Saturday, June 25, 2022

A return of previews and less Gemma airtime; Love Island is listening

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I warned you to get out while you still can. Well I’m afraid it’s too late for those of us who stayed here this long. A week from island of love is enough for the show to grit their teeth and get you hooked. Resistance is futile. It certainly doesn’t help that ITV has brought back Iain Stirling’s irresistibly melodramatic Tomorrow Night previews.

The return of previews — a 15-second promise of drama in the next episode that’s never quite fulfilled — is something viewers have been clamoring for since Season 8 began last week. From our lips to the producers’ ears, apparently, because it’s not the only fan request granted on Monday night’s episode.

It can’t be a coincidence that the latest episode is the first Not to focus solely on Gemma. The show’s fixation on the 19-year-old international dressage rider has been one of the main viewer complaints this season. As Isobel Lewis wrote in her synopsis of Sunday night’s episode: “It’s Gemma’s world – the other islanders just live in it”. Even Susanna Reid agreed. We get it; Gemma’s dad is famous and all, but she hasn’t exactly proven herself as a beacon of reality TV just yet. None of the islanders have, so why not share the love? And by love, of course, we mean screen time.

Instead of The Gemma Show is a much more balanced affair. Highlights include Ikenna and Indiyah finally sharing a kiss, and Amber’s first date with Dami. As far as island of love Dates go from boring to really boring on a barometer – hers are surprisingly pleasant, with Dami saying all the right things. Whether or not Amber was influenced by them remains up in the air.

The arrival of Jacques, who happens to be Gemma’s ex, keeps the boys on their toes – namely Davide, who swears up and down that he doesn’t give a damn about Ekin-Su chatting to the bombshell. He! Not! Care! Despite the protests, however, the Italian stud makes an extra effort with his partner and cooks up Ekin-Su breakfast in the mornings – the real love language of this series. His plan seems to have worked, and the two share a particularly loud smooch that night.

In the least dramatic elimination of all time, Afia is booted out of the mansion after Jacques decides to pair up with Paige. Although the ending comes as no surprise to anyone, this is the best episode of the season so far. Granted, that’s not saying much, but at least the producers seem to be listening to the fans’ requests. One last request: please turn off the microphones during the kissing scenes!

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