Love Island's Rosie Williams leaves amid bizarre storm of domestic abuse allegations

Tom Peck

Farewell then, Rosie. Your time has come.

What is love, the great Haddaway once asked, framing, like St Paul before him, humanity’s forlorn quest for meaning in a meaningless world.

And who of us is to say that love is not a televised handjob under the covers in a communal bedroom, and in that sense, in the fullness of time, you may come to realise it was better to have loved and lost than ne’er to have loved at all.

Is it too early to speculate on whether the Rosie storyline represents for Love Island an unlikely beeline toward the family entertainment market? Disney, Pixar and the rest all worked out decades ago that the way to the really big bucks is to appeal simultaneously to children and adults alike from within the same product.

And here is where Love Island is now breaking new ground, with a bold inter-splicing of exposed flesh and moral lessons so easy to follow they make Thomas the Tank Engine look like Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason.

Let us first briefly overlook the public intervention of an actual domestic violence charity (we’ll come on to that shortly), and simply enjoy the narrative arc of Rosie, and its parabolic trajectory that would scarcely make it over a speed bump mound with a 10,000 mile run up.

Two weeks ago, you may recall, Rosie swaggered into the villa, took one look at Adam, half a look at Kendall, decided, “I’m having that” and with that Kendall was gone. And now, in walks Zara, takes one look at Adam, and well, what do you know?

A false eyelash for a false eyelash. A (veneered) tooth for a tooth. Do as you be would be done by.

To think there is still five weeks of this to go. If you can’t face watching it all, just picture Adam’s chuckling head stuck between two hotel wardrobe mirrors and sucked suddenly over the infinite horizon. Young brown haired women coming and going, stealing a snog by the fire pit then weepily winding up the flex on their hair straighteners and saying their goodbyes. All this, replicated over and over again, beyond the distant reaches of the observable and imaginable universe.

None of which is to say any of this is Rosie’s fault, for in the most infantilised intervention since the adult world became fully infantilised, some time after the rise of the cupcake but before the rise of Donald Trump, we now learn she has been the victim of “abusive behaviour."

Oh, to be the intelligent species. The one up there somewhere, watching us watching Love Island, knowing that the real experiment is being done on us. That we are the ones being “gaslighted”, our sanity slowly undermined by actual, real life interventions from real life domestic violence charities printed in real life newspapers, about a tawdry reality TV show set in a Mallorcan villa.

I mean, without actually getting in a Batman suit and scaling the walls of Buckingham Palace, is it possible to speculate that Adam is the real victim here?

He has successfully applied to go on a competitive dating show, in which the format revolves around swapping partners each week. He has swapped partners, and here, in what is meant to be the real world, there are actual women’s charities labelling him an abuser.

He is a young man. It is possible that some time in the future he will turn up for a job interview with someone not necessarily fully up to speed on the ins and outs of Love Island Series Four, and there he will be on the Google search results right next to Ike Turner and Rob Titchener off The Archers.

Away from Rosie and Adam and Zara and Kendall, a love saga with more triangular faces than a stellated dodecahedron, there have been further lessons, principally on the psychological phenomenon of suggestibility, and the economics of scarce resources.

Adam and Samira, the “friendship couple” are no more, Adam having abandoned his “friend” for new “friend” Ellie, the first occupant of the villa who has been prepared to kiss him without physically wincing first.

And Samira has been taken on by new boy Sam, who describes himself as an “entrepreneur”, and is described by every news outlet to have troubled the google search bar with his name as a “personal trainer from Norwich.”

It is hard to recall now, that back when Samira first decided she didn’t fancy Alex, nor did anyone else. Had her first encounter with him been after his mysterious transformation into the nation’s sunburnt sweetheart, it is tempting to wonder how different things might have been.

Perhaps more to the point, when Samira first rejected Alex, that was back in the show’s virginal moments, when boy after glorious boy came skipping down the stairs. When all there was flesh and hope, not tears and aftersun and actual press releases about domestic violence. But that dawn has gone down to day now, and the most intelligent female contestant in the villa by some margin now finds herself having to style it out for her own survival with an asymmetrically eyebrowed Norfolk based gym botherer, while the nation hopelessly cheers on the promising young medic she foolishly froze out long ago.

It is a case of constructed reality meets Tinder. Samira suddenly is all of us, in our wildly optimistic first moments, swiping left, left and left again, before the brutal truth becomes clear by way of a sudden, seismic lowering of standards, and the anguished recollections of all those that have gone before, shuffled off into oblivion that you would absolutely definitely swipe right on now.

Still, it turns out that life is cruel in a game show specifically designed for cruelty. And one suspects both halves of the newly separated friendship couple could well be about to find out.