Love Island: The Greg vs. Michael problem. Familiarity or newness?

At the start of this season of Love Island, Michael seemed like a sweet, innocent and charismatic Scouser who just so happened to be so ripped, he looked like a cartoon character. He won the hearts of the public as he was benched in the first ever recoupling. He seemed to have a genuine friendship with Yewande and slowly but surely, him and Amber gravitated towards each other in such a gradual and organic way, there was no doubting their relationship’s authenticity.

 

However, in every season of Love Island, there is always a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Last year, Dr. Alex was perceived by the public as the type of guy who read you poetry and would take you and your Mum out for Sunday brunch and talk golf with your Dad. However, in the end, he revealed himself as an entitled, immature and smarmy child. The stethoscope came off, the lad gloves came on.

 

Now with this year’s Michael, we witnessed a similar transmogrification only, significantly more sudden. Michael and Amber had a somewhat heated relationship at times with Amber acting stubborn and spoilt when in the wrong, forcing Michael to apologise even when not warranted. However, their relationship was also mutually loving and day by day, Michael broke down Amber’s icy exterior to reveal an honest and authentic woman.

 

Then, the producers decided to unleash a big fat soppy grey cloud over paradise and the girls were sent to Casa Amor. Michael faster than you can say the word “childish” started to bitch about Amber and chase new girl Joanna. Amber, simultaneously, did not flirt nor chase any of the new boys, saying that she did not see the point in ruining something so great that she already has. Amber’s bubble was more so trampled on than burst when she walked into the villa to see Michael with a stiff upper lip and a new-found arrogant and hateful attitude with a thin, beautiful girl on his arm. Rather than offering a whispered apology with a long-outstretched tail between his legs, Michael jumped to an angry defence, blaming Amber’s prior inability to bare her emotions for his wander astray.

 

In the following days, Michael’s transformation was complete. The remnants of his former likable, sweet self were eradicated, and his angry, uppity and arrogant attitude was going nowhere. What added to the frustration of the situation is a blatant lack of chemistry or “connection” between Michael and his new flame. After a while, the reason for Michael’s sudden change of heart became so jarringly obvious, I was hitting myself for not realising sooner. Pride.

 

No, not the good rainbow kind. The masculine kind. When men know deep down that they have done something wrong but can’t bear to deal with the guilt or shame, so they jump to an angry, arrogant disposition to cover it. This is so evidently clear in the first confrontation between Michael and Amber when he asks her why she has to raise her voice when she is speaking at a perfectly normal, acceptable volume. We’ve seen this in many cross-gender arguments in Love Island where the man will draw out the most irrelevant element of the woman’s article such as their volume or tone of voice because they know they have no real or efficient backing to their argument.

 

What spiralled Michael further into the position of the most pathetic man in the villa is proving that he is just like a child, take a certain toy away, even one they didn’t want to play with, and they’ll suddenly want it again. When dreamy Limerick-native Greg walked into the villa, he didn’t just make every Irish girl assured that all rugby-players don’t have a head-wrecking South Dublin accent, but he also caught the eye of Amber, assuring her that the way she was treated is far off what she deserves. Greg, whether it was from his own voice or coerced by producers, told Amber exactly what we wanted and what she needed to hear. And like clockwork, Michael, now alone and drowning in regret of his past decisions, waddles with an even longer tail between his legs, and tells Amber he still has feelings for her. Well, isn’t that convenient. Next thing you know, he’s going to be saying that his evil twin brother Michél was actually the guy we’ve been watching for the past two weeks.

 

To the utter delight of I would say, every single female viewer, Amber made a decision based on principle. Amber’s ultimatum is one that many viewers can relate to. This brings me to the moral dilemma that is central to both Amber’s current experience that I think many can empathise with. Do you go back to the familiarity and safety of someone you’ve been close to before, like picking your favourite dessert in your local restaurant, no room for risk because you know you like it. But let’s say the restaurant changed supplier and your former delicious sweet, creamy ice cream is now replaced by a cheap brand bitter one with icicles in it. Do you continue to have it because it’s the only thing you know? Or do you try out the new chocolate fondant on the menu? Familiarity or newness? A common choice that all of us have to make in this day and age.

 

From an outside, objective perspective, we can all see that Michael is a totally different human. Amber naively thinks that going back to Michael will recreate their deep, connected and loving relationship like at the start. But, people change, timing is everything and you can’t recreate the past. I think most viewers will attest that Amber needs to change her dessert choice, choose newness and pick someone who has not repeatedly hurt, disrespected and embarrassed her. Hopefully Amber will stick with Greg and Michael will remain unwanted, forcing the chef to take him off of the menu altogether, so that he learns, no one treats a woman like that and gets away with it.

 

And recently, we saw justice served hot and sweet. Michael, finally, like extracting a deep-rooted splinter from a thumb, was dumped from the Island. I’m sure everyone predicted that Michael, full from a slice of humble pie would assure Amber that he is happy for her and Greg. Happiness as authentic as a designer handbag sold on the streets of Santa Ponsa. Michael, and I hope many men watching, have learned a valuable lesson. What goes around, always comes back around.

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