'Nice guys' like Love Island's Curtis and Michael make the worst f*ck boys
Love Island has always had its heroines: last year’s sweet winner Dani Dyer, for example, or the previous year’s Camilla Thurlow who arrived in ITV2’s Mallorcan villa fresh from Afghanistan where she’d been deactivating landmines.
When it came to heroes, however, the men have always been further behind.
Last year’s eventual winner Jack Fincham had to be slowly taught how to stop being a lad and start being a functioning member of a relationship by Dani. Doctor Alex started out as someone so seemingly wholesome the whole nation wanted to date him, and ended up turning public opinion by gaslighting Alexandra Crane.
Imagine the surprise of the viewers of the class of 2019 then, when we were presented with what looked like fully formed, genuine adult, human men.
Curtis Pritchard and Michael Griffiths were mature, considerate, dedicated to their other halves – Amy Hart and Amber Gill. They presented viewers with a fresh experience: some decent guys really did exist in the Love Island realm. They weren’t just after sex. We’d found some good ones!
I hate to burst that bubble, but it turns out we were wrong. Quite spectacularly. The annual Casa Amor outing, which involves a recoupling between the original islanders and some new, sexy potential partners from a second villa, has thrown such a huge bomb into the fifth series things might never be the same again,
Michael ditched Amber, to whom he had sworn his head ‘could not be turned’, for newcomer Joanna Chimonides, who he had shared a bed with for the past three nights (Amber, on the other hand, chose to sleep outside at Casa Amor to stay loyal to Michael).
We need to see it though, our so-called good guys becoming, to put it bluntly, trash.
Curtis, who had been with air hostess Amy since the first week (they described themselves as the ‘mum and dad’ of the villa) had decided he wanted to recouple with new girl Jourdan Riane for no particular reason other than he fancied a bit of a change. He also snogged her twice.
Watching a heartbroken Amy confront Curtis about how things had changed so suddenly and so inexplicably was one of the saddest moments in Love Island history.
We have all been that girl: we have all had the rug pulled out from underneath us by a boy who made us feel that we were in this for the long haul. We haven’t, however, had the drama play out in front of 3.9 million viewers (the highest mid-series figure for ITV2 yet): and for that reason this cruel twist is becoming uncomfortable viewing.
We need to see it though, our so-called good guys becoming, to put it bluntly, trash. It’s a dangerous reminder that some men are not what they seem: even if they promise you the world. Good guys make the worst f*ck boys because you never see it coming.
They’ll also try and blame you for their own f*ck boy behaviour, because a good guy like them could never do any genuine wrong, right?
Fireman Michael had his excuse and he was sticking to it: he’d ‘bitten his tongue’ when it came to Amber’s immaturity, he’d ‘turned a blind eye’ to things he didn’t like about her. As Amber pointed out, he’d had a full four weeks in which to tell her something wasn’t right.
Curtis, for his part, had decided he needed to ‘live his truth’, as if by snogging Jourdan he’d been performing some kind of noble act which he’d been put on this earth to fulfil.
Both are playing the victim (Curtis even squeezed out a few tears during last night’s episode). And while neither girl is perfect (Amy needs to stop telling Curtis she loves him, and Amber’s ‘dead ting’ comment was a low blow), neither of them has even come close to getting a proper explanation, nor a sincere apology.
The gaslighting has been hard to watch. Amber said in last night’s episode: ‘I’m not going to kick off. Instead of saying every bad thing about me just say I met this girl and I have a connection with her…’ Michael’s repeated response was that she is ‘childish’.
We built Michael and Curtis up so much in the early weeks of the show: they were the subject of endless #couplegoals memes, and the Twitter audience had basically already decided that Michael and Amber would win by week three.
But maybe they were never actually good guys at all. As Amy pointed out last night, Curtis is a professional dancer, she didn’t realise he was an actor too.
We’ve all, as Amy sobbed last night, been someone’s back up plan, and found out the hard way. Your friends are the ones who duly remind you that you’re not crazy for believing in this good guy and pick you up off the floor. Seeing the girls get even closer because of all of this: watching Anna stepping up for Amber and Maura’s fury on Amy’s behalf, has been reassuringly brilliant.
As for Curtis and Michael: their masks have slipped – and the British public never forgets.
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