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MALTATODAY 20 November 2022

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maltatoday | SUNDAY • 20 NOVEMBER 2022 COMMENT What are we skinning? The super-exciting announce- ment that a Maltese version of hit British reality show Love Island will be hitting the TVM airwaves imminent- ly. Why are we skinning it? Because it's yet another product off the Ben Camille TV conglomerate, and as such very much worth our time and consideration as an artefact of shrill, gilded, and utterly Maltese mediocrity. Surely you can't assume it'll be as bad as you say before it's even had a chance to air… Okay, let's assume it will be an audiovisual tour- de-force instead and see how that pans out, hmm? Now, if you're asking me to bet on it… I don't think that's legal within the confines of these newspaper pages, so we can steer clear of that either way. I am curious about the show, though. This is the one where single people are forced to couple up for money, right? In a nutshell, yes. There are challenges, couplings and re-couplings, and even live audience vote-ins for the favourite couple of the lot. Sounds like the typical glad- iatorial/ticketed Victorian mental asylum tour that is par for the course for the reality TV genre. But Love Island has clearly punched above its weight in an other- wise oversaturated market, surviving and thriving since 2015 despite being riddled by controversy, and spawn- ing countless spin-offs… the Malta variant being only the latest of the lot. But surely, the Malta edition can't go on forever… the pool of singles on the island will stretch to third, then second cousins fairly soon. Oh, and the inevitable Gozo spin-off will be all the more awkward for that reason above all. Still, we have no qualms about importing labour when the need calls for it. Yes, and reality show contestants are within their rights to be considered as labourers. Who are we to draw up walls in the pursuit of love? Malta is where the heart is. Will you be watching? Oh, of course I will. Weaponising the essential human need for affection, companion- ship and procreation is the very essence of what makes mass media tick, and I'm glad Malta will be getting its own take on such a blatant expression of it sometime soon. Do say: "The optimistic view is that it's good to hear Malta has the necessary clout and resources to attempt its own version of a hit reality show. How a televised dating programme will pan out in a country where nearly everyone is related to each other is a whole other kettle of fish, though..." Don't say: "Isn't balanced broadcasting enshrined in law? Given that the programme will be shown on the public broadcast- er, I look forward to the announcement that Hate Is- land has also been commis- sioned and will be hitting our screens imminently." A different World Cup MICHAEL FALZON PAGE 7 The Skinny Malta, shrunk down RALPH CASSAR Cheap energy politics PAGE 6 No 166 – Love on the Rock(s) JOSANNE CASSAR One million reasons not to recycle, a million reasons to complain PAGE 5 EDITORIAL Shooting down political interference PAGE 2 RAPHAEL VASSALLO And for its next trick, the PA will make ODZ disappear… forever! PAGES 10 & 11 For Qatar, the World Cup is a most significant opportunity, part of a decades-long strategy for the oil-rich nation to establish itself on the world stage

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