Every year I wrestle with it. Can I lose another summer to a smouldering brickie from Galashiels? Can I invest in another fashion blogger’s infatuation with a Brummie lettings manager?
No, I can’t. I’ll sit out this year’s Love Island. Everyone else can gabble on about Giles’s recoupling conundrum, Troy’s confession or the fact that Amber’s never heard of Boris Johnson — I’ll watch a Jim Al-Khalili documentary instead.
And this is called Denial, the first of the five stages of grief. As if mourning my lost brain cells already, I go through these five states of mind during the first week of every Love Island. Tonight the new series begins a run of eight weeks — eight weeks, you could host four Olympic Games in that time.
But there’s something dismaying about the first few episodes that makes me reassess my life choices.Welcome to stage two, Anger: Who is this fire door that the producers have slipped into a pair of Balenciaga swim shorts? Why are they insisting that he has a personality?
I always get the impression the women have been cast from the neighbouring resort’s hen do while the men all look like a who’s who of Leyton Orient’s East Stand.
No, to hell with this ghastly parade of jiggly bums, tattooed, ashtray arms and thongs as thin as the mic wires. My flatmate will scoff, of course. Half my evenings will be spent trying to convince him (and myself) that it will get good. That the show is an education for young people in relationships, in the dos and don’ts of a respectful pieing. This is stage three, Bargaining.
But what’s the use? Look at this lot, I’m old enough to know better. If this is state-of-the-nation TV, we’re going through a severe cost-of-charisma crisis.
So begins Depression, the pit of which is the first game. It’s usually something involving bikinis, gunge and snogging, as if the director had seanced Peter Stringfellow for advice.
But as the group relaxes, the chemistry grows. Despite themselves, they become likeable, 3D people. Fine. I’m in. Hello Acceptance and goodbye golden summer evenings outdoors. The show’s five-note ident — the one that bookends the adverts and should be added to all defibrillator machines — now heralds glorious, popcorn TV.
What can I say? It is what it is.