The premise of Love Island is simple: 10 white singles are shepherded into a villa in Spain where, if prodded enough by producers and their own social media egos, they’ll fight, pash and say illuminating things like ‘Oh my God’.
Premiering last night, Channel 9’s latest romality – romance meets reality – TV show is trashy, humiliating and will probably rate its cheap pool slides off even though the network didn’t deem it worthy of a prime spot on its main channel (it premiered at 8.30pm on 9Go, but not until 10.30pm on the main Nine channel).
The show kicked off with some subtle objectification: The five shrieking women contestants arrived standing in jeeps, all in bikinis, heels and belts with giant microphones attached, all desperate for a champers.
“I was lucky enough to party with Justin Bieber,” said one. Wow. Your parents must be so proud.
Host Sophie Monk got down to the nitty-gritty meeting the ladies. “Do you like boats?” she asked apropos of nothing, before keeping it classy: “I’m wetting my pants right now”.
Monk, who failed at her attempt to find love on last year’s The Bachelorette but is cast as a natural fit to broker it for others, introduced the “sun, sand and sexy singles” concept in an Instagram post before the show kicked off.
Monk gave a sneak peek of the Mallorcan villa, which is decked out as if a cashed-up pimp or The Block aspirant with a modicum of taste and a line of credit at Kmart was in charge: hanging chairs, see-through plastic stairs, neon signs in cursive writing that teenage girls want for Christmas.
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Surprise! The cast is just as generic. The women called each other “babe” and told each other, “You’re so hot”. The fellows look like they know their way around a jar of protein powder and a waxing salon. Because nothing says grown up, evolved man like a hairless chest.
Model Justin, who doubles as a concreter, wants a woman who wants to be with him all the time – so not spooky at all – and mused, “Sometimes I think I’m cursed because I look like this”.
Rugby player Charlie isn’t too choosy about his chicks, as long as they have “at least a C cup”. No word on whether they preferably have read The Iliad as well. Lucky then that doggy daycare worker Millie (“Nice puppies babe”) is looking for either a tradie or a rugby player! It’s like someone cast this thing deliberately.
Bartender Cassidy is keen on a gent who is ‘chivalric’; too bad that’s not a word, but if it was, prison officer Eden sounds like he might be just the thing. His dream girl “must have big boobs, big booty, some lip fillers”. In other words, he can see past looks.
The rest of the crew includes a quality field that sound like they’re from a 1982 ‘scenario’ porno, including a ‘naughty nurse’, ‘bombshell beautician’ and ‘beautiful barmaid’.
Anyway, you get the idea.
The way the singles were introduced was hideously awkward for all. The women lined up poolside and one by one, the men filed in to see if they passed muster. Some didn’t. Cue surprise and awkward pairings.
For the next six week the couples have to “do challenges” and share a bed with each other. The goal? As Monk said in the tones Larry Emdur used to employ during the showcase playoff on The Price is Right, one couple could take home $50,000.
Erin got down to business with ‘partner’ Eden right away, squeezing his pec and asking if it’s fake.
“I’m pretty sexual,” she told him, then asked, “Have you ever cheated?”
He didn’t hesitate. “Yeah.” Like, der.
“If people have sex down on these beds we can listen,” two women told each other. It said it all: Love Island is voyeurism of the most obvious, nasty, predictable kind. And, just quietly, someone needs to cast off the annoying British voiceover guy.