Love Island 2021 review: We need to talk about the men in this villa

Forget Marvel, it was time for ITV to bastardise one of the most beloved BBC programmes of all time

Elise Bell
Friday 09 July 2021 08:23
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Toby and Chloe shock viewers as they kiss

It’s a beautiful, balmy day in Love Island and the drama is hotting up. After yesterday’s dinner date from hell, tears are flowing and two of our couples are dead in the water. The end of the road has arrived for Shaaron and Brachel (that one in particular hurt), with both the girls stoically wiping teardrops from their perfect, angelic faces as their prospective partner’s moved on without a second glance. All I can say is... men.

But no, let’s talk about men, and in particular, the men within this villa. Did the casting agents not think that there might be a tiny problem if all the men in the villa preferred blondes? Did they not foresee problematic outcomes if every time a new platinum babe staggered across the cobbled walkway, teetering between a Miss Pap sponsorship and a shattered ankle, the men would lose their tiny minds? What makes this so unworkable as a format is not so much the unfairness (where for example, do the gingers fit in all this?), but how brittle it makes every couple in this villa. Love Island is as much a reality show about bitching and fighting as it is about finding love. Where is the emotional growth, where is the narrative arc if each of the islander’s romances hit reset every three days?

Speaking of a reset, it looked like things were getting even friskier as last night’s Love Island episode staged the most ambitious crossover event in history. Forget your Marvel bulls***, it was time for ITV to bastardise one of the most beloved BBC programmes of all time as they premiered their latest challenge: “Line of Booty”. Toeing the line between poor taste and outright sexual harassment, the challenge saw our shirtless hunks transformed into shirtless crims, as our girls attempted to guess what covert packages they might be hiding beneath their jockstrap. To my grandma reading this, I am so sorry.

For those who also spent a good portion of their first, second or third lockdown projecting their severe anxiety onto a prime-time BBC police drama, you’ll know that there are three key traits to a bent copper. The first is charisma – because how else are you going to convince people to do your dirty deeds? The second is killer instinct – what a bent copper wants, a bent copper gets. And the third, is deceit. Though in no way affiliated with any law enforcement agencies that I’m aware of, Chloe displayed all the characteristics of a bent copper in her prime, planting a very invested snog on Toby’s lips for all to see.

This is as close to a shootout as it gets in the villa, with Kaz and Toby one of the few original couples left standing. Predictably, the battle lines were drawn, as a hurt Kaz eloquently explained to Chloe that she felt “snaked”. It also offered Faye the moment she had been waiting for – that is, to finally let rip on her rival blondes and assert her dominance in the process. Yet, as annoying as Chloe can be, she does have a point. Toby and Kaz’s relationship has been moving at a snail’s pace throughout the competition, each kiss feeling if not forced, then a little too significant. Of course, this isn’t helped by the boys, who seem hell bent on using any opportunity to sow seeds of doubt in Toby’s mind. Let him take his time, you haters!

Far away from prying eyes, Toby and Chloe shared a passionate kiss on the terrace. It looks like someone’s mind has been made up. Though this could spell the end of Toby and Kaz, I sense it might also spark the beginning of some major trouble ahead.

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