So, I'm watching Love Island. I'm hooked. I'm in it for the long haul; the whole seven weeks. I don't know what happened but I found myself tuning in and, guess what, I love it.
I'd refrained from watching the programme when it's been on in the past thinking, "Jess, you're better than this. Get back onto Netflix where you're safe, where it's socially acceptable to be". But you know what? I dipped my toe into the proverbial pool and now I'm fully submerged. I've fallen deeper than Kem and Amber (yep; Love Island metaphor there, be prepared for more) and I don't even care.
It's not a guilty pleasure either. A guilty pleasure alludes to something you should be ashamed of, but I'm not ashamed. I'll unabashedly tell anyone who listens about how great it is, who my favourite contestants are (Kem & Chris, obviously - and lately, Montana), how 'muggy' someone is being, or how hilarious a certain challenge is.
I'm not alone here either it seems. Not only is this years show pulling 1.6 million viewers each night (an all time high for the series) but it looks as though Big Brother is even failing to compete with the show. So what is it about Love Island that draws such a dedicated and diverse fan base? And why has the show been such a smash hit this year?
It's an escape
Love Island is a complete and total form of escape. My life is pretty drama free, so turning on ITV2 and living vicariously through the gossip on the show is great. The contestants and what I imagine to be their way of lives is foreign to me; I don't really party, I'd never heard the term 'graft' before and I don't wear makeup when I sunbathe. I know as little about these people as Chris knows about the solar system (earth only has one moon, mate, come on). Which leads me onto my next point.
It's a way to feel better about yourself
My colleague sent me an article on The Telegraph the other day entitled, 'six reasons why clever people like love island'. The piece talks about various reasons why intelligent people like the show but fails to take one thing into account; it makes clever people - no, scratch that, just people in general - feel clever, by making the contestants look dumb.
I'll give these guys the benefit of the doubt and assume a great deal of editing goes into the show to pick out their stupidest moments and amplify them. This kind of thing makes me feel great about the fact that I know how to spell 'Jason Statham' (lol Jason Staythumb was hilarious though am I right?).
Yeah, ok, it's sexy
The contestants are a good looking bunch; if you like full faces of makeup, skimpy bikinis, muscles and lots of hair product. This would definitely be the thing that made the show low brow for me but somehow, I don't even notice it. I like that the girls are unashamed of themselves, that they proudly flaunt their fake boobs, confess to other surgery or talk animatedly about the benefits of Botox for anti-wrinkling (I did a google of this (who am I?) - maybe Chloe is the smart one here). In a weird way I respect their confidence.
I like that literally every other shot of Montana is of her snacking; that I have yet to hear a girl talk negatively about their figure (even though they come in all shapes and sizes).
One of my favourite things about the show is that it reminds me of being about 13. Remember when you were in primary school and were thrown together with a bunch of kids you didn't actually choose to be around? The Love Island cast reminds me of this; trying to form relationships with people they didn't actually choose to be around - a strange concept for a dating show.
Their arguments on the show are petty and the is gossip rife. It's just funny, and has real a likeness to the way things would fly around the school playground. It's relatable to practically every person in the UK, no matter which region you come from.