There are few topics that divide opinion more keenly in my house than Love Island. The Teenagers, each in their unique way, are obsessed. My daughter watches it with her boyfriend; they seem to love and hate it in equal measure, taking sides furiously while at the same time disparaging the show’s obvious flaws.
Occasionally, I am drafted in to watch. On Friday night, as we observed various couples partake in a series of monosyllabic dates, culminating in Liberty (standard-issue pneumatic blonde) and Jake (equally standard-issue tattooed hunk) announcing their separation, we were transfixed by Chloe’s underboob, Liberty’s white lace trousers, and the almost comedic attempts of their co-islanders to register emotion through the multiple layers of make-up, Botox and fillers.
Afterwards, my daughter asked me if I thought she should get a boob-job.
She is 18. I said ‘no’, obviously.
My SON, meanwhile, takes a more straightforward, and some might say, male view. ‘I get that you hate it, Mum,’ he said, shovelling down breakfast eggs and beans yesterday morning, ‘but I don’t see what’s not to like about being sent to Majorca and being paid to have as much sex as you can with a load of fit women. Then come home to five million followers on Instagram and a bunch of brands desperate to sign you up and never having to work again.’
Love Island contestants Kaz and Faye pictured on the show. There are few topics that divide opinion more keenly in my house than Love Island, writes Sarah Vine
There’s something of the Colosseum about the way these muscle-bound young people are forced to demonstrate their physical and sexual prowess for the pleasure of the spectator (file)
He is, as you can probably tell, 16. But he has a point.
His view is largely representative of his age group and, I suspect, the reason why Love Island is such a ratings-grabber. He is precisely the kind of market the show is aimed at – and the reason it boasts lucrative sponsorship and product-placement deals worth somewhere north of £70 million, with brands including Tinder, Just Eat, JD Sports and various other sources of youthful gratification.
It’s also why I hate it so much. Hate it with a passion. Hate the vacuous messages it sends and the cynical way it manipulates the contestants. Hate the soapy sentiment and the overblown emotions. Hate the cookie-cutter version of physical desirability it promotes.
Hate the fleshy vulgarity of it and, perhaps most of all, hate the rank hypocrisy and sheer brass neck of ITV for screening it alongside adverts for mental health charities and other empty-minded sentiment designed to gloss over the fact that four people associated with the show, including former presenter Caroline Flack, have taken their own lives. Nor am I the only one.
This series (the seventh), has led to a record 33,540 complaints to the broadcasting watchdog Ofcom –most (24,910, to be precise) related to the episode where Faye (heavily enhanced pneumatic blonde) stomped around the villa hurling abuse at Teddy (wholly innocuous hunk) after she was shown an out-of-context clip of him saying he fancied someone else.
Sparking complaints: Faye and Teddy
It is, I’m afraid, just representative of everything that is depressingly soul-destroying about the modern world. The plastic surgery, the absence of morals, the something-for-nothing culture.
But that’s not all; it also takes us back to the Dark Ages. It’s barbaric and gladiatorial in the way it presents suffering as entertainment, encouraging us to salivate and pore over glistening young bodies as we follow the fortunes – and misfortunes – of this surgically enhanced, fame-hungry group of desperados. There’s something of the Colosseum about the way these muscle-bound young people are forced to demonstrate their physical and sexual prowess for the pleasure of the spectator.
Something humiliating and dehumanising about the way they all have to sleep together in the same room, to perform their tricks beneath the constant eye of the cameras; about the way they are carted off once a week to have their nails and lash extensions topped up, their excess hair removed, their fake tans reapplied before being sent out, once again, into the arena. It’s cruel, crass and exploitative. And it demeans us all.
Tomorrow is the final episode. Let’s hope it’s the last.
And the barefaced hypocrite of the week award goes to… Prince Harry, for flying 750 miles home to California from a polo match (for charidee, natch) in a chum’s £45 million private jet.
Why on earth do we have to take a PCR test every time we visit a GP – even if we don’t have Covid?
‘It’s policy,’ I was told recently when seeking treatment for a gammy knee.
Instead, I hobbled to my local chemist, where the nice Mr Shah gave me some Voltarol and a brace. Makes you wonder why we pay GPs an average of £100,000 a year.
Why on earth do we have to take a PCR test every time we visit a GP – even if we don’t have Covid?, writes Sarah Vine (file photo)
The £50 million cost of policing the antics of Extinction Rebellion will rise with more protests due this week.
Yet this country is responsible for only one per cent of global emissions (unlike China’s 27 per cent) and we are doing our bit to help save the environment.
If XR were not merely virtue-signalling anarchists, they would chain themselves to the door of the Chinese Embassy.
Sadly, I’m not convinced that school lessons on ‘coercive control’ and ‘hatred of women’ will help counter the growing ‘incel’ movement.
Misogynists such as the Plymouth gunman won’t change their deeply paranoid antipathy to women because well-meaning teachers tell them to play nicely.
Changing for the worse
Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and presenter Anna Richardson stand on a set in Changing Rooms
Channel 4’s awful reboot of Changing Rooms, starring the unauthentic and self-referential presenter Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, makes the original 1990s home makeover series seem about as sedate as Mastermind.
Designers surpassed themselves last week by creating an item of wall ‘art’ out of hair extensions.
If Shakespeare’s Romeo And Juliet now requires a trigger warning, God help today’s youth if they ever stumble across a performance of Hamlet, where the murder body count is nine.
General Motors are recalling their Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles over fears the lithium batteries might cause fires that reach temperatures of 2,000C.
I’m not saying electric cars aren’t the future – just that they may not be the Holy Grail green zealots believe.
Tragic to hear about the death of children’s author Jill Murphy. Her Worst Witch books and story about Mrs Large the elephant resonated deeply with my two when they were small.
Jill truly understood children and parents. Her warmth, wit and wise insight will be greatly missed.
Some lament the casting of Dominic West as Charles in Netflix’s The Crown, saying he’s too dashing.
I’m not sure, but one thing is clear: I’ve never seen Charles in a suit as poorly cut as the one sported by West. And brown? In town? Have the producers taken leave of their senses?
Some lament the casting of Dominic West as Charles (pictured above) in Netflix’s The Crown, saying he’s too dashing
Tech tycoon Elon Musk says he’s building a ‘friendly robot that won’t fight back’, to perform menial tasks. Good grief. Has he never seen Blade Runner?
Last week, I wrote how women’s rights crusader Joe Biden had carried out the single most anti-women act possible by pulling out from Afghanistan.
But this hypocrite shares complicity with America’s liberal media and tech giants who were so keen to topple Donald Trump that they didn’t just give Biden an easy ride, they wheeled his bath chair into the Oval Office.