Jim Shelley reviews Love Island

Ellie and Zara have been a disaster for Rosie and Adam, Laura and Wes, even Alex and Samira… the show became as contrived as Big Brother and TOWIE on week 3 of Love Island, by Jim Shelley

Week three of was at best a step backwards and at worst evidence that the producers were ‘guiding‘ (i.e. deciding) the action and the narrative – the same mistake that ruined Big Brother and even turning it into another TOWIE/ by practically scripting it.

The 2018 series had taken only a fortnight to achieve its Holy Grail when the nation became gripped by Alex’s battle with Eyal to win Megan’s heart (and not just her heart), but then lost momentum and seemingly acting as if their tussle had been concluded.

Instead, the introduction of Ellie and Zara was a disaster for everyone: Rosie, Laura, and Samira obviously, as well as lads like Wes and Adam who seemingly flourished, but mostly for the show itself.

Whether it will be repaired remains to be seen but the damage to its image, in terms of diversity, was undeniable.

Laura and Samira’s panic at the new girls’ arrival was understandable, particularly when Ellie told Wes he was precisely the type of man she went for, describing this specifically as ‘mixed race‘. 

Fair enough, you might think, and it is up to her – as it is Georgia who said exactly the same thing to Josh (who is as well).

But it also highlighted an issue that’s becoming a major problem for and with the programme.

It’s hard to say whether the fact that Ellie and Georgia differentiated and didn’t simply say they liked ‘black’ men was significant, not least because Love Island’s line-up doesn’t have one.

Josh promptly/happily coupled up with Georgia whilst Wes spent the week making it clear his ‘type’ was categorically blue-eyed blondes, choosing between Laura and Ellie.

In three weeks neither of the ‘mixed race‘ men have given Samira (the only black girl) a second glance.

There’s no reason they should of course but the fact they were not alone is dispiriting to say the least. (They haven’t got that much choice after all.)

The way that it was almost taken granted that NONE of the men would consider coupling up with Samira was more alarming, treating her as the ‘joker’ in the pack and not just because she has a great sense of humour.

Alex clearly likes her – enough to team up with her in ‘a friendship couple’ to save his skin – but made no effort to explore the possibility that their relationship could become more romantic. On the contrary, he instantly abandoned her when Ellie and Zara walked in, automatically assuming they were better candidates before they’d even opened their mouths.

But then, depressingly, on this series of Love Island what people say (or their personality) clearly matters little compared to their physical appearance.

Another reason week three was so regrettable/retrograde/regressive was that it confirmed contestants weren’t even being judged on their looks any more.

Ellie and Zara weren’t really there on their own merits or their individual image/beauty but because they were younger, cuter, models of Laura and Rosie. They were types. Plus of course Ellie and Adam were already ‘friends’ – an old Big Brother trick that quickly becomes a bad habit and a lazy way of stopping things from becoming stale/guaranteeing ‘drama‘. 

The producers knew perfectly well what would happen to Ellie and Zara, Laura and Rosie, Wes and Adam, and the way the fall-out would affect the likes of Alex and Samira.

Admittedly it wasn’t dull but that doesn’t mean they should have done it or couldn’t have made more imaginative additions.

We all know the course of true love happens naturally.

Here are 10 contestants who had a bad week. And one who had a good one.

1. ROSIE 

Rosie had been praised for the Beyonce-esque way she had humiliated Adam in front of everyone – confronting him for telling the other she was moving ‘too fast’ for his liking – only to give him a second chance almost immediately. Big mistake.

‘I’m an idiot for trusting him!’ she wailed after Adam not only drooled over Zara but treated her appallingly. True.

‘You made me believe that we really had something!’ she railed, accusing him of jettisoning her for ‘a girl you’ve known barely five minutes’ – even though she was basically that too. Boasting that, in contrast, she was ‘someone you spent ten days with’ was ridiculous.

‘I cared about you, shared things with you which I don’t share with a lot of people, I trusted you!’ she cried.

Well you shouldn’t have.

‘We talked about life outside the villa. We’ve done stuff in bed together because that’s how close we got!’ Rosie confided, emphasising how badly Adam had treated her to Zara. 

Rosie warned Zara about/off Adam – emphasising how badly he had treated her even though ‘we talked about life outside the villa. We’ve done stuff in bed together because that’s how close we got!’

She acted as if she was behaving honourably, graciously trying to do Zara a favour but in fact even this was unbecoming.

It was obvious her main intention was to drive Zara away from Adam (presenting him as ‘sloppy seconds’) and in any case it was a complete waste of time.

2. LAURA

Laura’s humiliation at the way Wes treated her with Ellie wasn’t much better. Even though Laura still had her man at the end of the week, which was purely down to Wes deciding he wasn’t that interested in Ellie after all (for now anyway) and because Laura humiliated herself trying to keep him.

The way Laura told herself ‘Ellie obviously looks like me in terms of blonde hair, blue eyes, and freckles’ was rather tragic, somehow remaining in denial even when Samira spelt out ‘you are a woman and he is a boy!’

She sounded more like his mother when she chastised Wes ‘can you look at me please?!’ when she was trying to confront him about flirting with Ellie.

‘I need Wes to stand up, be a man and take control of the situation!’ she told the Beach Hut. ‘Otherwise we’re probably not going to go any further.’

He didn’t, but she still capitulated, blubbing ‘I was so scared to lose you’ and even maintaining his obvious interest in Ellie was ‘maybe the kick I needed to show me how special Wes is.‘

3. ADAM

Adam may have slipped out of Rosie’s clutches and smoothly on to Zara, but he arguably came out of week three worse than anyone.

He was too spineless to even dump Rosie himself, electing to insult her and fawn over Zara until Rosie reacted and then act as if she was the one being unreasonable.

The way he sniped ‘you’ve had a face like a smacked a**e all day’ was hardly gentlemanly and an example of his way of dealing with women that was essentially passive aggressive.

‘Rosie is that my hat?’ he called over, knowing perfectly well that it was. ‘Do you want to swap for this one?’ he added rhetorically.

‘Why?’ Rosie wondered.

‘Because this is not my hat.’

‘If you really want to…’ shrugged Rosie.

‘That would be fantastic. You’ll like that one better anyway.’

Pretty unpleasant… later he had the gall to complain to Rosie about the way she indicated she wanted to talk to him (‘you’ve just nodded at me. Don’t f**king nod at me!’) and accused Rosie of ‘pushing me away‘.

‘I’d rather not be caught up with someone like that,’ he insisted to Zara. ‘It’s not even worth trying when someone’s like that – just ‘get it all out your system lass‘. 

‘I haven’t done anything wrong! I never thought you would hurt me like this!’ Rosie cried, as Adam just sat there smirking. And, yes, nodding.

His (male) ego was so huge, his way of dealing with being dumped was not just denial, but maintaining he had dumped her.

‘She’s made my decision very easy because of the way she acted. Now it gives me an open playing field to get to know Zara a little bit.‘

The term ‘male chauvinist pig’ didn’t cover it.

4. WES

Wes was not as bad but spent the week acting like a mini Adam and not doing a very good job of hiding it.

‘The two most mature people in terms of age are supposed to be Laura and Rosie who have been pranging and kicking off the most all day,’ he complained – to Ellie, the girl he had been flirting with.

He mentioned to all and sundry (including Laura and Ellie) that for two weeks he’d only really talked to Laura as if he had been hard done by – even though this had previously been because he was supposedly so happy with her. (On their date he had talked about living together and, as Laura pointed out, dropped the ‘L bomb.’)

When Laura objected to his obvious interest in Ellie and him ignoring her, his way of dealing with a woman standing up for herself was (like Adam) to complain she was being ‘confrontational‘. 

‘You’ve got to remember we’re not in a relationship!’ he objected, lamenting that if Laura ‘trusted’ him she wouldn’t ask so many questions or need reassurance.

‘The way that she’s handling herself puts me off. Not trusting me puts me off!’ he complained, virtually at the same time as admitting: ‘I’d be lying if I said my head wasn’t turned when Ellie walked in.’

Ultimately having become bored with Laura, Wes then became bored of Ellie, and ended up telling Laura: ‘You’re at the top of my list now!’ as she was supposed to be grateful. The problem is that she was.

5. SAMIRA

Even Samira became insecure and jealous about the arrival of the new girls, trying to ward Alex off by suggesting that if he went up to Ellie in a club she was ‘the type who wouldn’t even look at you‘. 

Her desperation to save herself by getting to know the new boy wasn’t very dignified.

‘Sam/Samira! We have the same name!’ she exclaimed, declaring ‘it’s meant to be‘. 

6. ELLIE

Despite her best/worst efforts, Ellie failed to woo Wes away from Laura, even though she was significantly younger and more fun – more like Wes.

She then encouraged Zara to kiss Adam on the grounds: ‘I think he likes you. I think he’s genuine.’

Either scripted or sheer stupidity.

7. ZARA

‘I can definitely tame Adam!’ Zara claimed nonsensically (#WordsNotToSayOnLoveIsland).

Zara was so totally unmoved by the minor detail that if she encouraged Adam, she would become the fourth girl he had ‘cracked on with’ in two weeks (after Kendall, Rosie, and Megan).

‘It’s a question of, if another girl came in, would you choose her over me?’ she then wondered (a rhetorical question if ever there was one: yes).

‘I just want to see what happens…’ shrugged Adam, not even bothering to reassure her.

8. ALEX

After last week’s battle with Eyal, the way Alex seemed to have totally forgotten how he felt about Megan was either plain pathetic or suggested the whole thing had been concocted. His enthusiasm to couple up with Zara or Ellie wasn’t very gentlemanly and his ‘agreement’ with Ellie that they should form an alliance was shameless and hardly romantic even if he did seal it with a kiss.

Complaining that it was jeopardised by the arrival of Sam just made Alex look stupid – much like his inability to use enough sun cream.

9. EYAL

Eyal set a new personal best for being excruciating during his (deadly dull) date with Megan when he started a sentence with the nauseating, self-aggrandising, phrase: ‘I think in my former life…’ and completed it by suggesting ‘I was a monkey/lion‘. 

We can now add ‘knowing about wine-tasting’ and ‘being left-handed’ to the list of (excruciating) things that Eyal thinks make him special/interesting (along with ‘knowing about astronomy’ and going to ‘uni’).

10. MEGAN

Megan’s topless/naked ‘photoshoot’ with Rosie (‘to get attention back on us’ away from Zara and Ellie) was so embarrassing even Adam didn’t find it a turn on (or said he didn’t).

Then when Eyal purred ‘I think in my former life I was a monkey/lion’, Megan moronically cooed: ‘I can see the monkey side of you.’

The chemistry between them on the date was zero but Megan still allowed Eyal to slobber all over her when they ended up spending the night in the Hideaway.

Ew…

On the plus side, Megan appeared to be smitten with Sam Bird, squealing ‘I love him!’ when the new man strolled in and declared ‘I’m here to find love and teach Adam how to treat a lady right!’

He certainly made Eyal look feeble, not difficult admittedly…  

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