11 things I learned watching Love Island USA
It is with a heavy heart I must announce that The Americans™ are at it again
They have taken the pinnacle of British reality television formats and produced their own version of Love Island, cleverly calling it Love Island USA.
The main differences are that it takes place in Fiji, Caroline Flack is non-existent, the contestants are indeed American and the prize money is a whopping $100,000 (about £80k or almost €90k).
Other than that, they've stayed true to the format we're familiar with in the UK and Ireland. Horny people couple up with each other, with repugnant singletons getting eliminated when they fail to procure a lover (performative or otherwise). The public will pick the eventual winners who will go on to receive much fame, adulation and Instagram sponsorship deals.
I've watched the first episode of Love Island USA so you don't have to.
Behold my findings.
1. The islanders had to travel to Fiji wearing their swimwear on a commercial flight
This is very clearly the American equivalent of a 5am easyJet flight to Malaga and yet for sport, the islanders had to don the bikinis they'll be wearing all summer sat alongside legitimate holidaymakers for the sake of some B-roll opening footage. Imagine being sat on a flight next to someone in a bikini. Imagine seeing them try to peel their moist flesh off the pleather seats when you land, or getting an eyeful of bosom as they retrieve their copy of My Sister The Serial Killer from their hand luggage in the overhead compartment. Life is hard enough, folks. Life is just hard enough.
2. The contestants' names are every bit as American as you would imagine
Other contestants that didn't make the cut were:
- Trip Advisor
3. The logo looks like the UK Love Island logo's older cousin who smokes cigarettes, wears a shell anklet and has been to Bali
Look at those graphics. Look at the shadows. Look at the realistic background. Look at the footprints in the sand. Look at the minimal cloud cover in the sky. Look at the floating gold heart. This logo has had a number of very public trysts with the offspring of famous business tycoons. This logo takes skincare regimes very seriously but pretends not to. This logo knows how to treat a lover. This logo fucks.
4. The contestants talk precisely the same amount of tripe as their British counterparts
In a way, it's comforting to know that regardless of nationality, put a camera and lighting rig in front of a Love Island contestant and they will spout out more slurry than a slurry machine in the peak of slurry season. The guy pictured above also said "I'm vegan by choice" which is deeply, deeply funny because it insinuates that there are people in existence today who are being held at gunpoint and forced to replace the milk in their tea with a nut-based alternative.
5. The Americans are trusted with REAL glassware as opposed to the Brits who are subjected to childproof vessels
Why do the American Love Island contestants get to use real glassware while the Brits have to use shitty garden crockery with wildlife-themed designs on them? Really makes you think. Notice also the kitchen knife set to the left of the screen. Have you ever seen a set of knives in the UK Love Island villa? You haven't. Why is this? Simply because British (and Irish) people cannot be trusted around nice things.
6. The host drives HERSELF to the villa because she is a strong, independent woman who don't need no Uber driver
How does Caroline Flack get to the Love Island villa? Before she struts down the driveway in slow motion to a jazzy soundtrack, how does she physically come to be 'on site'? Is there a little golf buggy? Does she get an Uber? Does she cycle? Is there a shuttle bus? We don't know and we never will. But what we do know is that Love Island USA host Arielle Vandenberg (not a made up name) drives herself to the Fiji Love Island villa in a little BMW sports car. Caroline Flack might drive the UK series in terms of presenting it, but Arielle drives herself. USA 1 - 0 UK.
7. The Americans are stealing our names and they're spelling them wrong
This is more of a personal grievance than a universal one, but please indulge me. The name Ciara, of which I am currently in possession, is an Irish name. It means 'dark-haired', which is a weird flex but whatever. Ciara. That is the correct way to spell Ciara. You pronounce it like 'C-ear-ah' and you spell it like Ciara. Enter, Keira Knightley who is spelling the name wrong. Enter the American singer Ciara who is stealing the spelling but pronouncing it wrong. Enter Kyra from Love Island USA who has taken liberties with the spelling and is out to destroy the sanctity of this good name. These people, they must be stopped. Anyway, sorry, rant over. Just needed to get it out of my system.
8. The diary room looks like a garden shed transformation they did on Changing Rooms
It just doesn't slap as hard as the original Love Island diary room / beach hut / whatever you want to call it. This year they've added a weathered wood effect to the back wall and it really gives the place a sense of pizzazz. There's a lot of pillows, but it works. However, Love Island USA's diary room just looks cheap. There's far too many pillows, the chair is disproportionately wide and the background looks like the default screensaver your Dad has on his iPad that he was forced to change it back to after you set it to a zoomed-in picture of the inside of your elbow crease to make it look like a bum. Grow up.
9. Of course, OF COURSE there is a cowboy
As is a legal requirement on any American reality television show, there simply must be a cowboy in the cast lineup at all times. Why is this? Honestly, that is yet to be determined. The hats certainly add a sense of culture to proceedings, as do their quirky sayings such as 'Yee-haw' and 'Howdy partner'. Trivia Question: What song do you think they played when this cowboy (legitimately named Weston) appeared on screen for the first time? Answer: Obviously, OBVIOUSLY it was 'Old Town Road' because creativity has been laid to rest a long time ago. RIP.
10. IT ACTUALLY RAINS ON LOVE ISLAND USA!!!!
Electrical hazards aside, it's actually quite comforting to see a bit of rain on Love Island. It's soothing. Imagine if it rained on the UK version of Love Island. Imagine how different the contestants would've packed if they knew there was a potential threat of rain. We'd see raincoats, galoshes, bucket hats, umbrellas and a lot of disgruntled expressions. Caroline Flack would refuse to stand in the rain during re-coupling ceremonies, halting production; Ellie Belly would start noticeably smelling of damp; Maura would make a lewd joke about being wet all the time and Curtis would do an unprompted rain dance in a bid to make it stop. Ovie would love it though, so that's important.
11. The villa's overall layout is different to what we are used to and therefore harrowing
It definitely feels like you are watching Love Island in the sense that that is the name of the show, but everything else just feels wrong. Like when you're away from home for a long time and you return to find new curtains in your bedroom, or a different family. It's just wrong. The Love Island beds are supposed to be in single file, there is meant to be a stuffed elephant on one of the pillows, the stools in the makeup room aren't supposed to be pink. Where is Curtis? Where is Tommy? Why isn't the voiceover guy Scottish? Everything about Love Island USA is incorrect. Avoid it. Protect the sanctity of our own Love Island. Pretend this imposter doesn't exist. Live your life. Be free.
Images via CBS