Ok, Canada. Take a few deep breaths, go for a walk outside, have a hearty meal and call your grandma because after Tuesday, July 9, you will not be leaving your television. Not for eight long, sun-filled, tea-spilled, trashy, delicious weeks. Love Island is coming to Canada. Buckle up North America, it’s going to be a long hot summer in paradise.
For those of you who don’t know, and those of you who are still naive enough to think that you won’t care, Love Island is a British reality television show. Maybe the best British reality tv show ever created. Think Big Brother-meets-The Bachelor-meets-Castaway, but better, so much better.
Imagine the best episode of the best reality show that you’ve ever watched and times it by one hundred. This, is better than that.
Think: a dream location in a luxury Spanish villa, a group of single people whose blinding-bleached teeth and chiselled bodies have been carved by the gods themselves, and add the toxic combination of the heat, the passion, the meddling-producers, and the pressure of having every single one of your moves watched, scrutinized, and turned into memes. Then, you have a show worth watching. Welcome Canada, to your first Love Island summer.
To give you an idea of the cultural phenomenon that is Love Island, the current series’ launch episode on ITV2, one of Britain's main TV networks, drew in a staggering 3.3 million viewers, and was the highest-rated 9 PM program across the whole of the country. The opening episode held almost 20% of the entire country’s evening television audience, miles ahead of the main BBC and ITV channel’s programming.
In fact, in 2018, Love Island had 4.1 million people captivated by the final episode, with an additional 488,000 people watching the simulcast live on streaming services.
The latest opening episode was the most-watched programme on TV so far this year among 16- to 24-year-olds in Britain, with 622,000 viewers – a 59% share of viewing within that age group. Teenagers, twenty-somethings, this show is for you.
After the show debuted in 2015 in the U.K., Love Island has taken the world by storm, becoming a worldwide example of what reality TV should be. International versions have sprung up worldwide, including in Australia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway and Sweden, and have all been met with a similar reception.
The premise of the show is simple: couple up, find love, and try not to embarrass yourself in front of a nation. Usually, two out of three isn’t too bad. The beautiful singles seek out their perfect match and attempt to form relationships, while ultimately vying for the main prize, £100,000 or $163,822 CAD.
Throughout the series, ‘islanders’ are subject to challenges, public voting, and new arrivals to the villa to shake things up, as well as constant surveillance. There are tears, tantrums and full access-all-areas into the bedroom, absolutely nothing is sacred. So much so, that the show has received criticism and controversy since it originally aired in 2015.
The backlash against the show for its casual airing of vulgar language, sexual activity, abusive behaviour and unrealistic body portrayals isn't even the worst of it.
Despite this, given half a chance, Love Island will become your daily guilty pleasure. No matter how much you try to avoid it, it will find you. It will be on Twitter, in your local coffee shop, in your hairdressers, in the magazines, you will not be able to hide from Love Island. The harder you try to fight it, the more you will be drawn to it. Trust me. Let it consume you.
Canada, get ready a Love Island summer. Things will never be the same again.
Love Island will start on July 9 on CTV, and will play five nights a week for eight weeks, at 8 PM. It will also be available to stream here.