I, like everyone else, am tired of the lockdown. I'm tired of being stuck at home. I'm very tired of having to survive a pandemic in my 20s. What I really need at this very moment is a vacation – somewhere beautiful, an island with perfect beaches.
I'd stay in a beautiful villa, tastefully decorated, of course, with a fridge that's always fully stocked. A place where the sun's always shining and where I have an endless supply of cocktails. A place I don't have to wear a mask. In this dream world, I obviously have the perfect beach body and I'm surrounded by other dream-like people who want to date me. This sounds like an impossible dream for most of us, but this is the reality of the new cast of Love Island SA, coming to M-Net on Sunday.
I should be jealous that a group of ridiculously good-looking people will be living my dream, but I'm actually really excited.
Love Island SA is the 15th international version of the hugely popular British dating show. It is a social media phenomenon, with millions of people tuning in every week to watch a summer of love, lust and reality show 'friendships'.
The show starts off with 10 single islanders (yes, that's what they're called), and from the moment they enter the Villa, their goal is to be in the perfect couple. Each week viewers at home cast votes to decide who leaves the island, so it's important that you never find yourself single or in a couple no one likes. The last remaining couple wins a cash prize of R50,000 – so that's what the islanders are playing towards. Sounds simple enough, right?
Well, it wouldn't be excellent television if there weren't some twists. Just when you think the right romances, friendships and alliances have formed, new islanders arrive, and their goal is to shake it all up. This gives the show just the perfect amount of chaos and drama.
It's that perfect cocktail of summer romance and messy interactions that make this show so exciting to me. This is a perfect, locally made guilty pleasure. And not to sound dramatic but we need it.
Unlike any other time before, we have a multitude of shows that can cater to any mood or mind frame we're in. We have shows that challenge us to deal with the uncomfortable truths that surround race, gender, sexuality and class. Shows like Little Fires Everywhere and Mzali Wami come to mind here.
But we also have shows that allow us to escape, get lost in worlds and stories that are far removed from our own. Shows that are intended only to entertain us, which is where Love Island comes in. It was designed to simply make audiences feel good. An intentional guilty pleasure created so you can have a favourite contestant, root for them, thread about them on Twitter and be outraged when they get voted off.
Another reason to look forward to this instalment of the show is because the South African versions of international titles are always in a league of their own. From Come Dine With Me SA to MasterChef SA, our versions are always authentically South African.
As a country we have the ability to laugh at ourselves and not take ourselves too seriously. It's a skill that's moved us through some of the most difficult moments. I have no doubt that the local islanders will give us a show we can laugh at, smile through and even just for a second, forget about the world around us.
- Love Island SA starts on M-Net this Sunday at 8pm