‘Love Island’ (Season 1): US opens border, allows in UK smut

I hate reality TV. But after seeing all the half-naked contestants in promos for Love Island on CBS, I’m gonna give it shot.

By Jason Hink

The last reality show I watched was Survivor: All-Stars back in 2004. It aired early that year but like the lazy student I once was, I crammed it all in that summer on DVD in preparation for a charity event where I hung out on stage and interviewed a few of the “stars” from that show: excitable wildman and “fan favorite” Rupert Boneham, retired Navy SEAL Rudy Boesch (still with us today at 91 years old), and reality star lovebirds Ethan Zohn (former pro soccer player) and Jenna Morasca (a then-newly minted millionaire after winning 2003’s Survivor: The Amazon).

They were all nice folks, and the 1,500 or so people attending the event raised several thousand dollars for a local skate park while I pretended to be a Survivor expert to save face on stage. By the end of the night, I had outwitted, outplayed and outlasted my guests (actually, I just outdrank them), and survived my first-and-only brush with reality TV superstardom.

But that’s not what this column is about. Ohhh no, no, no. The last reality show I actually watched—as it aired—was a little ditty on FOX called Temptation Island, which originally aired from 2001-2003. I don’t remember which of the three seasons I saw, but it was appointment viewing for my girlfriend and I that year. In it, several oversexed (and over-sexy) couples were whisked away to a glamour-filled private island with a group of singles of the opposite sex to test how strong their real-life relationships were. Mark L. Walberg was the host (not to be confused with Marky Mark Wahlberg).

All I remember about Temptation Island was that there was a lot of sex, cheating, sex, and cheating…with the typical early-2000s contrivances inherent in the reality show genre. In fact, one couple had to be removed from the show when producers learned (gasp!) they had children together (Temptation Island was a family values show, after all). But what I remember most was how it ended: When it came time to watch the season finale, my girlfriend bailed—she literally hooked up and went on a date with some other dude. I was like, “Baby, what the hell? Temptation island is our show!” I was curious enough that I taped it (old-school VHS via analog rabbit-ear signal) so I could see who won whatever it was they won (no memory, whatsoever). So yeah, the end of one of my relationships involved Temptation Island—the worst TV show for couples-on-the-edge to watch. (Can you believe she later asked to borrow my tape so she could see the finale, too?)

Love Island - Title card

Which brings me to Love Island, the new CBS summer series based on the British show of the same name. There are differences, but hell if I can tell what they are; when I spotted the super-sexy, early 2000s-style promos leading up to the premiere, I learned it would air at the same time I’d be working stuck next to a television.

The host/presenter for Love Island is actress and model Arielle Vandenberg (Meet the Browns, Greek), who at a mere 32 years of age makes her by far the oldest person on the island. Matthew Hoffman is the wisecracking, off-screen narrator.

Arielle Vandenberg
Love Island host Arielle Vandenberg

The main difference for me is the sheer number of episodes being aired. Where Temptation Island (and similar shows like 2003’s Paradise Hotel) aired just one or two episodes a week, Love Island is airing 22 hour-long episodes, daily (Monday through Friday) throughout July and early August. It’s a smart move by CBS, giving viewers a new summer program at 8 p.m. (I’m sure they’ll get flack for airing this fluff during “family hour,” though it is something I’d more expect to see on FOX). Also, airing it nightly makes it as bingeable as it gets for old-school network TV.

Love island - Arielle Vandenberg
Host Arielle Vandenberg’s sultry arrival, which ends with her stumbling and falling before reaching the beach.

On Love Island, contestants (here called “Islanders”) living in a sweet, beautiful, party villa in Fiji must couple up with other Islanders for love, friendship or money (the overall winning couple wins $100,000). I still don’t know how it works, but couple-swapping and inter-mixing is the name of the game here, with the last couple standing the winners…so let’s get to it!

Here’s the Love Island digs:

Here are the players:

Cashel Barnett

Cashel Barnett, 27, model and musician. Plays it cool, scores babes.

Kyra Green

Kyra Green, 22, musician, cool cat. Walks in slow-motion on the beach. She’s that cool.

Zac Mirabelli

Zac Mirabelli, 22, model grocery store cashier. The women love him for his cute face.

Alana Morrison

Alana Morrison, 21, college student. Acts tough. Don’t mess with her.

Weston Richey

Weston Richey, 25, photographer from Texas. Says he’s a “real cowboy.” You buy that?

Yamen Sanders

Yamen Sanders, 24, real estate agent. Smooth, personable. Just like a…real estate agent.

Mallory Santic

Mallory Santic, 25, analyst for Nike. Has perpetual resting b*tch face.

Alexandra Stewart

Alexandra Stewart, 25, publicist. Indecisive. Does she really want to be here?

Caroline Caro Viehweg

Caroline “Caro” Viehweg, 21, marketing student. Flirty, bouncy, speaks in baby-talk voice.

Elizabeth Weber

Elizabeth Weber, 24, advertising executive. Anonymous blonde. I like her.

Michael Yi

Michael Yi, 29, model from Miami. Looks like young Magnum P.I. in Hawaiian shirt.

Cormac Murphy

Cormac Murphy, 26, nightclub promoter. Irish accent is sexy.

Dylan Curry

Dylan Curry, 25, personal trainer. Kinda shy; dreamboat. Also coaches lacrosse (that’s hot).

Christen McAllister

Christen McAllister, 24, sales and business development. Catty. Keeps claws sharpened. Former crazy psycho.

Katrina Dimaranan

Katrina Dimaranan, 25, beauty queen, college student. Smoker-voice. Was she Miss America?

Winston Hines

Winston Hines, 29, pharmaceutical sales rep. Competed on CBS’ Big Brother 20. Looking  for real love (right…).

Aissata Diallo

Aissata Diallo, 25, model, grad student. I can’t pronounce her name.

George Johnson

George Johnson, 29, interior designer and seller. Show says he’s 30; website bio says 29. AARP cards soon to arrive in mailbox.

Kelsey Jurewicz

Kelsey Jurewic, 25, mortgage marketing manager. Family gal. Seems unpretentious.

Raymond Gantt

Raymond Gantt, 22, student, promoter. Fast talking. Like a promoter.

Marlisse Marli Tyndall

Marlisse “Marli” Tyndal, 21, bartender, student. A big deal that she’s “only 20” on the show, but calm down, people–web bio says 21. Now fetch me  drink.

Eric Hall

Eric Hall, 27, tattoo-shop manager (clearly). A “hunter” who “goes after what he wants.” Is he gonna kill someone?

Emily Salch

Emily Salch, 21, student, part-time bartender. Also a part-time cowboy hunter and part-time woman kisser.

Jered Youngblood

Jered Youngblood, 27, real-estate agent. Nice guy. Doesn’t stand a chance. With anyone.

Anton Morrow

Anton Morrow, 23, personal trainer. These late comers are in for a rough time at this here villa. Unless your name’s Emily.

Now, on to the show. Below are thoughts and commentary on each episode of Love Island. Obviously, these are spoiler-filled entries.

Episode 1 (July 9, 2019)
What the hell is going on here? I can tell I haven’t watched reality TV since 2004, but thankfully, there’s a late 90s/early 00s vibe going on here. If this episode seems long, it’s because it is; aired on a Tuesday, it took up 2 hours of broadcast TV…like a Marvel superhero film, we learn the heroes’ backstories before the real adventure kicked in.

The first five girls arrive at the villa and giggle their way through introductions before meeting the fellas. One at a time, the dudes show up, and the gals, lined up one-by-one in skimpy two-pieces, are asked to step forward if they’re interested in one of the newly arrived guys. But despite what the ladies say, it’s the guys who get to pick who they’re coupled up with first, making for some awkward first impressions. Here’s the rundown of hookups:

  • Cashel picks Caro
  • Yamen picks Alana
  • Zac picks Elizabeth
  • Weston picks Mallory
  • Michael picks Alexandra

The youngest of this bunch are 21. At first I thought, Hey, after all these years, these people probably know how to work this reality show racket. But no, most of these kids were 6-10 years old back when I stumbled around on stage with the best of Survivor in 2004. The oldest player, Michael, a superficial, full-of-himself model from Miami who lives with his mommy and sisters, is 29. Zac, a 22-year-old Chicagoan who looks like a model, is a cashier at a grocery store. I’m happy to report that after lukewarm receptions from the ladies to the first couple guys that showed up, looks and superficiality still prevail, as many ladies stepped forward for cute-faced Zac and Micheal.

The couples eventually form, for better or worse, without much drama (ii’s the first day after all, and none of the men attempted to take a woman that already spoken for), so now what?? Well…a mystery chick, Kyra, arrives as the “11th wheel” who gets to hang with the crew for 24 hours before stealing one of the guys. She’s apparently attracted to three of them: Weston, Yamen, and Cashel. On the second night, Kyra receives a text saying it’s time for her to choose and that all of the islanders have to move to the fire pit for the announcement. And in the end, she chose………yeah, that was where the episode ends. Cliffhanger City, baby…

I must say, I was waiting for the pot-bellied dude and wide-thighed gal to show up, but no…only wannabe Hollywood models are allowed on this show. Which is okay by me. At my age, I could be the father of half the cast, so my lack of a 6-pack these days feels justified (and necessary), just like the vodka I have to drink to get through this.

So, who’s the real winner of the first episode? I say it’s show host Arielle Vandenberg, who came prancing in from the ocean, stumbled, and fell down just before reaching the beach. She appeared a bit tipsy to me while introducing the first couplings. I hope she keeps drinking.

Love Island Episode 1
Our first glimpse of the original cast in their initial couplings.


Episode 2
(July 10, 2019)
So who did Kyra pick at the end of the first episode? Which happy day-old couple did she home-wreck? Was it studly African-American Yamen (whom she shocked on the couch by telling him her previous 2-year relationship was with a woman)? Was it Dallas, Texas-bred cowboy, Weston (acts like rodeo cowboy, but is actually….a photographer)? Or was it nerdy, insecure, first-man-to-the-island Cashel (who chose to couple with Caro in the first episode, because Cashel and Caro sounds like something you’d find in trail mix)? My money was on anyone but Cashel.

Well eff it all–Kyra picks Cashel! And throughout the episode, considering the amount of play he’s getting from the ladies, I’m coming around to Cashel…maybe he has what it takes after all. This, of course, leaves Caro single (what’s with that baby-talk voice, Caro?). Something I never saw on Survivor: The contestants receive texts from God the producers, and one of them says that by the end of Friday’s episode, someone will be left single and (gasp!) dumped. And lemme tell ya, Caro is pissed! I’m a bit cynical when it comes to reality TV and the range of emotions shown from contestants in these dating-style games, but on the other hand, we all have a competitive streak in us; there’s nothing better to get Caro more interested in Cashel than Kyra taking him away from her. But regardless, Cashel and Kyra make out on the couch, and he loves it.

Elsewhere, I had a good laugh at Yamen’s calling pissed-off Caro a “teapot,” complete with steaming whistle sound effect. Also, it’s revealed during a challenge that cute-faced grocery-bagger Zac once ditched his date in bed to go hang with his ex. This upsets anonyblonde Elizabeth, who says it reminds her of a shitty story from her past. So what does she do? She falls even harder for him (nicely done, Zac).

Before the credits roll, we’re told OUTTA NOWHERE that two new dudes, Cormac and Dylan, will be joining the group in tomorrow’s episode (I reckon they’ll just roll up from the beach like Kyra did at the end of Episode 1). Oh, and America (that’s right, YOU, America) can vote on which two ladies get to go on dates with these two new Islanders.

And can I just say how much I love the design of the villa and sets, with their neon-lit outlines and pastel colors (take a look at the set for the Excess Baggage challenge)–it’s basically Barbie’s Malibu Beach House on MTV Island circa 1985…and I want to live there.

Love Island Episode 2
The set for the ‘Excess Baggage’ game is a good example of the pastel, neon, ’80s visual aesthetic of Love Island.

Episode 3 (July 11, 2019)
Fellas, just when you thought things were settling down so you could settle in, two new studly hunks come wandering in from the beach on day 4: tattooed Irish club promoter Cormac and dreamy SoCal fitness/lacrosse trainer Dylan, and the ladies can’t wait to freshen up. By the way, America, they’re both in great shape, which probably shocks all of you. There are 13 players now, with the dudes outnumbering the chicks, 7-6, so you know someone’s getting left out in the cold by episode’s end.

Dylan is attracted to Alexandra, which suits her just fine since she’s paired up with narcissistic pisser, Michael. Cormac seems to have a thing for googoo gaga-talkin’ Caro (I’m busting up over here at her ridiculous baby-voice when she gets nervous), but he also has a thing for anonyblonde Elizabeth, who’s in the happiest coupling on the show so far with model local grocer Zac. But then Cormac is also interested in…well, everyone. Talk about options!

America got to vote on who the new guys would be going on a date with, and great job, America–you picked Alexandra for Dylan, a great pairing we (and they) were looking for. For Cormac, you chose single Caro…another good choice. The dates all go the same, with the dudes telling the ladies they were interested in them as soon as they laid eyes on them. The dates (and the wine) go down fine,  but then…text messages: Cormac and Dylan are told their dates are over, and they must text one of the other women to go on yet another date. Who do they choose?

Dylan chooses Mallory, and it’s hard to tell if Dallas cowboy photographer Weston (Mallory’s current beau) is bothered by it. Cormac, meanwhile, goes straight for blood, choosing Elizabeth as his followup date. Take that, America!

We see a nervous reaction from Weston and an even more nervous reaction from Zac as they find out their girls are hooking up with the new guys for a date. But really feeling heat is Miami boy, Michael, who’s visibly upset that none of the women seem to be into him.

Love Island Episode 3
Two new hunks, SoCal dreamboat Dylan and Irish NYC club promoter Cormac, arrive on the island.

Episode 4 (July 12, 2019)
It’s a hot, hot Friday night, folks, and just like that, our first week on Love Island is in the books, and hey–I’m sorta having fun watching reality TV!

Dylan and Mallory go on their date and it’s ho-hum; Cormac and Elizabeth go on their date and it’s ho-hum (neither woman wants to leave their original coupling). The two new fellas try their best to fit in, but it’s tough going having arrived after the initial cast already connected and coupled.

A ridiculous challenge is dreamed up by the producers called Going Commando, where the men, now decked out in camouflage speedos, traverse a “commando”-style obstacle course while the women spray them with pastel-colored paint (in keeping with the Miami Vice color scheme, which I’m okay with). So, you’d think the manliest man or fastest to complete the course would be the winner, right? No, this is Love Island….here, the man who does it the sexiest is the winner. Lots of bumping and grinding with various nets, floor mats and rolling logs ensue, with the ladies deciding Michael is the winner, which is good for him considering he’s soon to be f*cked (and not in the good way).

Hey, who the hell is that? It’s host Arielle, looking a tad more sober than she did on day 1. I’d forgotten she’s even on the show since it’s the first we’ve seen her SINCE day 1 (I wanna go where she’s partying). Her arrival of course means one thing: It’s time to vote someone off the island for the first re-coupling. Each of the women line up around the fire pit and say a kind word or two about which “boy” (Arielle doesn’t call them men, hehe) they want to be coupled up with. Perhaps true love can be found on reality TV, because these 4-day old relationships are proving robust, with most of the women choosing to stay with the dudes that picked them in the first place.

Finally, the moment of truth. The two newbies, Cormac and Dylan, haven’t had enough time to build a relationship or break one up, and along with Michael-from-Miami, they’re left standing uncoupled with only two women remaining. One of these three is getting dumped! Perky-but-indecisive Alexandra saves Dylan by choosing him, leaving single Caro and her big hair to decide who’s leaving the island. In the end, she chooses Irishman Cormac, and Michael is given 30 minutes to say goodbye, pack his bags, and leave the island.

Michael, the oldest of the bunch at 29 and obvious victim of ageism, can now hook up with Arielle (she’s 32)! But hey, kudos to him for taking it like a man, shaking everyone’s hand and hugging the women–even Caro, who he thought he stood a fighting chance with. It’s a little sad and my emotions are manipulated by the soundtrack.

But the real standout this outing is Zac, who allows one of the fellas to shave his chest hair into the shape of a heart, which makes Elizabeth laugh and like him even more. Also, Zac ends a deep convo with a few of the guys when he farts on national TV.

Love Island Episode 4
Sorry Michael, but you’re the first to be booted from Love Island. But you took it like a man (I would’ve thrown things and cussed at everyone).

Episode 5 (July 15, 2019)
Man, talk about a case of the Mondays. I was pretty nonplussed by this episode in the early goings as we recap the previous week and bring up to speed new viewers (is anyone watching this? I see reports of low ratings).

The guys prank the gals with a prank text set up by Weston, which irritates a few of the ladies…but hey, it’s birthday, goddammit. Caro tamps down the frizz and straightens her hair…or puts on a wig, I dunno (I thought Cardi B showed up). A silly game/challenge (I guess these are just games because the winners don’t get any special privileges, like an Immunity Idol) called Float My Boat has the women blindfolded while the men shout out instructions (hehe) to guide them through blowing up an inflatable raft with a pump. The first couple to row their raft around a big, inflatable pink duck in the middle of the ocean and back were declared the winners, with Alexandra and Dylan taking top prize (she’s takes direction well, it looks like).

Showing my age, I light up when “We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off,” a slow version of Jermaine Stewart’s upbeat ’80s dance hit by Ella Eyre, starts playing during Alexandra and Dylan’s date in the “Hideaway,” a place I’d like to take my date, too. I’ll always dig on Miami Vice connections.

But the real action comes when the gang throws Texan Weston a birthday party, complete with a State of Texas cake, cowboy hats and line dancing. The fun is interrupted when Weston receives a real text: Two new lady Islanders are joining the party! Meet Christen and Katrina, and the two hotties arrive in stunning evening wear (as opposed ot the usual swimwear-clad beach arrivals).

I can’t help but notice Zac’s heart-shaped chest hair has disappeared. Which gets me to thinking–while reading up on the show (and its UK counterpart), it’s nearly shot and edited in real time; what we see airing happened nearly 24 hours ago! But what about the weekends? Are they hanging out on the weekends, giving the producers a longer time to film and edit for Monday? I’m guessing that’s not in the budget. But hey, that had to be when Zac’s chest hair was shaved off (important shit, I know…).

Christen, a 24-year-old who works in sales and development in Los Angeles, and 25-year-old Katrina, a beauty queen and college student from San Francisco, provide the real drama in this outing, though it comes at the end. As predicted, the women who aren’t really committed to their coupling appear the most bothered by these new arrivals (check out Mallory’s mean mugging, not that she has to try). And the guys’ reactions are hilarious; they’re thrilled that two new women are coming aboard.

Love Island Episode 5
New arrivals: hottie vixen Christen and smoker-voiced beauty queen Katrina.

Episode 6 (July 16, 2019)
I like who I’m coupled with, but like, ya know….I’m open to meeting new people…

That seems the common refrain from this cast of beautiful, nice-but-curious singles looking for love on reality TV. The ladies aren’t thrilled with new additions Christen and Katrina, but the fellas more than make up for it, because hey, it is a reality show. C’mon…

It’s amazing how “interested” one becomes when competition is thrown into the mix–a classic human trait. I’m seeing this most with Mallory, who says she doesn’t really care to be with Weston (and she doesn’t), but by god she’s not about to be beaten by a fellow vixen, either! Her expressions speak louder than any words could say as she watches Weston talk to Christen and Katrina (“I think she’s a fake bitch,” she says about Christen).

The best part about these new additions? There’s finally some drama!

It’s not just Mallory who’s sneering at the newbies–Caro throws shade at Christen, too: “She sucked at it (the truth or dare/suck-on-the-card game).” These new ladies don’t come across as nice as the others…they’re looking to win! And it contrasts with the overall “niceness” to the couples, which Christen and Katrina, as outsiders, recognize.

After getting a feel for what the guys are after via a speed dating session, a text reveals both Christen and Katrina can steal a man for the night while sending their girlfriends off to the Hideaway. To Mallory’s disgust, Katrina chooses Weston…and Christen chooses Yamen, perhaps the most dramatic choice (will be fun to see how Alana reacts in the next episode).

I’m diggin’ the slowed down version of Hall and Oates’ “Maneater.”  The eighties are never going away folks; deal with it.

Love Island Episode 6
Mallory, contemplative as her time on the island comes to an end.

Episode 7 (July 17, 2019)
Whoa, Love Island…you mean business! After that slow Monday and okay Tuesday comes my favorite episode to date! Awkward kissing, childish drama, pissed off women throwing things! All thanks to a couple outsiders who decided to hop onto the island.

Christen and Katrina go on their dates with Yamen and Weston, respectively, and to the surprise of some, both dates go well. I wasn’t expecting Yamen to take to Christen, but he enjoyed himself. Meanwhile, Alana and Mallory get to sleep with new people—themselves, spending the night in the Hideaway away from the action. When Weston gets a text that a re-coupling is taking place at the end of the day, the group is more anxious that I’ve ever seen them.

With the guys choosing this time around, this means two women will wind up single, right?

When Alana gets a text about the day’s game, Girl Power, we’re treated to a delightfully bonkers display of goofy superhero costumes (on the ladies), “dude-sels” in distress (with high-pitched squeals from the guys), and severe overacting by the two girls most worried about being single by night’s end (watch Alana’s over-the-top performance, complete with dance moves and crazy yelling). It worked out for Alana, and the guys pick her as the winner.

It’s a fun study in sociology watching Alana and Mallory come out of their comfort zones during Girl Power, as both suddenly realize that their cold, icy brand of gameplay that got them this far may not be suited for the long haul.

When it comes time to re-couple, most the guys predictably choose their current mates, leaving Weston and Yamen for last (good job producers…you know how to work the drama). Weston chooses Katrina (sorry Mallory, that’s what you get for not opening up) and in the shocker of the night, Yamen chooses Christen! Mallory and Alana both have long faces, but then it gets worse; Mallory receives a text that she and Alana have 30 minutes to pack, say goodbye, and leave the island. Not only did you not find love, you’re booted from the game!

I said in the beginning that Alana acts tough and closed off, and that you shouldn’t mess with her. And that point’s proven when she throws her phone down and jets off, throwing items around as she packs her things. Mallory is shaken, considering she bailed out Weston in an earlier re-coupling. But alas, ladies…this is a game. Lots of tears are shed as the contestants, especially the ladies, are surprised with the abrupt dismissal Mallory and Alana receive. I’m manipulated by the music. Definitely emotional when Alana asks Yamen in for a final goodbye (and Alana sticks it to Christen one last time before walking out, giving Yamen a big, mushy kiss, which doesn’t thrill Christen). Meanwhile, Mallory breaks down, questioning her worth (I can’t even find someone on Love Island!) as one of the first females to leave the show.

Oh, and a new guy is introduced at the end: Winston, a “known quantity” having been on Big Brother (never watched it…that’s the one with Julie Moonves Chen, right?). Too bad CBS resorts to these kinds of ratings stunts (what’s wrong with bringing in more unknowns?), but I suppose regular reality show fans like it. We’ll see how he plays this game. (Oh yeah! He’s introduced when Kyra receives a text from him asking her to meet up with him for a date, which she seems all too excited to do, much to Cashel’s chagrin.)

Up to this point, the main crew that started together was largely still intact, and they all got to know each other on equal terms (Dylan and Cormac acclimated just fine). But now, Christen and Katrina have come aboard and sunk their claws into men they immediately set their sights on, resulting in the departure of two of the original ladies—that’s not going to sit well moving forward, and will be interesting to see how the group splinters into factions.

I wish Mallory would’ve let herself go a little more as I liked her more here. She redeemed herself with me with her humor before the re-coupling: When the Islanders are told two girls will have to go home, she points to America’s sweetheart couple, Zac and Elizabeth, who are obviously staying together, and sarcastically quips, “Better go pack your bags, Elizabeth.”

I laughed out loud.

Love Island Episode 7
Alana, pissed after being booted from Love Island, lays a gusher on her chocolate man, Yamen, as Christen looks on off camera.

Episode 8 (July 18, 2019)
Yamen: Who’s gonna ride this chocolate cowboy?

Alexandra: Come get your wieners.

CBS has got to be getting flack for airing a striptease show at 8 p.m.

Dingbat Caro makes the most of her performance in tonight’s game, Hearts on Fire, where the heart rates of our fearless Islanders are monitored while each of them put on their best striptease dance. Three of the guys were definitely feeling it for Caro, the only Islander to cause multiple Islanders to hit top heart-rate.

Kyra goes on her date with newbie Winston, and cracks in her relationship with Cashel are revealed (Kyra is cooooold, man, coooold…saw it from the beginning). Winston chooses three gals to share a meal with: Katrina for the starter, Alexandra for the main course, and Caro for the dessert.

America–yes, YOU, America–gets to vote online for the most compatible of the current couples. Whoever receives the least amount of votes will be at risk of being dumped from the island (ohhhhh, the suspense!).

Love Island Episode 8
Caro wins the striptease competition, scoring “top heart rate” status from THREE of the guys!

Episode 9 (July 19, 2019)
What!? When they say Islanders are danger of being dumped, they mean Islanders WILL be dumped. And America, you have only yourselves to blame…

But before the dumping, we’re treated to a hilarious, gross display of food hi-jinks with today’s game, Fast Food, where the couples must transfer the grossest combination of fast food I’ve ever seen from one end of the course to the other…using their mouths. Yugggg. But nonetheless, I laughed out loud watching those pretty faces cringe in disgust and a few of them nearly throw up (Elizabeth?). These games are basically filler, a mid-episode respite from the moping and drama to show a fun side of the Islanders. Cashel and Kyra are the winners here, but none of it matters. (Weston is nearly absent from this episode, feeling “under the weather,” and doesn’t participate in the challenge, leaving Winston to partner with Katrina.)

Trouble brews when my girl Arielle shows up…it’s time to dump not one, but TWO(!) Islanders. America chose the top most compatible couples online the night before (I don’t know if Arielle was naming them in order of votes, but I was surprised Zac and Elizabeth were the “third couple” marked safe). This leaves Caro and Cormac, and Yamen and Christen.

But wait! The public vote no longer matters; now, a vote of the “safe” Islanders determine who gets to stay (one person from each couple will get a reprieve). In the end, the Islanders choose to boot off Cormac and Christen. While Christen’s departure surprised me (she struck me as a classic reality show “Alexis” who could maneuver the game), I wasn’t as emotionally invested in seeing these two leave, likely because they were later arrivals to begin with. I’m sure Alana is holding a party in the green room after seeing her nemesis get booted off just days after she was. (But will Yamen ultimately click with anyone? Is he the ultimate game player, who’s too good for me to see it? Time will tell…)

But Alana may also be throwing a party after reports began surfacing about how Christen’s favorite movie is The Burning Bed and her favorite song is Beds are Burning. Thankfully, no beds in the Love Island sleeping quarters were torched during her stay, though Yamen thought she was on fire and that maybe there was a spark (hehe).

It proves yet again that anyone who shows up after the initial cast got to know each other may have a hard time; they just haven’t had the same amount of time to build relationships. And speaking of newbies, we’re told at the end that “a bunch of new Islanders” will be making their way to the beach next week when a cruise yacht shows up.

I say, boot ME off the island; I’ll take the yacht and catch y’all later.

Love Island Episode 9
Christen tears up after learning her fellow islanders have booted her off the show (while social media learns she once torched a roommate’s bed).

Episode 10 (July 22, 2019)
Here we are, the start of week three, and new Islanders our in our midst! Hello…? Are you still there? Unfortunately, the producers have recruited the only people left watching this show, so who knows how long it’ll remain on the air?

Tonight we meet six new Islanders, and now I can’t tell some of them apart: Ray (23), Eric (28), George (30…is that age even allowed?), Kelsey (25), Marli (20), and Aissata (26). None of them are fat or ugly, two of the guys look like Cashel wannabes, and the women all look like they have enhanced lips. They immediately set their sights on the remaining OG Islanders because, well…we’re looking for looooooove.

Meanwhile, Kyra is just not feeling it with Cashel, who I like more with each and every episode. He has this I-don’t-give-a-shit attitude that comes out in sarcasm, which is kinda funny at times. Kyra’s attitude is no surprise; she struck me as being all about the chase upon her arrival, and she all but admitted that in this episode.

In a move that will make the millions hundreds of Love Island viewers gleefully happy, Zac finally asked Elizabeth to (hold your breath!) be his girlfriend. But this happened before the new singles arrived, so who knows how long it will last.

Personally, I’m all about the Love Liner yacht that ferried the six newbies to the island and that sweet, slowed-down acapella version of La Roux’s “In For the Kill,” with Elly Jackson’s voice soaring over the romantic goings-on. Ahhhhhhhhh….

Love Island Episode 10
6 new Islanders arrive via the ‘Love Liner’ to shake things up.

Episode 11 (July 23, 2019)
So, where’s your head at?

We know where the heads of the newbies are, especially Eric, who comes on as a nice guy but, whoa!, his psycho side is showing. I’m amused how proclaims to be “straight up” and only goes after what he wants and goes after it hard…while at the same time taking Caro on a date while really wanting to get with Kyra. Right, Eric…straight up. But, it’s reality TV, so I do like the injection of drama here…

Aissata says she’s celibate (way to get outta that “truth” question about sex, newbie), and takes Yamen to the beach on her date-of-choice. And speaking of Yamen, what’s up with those sociopathic aside interviews? The more we see, the more he seems to be hiding his personality, referring to himself in the third person (“your boy…”), and the stranger he gets. This is in addition to his drama-queening, telling Caro that Eric is taking her on a date because he wants to get to know Kyra better in a different setting (but again, might as well inject some drama by spreading some gossip. We poor viewers could use some).

Kelsey nabs Weston for a date, not to be confused with Winston, the choice of 20-year-old Marli (they laugh, then laugh some more, then talk about how much they loved laughing). Cowboy photog Weston likes blondie Kelsey, but still likes Katrina…and he can’t decide who he wants. Aissata got to go on two dates as old man George chose her for his date (she got a lot of beach and drink time in this episode–cheers!). Meanwhile, newbie Ray chose Katrina as his date (watch Katrina break down and cry when she has to [gasp!] open up to Weston, who wants to know how she feels about him).

America (yes, YOU, America) once again gets to choose (via Love Island‘s app) which of the newbies (1 man, 1 woman) is your fave, with the lowest vote-getters in danger of being dumped from the island…and there’s no love in that.

Love Island Episode 11
Two of these six new Islanders will be in danger of being dumped by the end of the night.

Episode 12 (July 24, 2019)
We don’t see a lot of action with the Islanders in this outing as the producers focus on Eric’s scene stealing, and scenes aren’t the only thing he’s stealing. He zeroes in on Kyra and he’s pulling the trigger, unleashing a barrage of ammo to rope her in while she goes cold on Cashel. And for his part, Cashel drops his guard (big mistake) and lets Kyra know just how much he really wants to be with her. Is anyone surprised Kyra really likes the guy the other women think is a douche?

Today’s game is Kiss and Tell, where the guys kiss the girls whilst blindfolded and vice versa. Kyra and George score the high marks, and are awarded Best Kissers, which as we know by now, means nothing as far as surviving the game.

Meanwhile, sweethearts Zac and Elizabeth get to scamper off to a waterfall for their first legitimate date.

Then…Dun dun dunnnnn….ohhhh sh*t, it’s Arielle. Something bad’s about to happen. She holds the results to America’s voting from last night’s episode, and YOU, America, voted for sweetheart Kelsey and douchebag Eric as your new-Islander faves. With four remaining, it was up to the remaining Islanders to decide which two get to stay and which two are dumped.

In the end, it’s youngster Marli and old man George (is he 29 or 30?) who get the boot, proving once again that ageism is strong on the island. We’re told a re-coupling will occur tomorrow, and one unlucky single will join Marli and George with a boot from the island.

Love Island episode 12
Two of these new Islanders are getting dumped from the island.

Episode 13 (July 25, 2019)
I GOT A TEEEEEEEXT!!!!

It’s time for a recoupling, and someone’s getting the boot. And tonight, we don’t wait until the end–the recoupling happens before the 10-minute mark!

Alexandra stays with Dylan, Aissata chooses Yamen, Elizabeth chooses (surprise!) Zac, Caro rolls the dice with newbie survivor Ray, Kelsey shakes things up and couples with Weston, Kyra surprises by choosing Eric, and that leaves Katrina to choose between Cashel and Winston, neither of which she’s into. But one must go, and she ultimately rolls with……(commercial break)…..Cashel.

Winston is dumped from the island, marking two reality shows that he sucks at.

Zac and Elizabeth go on another escapade alone. (Are these two setting us up for a big disappointment in the end? That would nab ratings!)

In today’s game of Social Bingo, the Islanders learn what America thinks of them. Caro sits out the game due to illness (yeah, right). According to YOU, America, Weston is underrated, Kyra is stone cold (hey, I’ve said that all along!), Zac is “under Elizabeth’s thumb” (uh oh, Liz), Dylan could find a better connection, Kelsey lights up at Weston’s 12 acres (“#golddigger”), Yamen is a player, Zac and Elizabeth are sooooo “boring” (nice boring retort, Zac), Kyra lays cards on tables and Yamen stabs folk in the back, watching Dylan and Alexandra “decreases my IQ ,” and Katrina “deserves better.” Phew! Did I get all that right? Probably not, but you get the idea.

Meanwhile, Alexandra isn’t sure about Dylan. And that’s what we end on.

Nice work, America. Your mean tweets have shaken these Islanders to the core. (Somebody had to do it.) Oh, and tomorrow one lucky couple gets dumped!

Love Island episode 13
Winston, heartbroken after Marli’s ouster last episode, doesn’t yet realize he’s next.

Episode 14 (July 26, 2019)
Whoa Nelly! it’s time to dump someone off this here island, and I’ve fallen behind over the weekend, missing Friday’s live episode (thanks for having my back, free CBS app!). And somehow, that Love Island Facebook group I’m in managed to not spoil it before I saw it (it doesn’t help that I’m on the West Coast here in the good ol’ U.S. of A., three  hours behind the the cool cats in the east who like to mouth off at 5:30 p.m. my time).

Not much happens before tonight’s big dumping. Alexandra cries. And cries some more. Is she always crying? Weston hosts a silly yoga session and goes on an “official date” with Kelsey away from the others.

When it’s time for the dumping, Arielle shows up looking like she’s ready to enjoy cocktails with the rest of the staff after faking sadness over tonight’s exits. When she announces which couples are “safe” (as dictated by Vote of America via the Love Island app), Elizabeth looks like she’s shitting bricks when three of the four “safe” couples are announced before she and Zac are told they can safely tuck themselves into the fireside lawn furniture with the others (don’t worry Liz, Arielle read them in random order–you and Zac were chosen last for…ta daaaa–dramatic effect).

I was slightly surprised when all four couples decided to dump….wait, is it raining? It seems like it’s always raining there.

Okay, let me start over. I was slightly surprised when all four couples decided to dump hippie Cashel and smoker-voiced Katrina because they’re fairly likable characters. But unfortunately, they weren’t a true couple…just hangers-on hoping for a newbie to show up that they click with.

The goodbye brings tears the cast. Meanwhile, I’m manipulated by music (love that cover of Tears For Fears’ “Mad World”). It is a dumping worth noting as Cashel was the first “boy” to arrive on the island in the first episode.

Meanwhile, it’s easy to see who’s going to steal the show for the next episode as Kyra whines about losing her best bud, Cashel, who gives her an emotional sendoff. The producers will play this for all it’s worth. Of course, nobody in the audience feels sorry for her, and hey, she can pretend he’s still here with that Cashel-twin, Eric.

Love Island episode 14
Cashel and Katrina are glum after being dumped from the island by their peers.

Episode 15 (July 29, 2019)
“I’m such a bitch.” Yeah, Kyra, we know. And you don’t know whatcha got till it’s gone. Will she survive the villa without her doormat Cashel to throw around?

And is it raining again?? Every damn day. Thanks, Climate Change.

Zac and Elizabeth prove once again they’re perfect for each other– they both fart (this is the THIRD time farting and Zac have been been mentioned on the show), and we learn that Elizabeth actually shit herself in front of Zac well before he soiled himself in her presence (if that ain’t love, I dunno what is….). When Zac grinds in Liz’s face during the dress-up-as-footballers-beer-pong-kissing party, I was afraid he might kill her with a gas bomb to the face.

NEW MEAT! In today’s game, True Feelings, Islanders must identify their partner whilst blindfolded. BUT, we learn it’s a sham to get them blindfolded while new hotties Jared, Anton and Emily crash the villa via jet-ski (hell ya!). Everyone is into newbie Emily (even Kyra–they make out), Emily is into Weston and Eric at first glance…and is country-boy Weston having second thoughts about Kelsey? Or are the editors playing tricks on me?

“I love Asian guys,” Caro says, as love maybe finally finds her. But do Asian guys like you, Caro? Doesn’t matter; every guy likes Caro at first because she’s smokin’ hot.

Emily and Eric hit it off, but like Kyra she sees his “bad boy” side and wants that softer side to come out as well. But hey, she likes Weston too, and she pulls him aside for a chat, and guys…who can turn away Emily?

But wait; does Weston like Kyra now?? I can’t keep up! Sumbitch!

Love Island episode 15
Anton, Emily and Jered make their Love Island arrival via jet ski.

Episode 16 (July 30, 2019)
Emily GETS A TEEEEEEEEEXT and chooses Eric for her first date (they go snorkeling and make out underwater in their goggles). But then she texts Weston, and Eric doesn’t even know. Weston kisses her…not sure Kelsey likes that (she seems sad). BUT, Elizabeth and Alexandra want Kyra to pursue Weston! (Why am I surprised? This isn’t Friend Island, Jason)

“What’s your sexuality?” Kyra asks Emily. Does she even want a “boy”? But with how this game is set up, is a same-sex couple even possible (the recouplings seem set up to only allow girls to pick boys and Miami Vice versa)?

Jered goes on his first date and chooses Kyra. More water sports ensue. Anton also gets to go on a date and predictably chooses Caro (they go paddle boarding).

But bigger things are a-happening: Tonight, there will be a recoupling! And tonight, one boy will be DUMPED from the island! But don’t worry…we run out of time before the recoupling, so that will have to wait till tomorrow (way to keep us coming back, y’all).

Fave line of the night: Elizabeth calls Zac and Dylan Dumb and Dumber.

Love Island episode 16
Emily hits up Eric for her chosen date (before secretly taking Weston on a date afterward)

Episode 17 (July 31, 2019)
So tonight we start with a recoupling, and everyone in the pre-show teaser is crying (uh oh…)! And we’re told one boy is getting dumped.

How do they choose the order during these recouplings? They get the boring ones out of the way first, followed up by the dramatic ones. I’m on to you, Love Island producers!

Caro chooses Ray. Elizabeth chooses–wait for it–Zac. Aissata chooses Yamen. Alexandra chooses Dylan (duh).

Then, the contentious recouplings: Emily chooses Weston(!). But then, in the shocker of the night–Kelsey chooses to remove herself from the villa. Sore loser. And I’m manipulated by music. So basically, she says f*ck you, Weston!

Again, this isn’t Friend Island.

So Kyra gets to choose between three guys, and she goes with…Jered? Huh? Their date must have gone better than I thought. (And she clearly isn’t happy with Weston’s quickly blossoming relationship with Emily). And since Kelsey chose to remove herself from the island, the game gods dump BOTH Eric and Anton from the game.

Meanwhile, Caro and Ray spend the night alone together. The Islanders slo-mo-Baywatch-jog to the beach for a game of Dunk in Love (we learn Weston has slept with over 50 women. Stud). Alexandra and Dylan also get to go on a date alone.

This entry ends boring because, well, the exciting part happened at the beginning of the episode.

Love Island episode 17
Teary-eyed Kelsey dumps herself from the island after Weston takes up with her competition, Emily. (Hey Kels, I’m single…)

Episode 18 (August 1, 2019)
Y’all are in for a treat tonight as Weston’s in the hot seat and the dog house, all at the same time.

Emily asks the girls what they think of Weston, and they let Emily know that Weston is a bit of a playa, and that he’s had played multiple women identically. Kyra leads the charge, and Emily takes the bait and lets Weston know it. This all leads Zac to uncharacteristically stick up for Weston, pissing off Elizabeth in the process (ya boy Yamen also sticks up for Weston, though less aggressively so). Weston threatens to leave the island.

In tonight’s game, Polls Apart, America votes Weston and Emily most likely to cheat on y’all, and Weston and Emily most likely to backstab y’all, so the Lady Islanders are feeling what y’all are feeling. Weston feels crappy, y’all. Is he gonna leave y’all?

Arielle shows up via her patented slo-mo walk, and that means bad news for y’all. (“Arielle is the best looking reaper of bad news I’ve ever seen,” quips Zac. I agree.) The public have been voting for their fave couple, and one couple will be dumped from the island tonight.

After revealing the “safe” couples, Aissata and Yamen and Weston and Emily are left standing…but we have must til tomorrow to find out who gets the dumpin’. Can ya believe that crap?? Good job, editors. You’ve improved all season.

Y’all come back for tomorrow’s episode. Weston needs y’all.

Love Island episode 18
Weston is shell-shocked and dumbfounded as Emily grills him about his playa wayz.

Episode 19 (August 2, 2019)
Down to the nitty gritty. It’s ya boy, the chocolate man Yamen and Aissata who America voted their least favorite couple, and are dumped from the island. When an episode starts with a dumping, is it worth watching the rest of it?

Sure it is! The couples are gifted “babies” (practice baby dolls, complete crying, shitty diapers, and hopefully, no extra batteries) and Weston and Emily seem to be doing better (relationship on the rocks? Have a baby!). The girls get to shirk their maternal responsibilities, though, when they get a text allowing them to go party while the boys watch the kids. The boys use the opportunity to hold stroller races with the crying, plastic babies. In the end, Ray and Caro are named “best parents” in the take-care-of-the-baby game (are they the second-most popular couple now?). Weston and Emily and Zac and Elizabeth are the “failures.” None of it matters; they go to a party once they’re allowed to ditch the kids.

Kyra says she wants to hook up with Cashel when she leaves the villa (where were ya when he was there, Kyra, in person?)

BUT, a text at the end says another couple is on the way out. We’re down to the final few episodes, so it’s time to whittle them down, folks. Of course, we have to wait till Monday to find out who gets the boot!

Love Island episode 19
(Barbie Girl) Aissata and (Ya Boy) Yamen say goodbye after America votes them least favorite couple on the island.

Episode 20 (August 5, 2019)
Tonight! Epic dates and one epic dumping!

Weston is still in the doghouse despite efforts to get out of the doghouse with Kyra and Emily.

Bound by Love, tonight’s useless game, is ruined by rain (of course). The Islanders show their (lack of) construction and woodworking skeelz using just one hand each (while their other hands are cuffed together). Then, they make cakes in the kitchen with the women doing the work from behind their men while blindfolded. I guess Alexandra and Dylan are the winners?

After the commercial, it’s time for a-dumping, and you know it’s dramatic when a Dido track plays ahead of the ceremony. Cue slo-mo Arielle, the “Glam Reaper,” who enters to tell us which four couples are Love Island finalists, based on America’s votes. In the end, Kyra and Jered are dumped. Arielle then gets a text; it’s Cashel in a video message, and he wants to see Kyra after the show’s over (no waiting necessary; Cash meets her on the island after she’s dumped). Meanwhile, connectionless nice-guy Jered just wants to pack and leave this f*ckin’ island.

Do YOU want to be on Love Island? Despite crappy ratings, it’s reported that CBS has renewed the show for a second season and casting call promos begin airing.

With two episodes and four couples remaining, they begin their final (epic) dates. (Once again, I want the yacht Zac and Elizabeth spend their date aboard.) Zac tells Elizabeth he’s in love with her and Liz concurs.

Love Island episode 20
Arielle tells Kyra and Jered they must pack and leave this godforsaken island, where love is nowhere in sight.

Episode 21 (August 6, 2019)
It’s the penultimate episode and more final (epic) dates ensue, complete with flashbacks to when the couples originally met (and I am bored to tears, but we gotta fill that time somehow, right?). Cue REO Speedwagon’s “Can’t Fight This Feeling” (yes!), reminding me once again how old I am and how I’m not this show’s target demo…or am I?

But wait! I feel young again when the parents (or assorted family members and best friends) of the Islanders pay a visit to the villa. “TV don’t do you no gewd! You look gewwwwwwd!” Weston’s dad drawls to Emily. Love it! Nice to meet y’all.

Dylan’s dad also gets in some funny, making fun of that constant “Like like like like” talk the Islanders subject us poor viewers to. Ray’s mom mean-mugs on baby-talkin’ Caro, and Caro’s bestie Sergio is straight-up pimpin’ that beach attire.

It’s raining. Again.

One more episode to go and I still don’t know how you win Love Island. From what I can tell, it’s going to be up to YOU, America—YOU get to vote for the the couple that wins true love the $100K purse.

Love Island episode 21
Weston’s dad, Emily’s bestie, and Weston’s sister peace out after visiting the villa.

Episode 22 (August 7, 2019)
Here it is! The big finale! Who is going to be the winners of Love Island and take home a cash prize of $100,000? I’m also wondering if there’s one more shocking twist to the game at the end that (at least for us U.S. viewers who’ve never watched the UK series) will turn the Islanders on their heads. And, the most important question of all, who is still watching and reading this?

Turns out, we get a pretty standard wrap-up episode, with the Islanders playing dress-up for their final day at the villa. The girls and guys spend time separately and write up love letters they must read to each other at the end of the night, before America–yes, YOU, America–makes their final vote on who should win this whole messy shebang.

Like waking down the steps in their prom dresses, the girls (after 22 episodes, even I’m saying “girls” and “boys;” less syllables to say and less letters to type) walk into the villa one by one to meet their handsome men in their tuxedos.

Cue Arielle, looking fresh and ready to party, who announces the final placings. And here they are:

  • 4th Place: Weston and Emily
  • 3rd Place: Caro and Ray
  • 2nd Place: Alexandra and Dylan
  • 1st place, Love Island Winners: Zac and Elizabeth

I think it was pretty much a forgone conclusion that Z and E would win, especially if you visited any Facebook group or forum discussion of the show. Despite being a relative bore (hey, they’re really in love, people!), they found “true love,” which is what the game is supposed to be all about. Unfortunately for viewers wanting tons of drama, even the editors couldn’t drum up much out-of-context fireworks between the two lovebirds, and what they did drum up felt manufactured.

Handsome, Lunk-headed dummy Dylan was the only one pissed that he/they didn’t win, while the other losing couples were just happy to be there and to have “found someone.”

There was one surprise at the end concerning the game. I assumed the $100,000 prize would go to the winning couple. But in the end, Arielle held aloft two golden envelopes–one with the $100,000 and one with nothing. Whoever chooses the one with the money can then either keep all the money as the winner of the game, or split it 50/50 with their partner.

I suppose all those years of scheming reality show players made this necessary because, who knows…maybe these guys are scheming reality show pros! But in the end, when Elizabeth chooses the envelope with the $100K, she predictably says it wasn’t even necessary, and that she and Zac will split the cash prize as well.

And THAT, my friends, is how you find love on Love Island.

Love Island episode 22
With pyrotechnics ablaze in the background, Zac and Elizabeth lock lips after learning they’ve won Love Island.

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