Watching Love Island from the vantage point of middle age, it’s easy to conclude that the contestants are making mistakes on account of their youth. Of course they’re falling for narcissists and players. It’s because they’re 22! They’ve seen nothing of life. When they get older, they’ll make better decisions.
But watching My Mum Your Dad (ITV1) – essentially Love Island for people old enough to remember Billy Ocean – made you realise that people in midlife can be no wiser. Anyone who has followed the series will know that the original contestants were joined by a late arrival called Martin M (not how he’s usually known, it’s just that there are two Martins in the house). If he was cake he’d eat himself, as my granny used to say. Yet two of the women were immediately smitten with this swaggering manspreader, choosing him over the other, genuinely lovely men on offer. It was quite a depressing message for men: if you’re respectful, thoughtful and not full of yourself, then you’ll get passed over.
However, to the delight of those watching and to the relief of their children (who have been secretly observing proceedings from a nearby house), Martin was rejected in the final episode by Monique, who belatedly noticed that he hadn’t asked her anything about herself since they met.
The other couples fared better. All got the blessing of their children. There was no winner here, or cash prize. In that sense it wasn’t like Love Island, although some of the annoying terms from that show did sneak in (talk of “having a connection” and “pulling them for a chat”).