Love Island: A constructed-reality TV programme that divides the nation. Some love it, some hate it, and the rest? They just don’t care.
For me, just like last year, I find myself transfixed by the daily showing of 10 strangers’ lives in a Spanish villa. But this year, I guess I’ve been questioning a little more why I tune in (or dare I say, record then catch up).
In previous years, I watched it because either my friends, housemates or young people were watching it and it was just a great way to make conversation. I also ought to add, that those conversations were then a great basis to start a deeper discussion on why the kind of relationships Love Island portrays are both fake and not what God intended.
But this year, none of those circumstances apply. I’m not aware of any friends that tune in, all my young people are under 10 and I live with my parents (and whilst Dad has watched an episode with me, their lack of understanding of Brexit was enough for him to leave the room).
However, like a car crash on the motorway, despite there being no real benefit to me, I keep watching.
So, after a little thought, here are some reasons why I claim to watch Love Island:
I am always rooting for a happy ending. I obsessively watch TV programs and movies in the hope that I will get to vicariously experience some kind of happy ending that is missing from my life. I guess I watch Love Island in the vain hope that one of those horrendously fake relationships may actually end up for the better.
It’s kind of nice to see other people have problems. At university, we used to sit and watch Jeremy Kyle because in a way, it made us feel better about our lives (and teeth). I admit, this is not a great value for life.
I like being a rebel. Ever felt like the goody two-shoes? Sometimes, it’s nice to partake in something you know isn’t great (except drugs... never do them).
Typing this, I realise how shallow this sounds and how none of the above are reasons but excuses.
So why shouldn’t I watch this “Trash TV”?
Well, because, as a wise friend said to me:
“You wouldn’t expect to drink a pint of rotting milk and feel great afterwards, so why should rotting TV be any different? Feed your soul something better!”
A few years back, a youth group of mine put me to shame by taking part in the Philippians challenge in which they took away from their lives anything that fed their souls anti-Christian values for two weeks. This included TV, music, literature... even phones. Perhaps what shocked me most was it made me realise that if I took on that challenge, I would pretty much cut out everything.
No more country music, no more Emmerdale, no more Hunger Games and definitely no more Zac Efron.
I’m not suggesting in any way that we should all start living life like the Philippians Challenge.
But perhaps we all need to re-assess how much time we spend taking in what society wants us to, rather than materials sourced from the heart of God.
For you, it may not be Love Island that is your consumerist
crutch, it may be Game of Thrones, Fifty Shades or you’re playing Dua Lipa’s IDGAF on repeat.
We all are drinking rotting milk.
So what now?
I have to admit, it’s unlikely that I’ll stop watching Love Island this season but I do pledge to make some changes.
I pledge to finish reading my book on prayer: “Moving Mountains” this month.
I pledge to listen to worship music every day (and not just the Nashville soundtrack).
I pledge to make Jesus the first and last person I speak to every day.
These are my small pledges to feed my soul. What are yours?