REVIEW

Love Island UK on Nine Now is compulsive viewing

Love Island UK (Season 7). 55 45-minute episodes (and counting), Nine Now. Four stars.

Love Island UK contestants show off their beautiful bodies. Picture: Supplied

Love Island UK contestants show off their beautiful bodies. Picture: Supplied

Hit by a double whammy of depression that is another lockdown coupled with the sporadic weather of winter?

There is a bright, tanned and youthful moment of joy to be found every day on the streaming service Nine Now to reset your mind, shaking your troubles away like an Etch A Sketch.

The show is Love Island UK and I happily stand before the crowd to share my name and confess that I am an addict.

Sophie Monk hosts a lesser Aussie version of the show, and the American version shouldn't have your precious time wasted on it.

The British Love Island is the real deal, because there is something about a brutal tan and a Scouse accent that makes anything sound sexy and fun and just flushes your body with hormones.

There have been dating shows in the past, usually chaste things, but Love Island throws young and attractive people together, locked in a villa in Mallorca, and it then challenges their budding "relationships" by throwing more and even more attractive and barely dressed men and women into the house to turn those heads and break those hearts.

There is a point: the couple together for the final episode who have convinced the voting public of their love, or at least popularity, win a big chunk of cash.

But point or no point, Love Island UK is compulsive repeat or binge viewing, and with no cinemas open to review films for this week, it has my full and undivided attention.

Firstly, I'm here for the catchphrases. This season, the cast are obsessed with the idea that somebody is "My type on paper". The person rarely is anything more than "well fit" but when the cast are all this beautiful, it's easy to overlook obvious incompatibility.

A typical conversation might include phrases like "My head's scrambled, where's yours at?" and "My head's turned". In previous seasons, hot statements included "It is what it is", "We've got good banter", "Mugged off", and "I'm loyal, babe".

I'm also a big fan of the tonal intonations of the female cast, dragging out the vowels on "You okay?" and "Yeah" for sometimes a good eight or nine seconds. It is difficult not to emulate.

Also fun to emulate is the Scottish brogue of the show's voiceover man, Ian Stirling, as he delivers narration and gags. I can't hear remodelled and acoustic 1990s club covers any more without yelling out Sinclair's trademark, "Previously, on Love Island" that kicks off each program.

The show can be enjoyed on one obvious and superficial level, that being the physical beauty of the cast. How do they maintain those amazing bodies? We've only been in lockdown in Canberra for five days now and I've already put on a kilo.

But there is a depth of psychology that is part Stanford Prison Experiment and part Lord of the Flies as informed by the reality TV behind-the-scenes drama Unreal.

In this season, handsome professional soccer player Toby Aromolaran begins the series as "hopeless" with women, something he proves by "coupling up" with fashion blogger Kaz Kamwi, and then having his "head turned" by blonde marketing exec Chloe Burrows, and his head again turning for the buxom tattoo artist Abigail Rawlings before chucking her off for Chloe once again. Toby is a parody of a joke, but 50-plus episodes in, he has turned that phrase "You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself as a villain" on its head. In recent episodes Toby has been mediator and faux-pas bomb detonator for his fellow islanders.

Recently ousted (spoiler, sorry) high-school physical education teacher Hugo Hammond made a thoughtless mistake in one of the show's challenges. When asked what kind of woman he dislikes, his answer of "fake" was tone-deaf to the obvious cosmetic enhancements of his female fellow housemates. The well-chosen self-actualised women of the house schooled the absolute pants off the man-child and he astutely apologised.

This season's resident firecracker Faye Winter was one to school Hugo and hasn't held back since, but one screaming rant at her partner Teddy Soares had fellow cast mates murmuring words like "abusive" and "volatile" and she has been insightfully apologetic in recent episodes.

The show's producers are playing with fire in close quarters here, considering the show's previous host Caroline Flack committed suicide in early 2020 and two earlier cast members also took their own lives. Producers seem to have cast this year with an empathic crew and the outrageous success of the show in Britain has made recent cast members more aware of how their actions might be perceived, and of the lucrative opportunities afforded them on their return if they don't come off as complete villains.

All previous seasons of Love Island UK can also be found on Nine Now and if the lockdown continues I thoroughly recommend them all.

This story Beautiful Brits seek love and cash first appeared on The Canberra Times.