Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

Addicted to (reality) Love

Everybody loves a love story. From Romeo and Juliet to Brad and Angelina (R.I.P, still). From literature’s great lovers to Hollywood’s power couples, we can’t help but gulp down a good romance.

But just why are we so obsessed with watching other people get it on, especially on TV?

I can’t say I’m personally one of the 3.7 million people spending their summer evenings in front of ITV2, but even despite my best efforts, I can’t escape the tales of who’s grafting who and doing what

Dating shows aren’t at all new to our screens. So, whilst my grandparents may tut and shake their heads at my tuning in to Take Me Out, I guarantee they did the same for Cilla’s Blind Date, back in the day. Every generation seems to have its new fix of flirtation, watching as the nation’s finest find, ahem, true “love”.  They range from the traditional, like First Dates, for which we could, perhaps, suspend our disbelief for, to the completely off-the-wall like Naked Attraction.

But none of them seem to have audiences debating, analysing and shouting at the TV more like Love Island. I can’t say I’m personally one of the 3.7 million people spending their summer evenings in front of ITV2, but even despite my best efforts, I can’t escape the tales of who’s grafting who and doing what. My Twitter and Facebook timelines are inundated. My colleagues at work start our conversations every morning with“did you SEE what happened last night?!”. Even my parents are huge fans. In fact, they’re watching it as I write this.

The magic, thrill and confusion of falling in love wrapped in a nice little one-hour package of TV gold

So, as a Love Island cynic, it really is interesting to me how invested we have become as a nation in the “love” lives of a group of tanned, toned singletons. It’s vain and shallow (and thus has been much criticised for its lack of diversity of any kind) and we know it’s not real, right? It can’t be – they’ve only been in there a month and no one really falls in love that fas… BUT JACK JUST TOLD DANI HE LOVED HER!!!

But of course, even I can understand the appeal. It’s hard to look away from the flying sparks and wondering glances. Throw in a love triangle and a pinch of heartbreak and you’ve got a winning combination. The magic, thrill, and confusion of falling in love wrapped in a nice little one-hour package of TV gold.

Love Island – if nothing more – sells us a pipe dream that unites the country in celebrating “love” and all its forms

Maybe we’re trying to live vicariously through them and feel a little bit of that wonder for ourselves, whether it’s happening for us in our real lives or not. Or maybe we secretly just want it all to go tits up. Oh, how we love to laugh at awkward Dr. Alex, cry for (and then scream) at loyal Georgia, and pore over with heart eyes the nation’s newest sweethearts, Dani and Jack.

Do we believe it could ever really work out, for any of them? No. But does it matter? Not really. Much like our unwavering national belief that it was, in fact, coming home, Love Island – if nothing more – sells us a pipe dream that unites the country in celebrating “love” and all its forms. Gives us an excuse to crack a smile and talk about something other than how bloody HOT it is.

So, I say “carry on” to the people of Britain. Keep on dissecting the relationships of strangers like we do behind our friend’s back when she brings her dodgy boyfriend around, and see you at the stands when Jack and Dani’s engagement exclusive and photoshoot with Hello! magazine comes out.

 

 

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