love island season ten

We’ve never been less excited for Love Island to return so why can’t we stop watching?

PLEASE unshackle me from this programme’s clutches

Big inhale through the nose. Exasperated exhale out the mouth. Long, life questioning, blink into the distance: Love Island is back tonight for eight weeks, 48 episodes and a weekly dose of Aftersun. But overwhelming public reaction isn’t excitement – it’s fatigue. “At this point, Love Island has become like jury duty for me,” wrote one trapped viewer of the tenth season to 18,000 Twitter likes of agreement. “I’m not really enjoying it but I have to be involved.”

We all have to be involved. The public frenzy is barely optional. Its easiest comparison is EastEnders in the aughts, where we huddled round in classrooms to discuss the show’s drama, betrayal, romance and lies each morning. Except, unlike soaps, ITV producers can’t push anyone off the villa’s roof to make things more interesting. It’s the same format. The same enhanced influencer faces. The same neon outfits, clunky heels and “cheeky”, head-turning, “am I your type?” lobotomy-inducing conversations, watched in almost every household on every street. As a nation, we have a problem.

love island season ten

The question, of course, is if we’re so tired and loathe the repetitive format and relentless broadcasting schedule of Love Island so much then why can’t we just stop? What is this collective sickness? Who handcuffed our eyeballs to ITV2 for the best weather months of the year? Experts might tell you it’s “hate-watching” and Twitter is a perfect example of this.

We type out our two pence and watch our opinion gain likes or favourite other’s arguments to engage in debates about the villa’s villains. “Hate-watching and critique demonstrates both an investment in the television show, and the desire to engage with, and entertain readers [in this case, our followers],” says author of Reality Television: The TV Phenomenon that Changed the World, Dr Ruth A. Deller.

But I can’t help but feel our unwavering investment is something much more optimistic than that. Despite what trolling discourse would have you believe, we’re not collectively poised on the edge of our sofas waiting to digitally tear hot people we’ve never met limb from limb. No, our dissatisfaction but inability to pivot our eyes elsewhere comes from a nostalgia for when things were good. Love Island wasn’t always a soulless reality fame roundabout.

love island season ten

It’s hard, as an audience, to forget the joy this show once gave us. When approaching any form of breakup, you remember the good times, which once set your world alight: John proposing to Hannah in season one, Georgia picking Kem in season three, Georgia’s “I’m loyal” in season four or Amy’s heartbroken “I was coming back here to tell you I loved you” in season five.

Despite knowing inside ourselves we’re bored, angry and unforgiving of an entity that monopolises our evenings – disappointing us every time – we carry on watching for a glimmer of what was good, like we would with a boyfriend who’s got complacent— or an ex we can’t quite quit. Is it time to let go of Love Island? Undoubtedly. But we, almost invariably, won’t. The 9pm claxon is the TV equivalent of a “you up?” message. And we will be, every time. Of course.

Love Island season ten

“Long running reality shows have a tricky balancing act to keep between familiarity and innovation,” Dr Ruth tells The Tab. “Shows based on creating something or learning a skill (e.g. MasterChef, Sewing Bee, Bake Off) tend to stay fresher for longer because even though the format is the same, each episode has a unique challenge to some degree, and they’re always making little tweaks (e.g. different theme weeks). So we’ve seen thousands of cakes, but there’s variety in the style/inspiration/etc. Love Island’s formula is so static it’s like watching people make Victoria sponge every cake week.”

Eventually, to unshackle ourselves from the confines of the Mallorca villa, we need to accept that even though Love Island is still here, it’s never going to be what it was. Plus, it’s going absolutely nowhere. This clean break, I’m almost certain, is the only escape from disappointment, boredom and communal malaise we’re all experiencing.

Anyway, Love Island is on ITV2 at 9pm. See you on Twitter to whine about it.


Related stories recommended by this writer:

• A new cast member is in a relationship?! Plus which newbie used to date a previous Islander?

• Robberies to online slurs: The biggest pre-Love Island dramas and scandals of all time

• The photographer did them dirty, so here’s what the Love Island 2023 cast actually look like

Love Island 2023 kicks off on Monday 5th June at 9pm. 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.