Love Island is a lot. Not the dental floss bikinis, or the startling colour of Jack's teeth, or the challenge where couples regurgitate a three-course meal into each other's mouths – although, admittedly, that is all quite full on – but just the sheer quantity of content. Eight weeks. Every night. Aftersun on Sunday. Kilometres of Twitter memes. Important think-pieces meditating on the characteristics of each contestant by, say, judging how likely they are to eat a worm.
Now, double that: there is also an Australian version. It's the same format, the same island, the same fundamental need within every contestant to identify their "type" within three seconds of the first eye-fuck. Different people, different slang, different diets.
As a London-based antipodean with a healthy penchant for dating-based reality TV shows, it is my duty and honour to watch both the British and Australian versions of Love Island, compare them and rank them accordingly. Although it might not seem it, this is important, because the two shows will probably almost definitely cross over at some point, and it'll be useful to know what to expect from the Australian lot, besides Eyal trying to schmooze the dog-obsessed Millie by talking about auras and star formations, and all the Aussie blokes hating him.
So! To the competition, the Love Island Championships, the only country-clash that matters. Fuck your World Cup.
DRAMATIC SHIT STORMS
At the beginning of the week, the above clip from Love Island Australia did the rounds, because it is, clearly, peak drama. As one astute Twitter user noted, "The Australia Love Island looks a belter, people throwing punches at each other and causing murder. All we get on the UK one is Eyal snorting bracelets." And while "murder" is a little hyperbolic, it does tap into our primal human thirst for watching people batter each other.
The interesting thing about the Aussies' drama that it's completely paradoxical to the default vibe of the Australian crew, which is mainly defined by grunting, an inability to express emotions and a liberal use of the word "bro" – which makes it all the more thrilling when people go off piste and into full bitch mode. When good boy Grant suddenly drops good girl Cassidy for Tayla, and everybody feels sorry for Cassidy, before she does the exact same thing to lovable puppy dog Josh by parring him off for newcomer Mich.
Meanwhile, the main drama on Love Island UK is Eyal's rapid fluctuation between stargazing Earth Father and shouty little boy, and a weirdly non-combative spat between Charlie and Hayley that ended with them needing to sit on separate couches in their now-customary This Morning interview.
Obviously, there was also Adam gaslighting Rosie, but that's so fucked up it gets it gets own section.
IT'S LIT! GASLIT!
I regret to inform you that men are present on every continent, and therefore so is gaslighting. Both Love Island UK and Love Island Australia have offered Grade A examples of this emotional abuse this season, proving that the phenomenon is borderless.
On the UK show, Adam spent all day hitting on new girl Zara, and when his official partner Rosie called him out for it he laughed in her face while she cried, downplayed the situation, ignored her feelings, said he reaction was "funny" and then subsequently got blasted on Twitter and by the charity Women's Aid.
Australia's Elias did a similar thing; after boomeranging between a few options, he settled on Millie, then flippantly said he was going to DM a girl he thought was hot when he got out of the house. When Millie tried to explain why maybe you shouldn't talk about girls you're going to DM in front of the girl you're dating, he lay there like a flaccid log with a cushion over his face, called her immature, then said she was acting like a "teenager". It's at 0:40 in the video below, if you need to catch up.
WINNER: DEDUCT A POINT FROM BOTH SIDES
DI! VER! SIT! Y!
Love Island UK is not diverse. It has three contestants of colour out of 18. Body shapes range from tall with taut skin and muscle definition, to medium height with taut skin and muscle definition. No, Love Island UK is not diverse. But it is a United Colours of Benetton ad compared to Love Island Australia.
Love Island Australia is exceedingly white. Love Island Australia is almost whiter than Jack's teeth. The oldest woman is 28. Ancient! Francoise is half French and half Malay, and Tayla is half Lebanese, but for the most part the contestants fluctuate between three swatches in the same beige Pantone colour chart. Body-wise, the Australian guys are a bit more hench, the girls a tad thinner. They are blonde or brunette, and they are fake boobs or real boobs, AKA "Silicon Sisters" vs "Itty Bitty Titty Committee".
Australia have not even tried.
WINNER: UNITED KINGDOM, technically, but you can't really call it winning.
FANCY NEW VOCABULARY
- To have good craic: to have good chat
- Grafting: putting in effort to pull someone
- To mug someone off: to be a bit of a dick
- To be a melt: to be soppy/wimpy
- Peng: fit
- A Sort: a fit person
- A Peng Sort: a really fit person
- To give something (or someone) a "crack": to give something a go
- Mate: friend
- Fanny flutters: horny? Like, butterflies in your fanny, I guess?
- Flanter: flirty banter
- Bro: friend
- Bro: greeting
- Bro: friendly greeting
WINNER: UNITED KINGDOM, because they have more lingo, but more importantly, they have more accents.
The fashion displayed in the Australian house is objectively better. It is a fact. Where Love Island UK features a kaleidoscope of sequins, cut-outs and board shorts with rubber duckies on them, Love Island AU's is… good? Actually quite… fashionable? Like, I really want... these earrings?
It makes sense. Firstly, Australians probably get to wear what they want, whereas the Brits are restricted to Missguided's strict menu of glitter and tassels. Secondly, Australians know summer dressing. They have about 364 days of the year to hone it, as opposed to the 15-minute windows we get 13 days a year. Throw a British person a sliver of sun and they'll rip their shirt off and refashion it as a hat. Throw an Australian some sun and they'll roll their eyes, glide effortlessly into a "casual" unstained white two-piece and "pop on" a "touch of lippy".
Not that the Aussies spend less time or effort on their looks, of course. Everyone knows it takes five hours to make it look like you're not wearing makeup.
THE RESPONSE FROM PEOPLE WHO HAVE AS MUCH SPARE TIME AS ME
Last year we had Camilla schooling Jonny on how, just because the Prime Minister is Theresa "let's-strike-a-deal-with-a-party-that-doesn't-believe-in-abortion-or-gay-marriage" May, that doesn’t mean we have gender equality. This year, we had Hayley not knowing what Brexit is. Thought it was something to do with trees. Bit gutted her holidays would be affected.
In Love Island AU, we have tennis coach for disabled children by day, stripper by night Jaxon proudly proclaiming he is "so misogynistic", to which Francoise interjects, "I don't know if you used the right word then." Either way, if you have to explicitly state that you're not misogynistic, you've presumably done something not great to get to that point.
WINNER: UNITED KINGDOM. Because really, you can hardly blame Hayley for having no idea the fuck is going on with Brexit.
VIABLE FUTURE STARS
About three months after each season, once the dust has settled and the villa morphs into a great neon-lit graveyard of grafting – once the couples who vowed to stay #togetherforever realise that forever is quite a long time – the jewels split from the rubble. Some will proudly reign over the Daily Mail sidebar of shame and be invited to the panel talks for the following year's Love Island, others will fade into the ether, with little more than some #tbt Instagrams and a framed page from their OK! magazine insert to show the grandkids.
Who will prevail? These people will prevail:
What one in the biz calls a "firecracker". The Australian version of last year's Liv. She's been in the same couple since day one, and will carry them to victory on her personality alone. They will spend all their prize money on a very expensive car, before Erin realises she can have much more fun and make much more money without him. She will fly to Mykonos to embark on a career as an International Party Girl, and end up on next year's Love Island UK.
The nation’s sweetheart. The golden child. The caramel sauce on a sticky date pud. She will win the show with Jack, then get her heart broken by him, because no one is good enough for her, eh Danny? Father and daughter will star in an ITV reality series called Double Ds. It will win a BAFTA.
Justin was perpetually friend-zoned because of what one contestant labelled as his "camp" attributes. When he apparently went "missing" before his exit interview with Australia's KIIS breakfast radio show, co-host Kyle Sandilands said: "Who cares? He's probably gone around to find some blokes…" Which is fucked up, because a) let's not speculate on someone's sexuality, and b) he had more personality in his tiny pants than all of the Aussie guys put together.
He will fall in love with someone older who respects him, Instagram his way around the world and make a fortune through brand partnerships with super-yacht and linen shirt companies.
Samira's funny, relaxed and has the perfect amount of IDGAF to make her likeable, but not so much that she comes across as arrogant. After Love Island she'll embark on an illustrious career of slashes: model/actress/TV host/musician/Boohoo brand ambassador. She will score a bit part in an actually decent film and move to LA. She is most likely to Make It.
WINNER: IT'S A TIE.
United Kingdom: 2.5
They both lose to Love Island UK season three. Miss u bb xo