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An idiot’s guide to Love Island - just what is re-coupling?

PUBLISHED: 17:33 20 July 2018 | UPDATED: 17:33 20 July 2018

Adam Collard, Hayley Hughes, Jack Fincham, Kendall Rae-Knight, Niall Aslam, Samira Mighty, Dr. Alex George, Dani Mas Dyer, Wes Nelson, Laura Anderson and Eyal Booker.

This photograph is (C) ITV

Adam Collard, Hayley Hughes, Jack Fincham, Kendall Rae-Knight, Niall Aslam, Samira Mighty, Dr. Alex George, Dani Mas Dyer, Wes Nelson, Laura Anderson and Eyal Booker. This photograph is (C) ITV

©ITV Plc

No idea what Love Island is all about? It might be too late to immerse yourself in the latest series, but you can definitely prepare yourself for the next - or at the very least be able to hold a semi-lucid conversation with your offspring about where they’ve been disappearing to at 9pm every night.

Sam Bird has been dumped from the Love Island villa. Leo Holden/©ITV PlcSam Bird has been dumped from the Love Island villa. Leo Holden/©ITV Plc

You either love it or you hate it. Or, you love it but you would never, ever, ever, ever dare to admit to it.

I’m not talking about Marmite – though the same applies – but rather Love Island. ITV2’s Love Island – the show where a raft of pretty 20-somethings with wildly popular Instagram accounts, perfect Colgate smiles and oodles of charisma shack up with each other in a villa in Majorca. Cue eight weeks of sun, sex, snark, shocks and social media domination.

Of course, then there’s the ultimate goal of finding love – or winning fame and £50,000 if you want to be a cynic about it.

This year’s fourth instalment of the exasperating/entertaining (delete as appropriate) emotional rollercoaster will draw to a grand conclusion on Monday – bringing those wild eight weeks to an end.

You either clicked off this link as soon as I said “Love Island” or you’re still here. If you are, you’re a little curious aren’t you? You’ve got to be. I won’t tell anyone. What I will do, however, is delve into what Love Island is all about and see if we can decipher why more people applied for the dating show with a twist than to Cambridge or Oxford University.

10 things to know about Love Island

Coupling up: So, first things first, how does this show work? Well it all begins with a bunch of single ladies entering the villa before, one by one, the boys enter like moths to the flame or lambs to the slaughter. The boys stand before the girls. Hope in their heart. Forced smile on their face. Ego flimsier than ever.

The girls then can step forwards if they want to couple up with a particular boy – cue ego bigger than ever or tail between the legs, dependent on whether the ladies step forwards or not. But now, this is where the balance of power shifts. The boy then may choose who he wishes to couple up with. Now the girls have it all to lose, or gain…This coupling-up practice continues throughout the series. The balance of power forever shifts between boys and girls each time while it can grow increasingly brutal and unforgiving with an uneven split between the sexes – meaning someone can get dumped. Think getting picked for sports at school, that was traumatic, right? Except in this case, the whole practice is unfolding in front of a television audience of millions and relates to desirability as opposed to sporting talent.Yikes.

The Flack attacks: Yes, when Caroline Flack – as lovely as she is – shows up via a big cinematic entrance complete with a million different camera angles and incredibly dramatic music (seriously, they really go all in), it’s bad news. It could be a recoupling. It could be to deliver results of the public vote in which a couple will get dumped. It could be some sort of other cruel, warped, terrible twist the producers have conjured up. Who knows?

I’ve got a text: Perhaps the most used phrase other than “can we go for a chat?” in the show. The islanders, still with their phones – though they’re locked off from the outside world – are sent texts communicating upcoming recouplings, the chance to go out on dates, new arrivals and more. It’s very 21st century. These texts even come with hashtags #upwiththetimes

It’s everywhere: It’s not just the UK that have the Love Island bug. Scandinavia especially seem to be rather big fans with Love Island Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway all on the horizon. Love Island also made its bow Down Under with the fiery Love Island: Australia recently concluding, while the series has made inroads in Germany with a version of the show debuting in September 2017.

A memorable line: Each series of Love Island has spawned a memorable line, one said far, far, far too much that drills its way into your brain, sets up camp, employs squatters’ rights and refuses to leave. We’ve had Zara back in series two tell us that she was the “current Miss GB”, while Marcel told us last year that he “used to be in Blazin’ Squad”. As for this year? You can’t really look past Georgia telling us that she’s “loyal”. Very loyal indeed.

National treasures: Football didn’t come home. Donald Trump arrived. Brexit came back. Therefore, thank goodness for this year’s dreamy duo of Jack Fincham and Dani Dyer (yes, she is Danny’s daughter). The pair are practically an old married couple. Funny. Sweet. Down to earth. Smitten. They are rather destined to have a reality TV series of their own. They’re also not the first. Indeed, while some contestants will drive you nuts, others will cast you under their spell and become your favourites. Take last year for example, we had Chris and Kem’s bromance. While they’re no longer in the relationships they left the villa in, they still have one another and a show of their own on ITV2.

Dani’s dad: This is more of a public service announcement, but late into the series, once the couples have been whittled down, Love Island decides to get the parents in to meet the other halves. A great platform for any boyfriend/girlfriend to enjoy their first meeting with the parents of their beloved, I am sure you’ll agree. With Jack and Dani so beloved, there’s not a chance they’re going home any time soon which means another Dyer is likely to be entering the villa. Indeed, there’s every chance Danny will soon venture in to meet his future son-in-law live on TV – the television event of the year? Well, maybe not. It still should be pretty good though.

Stick or twist: After the weeks of romance and rifts come to a close, the grand finale will see one couple declared the winner. The twists, however, are not over. One half of the couple will have a choice. They can leave with the full £50,000 worth of prize money or choose to split it with their significant other and leave together for Hello magazine cover shoots and more. Nobody has kept the money for themselves as of yet but factor in the law of averages and it’s bound to happen one year. A warped part of me is rather intrigued to see that.

The aftermath: Twitter will come to a virtual standstill amongst a particular demographic and 9pm will become just another time of day, no longer Love Island Time. nextof what to do with itself. As for the couples, now out in the big, wide world, there may be TV shows, deals to be done with shops, discount codes to be shared, photoshoots to be done and a place in the public eye for the rest of your days – even if you do break-up with your other half, as has been the case for three of last year’s four finalists.

It’ll be back: In the (almost) words of Arnie, it’ll be back. The ratings are bigger than ever. Love Island seems to be going from strength to strength. There will be more sun-kissed singletons topping up their tans in Majorca next year. There are only 11 more months to wait! *weeps gently*

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