ITV

What Love Island 2018 taught us about love, ladies and loyalty

It's been a long, hot summer.

31 Jul 2018

So there we have it, another muggy summer of coupling up, cracking on and Flack Attacks is over. The winners have been announced, the finalists are flying home and we’re already in a state of mourning. What will our evenings be like now, without the dulcet tones of Ian Stirling? Oh hell.

Last year’s Love Island - to borrow a parlance from the show – spun our heads. Previously relegated to the bargain basement bin of reality TV, it suddenly became essential, water cooler viewing. It was a game changer. This year’s Love Island had the tricky job of following in its footsteps yet it’s still managed to consume our summer and dominate the headlines.

So what lessons have we learned from another spell in the villa? We’ve learned that Brexit is apparently about trees, that Georgia is about as loyal as her recollection of events is accurate, that Samira’s idea of flirting revolves around your floor material preference and that Charlie Brake’s cutlery may, in fact, match.

Love was actually hot on the agenda this year, with Jack and Dani stealing the crown early on for their undisputed compatibility and their unbreakable loyalty. Jack’s determination to sleep outside at Casa Amor was eye-wateringly touching. Even Wes and Josh, whose behaviour could so easily have damned them, managed to redeem themselves, by proving they had taken risks (and caused considerable collateral damage) for what seems like genuine love. Wes’s loyalty to Megan, even in the face of rejection, and Josh’s permanent cat-that-got-the-cream expression from the moment he snared Kaz, were proof enough.

It wasn’t plain sailing for male PR though. We should have listened to original islander Niall Aslam, who left shortly after week one, when he said “never trust a man with too many abs.” Cue Adam, the subject of said remark, gaslighting nearly four women (does Zara count now?) and sending two of them home himself. His hypnotic eyes and Geordie drawl were a sirens call luring women towards him, only for them to crash against his abs. His behaviour towards Kendall and Rosie resulted in Ofcom complaints and even women’s charities wading in.

But said charities needn’t have worried too much, because in the red corner we had Rosie Williams, the sassy, raven haired Welsh girl who looked like Lindsay Lohan with a law degree. Her dressing down of Serial-Woman-Destroyer Adam Collard was one of my personal highlights of the season.

It opened the gates for what, in my opinion, was a Love Island preoccupied with women; their strengths and insecurities. One of the most revealing moments of the whole summer was Samira’s breakdown during Casa Amor week. Her tears were so painfully relatable to so many women; worrying that she wasn’t good enough, frustrated with her lack of romantic success, comparing herself to other women, specifically surgically-enhanced bombshell Megan.

“Yeah you can pay for your fake tits and veneers,” was Megan’s bolstering response, “But that’s only 1%. If I could have your intelligence and everything about you I would swap everything.”

It was a watershed moment for the show and for Megan; who had earned herself a reputation as a snake for her betrayal of fellow female contestant Laura. It revealed the true extent of her own seismic insecurities. Megan’s redemption throughout the show has not been proving critics wrong in her relationship with Wes, but in gaining and maintaining female friends and, crucially, self-confidence.

This year’s show has been so much about the journeys of women. It has resulted, after all, in Alexandra being more unanimously popular than Nation’s Sweetheart, Dr Alex. After his brutal rebuffing of her, the scales shifted and her Rosie-esque put down in response was one of the most tweeted moments of the series.

The results prove that we really got behind women this year. In second place was Laura Anderson. It’s safe to assume that she earned her runner up accolade solo, seeing as no one was exactly overly-enthused about Paul Knops (bless him). It was her class and resilience that got her there, with the public rallying behind her, willing her to have a happy ending after a summer of heartbreak at the hands of, yes Niall, men with too many abs.

The winners this year say a lot about us. For a show frequently labelled as soft porn for simpletons, we chose a couple who have stayed faithful to each other all summer, whose romance has been puppy-dog levels of adorable and who have yet to have sex. Ultimately, Georgia Steel was right, we did prioritise loyalty this year, in both our worthy winners and our stoic, authentic runner-up.