PASSAGE TO PARADISE OR TICKET TO TORMENT?

Welcome to Paradise!  Get ready for the ultimate summer of love? Really?  As a nation we seem to love Love Island – but why?   

It appears that we just can’t get enough of reality shows with over 170 on offer, if you can be bothered to surf the channels or watch reruns of the more popular ones.  Are our own lives so unexciting that we must watch others?

Why do we need to allow a show that is more about having a peachy behind become a template for the impressionable to even imagine this is what romance looks like? 

Sadly, romance doesn’t even come into this concept that forces together total strangers over an eight-week period encouraging them to avoid singleton and being booted out and instead attempt to endure a pretend partnership for an end result of £50,000, unlimited publicity and the opportunity to become a household name and grab that celebrity status that now in our world of shallowness means so little! 

It’s a bit like playing musical chairs but with people and to keep your eyes on the prize you need to ensure that your toned booty is firmly sat down by the end of each week with a partner in tow! 

If anyone is not in a couple they are invited via a text message “to clear out”, alas our disposable attitude is becoming so apparent! 

So, for this selected gathering of ‘ordinary’ people it appears their mere presence has already confirmed they have signed on the dotted line to perform sexual acts with semi strangers to remain there and they will do anything to stay in this favourable couple status.  

Here is yet another example of ‘extreme people watching’ with another TV reality illustration of getting together a group of unknowns (although watch as the story unfolds as I am sure it will become clear that all or most of these camera loving individuals have some past connection where the limelight has now faded, and this is their ledge to climb to get back on track and gain maximum exposure no matter what it takes!)

We seem obsessed in observing and dissecting their every move in this social experiment based on the Gale-Shapley algorithm also known as the stable marriage problem. 

This is a process based on the premise that the only way you will find a stable relationship is if you just go out and propose to the most attractive people you can find and by the law of averages if you demonstrate this by downsizing it into a manageable number of participants you will see this set of rules and results pan out right in front of your very eyes.  

However, the reality of a reality show is that we very rarely stop to understand why we watch them or dwell on if there is a bigger picture going on that could explain why they are there in the first place. 

So, let me explain the science behind love Island … Here goes….  

You start with the same number of guys and girls (so in Love Island the first line up consisted of 5 girls and then initially the same number of guys were introduced into the mix). 

Each guy has an internal ranking for the girls displayed in front of him, all lined up in their bikinis to be picked out like slabs of meat on an oestrogen buffet and each girl has an internal ranking of the guys brought out one by one (a tad more challenging for the girlies as they didn’t get to see everything on offer and had to rank the guys in stages).  Its a bit like a lucky dip prize which you unwrap and quickly you realise someone else has got what you wanted or you have what someone else wants! 

The girls did display some element of control during this introductory segment by being able to step forward to demonstrate if they liked each guy.   It was funny to see them step forward moreso as the process gained momentum and they were panicking that the options were running out!

However, this method seemed more advantageous for the guys by the fact they could then still pick the girls to be their partner, regardless of whether they actually fancied the blokes or not and regardless of whether they were already coupled.   

It was very interesting viewing at this junction as the only giveaway was the array of facepalms as their controlled but still noticeable gestures could be seen; disappointment, embarrassment, horror, shock, surprise etc  

In the Gale-Shapley algorithm when everyone is paired up there is no pair that likes each other more than their current partner. 

If a girl gets her second choice of a guy thats fine and dandy as long as her first choice doesn’t like her more than his current partner. 

In this case all partnerships can be called stable hence the name the stable marriage problem. 

However, in real life finding a suitable partner is an uphill battle of trial and error filled with deep emotional turmoil, regrets and awkward love triangles.   

To simplify the problem lets assume the guys will just propose to whichever girl they find most attractive and the girls will accept whatever proposal from the guy they find most attractive.  However, to reach the stable marriage chapter the guys propose, and the girls accept their best offer then the rejected guys then propose again and again, and the girls accept the best offer and the cycle of hope and rejection continues until there are no guys or girls not in a relationship - exhausted yet - I know I am!

But throw in a hefty cash reward into the equation and recruit using a very limited set of requirements and there you have it another reality show to hijack prime time and fill social media with. 

With the maths put to one side lets analyse the good and bad of such a concept being aired and promoted.  It could be argued that the theory happens in real life without our even knowing or caring and certainly not at such a forced pace.  Yet the reality of attraction is not purely based on physical attributes and this is not what is being broadcast or encouraged as being the norm! 

It appears that the production team didn't cast their net very wide even though they had over 80,000 applications to screen when considering the overall line up for this new series.  

The benchmark for the chaps seemed to be a rippling chiselled set of abs with a token of seriousness; enter the boys comprising of Aaron, Luxury Events Host active on social media with over 11k followers and who paints when stressed.  There is Hugo, the first disabled islander who has been single for a while, Jake Cornish who comes from Somerset and is really a Jack of all trades whose nickname is Tigger from Winnie the Pooh but will he demonstrate the same rambunctiousness as this loveable stuffed animal?  Blue eyed Brad whose instagram account is full of selfies and torso shots and lets not forget Toby who plays for Hashtag United as a Semi Professional Footballer playing the beautiful game since he was 6 years old and now at the grand old age of 22 he is looking for THE relationship! 

For the girls’ surprise surprise fake is the new real with smiles, boobs, and tans and who let’s face it do not represent how most of the nation look (jealous? No only about the lack of cellulite, however, I would rather have cellulite than a lack of personality, morals and judgement any day of the week!).   

Located in a hot country, it is the perfect setting for escapism and for wearing almost no clothing and on this note I couldn’t imagine it having the same dedicated number of viewers if it was filmed in a cold drab rainy UK location that required thermals and wellies! 

Not only are the contestants fake but so is the grass in this setting which separates outside areas with beds, swinging areas to sit, a fire pit to chill next to and a fully stocked bar, not to mention a house full of brand new double beds (I would hope so!) and “a fancy sofa” and words of motivation and inspiration plastered in neon or graffiti style in every nook and cranny.  

A programme sponsored by Superdrug it’s prime time TV designed to sell beauty products, but let’s not forget it is also a sociological experiment that exposes, or rather reminds us that the end gain to up the viewing is to watch how far people go and will they end up having sex on the box for the promise of money and all that this type of stardom brings after 8 weeks?

But will it be that promise to paradise?