Colette Sheridan: Spare us from the manufactured dramas of banal Love Island...

Having never watched Love Island before, Colette Sheridan tuned in last week - here's her review...
Colette Sheridan: Spare us from the manufactured dramas of banal Love Island...

The elimination of Shannon Singh from Love Island was described as “sending shockwaves”. Colette Sheridan begs to differ

WHY am I watching Love Island?

I have zilch interest in this TV extravaganza in which total strangers ‘couple up’ and then are slowly eliminated from this piece of telly nonsense.

There are all sorts of non-events, dubbed ‘shockers’ by the tabloids, served up to the viewing public. A spat here, a surprise dumping of a participant there...

It’s all grist to the mill for the would-be celebrities, not to mention the public, some of whom engage in trolling, going so far as to issue death threats to the participants.

It would be laughable were it not for the fact that there have been three suicides associated with the reality programme over the years.

The show has introduced new ‘duty of care protocols’ to help those featured on the programme for life before, during and after it. Included in the package are financial management training and therapy sessions and information regarding both the positive and negative aspects that appearing on the show can have.

Would any sane person take part in something that is deemed to require therapy? Not to mention the fact that the cameras are trained on them all the time. It’s a bit of a Faustian pact, this desire for fame, at all costs.

Apart from the fact that the participants are not exactly intellectually stimulating (they talk about eye contact a lot and go on about ‘spooning’ in bed), the programme purposely appeals to the lowest common denominator factor, doling out banalities and faux dramas in the sun.

The first elimination saw Shannon exiting, which “sent shockwaves across the Mallorcan villa and viewers at home,” according to a tabloid report. Oh yeah? Shockwaves? Isn’t that a bit heavy?

The devastating pandemic garners less sensational coverage than the antics of Brits at their most base. It’s all about hype and histrionics. Would you be bothered?

The only reason I tuned in last week was to see what all the fuss is about, having never watched Love Island before. 

I thought it might be interesting from a vaguely anthropological perspective in the way that Celebrity Big Brother used to be.

But from what I saw of Love Island, I’d rather watch Daniel O’Donnell warbling and charming the ladies. (And I’m no fan of the smooth crooner.)

As it happened, I had one eye on the telly and the other on a book that I’m enjoying. Entitled A Very Strange Man by Kinsale-based writer Alannah Hopkin, it’s an account of the author’s life with her late husband, the writer, Aidan Higgins.

In the end, I switched off the telly because the book won hands down in the interesting stakes. It’s about a true life love story that was sparked as soon as the two writers met each other, introduced by a mutual friend. 

And it struck me that it contains some incidental wisdom about relationships that the Love Islanders, if they read books, could maybe benefit from.

Alannah writes: “Even though we were living together, we still had separate lives, and did not do everything as a couple. I did not want one of those symbiotic relationships where you live in each other’s pockets and become so close that romance goes out the window.

“A little difference and a few mysteries are good. As already agreed, we did not read each other’s mail, nor necessarily share whatever news the post had brought — and this was a time when all serious news arrived in a letter or on a postcard. I did not read his diary, ever, or his notebooks, and in theory he did not read mine. Nor did we reach each other with our work-in-progress, ever. The very idea made me feel queasy.”

A little bit of mystery is a good thing, even if you think you’ve met your soul mate and don’t feel the need to play anything approaching a game.

The Love Islanders don’t do mystery. Flaunting their extremely well-toned bodies in revealing swimwear a lot of the time, they are upfront about what they want and don’t always do a good PR job on themselves, over-sharing and revealing the petty side of their personalities.

These people, desperate for TV exposure and ratings, are not always pleasant. They will do/say whatever is necessary to ensure attention, good or bad.

When death threats can be part of the package, you’re talking seriously sick stuff.

Watching the Love Islanders is like a peep show that is all about cleavage and six packs as well as bedroom antics.

But more telling is the way that it reveals how people deal with boredom. They engage in gossip, bitchery and mini dramas that are, objectively speaking, inconsequential but terribly important to the protagonists.

Love Island? Give me a decent book any day.

Who needs manufactured drama that just doesn’t ring true?

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