LOVE ISLAND: what’s new? – Emi S

You’ve broken your new year’s resolutions, you’re feeling the January blues, and you’re already bogged down with work. I, myself, am sitting here, wondering how three of my teachers have managed to correspond setting essays all due for Monday. But all hope is not lost… what better way to cheer yourself up than watching a number of mildly successful Instagram influencers have a nice relaxing holiday soaking up the summer sun? Love Island returned to our screens on Monday for its winter edition, but what’s changed? 

First off, Laura Whitmore is no more. Instead, she’s migrated to Spotify where she runs a true crime podcast with Love Island’s beloved narrator, Iain Stirling. She’s been replaced by Maya Jama, a presenter for the BBC, who made quite the entrance by being airlifted into the South African villa via helicopter. However, inevitably, incriminating tweets have resurfaced, leading many to question her new position on the show and whether it’s too late to bin her off. 

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Scrutiny of Love Island’s unethical nature has been ongoing for years at this point, particularly emphasised by the deaths of two previous contestants as well as a previous host due to their time in the villa. After coming under fire from Women’s Aid, Love Island has set in place new regulations. The contestants’ friends and families will no longer be able to post on their behalf on social media, and all Islanders have received guidance and training on “mutually respectful behaviour in relationships”. In addition, contestants will need to complete a minimum of eight therapy sessions after the show. To be honest, the fact that such regulations are only being introduced now speaks for the damaging effects the show has on the contestants’ lives – proving that ITV will risk it for entertainment’s sake. And of course, for its money-making machine.

Finally, if you want to get a sense of the show without having to watch 95 minutes of mind-numbing “chat”, some notable contestants include: 

  • a James Bond actress, who can be seen in the background of one of Daniel Craig’s final scenes in No Time To Die
  • a Tik Tok farmer who poses shirtless with sheep
  • Love Island’s first partially blind contestant
  • someone who “could literally fall in love with a chair”
  • someone who won’t date a girl with feet bigger than a size 5
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In conclusion, Winter Love Island is a bit dead, the formula is the same as it has always been, and the first episode was more than a struggle to get through. Safe to say I won’t be making another one of these.

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