LOVE Island is the TV reality dating show that’s got office staff all over the country gossiping around the coffee machine.
It’s a stunningly visual blend of the ultimate sunshine holiday and a cast of beautiful young women and men ostensibly out for Summer romance. Honed and toned “stars” like Alex, Jonny and Theo look to hitch up with Montana, Tyla and Jess with individuals voted off on a regular basis. There’s a cash prize for the last man and woman standing but, of course, the regular hype offers glamorous nobodies instant stardom as some sort of iconic role models.
Oh yes, and they often have sex with one another. A kind of unlovely fumbling under monogrammed duvets that apparently show they are a “couple”. It’s a bit like when a magician whips out a handkerchief, messes about with it for a few minutes and then produces a dove.
While it’s definitely a programme that appeals to 20 and 30 somethings across the land (not to mention aspiring 40 somethings with a good memory), I find it both compelling and repulsive at the same time.
Yes, it’s a glorious looking show – typical escapist holiday fare – but, stand slightly further back and it sends out a very worrying message on relationships to teens and younger.
What it says quite clearly is that sex is a kind of passing currency among those who look hot. Don’t bother taking time to build a relationship before hopping into bed with someone, just go for it. Then on to the next attractive person who catches your eye.
Oh, I know I probably sound like a prudish parent terrified of a much-loved son or daughter getting hurt and also having no respect for themselves. Actually, I am, with no apologies.
More worrying, though, is Love Island’s implication that sex isn’t a big deal. That it’s transient rather than any indication of a deeper relationship, of love.
And if you have youngsters watching this, there is a very real concern that this is how they interpret personal relationships – without any depth or genuine long-term caring.