Love Island 2019 – Review

At the start of June, I got a WhatsApp from Mick Tavish: Are you on love island??!! It’s great. My simple response was: Nah.

He wasn’t about to let that drop: A younger impulse

👏

would’ve thrived there. Lighten up and get on it. No more big brother this is next best thing.

Mick tried pulling on the Impulse heartstring, even dragging up the hand rub, but it was the final message that had the desired effect. Mick knows I’m a Big Brother whore. I can’t believe it hasn’t been picked up by another channel or Netflix. There’s a Marcus Bentley sized hole in my reality TV show life.

So, I popped on episode 1 on ITV Hub. After twenty minutes I almost turned it off. It’s bad telly. But something kept me watching. A strange curiosity, or just a need to find something that can be Big Brother Lite.

It was probably the Lucie situation that pulled me in. Like Big Brother, the attraction with reality TV shows is monitoring your own response to people’s contrasting opinions. The overbearing controlling Joe was embroiled in a love triangle with boxer Tommy Fury. We had good guys and bad guys and over two months the roles would change…

The contestants are playing for three things: £50k, true love, and the grand prize – fifteen minutes of fame. The last of these has people declare 100% commitment then decide to stay in the villa when their soul mate is ejected, to find love again a few days later. These young ‘uns prefer love triangles and love hexagons before anything resembling honesty and loyalty.

When all this falsity is hiding in plain sight, it’s ironic the public go for conspiracy theories that Molly-Mae isn’t genuine. If you’re looking for evidence of forced or fake behaviour, there are easier places it exists on the show. For the record, I thought Molly-Mae was being sincere with Tommy. It took the idea of losing him to make her realise she her feelings. Once she set her stall out, love blossomed.

Just as the show allows you to view opinions it also shows how easy it is to play Chinese whispers. Anna and Amber were unable to relay the words used in arguments accurately. Anna couldn’t even deliver the tone and body language she saw without putting spin on it that would leave a politician proud. They weren’t the only offenders. Most incidents were relayed after passing through that person’s individual filter. Makes one wonder how many problems in real life are caused by unreliable narrators…

This year had its characters. Amy was cray-cray. After a week it was clear why at 26, she’d never had a boyfriend. She’s likely to explode at the person in front of her in a shopping market queue and declare the friendship over. “How could you buy Frosties, I’ve been stood here thinking you’d be Crunchy Nut. The way you said ‘hi’ and passed the divider made me think we could be best friends. Now you’re asking for cashback and scrimping on bags for life. It’s over. I have to leave now before we can’t shop together again in the future.” Mad as a hatter. And walks like and old lady too.

Amber is a truly gorgeous person to look at. But. Her idea of being fiery is a different way of saying she’s a bitch. Sure, she was shat on by Michael but she didn’t come out of the fallout with any credit. Even her love speech in the final episode was a “me-me-me” moment. When she grows up, she might be an all right person. Her winning also proves that the British public are idiots when it comes to voting on reality TV shows.

Quick mention to Maura, too. She’s bringing trashy into 2019 kicking and screaming. Every time she says “fanny flutters”, cocks around the country shrivel up.

The true star of the show [resists urge to make Ellie-Belly joke] is Tommy Fury. When I say lovable idiot, I mean it in an endearing way. He’s a lovely young man with a heart of gold. He’s not actually an idiot, he just has a childlike innocence. There’s nothing false about Tommy. The Fury family have another A-lister amongst their midst.

Tommy Fury

The show proves how superficial and fleeting looks are. Nine out of ten contestants are super-hot. After a few days, some of them appear ugly. Personality is the key to successful relationships and those with bad ones can’t mask it with a smile for long. Oh, cash can help make a relationship work too (ask people like Bernie Ecclestone) so perhaps that £50k keeps façades up for longer than usual.

The camera shots showing the start of a party looked like an advert for a cheap catalogue, reminding us this was all so, so very fake. But it did manage to replace the Marcus Bentley sized-hole I my life with the witty Iain Stirling.

What Love Island lacks is a true gameplayer. Going back to Big Brother, that eventually became a gameshow. The social experiment died as people wanted fame. Love Island started as a gameshow. There’s a cash prize. Love is just a theme. It needs a Nasty Nick style couple that seeks to tear apart successful partnerships so there are no couples left by the final. In a show where it’s 90% false, someone exploiting this would be golden. Maybe next year?

If in the meantime you’re having withdrawal symptoms, I suggest you seek help from a professional . . . ballroom dancer.

7/10

Big Brother 2018 Review

It’s with sadness Big Brother will finally leave UK screens. At least, that looks to be the case but it feels too big to be left on the TV scrapheap for long. For eighteen years it has been the original and best reality TV show. The last season started with a nod to the past but perhaps also went some way to explaining why it lacks a definite future.

Over the years, it’s been no secret this writer wanted to get into the famous house at Elstree Studios but this series finally turned me off the idea. It’s often the case the most entertaining housemates leave too early. In this year’s show, if we reversed the timeline of evictions, it would have made compelling viewing to the end.

Instead, the final season limped like a lame dog during the last fortnight. Characters (because that’s what housemates become) either showed their true colours (Zoe) or grated beyond belief (the rest of the finalists).

Could I have coped in a house that was unclean, where shoes rested on pillows, the floor looked like a vacuum cleaner had been emptied on it, and the only activity was people smoking?

Nope. I’d have gone full aggro-bellend to pass the time.

Which could explain why Lewis F was so quick to start a pointless argument. He overstepped the mark with Kay, she clearly asked to stop the chat, but Lewis F needs to peck at people’s heads as much as Tomasz needs to lounge around like a camp Jabba the Hutt.

Lewis F showed his softer side, helping Cameron come out on national television. The cynic will wonder if that was a plot by the eventual winner. His disingenuous reactions to being scared in tasks prove he has a taste for the theatrics.

The last Channel 5 Big Brother did feel retro. Isaac, Kenaley and Akeem all felt like legitimate additions to Big Brother folk law, along with Lewis F, Kay and the underappreciated Lewis G.

Cian felt like a bit of a cheap imposter and Sian proves that good looks can get a person far in the absence of a personality.

It was sad to see Emma Willis and Rylan bid farewell to a show they obviously care about. Willis has been a worthy successor to Davina’s mantel (we’ll forget the Brian Downing attempt to host the show) and hopefully retains her spot should the show be revived.

I can’t say I’ve watched every season like a superfan. Some years I haven’t even been in the country during the summer. But a quick look at former winners shows enough names still jump out as recognisable even now.

Big Brother has been more than just a reality TV show, it has been a way to chronicle popular culture over the last two decades.

Big Brother 2016 Review – Review

Before we head into Celebrity Big Brother, let’s look at the regular version. I say regular, that implies it is for regular people. People off the street, plucked from obscurity in the elusive chase for fame. Those days have long since passed. Now it is a junkyard for people on the fringes, of those on the fringes, of fleeting fame. Failed “reality” TV stars that try to make it on an original reality TV pioneer.

The problem is, Big Brother is now a modern reality TV show. It feels part scripted with “contestants” too aware of the medium. Craig from Season 1 had no idea what being in the house meant. The players of 2016 haven’t got a game plan to win, they have a career path that are attempting to manipulate with TV time.

Emma Willis is the face of this charade but her stewardship is equal to Davina’s from the original and light years ahead of Brian Dowling’s failed effort. Like Davina McCall, she appears to love the show and is absorbed in the characters. She adds warmth and familiarity. But as good as she is, if the show failed in between her live shows, nobody would enjoy her.

This year the feel of the entrants made it worth sticking around. Despite being an ensemble of people already used to media exposure, the balance of fame-seeking and genuine personalities shone through.

Welsh girl Lateysha Grace sums this up best. She came across as a slapper on MTV’s The Valleys. Acting the promiscuous tart she took offence to being labelled as in the house. And rightly so. Judging her on her views and actions in BBUK, she was down-to-earth and lovely.

So why knowingly play a role using her real name, for just five minutes of fame?

It undermines her true self.

Her only cracks came when she was tactically booted. As a single parent, she felt her reason for winning had greater validity. Lateysha still needs to learn one important lesson: Life owes you nothing.

Her axe wielder was eventual winner Jason. His presence, made the belief the whole thing could be rigged gain credibility. In an early “twist” there were two houses. The Others occupied a secret home alongside the main one. Jason spent days going on about an ex he couldn’t possibly do the Big Brother experience with. Guess what, she was part of The Others and soon joined the main cast.

A similar plot occurred with geezer Chelsea and kiss-and-tell Jayne.

This wasn’t real people showing the diversity of the British public. It was pure, pre-ordained, entertainment.

But it survived the cynicism – just.

Other standouts were Jackson. He had more voices than tattoos; came from the street (but was actually a model); fell in love with a posh bird he made out was a fairy tale dream. Being BBUK, she complied and the fairy tale came true.

That’s when Georgina wasn’t dictating to Jackson. But her harshness was a defensive mechanism. In a house of frauds, she displayed true emotions. I hope for her sake, Jackson proves himself to be genuine.

Proving BBUK can always provide a disillusioned, despicable human, we met Laura Carter. A woman who described herself as “an established actress” before entering the house. If that’s true, I’m Barry Norman.

She’ll be remembered for sleeping with Marco Pierre White’s immature, overactive son. Pretending she is vulnerable but savvy. Pretending she had a long lost love. Pretending she wasn’t selfish or self-centred when she embodies both those evils.

Andy was the “intelligent” addition. Proving that repeatedly saying something, doesn’t make it true. Pretty fun watching him not know how many make a baker’s dozen. In the kingdom of the blind…

He got engaged on the show, when during a task, his boyfriend entered the house for an overnight stay. While it provided a touching moment, it shows how far the show has fallen from the original social experiment. A founding rule was: No contact with the outside world.

Now they get news updates and Tweets read to them and hands in marriage.

Ryan had a love affair with fan-favourite and runner-up, Hughie. The former was a scouser playing for the cameras. The latter an intriguing Irishman, that came in, broke taboos and stereotypes, and allowed a heart of gold to shine through.

He was easy to disagree with, at times. But “real” people show all sides and all shades. It’s proof the makers of Big Brother can go back to basics and bring in the general public. Real is more explosive, more engaging.

Big Brother shouldn’t be a retraining school for failed reality stars. It should be relevant. Right now IMDb don’t even add new series to their page.

Go back to basics, BBUK or face extinction.

5/10