Love Island For Dummies: A Beginner's Guide To Recoupling, Getting Mugged Off And Everything In Between

If you're a newcomer to the ITV2 reality show, here's everything you need to know.

If you didn’t watch Love Island last summer, the chances are you were left out of every conversation down the pub and had no idea what most people on your Twitter timeline were on about.

Even though you missed riding the wave of a cultural phenomenon here in the UK, the upcoming new series brings with it an opportunity to finally get on board.

But coming into the show on its fifth series, you might be worried about not understanding all of what goes on - which is where we come in.

Ahead of Love Island’s return to ITV2 on June 3, allow us to bring you up to speed on “mugging off”, “getting pied” and everything in between...

What is the basic premise of Love Island?

At its core, Love Island is a dating show, with a reality twist - think Big Brother meets Take Me Out.

The show sees a bunch of single lads and lasses move into a luxury villa in Mallorca in the hope of finding love. We watch over the course of eight weeks as they get to know one another, flirt, banter, argue, have their hearts broken or find true love, and all that comes with it.

How do people leave the Island?

The show works on the basis of being in a couple. Contestants must be in a couple to stay in the villa - whether they’re a real romantic couple or two singletons who decide to pair up to avoid being dumped from the show.

At frequent points during the series, there will be what is called a “recoupling”. This gives Islanders the chance to swap partners or, for those who have found love but are coupled up with someone else, a chance to finally be in a team together.

Anyone who is left single at the end of the recoupling ceremony has to then leave the Island.

Sometimes, there will be a public vote for everyone to pick their favourite Islanders or couples, with those scoring the least votes facing their fellow contestants, who then have to decide who goes home.

What role does host Caroline Flack play?

Caroline introduces all the contestants during the first episode, as well as hosting the live final and spin-off show Aftersun, which airs on Sunday nights after the main show.

On top of that, she also pops up in the villa at certain points during the series – either to reveal a shock recoupling, or to spring another shocker on the Islanders.

She’s not there for every recoupling (sometimes these are even done by text), as they do not take place in a live environment like the evictions used to on Big Brother. There’s also no exit interview when someone leaves the Island.

Who is the narrator?

What makes Love Island stand out from other reality shows is its narrator – comedian Iain Stirling – whose quips and gags often rip the piss out of the contestants.

Rather than being impartial like Marcus Bentley on Big Brother, his style is more similar to Dave Lamb’s on Come Dine With Me, and quite frankly, the show wouldn’t be the same without him.

Are there people who join throughout the series?

Love Island usually kicks off with 11 or 12 contestants (sometimes they may put more women in than men, meaning one of them gets dumped during the first recoupling). However, many more contestants are introduced as the series goes on.

Last year, a whopping 38 contestants appeared over the course of the series, with many of them sent in to test the loyalties of the existing couples.

Often, newbies will enter with the chance to take someone they like out on a date, regardless of whether they are with someone else - this can lead to tension and accusations of being “muggy” (more on that later).

Even if you are voted off, it doesn’t always mean that’s the end of a contestant’s Love Island journey, as eliminated contestants have been known to return later down the line in a bid to mix things up.

Why are they allowed mobile phones on the Island?

While the Islanders are largely cut off from the outside world, they are given a phone to use on the Island. However, this is a special device, which only allows them to take pictures and send messages to one another.

They will also be delivered important messages from producers - like if there’s going to be a recoupling, or if they’ve been selected to go out on a date – which is why “I’ve got a text!” has become one of the show’s most famous catchphrases. Speaking of which...

What’s all the lingo about?

Over the course of the last four series, Love Island has developed its own language, with the contestants using a series of words and phrases to describe what they get up to.

Allow us to break them down for you...

Grafting (eg. “He’s been grafting on me”): Another way of saying you’re trying to seduce someone or work your way into their affections.

Muggy (eg. “He’s mugged me right off” / “He’s being muggy”): An Islander might mug someone off by flirting with someone else or behaving in a way that makes the other person in the couple look stupid. Being “muggy” is when you threaten to turn someone else into a mug.

Melt (eg: “He’s such a melt”): Usually used to describe a boy who is particularly weak-willed, or to describe a boy who is in love with their other half to an over-the-top degree.

Pied off (eg: “She’s been pied”): Essentially getting dumped, but in an embarrassing way that might leave the dumpee with egg (or, indeed, pie) on their face.

Salty (eg: “Stop being salty”): Used to mean aggressive, bitchy or having attitude. Could also be used to mean looking attractive

Stick it on her / him (eg: “I’m going to stick it on her”): Another way of saying making a move on someone.

Crack on (eg: “I’m going to crack on with him”): Used to mean wooing or getting to know someone with the intention of making something happen romantically between them.

Snakey (eg: “He’s being snakey”): If someone is behaving in a shady way, perhaps by trying to make a move on someone who is already in a couple.

100% my type on paper (eg: “She’s 100% my type on paper”): Used to describe someone you really, really fancy on first impression.

Put my eggs in one basket (eg: “I like him but I don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket”): Essentially the act of committing to someone, or hedging your bets that things with that person will turn out well.

Punching (eg: “He’s punching with her”): Short for “punching above their weight”, meaning that person is less attractive than the other person in the relationship.

Sort (eg: “She’s a proper sort”): Someone attractive.

Doing bits (eg: “Did you do bits last night?”, see also: The Do Bits Society): Used to describe getting past first base.

Do they really show sex on TV?

A lot is made about Love Island contestants having sex, but the reality is that while it does happen, it’s only a small part of the show.

Even though we do see couples getting down to business, there’s nothing explicit about it, with just a moving duvet or a curling toe being shown on screen. Often, it’s also set to ridiculous music or Iain’s hilarious commentary, meaning watching it usually feels funny rather than seedy.

What are they all actually competing for?

As well as the chance of finding love, there’s also a £50,000 cash prize up for grabs.

Ahead of the final, the public votes for their winning couple (there’s usually four left at the end), with the pair chosen then facing the ultimate decision – they can either decide to split the cash or try and steal it all for themselves.

If they both decide to share, they both get a £25,000 share, while if only one decides to steal, they take the whole lot home. However, if they both steal, they lose every penny.

To date, all four of the winning couples have decided to split, but this could all change depending on this year’s Islanders.

Love Island launches at 9pm on Monday June 3 on ITV2.

Yewande Biala

Love Island Contestants 2019


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