A few weeks ago, in desperate search of something to watch that wouldn’t wrench open any new psychic wounds, I finally caved and watched an American season of the buzzy reality TV show, “Love Island.” Thankfully, it did its job. For the duration of the season I watched, it felt as though my brain had just received a pacifier. How nice it was to suddenly be entangled in the problems (read: love lives) of other people, to leave mine on the bedside table for 60 minutes at a time and watch a cast of 20-somethings navigate their own.
Well, if you already are a fan of the show, or even if you’ve yet to become one, here’s a little bit of news to colour your day: Canadians are about to get their own version of “Love Island.”
Yes, the hit British TV series is getting a French-language makeover with Québecois contestants, filmed on the Grand Canary Island in Spain. It’ll be the show’s 19th local adaptation, and was announced alongside commissions for other iterations in Spain, Nigeria and Italy.
Watch: A primer on the most recent season of “Love Island USA.” Story continues below.
And fine, here’s a better, clearer description of the “Love Island” premise: a group of single “Islanders” are dropped into the middle of some beautifully decorated setting, where they will, for a number of weeks, attempt to meet the love of their life. Every few days, the Islanders are asked to couple up with whomever they feel the strongest connection to; anyone without a partner risks being kicked off the island.
At the end of the show, in democratic fashion, the public votes on which couple they love the most, and that couple leaves the island (or “island,” considering the last U.S. season was filmed in Las Vegas) with a new partner and a big cash prize.
“Airing almost in real time, ‘Love Island’ stands out from other romantic reality shows that we’ve seen so far, because it lets viewers play a key role in determining each contestant’s fate,” Christine Maestracci, vice president of acquisitions and international distribution for Quebecor Content, told Variety. “No wonder this British format has quickly become a global phenomenon.”
“Love Island” does what the best reality television does: allows you to disengage from the chaos of your world and invest yourself, instead, in the chaotic dramas of other random people. You project your decisions onto them, pick favourites and imaginary nemeses. You get to participate in the dating lives of other people, which might be more interesting in a moment when dating has been scandalized. (Remember: we’re still meant to be social distancing.)
The show has been quite successful in the past, and Variety reports that the success of the American version, which airs on CBS, could be why an English-language Canadian version hasn’t happened yet. But now we’ll have our own Quebecois spin on the show. Soon. (The release date is not yet confirmed.)
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