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All I want from Love Island is its meta-commentary on itself and reality TV

All I want from Love Island is its meta-commentary on itself and reality TV
"Ooh! Slow motion running!" (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/CBS Entertainment)

As much as I loved the first episode of Love Island, I’ll admit that I got bored in the middle of its second episode. At times it felt like watching Big Brother’s live feeds, which are sometimes thrilling but usually just an excellent illustration of why reality TV needs editors and story producers.

But then came the narrator. “It’s a new day in the villa and—Ooh! A bird!” he said as a bird appeared on screen.

My short attention span needs stimulation, and I got it in the form of the narrator’s jokes. But I was most thoroughly entertained by his meta-commentary on the show and on reality television.

Whoever is writing these lines is my new reality TV best friend.

Watching these fledgling relationships—and the drama that’s emerging despite the fact that no one knows each other at all yet—is, at times, kind of fascinating.

At least right now, the cast seems to be genuinely interested in connecting with each other, even when that connection has as much depth as a sheet pan.

All of that’s about to get more complicated as two new guys enter the villa, and are sent on dates with two women based on who viewers choose. Note to self: Time to get a bulletin board to start keeping track of all of the relationships.

We’ll see those dates on tomorrow night’s show, meaning that’ll be filmed soon (it’s noon in Fiji as the show airs on the east coast in the U.S.). So, we’re catching up quickly and becoming nearly real-time.

Love Island’s first challenge leads to some minor drama

The Love Island episode 2 challenge "Excess Baggage," which appears to involve kissing
The Love Island episode 2 challenge “Excess Baggage,” which appears to involve kissing (Photo by Colin Young-Wolff/CBS Entertainment)

In episode two, Love Island had its first challenge, which was a way to 1) give them the chance to kiss each other, and 2) inject some drama into the relationships and backstory into the show.

My bestie explained the rules and added, “and the best part is, there really isn’t a prize for winning. It’s just a reality TV mechanism designed to reveal the Islanders’ deepest and dirtiest secrets.”

I love a reality show that admits what it’s doing.

It worked, of course: It gave Caro a chance to kiss Cashel, and Zac’s “baggage” became the biggest point of contention so far: Sometime in the past, while having sex with a woman, he told her he’d be right back but then left to go have sex with his ex.

This revelation freaked out Elizabeth, especially since he initially explained/defended his actions by saying the woman he was sleeping with was a “dead fish.” But soon they were passionately making out. Phew!

The major plotline was Caro’s whiplash-inducing struggle with being left out by Kyra’s decision to steal Cashel. Caro’s back-and-forth is fascinating to watch. Let’s briefly recap:

  • Caro didn’t want Cashel
  • When Cashel chose Caro, she stepped out to try to get another guy to choose her
  • She bonded with Cashel, and with Kyra
  • Kyra chose Cashel
  • Caro insisted she didn’t care but wouldn’t stop talking about how Kyra chose Cashel
  • Caro told Kyra that she would like a notification the next time someone RUINS HER WHOLE LIFE
  • Caro told Yamen she wasn’t vibing with anyone, i.e. including him
  • Yamen kissed Caro during the challenge and she fell in love with him

After way too much Caro, the narrator gave us his weakest line: “Caro still can’t get over losing Cashel to Kyra. Can someone please get her the soundtrack to Frozen because she has got to let it gooooo.” (Frozen? Eh, too easy.)

But I was loving most of what the narrator offered, and just wanted more of it, especially to liven up the sometimes flatter scenes with the Islanders just chatting with each other.

I’m glad to watch conversation, but not when it’s dragging, as it did a little too often for me and my shor…What were we talking about? Who are you?

So yes, MORE COWB—I mean, MORE NARRATOR PLEASE!

Here are my four other favorite lines:

  1. The annoying cliffhanger ended after the narrator told us, “That poor girl has been standing there for 24 hours”—a fun way of acknowledging how annoying it was to wait 24 hours to find out who Kyra chose.
  2. “Ooh! Slow motion running! It must be time for the Islanders’ first game. I hope they don’t get there before I’ve had time to meet my contractual obligation to explain how this game works (deep breath)…”
  3. “It’s like they don’t even know these guys they just met yesterday.”
  4. When Kyra and Cashel went on their candle-lit date, and Kyra said something about not being able to predict the future, the narrator said, “Well, I can, and the future is bleak for the poor production assistant who has to blow out all of those candles.”

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About the author

  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means. Learn more about Andy.

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