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"This latest installment of Love Island All Stars is a pitiful effort to revise the past."
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“This latest installment of Love Island All Stars is a pitiful effort to revise the past.”

When it comes to reality television programs, there can be an excess of a good thing, as seen with Love Island. The franchise has expanded to include various international versions, a winter edition, and a spin-off series called Love Island Games, but none of these have managed to revitalize the show. Love Island All Stars, which brings back previous cast members similar to Love Island Games, has also been deemed a failure. In comparison, the second season of The Traitors garnered four times the viewers at one point, and even its accompanying program, The Traitors: Uncloaked, had 200,000 more viewers.

There have been multiple reasons for the failure of All Stars. To begin with, bringing back previous contestants does not necessarily result in dramatic events. Additionally, the show’s identity crisis can be seen by the number of cast members who have previously dated and could easily be mistaken for a different show, such as Ex on the Beach. However, the main criticism has been the lack of star power promised in the title. There has been a noticeable absence of well-known names like Ovie Soko, Molly Mae, Maura Higgins, and Olivia Attwood, among others. These beloved contestants have no reason to return to the show as they have found great success outside of it. In fact, many of the most popular former contestants have distanced themselves from the brand entirely. As a result, we are left with a cast who either did not receive enough screen time in their original season or have not achieved the same level of fame as their fellow franchise members.

Georgia Steel.

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Besides the absence of key participants, there is another notable problem. The disconnection between this series and reality is unprecedented. Love Island has been a highly popular reality show in the UK for nearly a decade, and interest in the personal lives of contestants has extended far beyond the finale. While significant events have occurred in the lives of the returning cast, most of it has not been acknowledged on the show. For example, the rumored off-screen conflict between contestants Georgia Steel and Joanna Chimonides, which was observed by social media detectives but completely disregarded on the actual show. Another instance is the fact that Joanna was coupled up with Chris Taylor, who currently shares a residence with her ex Michael Griffiths. The show made no mention of their uncomfortable pre-existing connection.

There have been significant omissions observed by eagle-eyed viewers on the reality show Love Island. One instance is when cast member Georgia Harrison did not participate in the notorious heart rate challenge, where contestants are expected to raise each other’s heart rates through seductive dance routines. It was speculated that this was due to her past experience as a victim of “revenge porn” at the hands of her ex, reality star Stephen Bear. He was convicted and sentenced to jail last year for uploading a video of him and Georgia engaging in sexual activity on OnlyFans. He has since been released after serving just 11 months. Harrison, who has actively campaigned against violence towards women and helped bring about changes in UK laws, has become an inspiration to many and has even been considered for a role in politics. Similarly, contestant Demi Jones made headlines in 2021 when she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at the age of 22 and was praised for bringing awareness to the condition. It seems improbable that no one from the show has checked in on the well-being of these two women after their traumatic experiences – some contestants have even admitted to not seeing each other in years. However, it is more likely that these conversations are not being shown in order to maintain a light-hearted tone on Love Island.

Georgia Harrison.View image in fullscreen

The use of airbrushing in this show highlights its refusal to evolve with its cast. While the contestants’ lives have changed, the show remains stagnant since its first airing. For longtime viewers, this can be unsettling. It’s difficult not to consider the fact that some participants were on the same season as Mike Thalassitis and Sophie Gradon, both of whom died by suicide. Many of them also had Caroline Flack as their host, who also died by suicide. Despite this tragic news dominating headlines and likely affecting the cast, there has been no mention of it on the show. While Love Island is not known for tackling serious issues, the constant focus on superficial topics feels uncomfortable. It’s no surprise that viewers are turning towards shows like Big Brother, where no topic is off limits and authenticity is valued by producers.

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The concept of Love Island remains unchanged, despite attempts to change its appearance. The repeated game of Snog, Marry, Pie has lost its effectiveness and feels even more simplistic considering the unaddressed issues within the show. By restricting viewers from seeing a different perspective of the contestants, the show has missed an opportunity. While it has been declining for a while, the lack of progress in All Stars has reached a new level of superficiality.

Source: theguardian.com