What Is Love Island? The U.K. Dating Show Sensation Is Coming to America
Nobody does reality TV better than the Brits — and the U.K.’s most popular program is finally hopping across the pond.
The first U.S. season of Love Island, set in Fiji and hosted by comedian Arielle Vandenberg, will debut Tuesday on CBS with a special 90-minute premiere, with new one-hour episodes continuing every weeknight for five weeks.
But what exactly is Love Island — and why should you be tuning in five nights a week? Well, every episode of ITV2’s original British Love Island is streaming on Hulu, and we can’t get enough. Picture Bachelor in Paradise if it aired every day, had a cheeky Scottish announcer poking fun at the play-by-play and made no clear attempt to encourage actually meaningful “connections.”
Hosted by Caroline Flack, the original Love Island drops sexy singles into a villa in Mallorca, monitoring their every move Big Brother-style. Contestants “couple up,” sharing a beds and hope to ignite a spark, but they can “pie off” their partners if they’re interested in someone new. People get dumped off the island, fresh meat saunters in wearing skimpy swimsuits, and in the end, the most popular couple wins £50,000.
It may sound simple, but the rules are ever-changing (do the challenges really mean anything?), and viewers can vote on who stays and who goes. The U.S. iteration, of course, will have to conform to American broadcast standards (think bleeped-out curse words and no thong bikinis), but is largely expected to follow the show’s tried-and-true format.
Here are four reasons to catch up on the original Love Island U.K.
1. It never ends.
The U.K. version premiered in 2015 and airs six nights a week, so you’re following the action more or less live. Each season includes 30-50 episodes, meaning if you’re looking for a fluffy summer binge, Love Island‘s for you.
2. You’ll learn British slang.
Sometimes a lad will get pied by his bird, and he’s down about being mugged off, until he grafts with a right fit girl and they crack on, babe. Oi oi!
3. It may or may not be a reflection of England’s political climate.
Is Love Island a metaphor for Brexit? A heteronormative experiment in conservative values, as posited by The Economist, or an instrument for outrage, as argued by The New York Times? Well, first the Islanders would have to understand that Britain leaving the E.U. has nothing to do with cheese or trees. Still, if you need a high-brow reason to watch hot people be hot, have at it.
4. The love is real.
The ridiculous format can actually work! A handful of Love Island couples remain loved up: Dom Lever and Jess Shears, Alex Bowen and Olivia Buckland and Nathan Massey and Cara De La Hoyde are married. Massey and De La Hoyde and Luis Morrison and Cally Jane Beech also welcomed babies.
Seasons 1-5 of the British Love Island are streaming on Hulu. Love Island U.S.A. will debut Tuesday on CBS at 8 p.m. ET. New one-hour episodes will continue every weeknight through Aug. 7.