‘Tis res­o­lutely not the sea­son for more Love Is­land

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - TELEVISION REVIEWS - JENNIFER GAN­NON

No one needs a Love Is­land Christ­mas Re­union. Can’t we just live with our hazy, happy mem­o­ries of an­other sum­mer of crack­ing on and cou­pling up? Those balmy evenings spent ob­serv­ing the new batch of re­al­ity stars wait­ing to hatch seems like a life­time ago. Now, just like the sum­mer­time tan, our obsession with these worka­day “celebri­ties” has faded. They have taken on the dull pal­lor of the dis­carded Christ­mas toy or the peo­ple you get chummy with on hol­i­day swear­ing you’ll meet up back at home but then in­stantly ig­nore their friend re­quests.

Tak­ing place in a coun­try man­sion, the re­union is an at­tempt to cre­ate a dra­matic Christ­mas din­ner party sim­i­lar to the Made in

Chelsea round-ta­ble bitch­ing ses­sions – mi­nus the poached swan. As most of the sum­mer flings have ended, the show is en­gi­neered to re­hash the se­ries’ “best bits” while ad­dress­ing tabloid tales, forc­ing the for­mer cou­ples to con­front each other. Hav­ing been shot in mid-Novem­ber, it al­ready feels like old news, with view­ers aware that weeks af­ter the film­ing, win­ners Jack and Dani would an­nounce their break up via In­sta­gram and then sub­se­quently rec­on­cile via an­other In­sta­gram video – a con­scious re­cou­pling?

There is noth­ing nat­u­ral or can­did about this spe­cial. Any pre­vi­ous high­lights from the se­ries are re­peated ad nau­seam un­til all hu­mour has been com­pletely drained.

In the midst of all this, pre­sen­ter Caro­line Flack ap­pears like the Ghost of Christ­mas Sad­ness, her tu­mul­tuous love life be­gin­ning with flash­ing her en­gage­ment ring to the is­lan­ders at the start of the sum­mer to end­ing the year with un­pleas­ant sto­ries about her men­tal health ap­pear­ing in the press, act­ing as a stark re­minder of how crazy cou­pling up in the spot­light can be.

For the rest of the cast, the re­union takes on the form of a dull teen party, with the boys in the kitchen laugh­ing about their sex­ual prow­ess and the girls in the sit­ting room shar­ing em­bar­rass­ing sto­ries. It’s up to sin­gle­tons Ken­dall and Eyal to try to cre­ate some hope as they are co­erced into kiss­ing for the cam­era. With this shonky, un­nec­es­sary re­union ITV man­aged to turn an en­joy­able, sum­mer fling into a cold Christ­mas turkey.

Con­scious re­cou­pling? Jack and Dani

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