Now Streaming: “Love Island”

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For most of the country, cooler temperatures have moved in, signaling the end of summer. “Love Island” is a show that will bring back the feel of summer coupled with the cringey dating habits of twenty-somethings. With beautiful views of the world outside of the show’s villa, and the villa’s bright and open design, and even brighter decor, “Love Island” can be visually appealing. But all the bright colors do little to make viewers forget that the participants, called “Islanders,” are there to find “real” love. The setting and the behavior of the Islanders make it seem as if the show’s entire purpose is to set people up on one-night stands.

“Love Island”: a new kind of romance show

In its fourth season, viewers meet the ladies first. Each comes to the set of the villa dressed in bikinis with thong bottoms. Some audiences might never get used to the amount of skin shown on “Love Island.”

As the young women arrive, cutaways show them giving their pre-show interviews. The lighting is neon-rich, as in all the glass surfaces are trimmed in neon. The vibe is very 1980s. In this setting, the individual participants cavort with the neon props (there is a swing and a bathtub among other things) and tell audiences about themselves. Everyone uses all of the props, and it is kind of weird to watch people attempt to be alluring in a bubblebath. The feel that emanates from the setup is that these people are capable of making anyone fall in love.

In some ways, the overly sexualized look of “Love Island” makes it more honest than some shows that require cocktail dressing for any of the show’s ceremonies. Instead, the young men immediately remove their shirts, rub their hands together, and await their next romantic conquest. Except for date nights, the young women remain in bikinis.

The contestants are instructed to pair up immediately. The ladies stand nervously while the men take their pick. From that point, the pairs act as if they are long-term couples. Their paradise is disrupted when two new ladies are added to the mix. This is the show’s tension builder. New people are added to the mix. Eventually, some of the Islanders begin to get voted off. At the end, only four couples remain, but only one can win. Up to this last minute the couple’s loyalty is tested. The prize is $100,000. Each member of the couple is handed an envelope. One gets the money and one gets zero, but the one who gets all the money has the option to share. The top couples in season four include some of the original pairings.

But with the emphasis on looks (all have model-esque bodies), how genuine are the connections the Islanders are making? Even if the connections are not real, the natural settings are, and those are worth seeing, especially for those in places that are looking less like summer, and more like fall.

“Love Island USA” streams on Peacock.

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