extremely online

I Can’t Shut Up About Farmer Will on Love Island

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photo: Shutterstock

I Can’t Shut Up About: Deep dives into my online obsession of the week.

Like any fun and perhaps unhealthy relationship, Love Island continues to surprise me. The ninth season of the U.K. reality-dating competition debuted at the beginning of the year, bringing with it more debauchery and as many abs as ever. Barely a week in, producers brought on two contestants who have a combined 12 abs from Love Island Australia causing chaos in the villa and a rift in the Love Island–space continuum. Even the villa — larger and more extravagant, with three pools and a treehouse — is supersized. Still, none of this is as remarkable as the fact that someone, somewhere, in the reality TV multiverse managed to find one of the most enigmatic cast members the series has had to date: Farmer Will.

(A brief disclaimer: We’re a few weeks behind in the U.S. So, if at any point after episode 27 Farmer Will reveals himself to be a horrendous bigot or fucks around in Casa Amor, I fully rescind everything. He is not a hill — a Will — I’m willing to die on.)

On every season of Love Island, there is one sweet dweeb, among the Instagram models, semi-pro footballers, and personal trainers, who manages to worm his way into this dating competition. Season four had Doctor Alex; season seven had Hugo. These are guys who though they physically fit the type of the standard male islander — God forbid!! — are also a bit awkward. They repeatedly fail to find a “real love connection” but remain on the show because of the friendships they’ve made. They are, at their core, variations on the archetypical “Nice Guy.” This season, it’s Will Young, a 23-year-old sheep farmer from Buckingham. He looks like a yassified Wallace and/or Gromit, which I do mean as a compliment. He was the last guy to be picked during the initial coupling, and, like his predecessors, all the women were quick to let him know they’d love to get to know him … as a friend.

Unlike the Farmer Wills before him, or the typical islander altogether, Will already has a huge fanbase. He has over 1.5 million followers on TikTok (@farmerwill_), has been featured in Britain’s Financial Times, and, unlike the typical farmer, has a talent agent. His posts are a far cry from every other contestant’s social media presence, both in numbers and content. He talks about farming, does dance trends with sheep, and gallivants about in clunky rubber boots. At this point, it’s unclear how/if Will’s accounts will eventually morph into that of the typical reality-dating show contestant, rife with protein powder sponsorships and gym selfies. (This is in part due to a newly instated rule requiring contestants to pause their social-media presence while they are in the villa.) That said, I don’t know if there is any brand deal that could stop this man from carrying sheep around like a baby.

Even if he had a more Love Island-y occupation and zero followers, Will would still stand out. He is, at times, pure id. He squeals with glee when he’s happy and humps with glee when he’s horny. He reacts in catchphrases, like a preteen who watched Austin Powers once and made it their whole personality. During a game of Never Have I Ever, contestants revealed whether or not they’ve had sex with a co-worker. “That would be my dad, wouldn’t it?” Will, who works on his family farm, responded, before adding, “Just to recap, it’s a no.”

Further setting him apart from the Hugos and Dr. Alexes of seasons past, Will has remained in a romantic couple with Jessie the Australian! When they kissed for the first time, Will reacted as only Will could, singing “greatest night of my l-i-i-ife” with lipstick still smeared on his face. When the two spent a night in the private hideaway — famously the place where couples get freaky — we were instead treated to a fashion show. I fear he is as emotionally attached to his fuzzy cow-print bucket hat as he is Jessie. He is unabashedly embarrassing in a way that is somehow endearing, a surprising thing to say about a man who spends much of his air time humping the air. He is weird in a way that, fight it as they might, has charmed the other islanders. While we are watching Love Island, they are all watching Will Island.

Could he and Jessie win Love Island? Probably! Could he mess it all up in Casa, a la season five’s Curtis or last season’s Jacques? Also, probably! Worst case scenario: He can always audition for Farmer Wants a Wife.

More From This Series

See All
I Can’t Shut Up About Farmer Will on Love Island