Is Love Island Fake? Do We Care?

A reasonable debate, but we seem to have overlooked the context.

Monday morning saw the internet implode with accusations that Love Island contestant and influencer Mollie-Mae Hague ' felt sick at the thought of kissing’ now-boyfriend Tommy Fury.

While the concept of changed feelings is not lost on Love Island viewers, connotations of fakeness illuminated the tabloid piece as the couple – both 20 years of age – are, according to Paddy Power, likely to claim the top prize of £50,000.

Adding to this is that former Love Island contestant Samira Mighty also recently spoken out against the "toxic" atmosphere in this year’s villa.

Sharing her opinion on this year’s show, the 22-year-old influencer and model has described being shocked at some of the cast’s behaviour one year on, telling the BBC Radio 1’s The Reality Tea Podcast: “I wouldn’t know who to be friends with, I wouldn’t know who to have a love interest with… Like it seems really like toxic in there.”

She went on to describe the female contestants' behaviour as “catty”, stating that “you’re just there, in a place you can’t really hide, you can’t be on your own really. And I think you need friends in there and I don’t know if they are really true friends.”

This isn't the first time a former contestant has taken a jab at the latest series.

Season three contestant, Chris Hughes, has also accused this year’s cast of foul play, insinuating that they are faking their romances for airtime. 

It's hardly the first time the authenticity of reality television has been questioned. But those who believe the show's affiliates are simply looking for love and nothing else are doing themselves a disservice. 

If any of the gym-honed, Botox-adjacent show's applicants were indeed looking for someone to hold them on lonely nights, surely Tinder would've filled that gap (calm down) by now. 

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Feel lucky, lucky ✨✨

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What they want is fame. And what better way to achieve that quick fast than by proposing a relationship by way of a stuffed elephant with the aim of becoming one half of the nation’s sweetheart of a couple?

A TV show with a relentless filming schedule that, every night, has to bring drama, lust and scandal nightly is under pressure to provide. That's where the contestants come in. The umpteen millennials that reside in the villa night in, night out are merely catalysts on which public watching feeds.

They know this, the producers know this, but somehow, viewers choose not to. 

Anyone with any knowledge of how reality television works (which most of this year's contestants do, considering they are all, in one way or another, linked with previous contestants) will have entered the Majorcan dream home with a gameplan and a goal. 

Last year’s Love Island winners, Dani Dyer and Jack Fincham, are set for life after walking away with the top prize, which, ultimately, is much more than just the £50,000 in cash they received at the wrap party. 

When thrust back into society life, the couple enjoyed a whirlwind of public appearances, TV gigs and magazine deals due to their sheer marketability as a duo. Ultimately, their on-off romance ended the day after Dyer’s autobiography/self-help guide (yes, really) came out, fuelling suggestions that it was a coupling-up of convenience.

Another Love Island graduate, Georgia Steel, said she was “guided” to stick with Sam Bird to boost their careers after they had left the villa, although they later split, only coming together to air their dirty laundry on Love Island: The Christmas Reunion.

The concept of holiday romances is lost on no one. When you release 20-something ready-made Miss Stockport's into a Bermuda Triangle resplendent with neon bandage dresses, unusual things will happen because it is an unusual situation they're in. 

When your whole relationship is based on challenges which involve mass kissing and spewing into your partner’s mouth, maybe it’s impossible to regain grasp onto the societal normalities we once knew?

Breakups in the public eye are different nowadays, anyway.

When Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson finished, she quickly released a song about the failed relationship, Thank U, Next, which ended up being the most successful track of 2018.

When Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin consciously uncoupled, she directed her energy into the now billion-dollar company Goop, and when Khloe Kardashian experienced relationship troubles some time ago, she channelled her energy into fitness – which, in turn, has earned her a television show Revenge Body and full workout clothing line. 

The 20-somethings of today are opportunistic in times that didn't exist before, and even though it would be easy to call all this a cynical way to turn emotional destitution into monetary restitution – the truth is, this generation doesn’t know any different.

Back in the days when Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston split, the tabloids clamoured for information while all parties kept mum. Today’s stars treat breakups just like they would a new fragrance line: stick it up on Instagram and make sure you get the marketing just right.

Main image by @molliemaehague

READ MORE: How Love Island's Ovie Is Obliterating Toxic Masculinity

READ MORE: Love Island And The Power Of Himpathy

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