Ah, smell that? It’s the faint scent of the Love Island finale pulsing through the air, tingling the senses like pollen, marking the end of another series.
But before we turn our attention to I’m A Celebrity or, you know, Christmas, we must crown the Midsommar, sorry, I mean, Love Island Queen and King.
Now everyone has managed to find someone to cling to at this late stage in the game, with only a week to go before Laura Whitmore hands over a big chunk of cash, the antics of the villa are decidedly smooth, calm and, frankly, quite nice, non?
You’d think as a nation we’d be elated by this development, satiated by the eventual happiness.
Well, scrolling through Twitter feverishly, refreshing every 10 seconds for the latest hot take on each episode, I notice more and more people are branding this phase of the series ‘boring’ and ‘dry’.
Everyone is coupled up, and, perhaps aside from Gemma and Luca’s bickering, they also all seem pretty loved up and content.
I know that’s the aim of the game, but we all know the final dates can be forgettable – which is a shame because it’s clear production pumps bare money into making those jaunts as extravagant as possible – and it seems no one cares to watch twenty-somethings try and soothe a crying fake baby (replace it with a puppy? I’m hooked) or meet the parents-if-it’s-not-Michael-Owen.
We’ve spent the last however-many-weeks watching these crazy kids go from strangers to dropping the L bomb and talking about which city they’re going to move to, envisioning their young sprogs. It’s so sickly sweet.
It’s exactly what we were wishing for when, at the juicy, dramatic middle of the series, we begged for some calm and loyalty from the islanders (who are in there to find love, after all), but it seems now we have the love in Love Island we don’t want it.
We’ve turned into a bunch of pop culture critics who never seem to be happy with the carefully curated content that’s put in front of us. It’s been a neverending circus of ‘give us drama’ gets drama ‘these people are horrible’ people calm down ‘where’s the excitement?’ rinse and repeat. The producers can’t win.
When it comes to our constant lack of satisfaction, to borrow a phrase from wise bard Scarlet Envy, ‘Am I the villain?’
I watch as streams of people declare they’re off Andrew Le Page after he sucked Coco’s ‘tit or whatever’ and we wage war on anyone who dares enter the villa to show an interest in a coupled-up Islander, a la Nathalie, despite the very premise of a bombshell being there to peacock one lover away from another.
But just as soon as we’re calling Ofcom in the name of mental health we’re demanding the Twitter challenge.
Once we have equilibrium and happiness, we want blood.
Now, let’s not confuse drama for toxicity or harmful actions. I’m not suggesting misogyy, bullying or toxic behaviour from anyone around the firepit makes for great TV. At least not to me. I’m also not after the kind of emotions we witnessed Jacques O’Neill go through before his tearful exit from the villa a fortnight ago.
It’s the playful moments – or, as Luca Bish loves to suggest, the ‘banter’. The ‘Ekin-Who’ sparring, the hidden balcony snogging, the Dami ‘mind-reading’, it’s the witty repartee of former lovers pledging ‘may the best heartbreaker win’ before inevitably finding their way into one another’s arms once more.
I think we all want a, dare I say it, ‘nicer’ era of reality TV, but judging by the responses to this week’s offerings, we’re kidding ourselves if we say we don’t love the drama.
So, same time next year?