What do the London Olympics 2012, the 2018 World Cup football team and this year’s series of Love Island all have in common? They all brought us together as a nation, providing unmissable TV and instilling a sense of cohesion unlike anything that has come before, well, you know what I mean.
Love it or hate it, Love Island has provided some of the most addictive viewing that we have beheld in quite some time.
The Appeal of Love Island
Love Island was Britain’s most talked-about TV show this past summer, picking up a Broadcast award for best entertainment programme and revered as the most-watched in its programming slot for six consecutive nights. But why?
What was it about Love Island in particular that had so many of us hooked? Simple: it fulfilled one of our very basic human needs: love.
For an hour a day we could escape the humdrum of our own vanilla existence and watch the tinder ignite as people fell into and out of lust.
But why are we so influenced by TV shows about love? Because we are all just big writhing balls of anxiety on a perma search for our happy ever after. And we will take our serotonin fix in whatever form it comes.
The Reach of Love Island
Whilst Love Island is targeted at millenials, its reach has gone much further. It has transcended class, race and gender. From the comfort of our own sofas we have been able to partake in that very human of past times: voyeurism. We have watched burgeoning romances blossom and different social classes, races and sexes interact all under the guise of ‘falling in love’. It was Planet Earth (without David Attenborough) and the episode was Humans.
Up and down the country it provided us with pub chat, dinner table discussion and water cooler conversation. We conflabbed about the ins and outs (and what the?) of gaslighting, what it means to be ‘mugged off’ and who the best couple was. We consciously and subconsciously analysed the raw, real emotional interaction of 38 humans.
It is this very reason why Big Brother, first aired 18 years ago, was (and continues to be) such a big hit. We humans are naturally social creatures, we are also intrinsically curious, and watching social bonds being created and broken is car-crash TV for us - we want to look away, but we have to keep watching.
And whilst we were merely objective observers, we could all connect on some level with at least one of the contestants during an all too familiar scene: bumping into an ex, being jealous of a partner or having a squabble.
Love Island Love
The argument that it’s all just vacuous viewing, a parade of peacocks lowering the nation’s self worth is rubbish.
Love Island has been a welcome relief from the tedium of regular politics (who could have predicted that a Westminster whatsapp group would be set up by MPs to discuss the show?), it brought the nation back together again.
But the real reason Love Island is just so fabulous is simple: despite all the onscreen hating, the in-fighting, the out-fighting and the tension, we all are eternal optimists at the end of the day - we are all simply rooting for that one aspect of our shared humanity - love.
So if you're already missing those summer vibes, why not ease your emotional suffering by treating yourself to one of our personalised water bottle decals (get 25% off with discount code AFTERSUN25) and pretend you’re still at the villa.