It’s official: Research says if you watch Love Island you are likely to be more intelligent
Every night, 1.25 million people tune into ITV2 for an indulgent hour under the warm glow of tanned people wearing bikinis, snogging, bitching, cracking on and saying “my type”, “muggy” or “on paper” 20 million times. With minimal brain power required it’s the epitome of trash TV, but studies show this could actually indicate higher levels of intelligence.
As shown in a video about trash films by Vox, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics found the main thing that attracts people to the trash genre is its transgressive nature and its subversion of the standards of mainstream TV.
“To such viewers, trash [appears] as an interesting and welcome deviation from the mainstream fare,” said Keyvan Sarkhosh who co-authored the study. “We are dealing here with an audience with above-average education, which one could describe as ‘cultural omnivores’. Such viewers are interested in a broad spectrum of art and media across the traditional boundaries of high and popular culture.”
Another reason people are drawn to trash TV is an ironic viewing stance, also known as “camp”. Filmmaker Susan Sontag once wrote “Camp asserts that good taste is not simply good taste; and that there exists, indeed, a good taste of bad taste.”
The research continues to say ironic enjoyment of it can create bonds between people, establishing what psychologist Pierre Bourdieu called”cultural capital”. Cultural capital is a term that refers to the social assets of a person that dictate someones position within a group. For Love Island, the fan interaction is huge. One of the best parts of it is talking about it with your housemates, sending updates down your WhatsApp group or tagging your friends in hilarious memes on Facebook.
And unsurprisingly, TV producers have caught on. With millions of people tuning into shows like Love Island, Big Brother or Keeping up With the Kardashians, the profitability popularity of reality TV has reshaped the landscape of television entirely.
So next time your pretentious friend judges you for choosing Love Island over a documentary (who are they), tell them to look it up.