February 23, 2020

Are Americans Ready for "Love Island?"

“There’s something oddly poetic and strangely redundant about a stateside spin on ITV2’s feverishly compulsive hit Love Island. It’s an American remake of a British dating show modelled on a dusty American blueprint, making it the televisual equivalent of translating colloquialisms before then translating them back. After an ambitious marketing blitz, this week has seen the malformed Franken-product finally lumbering its way on to US screens, and, so far, it’s looking like it could face a particularly cold summer.

Launched on CBS, America’s biggest network, and the same one that still scores solid ratings for Big Brother, it’s the tried-and-tested formula of challenging tanned twentysomethings to fall in love and win cash, sponsorship deals and Instagram followers. Ever since the UK’s “celebrity”-free reboot mutated from a ratings hit to a full-blown pop culture phenomenon, US networks have been rehauling the 00s shows that led to its inception: Temptation Island and Paradise Hotel.

But both reboots were met with minimal ratings and a buzz-killing lack of memes. So how will Americans react to being spoonfed the reheated food they so recently barfed up?

Love Island’s USP is its increased intensity with an hour-long nightly recap that edges the well-known superficiality of the structure closer to reality. It’s been said often that the show represents a microcosm of the dating world (most depressingly in how women of colour are often cast aside) and it’s in Love Island’s exhaustive nature that this really rings true. Contestants, like any of us, might initially present prospective partners with their best selves, a performed, idealised vision of who they want to be seen as, but with increased, five-nights-a-week exposure, the mask inevitably slips. On Love Island, it can slip with frightening speed.”

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