We, as a society, are standing on the precipice of something dark and terrible; something for which we are all, comprehensively, unprepared for. We are teetering over a gulf which threatens to consume us all. We are Europe in 1938, moving toward an oblivion complete and total that will leave its mark on all it touches. I am of course talking about the fact that a start date has been announced for the inaugural winter season of Love Island is set to begin in the second week of January.
Once it starts, it will become omnipresent, pervading the very air around us as if it were oxygen; or pollen, or what the church wants you to think Jesus is like. Try as we might, when Love Island begins, it will be inescapable. We all know someone, an acquaintance, friend, perhaps even a beloved family member, who has succumbed to its siren's call. And we will initially scoff, and look at them with disdain for having been sucked in.
But then, then, it is our turn. It happens slowly, usually due to pressure from a partner, asking you to just watch an episode, and eventually you will agree. You assume that you will be immune, that you will be able to maintain an aloof sense of detachment and ironic intrigue throughout the whole process, like some overseeing, Louis Theroux-type figure - amongst the carnage but never subscribing to it. Initially, you will be able to keep up this pretense, sure. You will laugh at how colossally, cosmically, insane the show is. You will marvel at how a programme that simply consists of quarantining a group of singletons in a house on an island - as if they had been infected by some rare form of leprosy that causes those infected to become unreasonably tanned and to shed all of their extraneous body hair - trying to competitively sex their way toward a £10,000 cash prize has enraptured the minds of a nation.
What could go wrong?
But then, before you know it, you're in. You're in deep. You're in so deep that, not only are you scheduling your life so that you can be on the sofa at 9pm every evening watching the show, but you will, one night, come to in a cold sweat at 3am and realise that you've spent the last several hours reading dozens of invasive, and ethically dubious, articles on the Daily Mail's website about the contestants prior relationship histories. Before you know it, you're hooked.
It doesn't matter that it is perhaps the greatest example of chewing-gum television known to man. It doesn't matter that it bears absolutely no relevance to our lives whatsoever. There is some curious quirk, deep in our primitive lizard brain, that means that when we are confronted with a group of people, who are all somehow employed as personal trainers, and forced into some Shakespearean game of love and betrayal, we are instantly hooked.
We are staring down the barrel of yet more of our year being hoovered up by an unreasonable obsession with this show. Despite the fact that it has been announced that this winter season of Love Island will air for a slightly shorter run of six weeks, couple with the eight week run of the summer series, that will now still amount to some 14 weeks of our year being consumed by Love Island. 14 weeks where our personal lives, our relationships with our friends, our families, begin to suffer as we devout increasingly unjustifiable amounts of time to the show.
The new season will take place in South Africa, to maintain the sunny lustre the show is renowned for. Though, I for one would consider it a far mroe enjoyable show were the contestants forced to plod around a drearily frosty Spanish villa in the off-season, shrouded in puffer jackets and occasionally resignedly stripping off - at the prompt of a producer - and having a swim in a frigid swimming pool.
Though an exact start date has yet to be confirmed, January 8 is provisionally being viewed by producers.