Why is Love Island: Unseen Bits better than the actual show?
Maura gobbing up a fly, Ovie learning to swim and the boys having a wizarding duel – why are we not seeing this at 9pm every night?
Tommy riding Curtis like a horse. Ovie sharing his truly breath-taking hat collection with the other Islanders. Jourdan, Belle and Joanna discussing the fine nuances of global geography. (Apparently Barcelona is in Italy?)
Are these some of the best moments we've seen on Love Island this series? According to producers, no.
Instead, the funniest, most heart-warming and memorable moments in the villa have unfortunately been relegated to Love Island: Unseen Bits.
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Previously billed as Love Island: The Weekly Hot List, the extra show airs on a Saturday night as a bolt-on bonus to the main action, recapping the big stories of the villa for the week as well as “previously unaired footage”.
But the show-reel of extras compiled for this additional show are now more entertaining than the usual fare of Love Island itself – its most recent brilliant episode comprised Jordan literally doing a backflip off a beanbag after spotting a cockroach, Anton forgetting Belle’s name and Ovie soliloquising about how tall he is to the cameras.
It seems utter madness that producers think we’d rather watch Joanna and Michael having yet another deep and meaningful conversation about whether Michael has feelings for Amber over Maura face-planting during a sassy slow-motion walk to a date with Curtis.
Ovie is one of the most popular Islanders thanks to his overall chill attitude – as such, his hilarious swimming lessons not making the main programme also seems like a huge oversight.
Love Island: Unseen Bits gave us more of an insight into Islanders that otherwise haven’t had any screen time; George wasn’t afraid to bare his soul (and his buttocks) while doing a Borat impression, and Joanna’s quite dirty sense of humour was put on display. It was a stark contrast to George’s otherwise boring depiction as a snack enthusiast, or Joanna as a bunny boiler.
The main show, famous for featuring good-looking people cracking on and mugging off, has seen its once intriguing chats reduced to the catchphrases that initially made the show so popular.
Conversations about two Islanders potentially liking each other have been watered down almost to the point of parody. This was a conversation early this series:
“I went on that date last night and it was a good date but I feel like I woke up this morning and you can’t put all your eggs in one basket. I know you’re a straight up girl so what I want to know is…would you be open to getting to know me?”
“Yeah. I’m getting to know everyone. I’m not putting my eggs in one basket!”
We’ve had to contend with chats like this making up the bulk of the series, with the main Love Island programme intent on foregrounding the drama of recouplings over the fun and friendship seen elsewhere the villa – much to the show’s detriment.
By trying to load all the drama and action into the main series, producers have lost sight of what made Love Island a national phenomenon back in 2017; it’s not Amber’s tumultuous relationship with Kem which we remember vividly, it was Kem and Chris’s bromance that captured our hearts. Scenes of them rapping by the pool, comparing themselves to dips and their morning spooning sessions kept us tuning in. By depriving us of these tender scenes between the Islanders, the cast become more two-dimensional. They are defined only by their romantic connections to other Islanders and not as actual people who fall over, vomit up flies and do Harry Potter impressions in their spare time, making them less relatable and, overall, less likeable.
It’s not to say the main show has been devoid of fantastic moments so far – Yewande telling Danny ‘what goes around comes around’, Michael dumping Amber for Joanna at the explosive Casa Amor reunion and Maura telling Tom where to get off after he asked whether she was “all mouth” were deserving water-cooler moments. And yes, as the old saying goes, it is Love Island, not Friend Island – the show is naturally going to favour scenes focusing on the Islanders’ romantic connections (and disconnections) over silly poolside antics.
But as we drag ourselves towards the end of the series, give me more of Tommy struggling to say Expecto Patronum (Expecto Petroleum was his best efforts) over Anton and Belle’s fights any day of the week.
Love Island continues weeknights and Sundays at 9pm on ITV 2. Love Island: Unseen Bits continues Saturdays at 9pm on ITV 2.