It Is What It Is?— Power and Passivity as Seen on Love Island

As Brits, we all know the power of being passive aggressive — a trait that is perfectly encapsulated on this series of ITV2’s Love Island. “Can we have a chat?” and “it is what is it” have already become recurring sayings, and we are only four episodes in.

I know you’re probably thinking: ‘when will I get away from the sweet hell that is Love Island’ as it engulfs all platforms of social media, television, and conversation starters with your mates. But! I am not here to psychoanalyse the behaviour of every contestant (although Freud would have a field day on Anton and the threesomes in his mother’s house and clean-shaven arsehole courtesy of her also) or strip down the toxic traits we have witnessed thus far. Instead, I have found myself intrigued by the representation of dating being portrayed by the contestants.

Obviously their acting fools nobody and we are only seeing one out of twenty-four hours spent in the villa, but what we do see is either so meticulously crafted by the producers that it is almost scary, or a telling truth on the reality of dating.

If between the hours of 9pm and 10pm you haven’t found yourself glued to the TV, judging bikini clad contestants whilst demolishing a bar of Galaxy, then my observations may require some background explanation — to those (like myself) who are up to date, please bear with me. Apparently not all of us are keeping up to date with total strangers lives 24/7 via social media? Weird.

Original couple from episode one, Lucie and Joe, were rocked by new arrival Tommy Fury when he decided to ‘steal’ Lucie from Joe. Many viewers have drawn parallels between Joe from Love Island and the character Joe from Netflix’s You. For those unfamiliar, You follows psychopath Joe Goldberg as he stalks his girlfriend through social media and technology, to the point of (spoiler alert) suspected murder. Now — little old Joe from Love Island has proven to be possessive and jealous, but blatantly has not surpassed the actions of You’s Joe. Since having no choice in her re-coupling with Tommy, Lucie has been reduced to tears on multiple occasions and has taken the liberty of sleeping on the sofa rather than in her shared bed with Tommy. The premise of the show is to cause drama and friction, so we can’t blame Tommy for getting his wooden spoon out and stirring the pot just a little. Yet, Joe’s response immediately being to blame Lucie seems all too familiar. His behaviour has triggered a discourse on how men react to jealousy, with all people I have spoken to on the subject reporting that one (if not more) previous partners have checked their phone for messages while they were asleep or out of the room due to factors no larger than a new, unknown follower of the opposite gender liking a picture of theirs on Instagram.

I promised to not psychoanalyse, and I will keep that promise, but I do find it hard to believe that the contestants are so unfazed by events that they really mean “it is what it is” rather than merely using the phrase as a cover to not expose their hurt and vulnerability on national TV — which I don’t find surprising, people on Twitter are mean. Is this really stoic, Brit, stiff-upper-lip behaviour or an inability to convey our emotions to one another in a healthy manner, which could inevitably prevent unneeded jealous outbursts? The ‘chats’ requested between contestants consist of conversation they have already had, which seem to convince them that they have made progress in their relationships with each other. Regurgitated chat of things you have discussed a day ago is not progress — say your feelings with your chest, I beg!

Love Island is not intended to be a source for analysing human behaviour, but it is hard not to, especially when we see ourselves in their situations. Yes, the drama is concocted behind the scenes by people very good at their jobs, but personally, I think that makes it even more terrifying that so many viewers find themselves gasping at the events and exclaiming “oh my god — that’s happened to me before!”

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