Love Island 2021 review: We need to remember the first week is always a slog

Even an acoustic cover of Avril Lavigne’s ‘girlfriend’ can’t up the emotional stakes in bland episode

Elise Bell
Friday 02 July 2021 13:49
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Love Island 2021 trailer

There are three key tenets of Love Island. Think of them as pillars, holding the show together, keeping the walls of anarchy standing upright. The first of these tenets is love, or at least the optimistic hope that one can find real love in a sequestered mansion as cameras follow your every move. The second, as we hope to jubilantly rediscover, is sex – playing to our archaic base hunger to watch hot people get it on. The third is endurance. This is easy to forget, especially when this is beamed into our eyeballs six days a week. It is also the only way we can forgive, forget and move on from the blandness of last night’s episode.

In all previous seasons of Love Island, the first week has been a slog. Much like the phenomenon known as “running”, no one enjoys it, you just hope that you will come out the other side wiser and stronger than you were before. It only gets good by week two, by which point you’ve forgotten all about how crap it used to be. See! Like a marathon! (I promise I’ll stop with the sports metaphors now).

It’s obvious that producers are aware of this. Take for example Sharon and Aaron’s snog. After days of barely-there flirting, the two decided to take themselves up to that classic Love Island romance destination of the... terrace. As a civil servant herself, Sharon can surely see that their conversion has about as much sexual spark as a cross-departmental policy meeting. I believe it’s for these reasons that the masterminds at ITV2 brought in the big guns, aka “an acoustic cover of Avril Lavigne’s ‘Girlfriend’”, to add the emotional stakes this plot development so desperately needed.

For Jake and Liberty, the drama was obvious from the get go. Six seasons of Love Island teach you how to spot a cad and Jake is clearly getting the jitters. This is problematic for many reasons. Following Shannon’s rapid departure on Wednesday night, Liberty has readily filled in the role of national sweetheart. Adding to her potent mix of public likeability is the openness with which she clearly fancies Jake, echoing the immortal words of Our Lady and Saviour Saint Maura as she described her “fanny flutters”. All of this would be charming were Jake not considering binning her off in the very near future for reasons that are unknowable. But perhaps this is a net positive for Liberty? Jake described their romance as like talking to himself in a wig, which is deeply insulting considering Jake is the kind of man who thought it a good idea to tattoo his body with scenes from the Battle of the Somme.

But who are these attractive strangers asking Faye and Sharon on a date? Yes. We finally have it. The arrival of the fitties. So, what do we know about them? The true bombshell of the episode was not Chuggs revealing that his nickname is a combination of “cuddles and hugs” but rather that he is soon “moving to Westminster”. This is simply not possible. No 10 is occupied and Big Ben is undergoing renovations. No one lives in Westminster. More surprises were in store as Liam revealed he is actually a child in the body of an adult man; the clearly 30-year-old hunk spilled the beans that he is in fact only 21.

Will the arrival of Chuggs and Liam be enough to spice things up? Time will only tell. But I have a feeling that as the boys scramble to hold onto a place in the villa, things should start to get very interesting.

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