and some episodes are dragged with conversations the public has no interest in, leaving us with unwanted cliff hangers when things get juicy. It seems that the Unseen Bits episode every week gives the audience more of what we want than the main show. We’ve also seen a lack of challenges as a whole but were forced to endure the return of another gross food challenge. Again, do the showrunners care about what the viewers want?
The recurring problems
Love Island is no stranger to complaints, and recently the treatment of Tasha from Dami and Luca brought in thousands of Ofcom complaints. This in turn got me thinking about previous seasons and how the producers aren’t learning from past mistakes.
Incidents like Season 7’s toxic movie night blowout or the behaviour of Adam Collard in Season 4 that warranted a statement from Women’s Aid are too commonplace. And even though the show should be natural, certain choices from the producers put the contestants under unnecessary scrutiny from their castmates, leading to poor behaviour. Time and time again we see the contestants going to Casa Amor to ‘test’ their relationships, but we’ve seen from this year’s riot that to be tested means to kiss as many people as possible before going back to your person. Maybe the ‘test’ is outdated and there needs to be a new approach that doesn’t display such gross behaviour.
The wellbeing of the contestants when certain challenges are presented is also called into question because context is rarely given leading to ‘bust ups’ that are more uncomfortable to watch. And don’t even get me started on the voting and eliminations. As viewers, we’re encouraged to get on their app and vote, but despite these efforts, the public hardly get a say. The show could be revitalised if our wishes were actually granted from the votes we participate in.
Lastly, my final complaint is that throughout the seasons there has been a race and colourism bias. Casting leads to less people of colour in general, but also their treatment has hardly improved, as most contestants view the world as one of blondes and brunettes, making it difficult for non-white people to have a fair shot. If a show is going to be inclusive, it needs to have cast members that are inclusive as well.
Let’s See What Happens Next
Based on the toxicity presented on screen this latest season, I think the show requires a hiatus for at least a year to really evaluate their practices, similar to what Big Brother did with its Channel 5 move.
The existing format could use some tweaks in order to maximise the viewer experience. As viewers we’re not asking for too much, but maybe infuse some of the fan favourite challenges in a timelier manner, add new ones by consulting new voices with fresh ideas and use the audience reactions when it comes to editing the actual content for the episode.
Additionally, it’d be nice if certain practises like casting people who only believe in hair colour as a notion for attraction were abandoned and there was a new approach in finding entertaining singletons who grasp the premise of building connections with other people.