Looking forward to Hate Island hitting our screens thanks to BA impartiality rules

The Skinny | No 166 – Love on the Rock(s)

The ITV2 cast of Love Island (2018)
The ITV2 cast of Love Island (2018)

What are we skinning? The super-exciting announcement that a Maltese version of hit British reality show Love Island will be hitting the TVM airwaves imminently.

Why are we skinning it? Because it’s yet another product off the Ben Camille TV conglomerate, and as such very much worth our time and consideration as an artefact of shrill, gilded, and utterly Maltese mediocrity.

Surely you can’t assume it’ll be as bad as you say before it’s even had a chance to air… Okay, let’s assume it will be an audiovisual tour-de-force instead and see how that pans out, hmm?

Now, if you’re asking me to bet on it… I don’t think that’s legal within the confines of these newspaper pages, so we can steer clear of that either way.

I am curious about the show, though. This is the one where single people are forced to couple up for money, right? In a nutshell, yes. There are challenges, couplings and re-couplings, and even live audience vote-ins for the favourite couple of the lot.

Sounds like the typical gladiatorial/ticketed Victorian mental asylum tour that is par for the course for the reality TV genre. But Love Island has clearly punched above its weight in an otherwise oversaturated market, surviving and thriving since 2015 despite being riddled by controversy, and spawning countless spin-offs… the Malta variant being only the latest of the lot.

But surely, the Malta edition can’t go on forever… the pool of singles on the island will stretch to third, then second cousins fairly soon. Oh, and the inevitable Gozo spin-off will be all the more awkward for that reason above all.

Still, we have no qualms about importing labour when the need calls for it. Yes, and reality show contestants are within their rights to be considered as labourers.

Who are we to draw up walls in the pursuit of love? Malta is where the heart is.

Will you be watching? Oh, of course I will. Weaponising the essential human need for affection, companionship and procreation is the very essence of what makes mass media tick, and I’m glad Malta will be getting its own take on such a blatant expression of it sometime soon.

Do say: “The optimistic view is that it’s good to hear Malta has the necessary clout and resources to attempt its own version of a hit reality show. How a televised dating programme will pan out in a country where nearly everyone is related to each other is a whole other kettle of fish, though...”

Don’t say: “Isn’t balanced broadcasting enshrined in law? Given that the programme will be shown on the public broadcaster, I look forward to the announcement that Hate Island has also been commissioned and will be hitting our screens imminently.”