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10 Sep 8:00am

From the Real Housewives to Love Is Blind: how reunions took over reality TV

The Guardian
Follow-up specials might seem like an attempt to squeeze the last drops of relevance from a show, but, increasingly, they’re where much of the all-important action happens After two very long months, Love Island 2021 finally ended this week with a reunion that embodied the spirit (or rather lack of) of the season. In keeping with what had already been a low-stakes year, very little happened. Jake Cornish, the villain of the villa, was absent, meaning viewers missed out on one of the only potentially interesting interviews. Fan favourites and fourth-place finalists Kaz and Tyler were the only couple to not have their own dedicated sofa interview segment. As the only black couple to make the final in the show’s history, eyebrows were rightly raised. Very little new ground was covered, with the show’s “confrontations” (Millie v Lillie, Hugo v almost every woman in the villa) falling flat, having already been addressed in prior episodes. With the 2021 series boasting the smallest launch since 2017, the awkward and anticlimactic conclusion was far from surprising, but still disappointing. Many had hoped, however, that, after a subpar year, things might be salvaged by an explosive finale – it is, after all, often the best episode of a series. When reunions aren’t done well they feel like the stuff of amnesia as opposed to escapism, with rolling clips and rehashed conversations. But, at their best, they’re a televisual event that can boost even the most boring of series.
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