Just as a background for anyone who hasn’t sat through a slow hour of the show: Love Island is an ITV reality show in which contestants all stay in a tropical villa, aiming to “couple up” with each other and the last remaining couple get £50,000. It is essentially a cross breed of Big Brother and The Hunger Games. The classic model of fall outs, evictions, challenges and quintessentially trashy broadcasting has been reworked to monetise the most fundamental feature of human connection and enchantment; Love.
Contestants become less like humans and more like characters, both for the public and the shows’s producers. The show’s makers find any inch of human vulnerability from within the contestants and exploit it to garner the most feeling from the contestants and therefore the most entertainment for the episode. For instance, the producers bring back contestants ex’s into the villa, they grant the contestants phone calls with people at home, who rather predictably tell the contestants of all the rumors circulating about the show from home. The whole time the producers are using the contestants as pawns in their own chess game. All of this happens in the most synthetic of environments- forced dates, 24/7 contact, forced sleep arrangements.
1.6 Million people tune in on a daily basis to watch this dystopian pile of shit too. It is a fairly sinister number actually. It highlights that the less humane some humans are treated, the more the other humans want to watch. The show is elevated to a kind of post-reality reality show. This is because of the pure fact that if reality shows were the contestants actual non altered reality, there would be no public interest. Reality shows have to be synthetic enough to be more interesting than the viewers personal reality.
But all this producer intervention and interruption of the contestants reality is essentially a working metaphor model of fate. The producers have a desired outcome for every small situation they create. They therefore make sure that the contestants travel in the direction set out for them. The contestants lack of knowledge of a path and outcome already set for them means they believe they are still following their free will. They in actuality, are following their free will through the options set to them, but there are far more options they do not know about.
For a metaphorical example, contestants are given the choice to follow two roads to a promised destination. They pick with their free will one of the roads. What they don’t know is that there are 3 other roads that they could pick to reach the promised destination too.
Love Island is frighteningly like the films “The Truman Show”, “The Hunger Games” and many other fictional dystopia. I’m afraid that it won’t be too long until these fictional dystopia become part of mainstream entertainment.