Me and my then-partner are in a Lebanese restaurant in Spain arguing about TV. Talk has turned to the relative merits of the multitude of award-winning shows versus reality television and I’m making the slab-headed point that you’d have to be mad to watch stuff like Love Island with the amount of quality telly on.
She’s defending fast-food TV and is intentionally winding me up, prompting me to get childishly dismissive and increasingly obnoxious. Any hopes of swaying the other to our point of view have swiftly descended into the realms of impossibility. The tabbouleh and hummus goes conspicuously untouched.
Looking back, I was entirely in the wrong and fully admit to being so. Not my finest hour at all, with my silly disdain probably founded in unfamiliarity - I’d never actually watched any episodes of the shows I was heartily pouring scorn upon, which is evidence of how powerfully stupid I was being. As the sayings go: live and let live; each to their own.
Anyways, fast-forward five years and I’m now hopelessly trapped in the mind-bending drama-web of this year’s season of Love Island. Prompted to watch by my current girlfriend, I decided to give it a go. Sure, it may not be for me, but how would I know if I didn’t at least try it? I remembered my past hurried and ignorant rejection and so agreed to have a watch.
My God, the drama. The snideness, the catty comments, the boredom-fuelled spats forged from and waged over nothing. The profound levels of insecurity and machismo, the flirting and embarrassing chat-up attempts. It’s TV gold. I want to travel back to 2017, grab my past self, and violently shake him. Watch it, you idiot; everyone’s already seen Breaking Bad.
It’s got cringey moments and sickening backstabbing, it’s got red-flag lads and chaotic girls. It’s got attractive people with character flaws just like we all do, only they’ve been jammed into a villa with a bunch of shirtless strangers whom they’re told they have to try and cop off with. Please. Who doesn’t want to see how that turns out?
Consider me shamelessly converted.