Apparently, New Zealand is now the kind of country where we can get a woman called Eden Dix to essentially perform fellatio on a dessert - on national television.

A place where two people can meet one morning and have sex that night - also on national TV.

I am, of course, talking about the reality TV phenomenon that is Heartbreak Island.


The series, which sees 12 hopefuls try to find love - aka get more Instagram followers and potentially win $100,000 - returned to New Zealand screens on Tuesday. And Wednesday. And also Thursday.

Yep. Approximately half an hour, three nights of each week is now devoted to whatever this is.

Don't get me wrong, I actually think the show is fine. Completely bloody bonkers of course, but fine. While I don't have to like it - and trust me, I don't - I'm not going to begrudge the people who do, especially when poor ol' Eden Dix is cracking jokes at her own expense (bless you, Eden).

A lot of critics bemoan the state of television when two strangers sucking on an ice block together equals quality TV, but that's exactly the thing: no one is claiming this is Emmy fodder. It is what it is, and what it is, is a guilty pleasure for many.

The fact that it's warranted a second season says something for its popularity and TVNZ says the show was one of its top five series when it premiered in June, finding its sweet spot - predictably - with 18-35 year-olds.

And for all the backlash Heartbreak Island rightfully received last year, TVNZ - for once, and unlike many others - seems to have actually learned a lesson from season one and made the necessary changes to season two so as not to cop the same backlash twice.

The changes this season are small but many.

First off, it's moved to a later timeslot. Usually this is a sign that ratings aren't going terribly well, but in this case, it comes after major backlash to having such adult content in the family friendly slot of 7.30pm. Now, the ice block eating contests are refined to the much more appropriate time of 9.30pm.


And for anyone who can't be bothered staying up that late, the episodes are also available to stream from 6am each day.

The run time has also been cut down from about 45-50 minutes to 30-35 minutes. Not a major, but that's up to half an hour of your time you get back each week and none of us is getting any younger.

They've also dropped the Heartbreak extras - the additional content like Heartbreak Island Uncut and Secret Dates. I never watched them. And judging by the fact that they've been dropped, I'm guessing I'm not the only one.

And perhaps most importantly, they rethought last season's incredibly misguided decision to rank contestants from most popular to least popular, like self esteem was the enemy target.

This time, they only revealed the most popular contestants and no one cried, which is always a win.

This season has also seen other changes, like the notable lack of Matilda Rice, who pulled out saying she was too busy to commit to the filming schedule - a good call given she and Art Green are now expecting a baby.

The cast is smaller too, with 12 contestants instead of 16. Except it's not really, because there's a new element this season in which contestants can choose to introduce "disruptors" to the island if they're bored of everyone else and want some fresh meat to canoodle.

The couples prepare for a good mouthing off. Photo / TVNZ
The couples prepare for a good mouthing off. Photo / TVNZ

There's even already one couple on the island who have pretty much agreed not to worry about that "liking each other" nonsense and just focus on winning the cash prize.

This is my point: This is a reality TV competition, pure and simple. No one's under any delusions that this is about true love, or anything too much more than ratings and schadenfreude-filled entertainment. That's the point of TV, isn't it? Entertainment and profit?

And with all these changes they've made, we can't really complain. At 9.30pm, it's easily avoided, it's not encroaching on a prime-time slot and it's not anywhere that's going to have your kids asking uncomfortable questions about ice blocks.

No one's getting hurt, no one's being inconvenienced and reality lovers are still getting what they want.

Like I said; you don't have to like it, but you can't really be mad at it anymore. Well played, TVNZ. Well played.