Did you know that you’re currently living through a cultural renaissance that will be looked back at in decades to come as a shining example of what humanity can accomplish artistically?
It’s called the Third Golden Age of Television and it began in the early 2000s and has somehow lasted until the present day
From The West Wing to Westworld there are countless incredible shows out now, written and performed by passionate, talented, people who are redefining what truly great television means.
Despite this though, there’s one genre of television that gets a kicking in the media for being vacuous, unintelligent and trashy.
I’m talking of course about reality television.
Now I’ll be completely honest I’ve given reality TV relatively short shrift in the past – and I’m going to be as blisteringly honest as I can be here – because I was a snob.
Yes, you read that right, I was the type of person who looked down on people who watched X-Factor or I’m a Celeb simply because they enjoyed a TV programme I didn’t like.
If that’s not the definition of a knobhead, I don’t know what is and, while I don’t want to equate this dickery with far more serious types of bigotry in society, I do think elites and so-called intellectuals are prejudice against shows like this.
So for fun, I’m going to call these people ‘culturephobes’ for the rest of the article, and I can freely admit I was one.
Thankfully I can now say I’m less of a dick head (by around 40 per cent less) because of one simple programme.
Love Island, one of the most genuinely entertaining programmes I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching, in fact, it’s easily my favourite TV show on right now.
Personally, I came to the realisation that Love Island was great when I put aside my biases and watched an episode.
In just 45 minutes of fake tan, tears, and tantrums I was hooked, and in the words of the Islanders ‘I could tell we had a connection’. It was everything I wanted in a television programme. Here’s why we work on paper…
Disclaimer: If you’re the type of person who doesn’t like Love Island that’s fine, don’t watch it. But don’t bore everyone who does watch it with a patronising monologue lamenting the death of society when the UK government’s literally stockpiling food for Brexit.
It’s Escapist Fantasy
Now you may think that as someone who writes about film and TV for a living I have a rock and roll lifestyle, and I totally do.
Or I do if rockstars primarily work in an office in Manchester and take occasional trips to London on a cramped and uncomfortable train where they sometimes treat themselves to a warm overpriced lager.
So like most people when I get home at night I like to escape from my day job and I do that primarily through television and film.
To my mind, there’s nothing better than living vicariously through the heroes and villains of television and sharing in the escapism of a rollicking good adventure.
And while culturephobes may not believe me, Love Island offers just as much escapism as something like Game of Thrones.
Oh sure I might never ride a dragon to war with the undead, but its equally unlikely I’ll ever turn my beer belly into the rock-hard abs of someone like Wes either so it might as well be fictional.
In all seriousness though Love Island allows me to escape to a bizarre world where relationships begin and end on the flip of a coin, where a sadistic puppetmaster plays games with people’s real lives.
It’s gripping stuff and offers just as many twists and turns as something like Westworld.
It’s a hard pill for culturephobes to swallow, but the average episode of Love Island contains more drama in 45 minutes than an entire season of Breaking Bad.
Why? Because the show’s producers go out of their way to stir up as much trouble as humanly possible in a way organic well thought out dramas can’t.
Take last night’s episode, for example, which dealt with the fallout from the Lie Detector challenge, it was incredible.
We had the will they, won’t they of Jack and Danni reuniting, Alex and Alexandra dealing with the fact the good Doctor is (in my opinion) an arse and Megan dealing with her own insecurities.
If this was something like Game of Thrones these storylines would be introduced in the first episode, occasionally hinted at and then conveniently wrapped up in the last episode.
That’s not the Love Island way though.
In Love Island, every single episode is a season finale complete with fire-breathing dragons, meth-based neo-Nazi shootouts and Tony Soprano potentially getting whacked.
The Cast Are Funny and Likeable
While clean shirt critics like Piers Morgan may label them brain-dead and moronic the truth is the Love Island gang are actually on the whole really likeable and funny.
You’ve got Old Laura, who will now forever be known as OG Laura for how she handled New Laura’s fallout with Jack last night despite the fact she basically stole her boyfriend.
It spoke to her generosity of spirit and kind-heartedness that when she saw a girl in crisis and her first thought was to console her, despite having every reason to relish their fight.
It’s more than Piers would do, he’d probably be too busy tweeting something deliberately provocative in a desperate attempt to remain relevant.
Meanwhile, Dani Dyer and Jack’s ‘old married couple’ schtick never gets old. It’s been pointed out that there like a real-life Mick and Pam from Gavin & Stacey and I can’t think of a more fitting comparison.
And while I’ll agree it’s easy to dislike them after they’re off the island and promoting a new form of teeth whitening on Instagram but while there in the villa they’re brilliant
If three points can’t convince you to enjoy Love Island then I’ve one final argument in defence of the show.
You Don’t Have To Watch It
As shocking as it may sound there’s no punishment for not watching Love Island, despite ITV lobbying the government to bring in fines, nor do you have to talk about it.
The number of moaning, patronising, killjoys complaining online that Love Island has no educational value and therefore should not be broadcast is astounding.
You’d think ITV had sent round armed guards and forced them to watch it on pain of death.
If in 2018 with the internet, streaming services, all the different TV channels, books and everything other balm humanity’s engineered to lubricate the passage of time you can’t find one other thing to do while Love Island is on then I’m worried for you.
Furthermore just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean it lacks value, that just your opinion and you know what people say about opinions…
Anyway if you’ll excuse me from this rant I’m off to watch the first look at tonight’s Love Island.
Love Island airs every day, except Saturdays, on ITV2 at 9pm.
More of a concept than a journalist, Tom Percival was forged in the bowels of Salford University from which he emerged grasping a Masters in journalism.
Since then his rise has been described by himself as ‘meteoric’ rising to the esteemed rank of Social Editor at UNILAD as well as working at the BBC, Manchester Evening News, and ITV.
He credits his success to three core techniques, name repetition, personality mirroring, and never breaking off a handshake.