ITV's Love Island has turned me into the worst version of myself
PUBLISHED: 13:52 17 June 2019 | UPDATED: 18:39 17 June 2019
Love Island is, quite simply, appalling, and not even in a funny way. Yet somehow it is utterly addictive. Why?
We all have our secrets and it is time for you to know mine.
I resisted doing this for as long as I could, but a male friend cajoled me into it, telling me I would love it, and now I can't get enough of it. Yes, I'm afraid I have succumbed to the ultimate, seedy, low-rent shame imaginable. A shame so degrading and appalling that, when my 12-year-old son found out about it, he looked at me with disappointed eyes, shook his head and said simply, '"Oh, Mum."
Yes, it's true. I have begun to watch Love Island.
At first, I was horrified that ITV could sink so low.
'Are young people these days really this vacuous?' I asked myself. Is this what millennials are? Self-obsessed, dim-witted whiners who think they are in love after knowing someone for a week?
Apparently so, although of course these perfect specimens of youth (apart from a chunky pharmacist called Anna) can hardly be said to be representative of an entire generation.
These are the fame-hungry ones, with their immaculate hair and bodies, endeavouring to ensnare a member of the opposite sex (there's no LGBT representation in here as far as we know), in order to win a grand prize of £50,000.
This sum will be shared between the winning couple - unless one of them realises in time that they are not in love after all and attempts to steal the lot for themselves.
Few of the contestants seem to realise that this is a game however, all appearing to take their 'couplings' terribly seriously, perhaps because it is impossible to reduce love to a game for any length of time.
Or it may also be because they are generally as thick as planks.
Beauty therapist Amber, for example, has never heard of Cardiff.
Model Maura thinks that she and Tommy have a 'connection' - this when they had apparently known each other for less than an hour.
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Tommy thinks he may have a connection with Maura and 'social media influencer' Molly-Mae. On Sunday night, in the latest 'recoupling' when contestants can ditch the person they're with for another if they choose, Tommy decided to plump for Molly-Mae, as he had known her for longer and because she had essentially guilted him into it. This may have been the most boxer Tommy had thought about anything in his entire life.
A friend and I were discussing the show at the weekend.
"Tommy's the best looking," she said. "I would, but he wouldn't be allowed to speak!"
Other delights in the show include Elma, a sparky eyelash technician from Essex, Danny, a nice but dull model from Hull, Lucie, a troubled surfer who spends every episode crying, Amy, an air hostess and professional victim also fond of a tear, Joe, an affable but easily fooled catering company owner, Curtis, a pleasant but strangely unsexy ballroom dancer and Anton, a cheeky gym owner, who Elma believes has hidden depths (very well hidden, I must say).
There are a couple of brighter, more appealing ones - kindly Yewande lists her occupation as scientist and is using her brain to keep out of trouble, while normal and reasonable Michael is a firefigher who studied biochemistry at university and doesn't put up with the childish nonsense of which the others seem fond.
But here I am, giving my opinions about these ridiculous people as though any of this actually matters! I've even found myself getting quite nasty at times. "Honestly, Anna, put some clothes on, that thong does nothing for you!"
What has happened to me?
In a few week's time, none of this will matter, yet I, and thousands of others, will have expended far more of our interest and brain power on it than on Brexit, the Tory leadership race or anything else in the outside world which may actually have some impact on our lives.
And there is a serious point about Love Island.
Two former contestants have met early deaths, yet lessons from this do not seem to have been learned.
Many of the people in the show are clearly vulnerable and looking for love in all the wrong places.
They actually appear to think that they are in love, when what they are experiencing is little more than a cocktail of loneliness, desperation and neediness, guaranteed to occur when you are separated from the people who really care about you and plonked in the middle of a group of self-serving solipsists in ludicrously revealing swimwear.
What a relief it is to see other people making fools of themselves, rather than doing it ourselves.
But, as my dear, wise, beautiful Nan was always fond of saying. 'It will end in tears.'
To that, all I can say - apart from shame on me for watching it - is that I hope that's the worst that happens this time.