It’s chaotic TV, but let’s face it: Tanya’s behaviour on Love Island is straight up toxic
I want to give Martin a hug
I’d just like to make this abundantly clear before I write another word: Tanya is giving the level of drama a reality TV contestant should strive to be giving on this year’s Love Island, and the episodes would be completely and utterly boring without the level of carnage that she’s bringing. I’m not sure if she’s doing all this intentionally for great TV purposes or if she genuinely believes the mess she’s leaving in her wake is acceptable behaviour – but it’s time we said it: Tanya and her behaviour on Love Island are straight up toxic.
Right… What’s happening?
Tanya coupled up with Shaq immediately as the season of Love Island booted off, and besides a minor dalliance with David very early on in the season her and Shaq have seemingly been head over heels for each other. The L word flew about and all was swell. In came Casa Amor, and whilst Shaq lay loyally and braved the outdoor elements of the South African night in order to not share a bed with anyone else, Tanya made moves on Martin and strolled back in to the post-cast recouping with a new man.
All the whilst a heartbroken Shaq looked on and watched. It was extremely sad to see – but feelings change and situations do too. It’s what the show’s about.
Fast forward a few days, and Tanya is sneaking down the Love Island stairs in the middle of the night to give a toxic snog to Shaq in secret whilst Martin lays unaware in bed. Up he gets in the morning none the wiser, and whips Tanya up a big breakfast which she gobbles down. Throughout the day, Tanya ends things with Martin – probably the only wise thing she’s done of recent, because it was all clearly unfair on him.
Cut to a few hours later and up she gets on a podium and professes her love for Shaq, all the whilst binning off and dismissing Martin whilst he stands right there watching on amongst the rest of the Islanders. Cruel beyond belief.
It’s chaotic, good TV – but would we be relishing it if the gender roles were different?
I have spent the best part of the last two years writing every summer like CLOCKWORK how toxic the men on Love Island are, especially in the wake of Casa Amor. In the interest of fairness, I have to call what Tanya has done exactly like I see it – toxic. Like the rest of viewers, I’m hyped up for the explosion tonight when Martin calls her out on her behaviour, but as much as I’m grateful for the good TV, does that make it okay?
I’m trying to imagine how Tanya has behaved over the last few Love Island episodes being done by men like Jake Cornish or Adam Collard and trying to imagine the discourse surrounding it. I know for a fact I would be slamming them online like they deserve for messing people around like that on national TV, completely the wrong place to be playing with people’s emotions and feelings.
I think this really feeds into the wider issue of is there an ethical way to make TV shows like Love Island? Production want this drama, viewers want this drama and there is no desire to see any relationship being plain sailing. This can’t be done without paranoia, upset and the constant knowledge of knowing you’re watching yourself get mugged off on TV. Grim times, and Tanya should be held to the same standards for her toxic behaviour on Love Island as we would hold anyone else – even if I’m thanking her nightly for the messily great TV.
Love Island 2023 continues at 9pm on ITV2 and ITVX. 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.
Related stories recommended by this writer:
• ‘Women are on the back foot’: Female contestants on the eye-watering cost of going on Love Island
• Sorry to say it, but this could be the most unlikeable Love Island cast of all time
• Ibiza beach clubs, Printworks closing parties: Inside Will from Love Island’s raving and misbehaving