The golden ticket to reality TV success is always drama. Be memorable. Stand out from the crowd. Cause drama. Somehow, however, Paul Knops conformed to neither of these three rules yet finished runner-up in the biggest Love Island series ever. Is this guy a genius or just that much of a bore?
‘The 7 most forgettable characters of Love Island 2018’. That was the title I had scribbled down in a 99p Asda notepad. It was supposed to be the title for this article, although I ended up transfixed by the miracle that is Paul Knops.
Initially, my forgettable list flowed seamlessly, with the likes of Grace Wardle and Dean Overson providing laugh-out-loud chuckles along the way.
But, as my sloppy jottings of names hit number five, all I could think about was Paul Knops.
Knopsie – as he’s known on Instagram, and likely to a small group of friends who consider pushing the £50 note button while trying to withdraw a fiver as ‘wild’ – was as boring as his lifeless nickname.
He didn’t provide humour, wit or charm. Nor did he add tension, drama or excitement. Paul was simply a devilishly handsome Love Island 2018 passenger, who enjoyed a comfortable ride to second place.
Yet, if we were working in equivalents, Knopsie is a guy who shares the same honour as series one runner-up Jon Clark.
Even worse, we are supposed to look at Paul Knops and not feel infuriated at the fact that he finished higher than series three star Chris Hughes.
Yeah. More popular than Chris Hughes.
Sorry, but how the hell did this melt come second?
The obvious answer is girlfriend Laura Anderson. Bizarrely, surprisingly, Laura was a fan favourite during series four.
The 29-year-old may have flickered between psychotic and obsessed at times – crashing into conversations to shamelessly mark her territory with various boyfriends – but overall, she was compassionate and genuine.
Laura was an unlikely hero, who offered a depth warmth that was unfamiliar in usual Love Island characters. She proved that the public is more accepting of a mature woman than a babyish ‘throw the toys out the pram’ character – we’re looking at you Georgia Steel.
All Paul Knops actually had to do, was to treat Laura right.
Picking up from where Wes Nelson had so epically failed, and where Jack Fowler just couldn’t quite get himself across the line, Knopsie did the business.
A smile wouldn’t have gone amiss, though. Perhaps some light-hearted humour, too, and a signal that he wasn’t just there for some easy fame.
Paul Knops is no hero. He is the reflection of a very vanilla series.
You’d take Jack and Dani every day of the week, but, realistically, compared to last year’s final with Camilla Thurlow and Jamie Jewitt, Chris Hughes and Olivia Attwood, and Kem Cetinay and Amber Davies – where would a man like Knopsie slot in?