Love Island 2024 great

How Love Island got great again: Even before Joey Essex, this series started with a bang

A Love Island premiere that WASN’T boring? There’s a first time for everything!

Not many shows produce the eye rolls and groans of “not another one” these days like Love Island has. It’s all been on a bit of a downward spiral since 2022 – and that’s being generous. In 2022, when Ekin-Su and Davide were filling the show with moments that made it unmissable and we had Andrew and Tasha’s “sucked her tits or whatever” bit of gold dust, life felt like it was back in the show. But since then, with tepid winter seasons, last year’s alright main summer edition and then the tedious All Stars I honestly had no clue what to be expecting when Maya shipped us off to Mallorca again. I sort of tuned in hesitantly, one eye on the telly one eye on something else. But I didn’t expect to be so charmed by a bunch of pretty normal Islanders who had my attention held even before that twist at the end that not a soul saw coming. Here’s how Love Island 2024 started off great again – against all the odds on the planet.

A great mix of Islanders

Usually, the Islanders are insufferable upon entrance. Everyone’s playing it nice and everyone feels generic. The much maligned premiere episode of a new season of Love Island is never normally a fun time. Nobody really gives anything away. We’d have to endure the stepping forward and picking task of old, or we’d be told that the public had been voting for who should be coupled up first despite nobody even remembering such a vote being announced.

The vote era was a slog because the public’s choices were always abysmal, and we’d have to sit through a toe curlingly miserable coupling up of people who looked in their eyes like they’d just regretted a lot of life decisions. But the producers pulled a blinder with how they paired up this year – with the girls ranking the lads from least to most boyfriend material and the boys returning the favour. The fact that they coupled up with their corresponding Islander from the other side made the drama come on thick and fast – with people who’d just quite savagely and honestly declared why they didn’t think someone should be boyfriend material now having to share a bed.

Not only that, but these Islanders are all emerging as characters without really trying. There’s the Scouse icon Samantha, who keeps bellowing “tall, dark and cockney” to anyone who’ll listen with that hilarity only Scousers have. I laughed out loud when she earnestly declared “Well, I had a fella for three years and he worshipped the ground I walked on.” It was the kind of brash quote Tina Malone might have come out with – aka, I loved it.

Another firm early fave for me is Ronnie, who feels like an EastEnders character being parodied live on ITV. I embarrassingly hesitate to admit that I was quite charmed by his chat even though he seems absolutely ridiculous. I was also fond of the hairdresser Sam and his fittingly gorgeous hair, the much needed ego of Munveer and the Stockport side of Manchester charm Jess instantly gave off. Everyone feels like a character without feeling like pseudo influencers.

Most notable is Harriett – who is instantly giving villain in the best way. A snooty energy, a confidence and the undercurrent that she might flip her lid at any moment and spit the dummy out of the pram. She’s what I tune in for. I also loved Mimii RIGHTLY getting her top spot as the most girlfriend material. What she deserves.

Just a good time

I feel like the first episode of Love Island is usually filled with fodder, but 2024 proved it’s going to be great by giving us a lot of time to watch the Islanders pulling each other for chats. You can see almost instantly where the sparks lie and where the drama might brew – especially since Samantha and Jess both seem a bit down bad crying at the gym for Ronnie. Same, girl. Same.

For the first time in what feels like forever I actually am so excited to carry on watching. Even 2022, the last truly amazing series, did not manage that. Most seasons take a few weeks to settle in, but Love Island 2024 feels great as it hits the ground running. And that’s before we talk about the big twist, wisely saved for the final minute.

… Joey Essex!?

It’s all anyone can talk about, and rightly so. ITV managing to keep his entrance secret from the vultures at The Sun and the Daily Mail is insane – and hilarious that they shipped him to Mallorca on a ferry to keep the secret locked down. Whilst it’s clearly a stunt to get people talking about the show, in my opinion it’s going to work great and has already done the job. Joey is naturally such a good time and has managed to maintain the public’s interest for nearly 15 years and still has everyone fancying him. I bet the lads gulped nervously.

Against all odds, I am genuinely buzzing to watch an episode of Love Island tonight. Well done, guys. Welcome back.

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