We’re in luck, because this summer the best TV show EVER is hitting our screens again. No, it’s not Big Little Lies, or Stranger Things, or Orange is the New Black. It is CLEARLY the British reality TV show, Love Island. However, if you’re a bit confused as to how this U.K. television phenomenon actually works, don’t worry: we got you.
How does the Love Island format work?
So, the show starts with ten ludicrously attractive British people in swimsuits in a villa in Majorca (because, given how much of this show involves bikinis and six-packs in the sun, there’s no way that this could actually be filmed in England.) The five girls all stand in a line outside and watch as men come out one by one, not unlike sushi on a conveyor belt. If they like him, they step forward. If more than one girl steps forward for the guy, he gets to pick. Then BOOM. They are now COUPLED UP.
Throughout the series, the contestants all stay in this giant villa that, despite being huge, only has two bedrooms because ENTERTAINMENT.
You could cut the ~romantic~ tension with a knife. #LoveIsland pic.twitter.com/WrkJo6pelN
One bedroom is the hideaway, where certain lucky couples get to occasionally spend a romantic night together. The other bedroom is where the rest of the hoards of contestants sleep, with one bed per couple. Cue painful montages of dry humping.
More men and women are then added to the villa as the episodes continue almost daily for around eight weeks. There are also some fun and slightly cringey challenges thrown in, like a sexy dance. Or a kissing game. Or a topless “fireman rescue.” You get the gist.
And that was the good, the bad and the sexy! 🙈#LoveIsland pic.twitter.com/J8oPsgFEnV
Then, there are “coupling ceremonies,” where people can decide to either continue with or “uncouple” from their current partner. If you’re thinking that this sounds like it’s from the Gwyneth Paltrow dictionary of breaking up, you’d be entirely right. With new hot people constantly going in and out of the villa, staying loyal to the same person can be tricky (see: last year’s “loyal” meme.)
How do you win?
In order to win Love Island, you have to be in a couple by the end of the series — which feels slightly like my nightmares where all my married friends ditch me.
Basically, you have to make it through the entire series without being dumped AND without being voted off. The audience can decide to vote off couples or individuals, depending on the episode. It gets particularly spicy when someone’s other half is voted off, resulting in two people intentionally leaving the villa last year to pursue their banished partner in the name of love (spoiler: it didn’t work.)
The audience then votes for their favorite couple still left at the end.
These guys! 😍 #LoveIsland pic.twitter.com/chg6QnKiBt
How does voting work?
Unfortunately, this one is for Brits only: voting is done through the official U.K. Love Island app. It is not available on the U.S. app store; trust, I have tried.
What do you win?
If a couple wins Love Island, they can win £50,000 (roughly $64,500). I say can win, because it’s not necessarily yours — there’s a dramatic moment at the end where each person in the couple decides to split or steal the money. Except, it’s not dramatic at all, because a) nobody wants to be the most hated person in Britain b) previous contestants have reportedly made millions since the show, so by comparison £50k feels a little paltry (not that I would turn it down).
What are the rules in the villa?
There are a couple of rules we know that contestants have to follow in the villa, or be kicked off the show (as has already happened in season 5.) Islanders are free to have sex in the villa, as long as it’s safe sex with some of the pre-stocked villa condoms. However, masturbation is banned. Also, nudity is also banned. Fun, right?
Is there actually a second villa?
Okay, you got me — ever since season 3, there’s been a surprise second villa called Casa Amor (yes, really) introduced halfway through the season with even more attractive people to cause drama. We’ll see if season 5 follows suit.
What a show.
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