Things started a little slow on CBS’s first installment of Love Island. It takes a while for the drama to build, for contestants to find their angles, for the real intensity of the relationships and the format and the uncoupling to heat up. But even at this very early stage, there were more than enough signals in the first episode to suggest that this Love Island could be a worthy U.S. iteration of the U.K.’s great original Love Island franchise. There were early romances, and great introductory interviews, and at least one interaction between a male model and a guy who works at a grocery store that was so delightful it justified the entire hour all on its own. Let’s go to the highlight reel.
First, some obligatory introductions, so that everyone can appreciate the majesty and sexy suggestiveness of this house in Fiji.
Some contestants also found the talking-heads set to be inspiring, like young Cashel here.
A runaway early favorite of the series, Alana began the show by dishing out some examples of her previous dating history. “I have seen a flip-flop” is a legendary, all-timer reality-show line, and it should be recognized as such.
Poor Cashel. Obviously these women did not see his earlier Lady Gaga pose during the intro interview segment.
Alana proves her value yet again with a very forthright response for her first impression of Yamen.
Let’s just appreciate it all on its own, shall we?
If you were going to hashtag something to prove that the Love Island contestants are not uniformly the sharpest knives in the drawer, it would probably be this bit from Yamen’s intro interview.
… Or, okay, it could be this. This is Zac, who works in a grocery store and lives at home and is extremely insistent that he is not a player.
There is also one contestant, Weston, who is the default “country” entry for the contestants. This, believe it or not, is the “punch line” to a “joke,” and the first line of the joke is “What did the suspenders say to the pants?”
Ah, yes, Michael. A male model with his priorities straight.
Love Island’s first episode only gives a short taste of host Arielle Vandenberg, but the tiny bits we get suggest she may be a personality to watch.
Here’s Caro, who decides that she and Cashel do not have a future together. Except 20 minutes later, she decides that they very, very much could have a future together.
Here is a GIF of Michael telling Zac that he should try modeling. It is unlikely that you will watch anything funnier all day.
There are a few ways that Love Island, sparkly and new though it is, also feels like a bastion of dating shows from a bygone era. The most notable form of that is the seemingly compulsory heterosexuality of the show’s format, where “couples” who are eligible to win consist of one man and one woman. Kyra, seen here apparently blowing Yamen’s mind with the mere hint of homosexual attraction, is a good demonstration of how much more fun the show would be if it were more flexible!
In all, the episode was best summarized by Caro, who found herself forming an early strong opinion about Cashel but also didn’t want to cut off her possibilities for the future. After, all …