From tonight, social media feeds, TV programming and several million column inches will be rammed full of Love Island-related fodder for the next eight weeks.
You can either outwardly tut and roll your eyes while your brain runs screaming into the abyss at the prospect of future generations, or you can submit to this annual orchestrated “social experiment.”
As I’ve been tasked with providing commentary for this year’s shenanigans and thus fall into the latter camp, here are but a few reasons to be cheerful about the impending series filled with biceps, bedhopping, and sunshine for your eyeballs.
- 1. The new villa
Given the previous pad has been sold, there is a new Mallorcan abode soon to be beset by a bunch of SUVs adorned with bikini-clad contestants teetering through the door in stripper heels.
Hopefully, this villa has a more user-friendly layout; contestants having to haul themselves up and down the stairs to the dressing room/showers and schlepping through the dorm bedroom to get access to the pool was a bit of a faff.
Room flow aside, this new pad has a bedroom straight out of Big Brother, a slightly smaller pool, more nooks for nookie, plus a proliferation of plastic cacti by the firepit. Classy.
- 2. The phraseology
In addition to the usual cliched adages – such as not putting all of one’s “eggs into one basket”, and “heads being turned” there are other perhaps lesser-known nuggets such as “peng”, “pied”, “mugged off”, “DBS”, “a sort”, “the ick”, “melt”, and “factor fifty”, among others.
Or, to put it another way, “She’s a sort, proper peng, I’m gonna lay it on factor fifty, but I don’t want her to think I’m a melt or get the ick.” Familiarising yourself with the Love Island lingo is one sure-fire way to sound cool around the nephew, an’ ting.
- 3. Dami Hope
He’s only a senior microbiologist hailing from Dublin (with a reported heart-shaped birthmark on a certain appendage).
- 4. Casa Amour
Every year, I survey this with a mix of trepidation, glee, gall, and abject horror. Often the juncture at which many viewers will only commit to watching the series, Casa Amour is the point where established couples are split into two groups with new contestants and – by extension – where the men get separated from the proverbial boys.
While 99% of the coupled up females tend to stay “loyal” to their original partners, the lads sent to Casa Amour have a habit of getting “their heads turned” by the new offerings.
- 5. Laura Whitmore and Iain Stirling
Arguably one of Love Island’s more enduring couples, the power pairing that is host Laura Whitmore and husband/series narrator Iain Stirling should instill the warm and fuzzies if you think about it long enough.
- 6. Gemma Owen
Indeed, it seems the Owenses have been making hay on reality TV of late. For the uninitiated, Gemma is Doughnut’s daughter.
Who is Doughnuts? Only Michael Owen’s character from The Masked Singer 2021… While one could assume the football legend and current sports commentator isn’t exactly thrilled his 19-year-old daughter is partaking in a rather revealing dating show, it didn’t do 2019 winner Dani Dyer any harm.
In fact, “business owner and international dressage rider”, Gemma, may not be the only offspring of a famous sort due to appear; Ronan Keating reportedly hinted in a recent interview that his daughter Missy could be among the seemingly endless stream of contestants.
- 7. Twitter
Much like The Late Late Toy Show and Eurovision, Love Island isn’t complete without double screening with Twitter.
- 8. Tasha Ghouri
Eight series in and it appears producers are making even further inroads into inclusion. Last year, this came in the form of PE teacher Mr. Hammond, who had a club foot. This year, we have the show’s first member of the deaf community. The model/dancer from North Yorkshire was born completely without hearing – until she got a cochlear implant aged five, which transformed her life.
- 9. The updated format
In previous years, five girls and five boys were initially sent into the villa, with a randomer thrown in once everyone was coupled up to stir things.
This year, for the first time, viewers (in the UK) were given the chance to vote who couples with who – instead of contestants leaping back and forth like a bunch of oiled-up line dancers for whoever they like the look of.
- 10. New winners being crowned
Last year, arguably the dullest, archetypal couple – Liam Reardon and Millie Court – were crowned cliches of the Villa and, by extension, humanity at large.
Apologies to fans, but I wasn’t one of them. The bang of entitlement off that sweaty young fella, coupled with the fact that whatever he wanted seemed to land in his lap, gave this cynical sort a serious case of the icks. This year, the winners must be more multifaceted and worthy of 50 hours of committed TV viewing, right? RIGHT?!
Season 8 of Love Island starts on Monday June 6 at 9pm on Virgin Media Two. Read our Best Bits from The Villa every Tuesday and Thursday.