There is only one thing that consumes the cast of Love Island more than the intricacies of chemistry, general hotness, and good banter: outdoor seating. Each episode of the reality show in which a rotation of 20-somethings pair up and angle to be the couple most beloved by the viewing public (in order to later become influencers) is 75 percent about people pulling each other aside for a “chat.” Once the chat has been requested comes the matter of which distinct seating area in the villa — a claustrophobic, Forever 21–meets–Bentham’s panopticon compound in Spain — is best suited for the topic at hand. Will it be the firepit? The beanbags by the pool? The kitchen, where someone may be making banoffee pie? Maybe they will sneak off to the terrace, where everyone can definitely still see them.
Because cast members are stuck in the same place for eight weeks — with no outside phones, television, or even pen and paper — each seating area comes to feel like a separate locale. They also, as time passes, develop different relational tenors; some become romantic while others are just for laughs with your castmates. There are places to fight, and places to sleep when you’ve been cast out of the congregate bedroom where five to six couples sleep side by side. The furniture bears silent witness to it all. What follows is an emotional taxonomy of Love Island season eight’s outdoor-seating areas. Let’s crack on. (There will of course be spoilers.)
Love Island’s circular firepit is perhaps the show’s most emotionally dissonant seating arrangement: It’s the spot where game-show-style group challenges and “recouplings” — when cast members choose who they want to pair with — take place. During its off time, it’s also where cast members go to dump each other or get into arguments about perceived slights. The range of passions here may have some kind of primordial connection to the fire, or it may just be a matter of limited outdoor heating. (Sometimes the nights are cold and girls are wearing very tiny outfits.) In one episode, Ekin-Su, an actress in Turkey who describes herself as “fiery,” and Davide, a ripped Italian man, are at the pit when he discovers she has secretly gone to the terrace with Jay, an even more ripped Scottish man. The fallout is explosive. It’s also where Jay tells Ekin-Su that he wants to break it off and she seems to take it really well — until, ten minutes later, she tells Jay that she is, in fact, not taking it really well. Even Luca and Dami, two good friends across the most recent season, get into an inexplicable fight there, then hug it out because they are “boys at the end of the day.”
The Beanbags by the Pool
The art critic Pierre Restany once wrote of the innate radicalism of the beanbag: “People didn’t come back from assemblies or protest meetings to sit rigidly on a Louis XIV armchair.” It makes a certain sense, then, that the Love Island beanbags have become a space for sharing knowledge among the islanders. In season four, for example, one cast member learned about Brexit on a beanbag (“So does that mean we won’t have any cheese?”), and in the current season, the beanbags are where Tasha, an incredibly boring dancer, learns, incorrectly, about how rosé is made. (“So if I was to mix red and white together, it would be a rosé?”)
The Circular Daybed
The daybed is a fixture on the set across multiple seasons. It is both comfortable and erotic. But the daybed in the current season is now circular and so large that it requires cast members, who almost always still have their shoes on, to awkwardly crawl onto it on their hands and knees like babies. It forces islanders to return to a state of vulnerability, allowing them to open up in a more honest way. And indeed, the daybed is where the cast members seem to feel most free to act like actual children. Petulant rugby player Jacques throws a fit to Dami and Indiyah, one of the show’s somewhat more stable couples, about Paige, a true sweetie from Wales, because she didn’t follow him into the pool after he asked her to follow him into the pool. It’s also where Dami pretends to “read” Gemma’s mind (a child’s game), which leads to the most unnecessary drama the show has seen yet.
Love Island’s terrace is the second-most-famous elevated space for couples in dramatic history (after Juliet’s balcony), and it is the closest cast members get to having a “romantic” spot in the villa. LB Supplies, a roof-window company, notes that “both terraces and balconies offer a world of opportunities,” and this is certainly true of the Love Island terrace, a space that has traditionally empowered cast members to make their move. Decorated with floral vines, it’s meant to be somewhat secluded, a premise that is tested when Ekin-Su goes up there (twice) to sneak a kiss with Jay.
The Large Sectional Sofa
The sectional is one of the only areas of the villa large enough to fit all of the lads at once, so they use it for their morning debriefings about the night before. (Mostly they talk about fights and degrees of closeness to having sex in a room shared with 11 other people.) Without an inch of shade, it clearly heats up the boys’ brains until they are completely boiled, leading to observations like “I should have thought about her” and “If you asked me, Would I shag her?, I’d say yes.” (It’s also where Amber, who has been kicked off the show by the public for being unmemorable, revealed that her least favorite smell is processed bread and Andrew admits his infidelity to Tasha: “I licked her tit or wohteva.”)
The Small Sectional Sofa
This is a much more modest sofa than the boys’ debrief area, but it also houses a small firepit. The little flame represents a calmer energy and the intimate seating allows for the islanders to see each other’s perspectives, which is why this is the space where Davide and Ekin-Su end up having most of their reconciliation talks. (“Naturally if I acted like that, it’s because I cared about you.”)
The Kitchen’s Barstools
Love Island’s outdoor open kitchen is a space for banter and gossip. Nothing romantic happens there, as it’s primarily the place where the castmates gather to watch one another make disgusting meals like protein pancakes. No one really chats in the kitchen, but many people are pulled for a chat from the kitchen.
The Side of the Pool
The pool is a more emotionally neutral place in the villa. Cast members often go there to float, tan, and be alone. It’s also where Luca and Jacques are chatting with a girl when they get boners and must hide themselves from view.
Honorable Mention: The Front Door
This space, where no islanders actually sit, is only mentioned once on the show, when Ekin-Su lies about where she had been with Jay. It’s a reflection of the part of her heart that she closes in order to deceive her castmates: “At the end of the day, I’m relaxed. I’ve done nothing wrong — again.”