It’s time to finally admit it: Love Island has now just lost all its relevance

Times have changed, but Love Island hasn’t yet caught up


Love Island has given us so much – drama, memes, and some of the country’s best-loved influencers. But the seventh series has just come to a close, the time has come to finally admit: Love Island just isn’t relevant any more. It’s over, been there done that, toxic, and honestly? Just boring.

The whole show is painfully straight, highly sexualised and based around old-school, outdated ideas about gender and relationships. The challenges are often just straight-up toxic, and are always just regurgitated from old series. It’s stale and predictable to watch, and feels like it literally hasn’t moved on from its inception in 2015. The numbers prove it too – this is the least-watched and least popular series in years.

Here’s why it’s time for Love Island to seriously mix things up, because right now it just feels old and irrelevant:

The whole show is overly sexual and just reinforces heteronormative stereotypes

The filler challenges are one of the worst things about Love Island. Seven years later and multiple times a week we still get presented with the same low-budget heteronormative challenges.

They’re either grim stuff no one wants to see (spitting food in each other’s mouths) or overly sexual – acting out sex positions; guessing who’s had a threesome and who’s shagged in the wildest location; the heart rate challenge where they dress up and literally just give each other lap dances.

This year’s heart rate challenge

Or they involve dressing up: The girls putting on sexy outfits and punishing the boys (like this year’s one where they put on tiny police officer outfits and put their man in jail), or the boys being macho men who rescue the damsel in distress, like the recent challenge where the boys dressed up as gladiators and had to do the most pull-ups to kiss their girls.

The gladiator challenge

This year’s baby challenge saw the boys go on a “dad’s day out” whilst the girls had to sit in the villa playing mummy and looking after the babies by themselves. Many of the Islanders called the girl babies “princess” and talked about how when they have kids they want to have a boy before a girl, so he can “protect” his sister.

And every year apart from once, Casa Amor has been a “lads’ holiday”, where the boys excitedly run out of the villa to find new girls, whilst the Islander girls sit around the villa, crying about how much they miss them and waiting for the boys to come back.

The boys playing dares in Casa Amor

This stuff all feels very stereotypical, seedy and old-school: It might have been jokes when it was first shown in 2015 (even though it really wasn’t), but it definitely doesn’t fly now. Times have changed, but Love Island hasn’t yet caught up.

The challenges are a breeding ground for toxicity

This year we saw the Casa Amor postcard yet again, even when it’s garnered thousands of Ofcom complaints when it’s been used in the past (remember Dani crying for days over Jack’s ex?). Faye being misled over Teddy’s actions in Casa by the postcard received over 5,000 complaints, and the postcard upset all the villa girls.

The girls with the Casa Amor postcard

People then spent weeks saying Liberty deserved to know how Jake had acted in Casa Amor, as he’d been egging on all the boys to crack on with other girls. We thought we’d finally get this with the “Mad Movies” night which saw Islanders watch clips of their time in the villa, but this was overshadowed with a clip that felt totally unnecessary.

The “She’s Not All That” scene showed Jake expressing his doubts over Liberty right at the start of the series – where he also said he didn’t want to rip her clothes off. This is probably the worst thing you could ever hear your partner say to you, and to play it to Liberty on national TV was just cruel. It didn’t cause drama or expose bad behaviour like the other clips did – it just shattered her self-esteem and clearly hugely upset her.

A challenge early on in this series asked Brad to kiss the girl he found least attractive; the “snog, marry, pie” challenge saw Danny pie Lucinda, the girl he was coupled up with at the time, just because she’d dared to say she might be interested in another boy too; and another challenge asked Islanders to list their biggest turn-offs, in which Aaron said something that every human being on this earth possesses – hairy arms. These are only the tip of an iceberg jammed full of straight-up toxicity.

And the numbers prove it: Love Island is just irrelevant now

This year’s first episode had the lowest viewing figures since 2017, at almost a million less than their peak at the start of 2019’s series.

2019 had the likes of Molly-Mae and Tommy, Maura, Amber, Ovie. By the final episode, three Islanders (Molly, Amber and Tommy) had over 2 million Instagram followers, and 11 had over 1 million. Even Sherif had 497k Insta followers, and Arancini, sorry, Arabella, had 454k.

By comparison, when this year’s series ended not a single Islander had over a million followers – and the vast majority of them had under 500k. Right now, only three (Liberty, Millie and Chloe) have over a million followers. Obviously Insta followers don’t mean everything, but when Love Island feels like it’s pretty much an influencer-making machine these numbers do take on a new meaning.

Love Island feels stale and predictable

Aside from often verging on toxicitiy and generally being quite sexualised and grim, the challenges and everything that happens on the show are just yawn. Love Island has a set menu format and boy oh boy does it stick to it.

Casa Amor coming about a month in? Tick. Sending a “postcard” no one asked for that does nothing but distress the girls? Tick. The baby challenge, the challenge where they spit food in each other’s mouths, the “snog, marry, pie” challenge that always ends in tears for at least one couple? Tick, tick, and tick again. It’s boring, it’s formulaic, we know EXACTLY what to expect – and I’m sick of it.

This stuff was all fun the first few times, but when it’s literally been seven series and still happening, surely the producers should know it’s time to mix things up rather than just regurgitating the same old shit we’ve seen time and time again?

The Islanders are too self-aware of the TV show

Look, Love Island is obviously still incredibly popular – it pulls in millions of viewers every night, and ex-Islanders are some of the most recognisable and best-loved influencers and TV personalities in the UK. Just look at Alex and Olivia, Tommy and Molly, Maura, Megan Barton-Hanson, Dr Alex.

But it feels like this is the whole reason Islanders now go on the show – they want a slice of the action at the influencer pie. Obviously some of them may genuinely go on to find love, or simply for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but every year it just feels more and more like the Islanders are painfully aware of the fact they’re on a TV show and have the potential to come out to Insta followers coming out of their eyeballs and brand deals worth millions.

This year in particular, Jake came under fire from many online, but also multiple Islanders, for acting “staged” and playing up the cameras.

Liberty even directly referenced the fact they were on a TV show, leading ex-Islander Sam Gowland to claim she had broken the rules. Sam alleged on Twitter that Islanders are “strictly not aloud [sic]” to talk about being on camera or TV.

He was on Love Island series three in 2017, which is widely regarded as the first year Love Island hugely blew up and started to become an influencer-making machine, so what’s changed between his series and now? Because right now Love Island just feels forced and unnatural.

Love Island 2021 continues on ITV2 at 9pm tonight. For all the latest Love Island news and gossip and for the best memes and quizzes, like The Holy Church of Love Island on Facebook.

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