Fancy a chat at 9pm? Sorry, **insert vague excuse here**

Why are we still loyal? We explore why we’re so connected and invested in Love Island

There’s those who swear they won’t tune in but end up getting hooked, those who pretend to ‘watch it if it’s on’ but really they started the count-down 2 weeks early, and those who are so addicted they’re lost on Saturday nights. For loads of us, Love Island is totally our type.

Naturally there’s lots to connect with on the show, beautiful young things in a glorious setting is an easy watch and it’s on almost every day so that regular drum beat keeps us engaged. Even though we’ve seen similar stories play out time and time again, the drama never stops giving. “Tonight on Love Island…” and we’re already excited.  We love the grafting, the texts, the toe stepping, the head turning, the recoupling, the debates on girl code and a juicy challenge (more twitter reveals please). It even widens our vocabulary! But there must be more to it than that, if someone asked me if I had a spare hour each day this summer to squeeze something else into my schedule, I’d roll my eyes, but somehow, I always manage to make time to for a trip to the villa. This show isn’t a pretty drama, its emotions run much deeper than that.

Connection is probably the Islanders most over-used word. We examine what makes us connect and take a look what drives us to be so emotionally invested in the show.

All-seeing audiences

As the audience we really get the measure of people – we know the two-faced, those really falling for each other, the starting of a feud before anyone in the villa. This connects us, because we like holding knowledge of course, but also because we can predict the drama. We’re constantly creating our own trailers and teasers in our minds for what will happen next, very few shows give us so many tools to do this.

Revealing our own boundaries

Glued to Love Island WhatsApp groups for live updates on friends’ reactions during the show and distraction over ad breaks. And if we’re not nattering on WhatsApp we’re doing it in person – watching with our partner, family or friends. Other addictive TV shows don’t see quite the same behaviours. Love Island helps us learn about our own relationships and boundaries, we can test each other without having a tricky conversation or picking a fight. Watching others navigate the highs and lows of friendship and dating allows us to see how our nearest and dearest would react – what they think is fair game, snaky or immature. We’re drawn to this, because we love to know where our nearest and dearest heads are at.

“He shouldn’t have said that in front of everyone”

“I agree”

**follows with a warm glow of aren’t we on the same page**

Compare to:

“He shouldn’t have said that in front of everyone”

“She’s such hard work though, I think she was out of line”


**follows with hitting the pause button and a bicker over how hard it is to be the one to put yourself out there

Validation for our fears and reactions

Emotions run high – every episode there’s tears or tantrums. We’re intrigued by this. We’ve all had moments where we haven’t been our best selves. Seeing these reactions validated as normal by watching others do similar, is a nice feeling. Getting a slightly smug reassurance as others do far worse than us can also feel nice.

Meme afterparty

For at least half an hour after watching the drama unfold we’re scrolling through Twitter and Insta. Not only are the comments and memes hilarious – they further validate our own reactions. The meme afterparty is open to everyone and helps us feel like we belong.

We are all Iain Stirling

Iain’s sharp commentary is the reality check every viewer needs. Quick to highlight oddities and contradictions – we often find ourselves making similar comments simultaneously or regularly thinking how spot on he is. Iain is important, he’s the down-to-earth voice in a glossy, image-obsessed show. Which means we all feel connected, not alienated, even if we are watching it while wearing a facemask, in our PJs, binging on ice cream.

Boom! You're invited
Kokoro Cuts - best of June

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