"Too Hot to Handle"

‘Too Hot to Handle’ Is Netflix’s Latest Reality TV Experiment

After the success of 'The Circle' and 'Love is Blind,' Netflix has released another dating show with a twist.
May 2, 2020
6 mins read

Considering the popularity of “The Circle” and “Love is Blind,” it’s no wonder Netflix keeps experimenting with new reality TV shows. Netflix’s reality TV portfolio is filled with trashy series that viewers can’t seem to get enough of. This time, the streaming service came up with “Too Hot to Handle.”

“Too Hot to Handle” is a reality dating show that follows a group of stereotypically hot people spending four weeks together in a beautiful, secluded resort. So, what’s the twist of this series? What sort of psychological mind games is Netflix mixing in with its reality TV now?

The unexpected surprise is that, unlike other dating programs, these young and attractive contestants are not allowed to have sex with each other. All sexual activities, including kissing, heavy petting, self-gratification and sex, are banned. The final contestants who are able to keep their commitment to chastity will be given a whopping $100,000 grand prize.

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Could you imagine being paid a hundred grand for not having sex for a month? No one would be bothered by student loans if that was the reality we lived in.

For the host, “Too Hot to Handle” employs a spying device and digital assistant named Lana. Lana is the one who announces all the rules, keeps track of rule-breaking and arranges activities for the members of the series. To keep the members occupied, Lana occasionally arranges dates and workshops that can help the members create bonds where sexual interactions are off the table. Regardless of Lana’s efforts, however, it’s still questionable whether or not contestants actually leave the show equipped to have meaningful relationships.

In order to enhance the tension of the game, all rule-breaking costs the contestants deductions from the total grand prize. Kissing is priced at $3,000, oral sex is $6,000 and sex can cost up to $20,000. These penalties have led to some serious drama between the cast. At one point, two cast members even maneuvered a plan where they secretly kiss and then put the blame on others to create havoc. Suddenly, audiences are presented with a scene from a telenovela.

Clearly, holding in sexual desires is difficult when surrounded by really attractive single people. All of the contestants are veteran players in the dating game. They characterize themselves by how easily they can get others to sleep with them.

Audiences are entertained with the struggles the cast members face as they put all of their energy into not laying their hands on one another. Watching a bunch of hot bachelors and bachelorettes not have sex has never been more fun.

According to viewers, the premise is what makes the program so addicting. Pristine (@GodPristine) on Twitter said, “I love watching people be dumb and overdramatic over mild inconveniences.”

The participants and their reactions are out of touch with the real world and its problems, but that’s what makes the series enjoyable. “Too Hot to Handle” wants to encourage people who are used to being “serial swipers” or having meaningless one-night stands find deeper connections and learn to build genuine relationships.

Despite its noble purpose, “Too Hot to Handle” is still just a light-hearted dating show. It is not a philosophical TV series helping people in a journey to self-discovery. It is unapologetically shallow — and people love it.

Sometimes all we need is a binge-able garbage production. It will take your mind off of real-life issues. It is a distraction, and absolutely no brain power is needed.

The series works best as a filler in between Netflix’s groundbreaking productions, such as “Marriage Story,” “Money Heist” or “Kingdom.” When you get tired of those thrilling programs, “Too Hot to Handle” is the ideal alternative.

The program becomes even more hilarious when it’s accompanied by Desiree Burch’s comedic and sarcastic narration. The show is purely for entertainment; audiences can make fun of clueless entitled flirts. There’s no need to dig deeper than that.

Even though viewers may not have high expectations for such a superficial show, there are some things that “Too Hot to Handle” can do better. The main issue is the diversity of the cast members. Most of the cast comes from the U.K. and the U.S. Those who aren’t from these two countries come from three other categorically western countries, like Canada, Australia and Ireland.

There’s also a lack of racial representation. Presumably, this lack of representation could be accidental, since we’re not sure of the pool of candidates in the casting process. Still, it doesn’t seem like the producers put much effort into being inclusive.

Additionally, why are these programs almost always centered around heterosexual pairings? Personally, I would love to see more LGBTQ+ representation in trashy TV. This program almost came through when two of the girls started making out with each other, but all of the same-sex chemistries were quickly extinguished.

The series is also indirectly promoting an unhealthy body image to its viewers. Evidently, viewers are advised to watch with their own consciences. However, “Too Hot to Handle” is built upon the idea of hot people mingling with each other, and what production defines as “hot” or “attractive” is curvy girls with hourglass figures and long, shiny hair and toned guys with high-definition abs.

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It’s unfortunate that the program exhibits such a limited and outdated way of illustrating beauty. Surely, these are not the only ways to describe the beauty in people.

So, what’s the verdict for this program? Although “Too Hot to Handle” is definitely not a high-quality TV production, it is still an amusing show. It’s definitely not for the pretentious audiences that think that they’re too cool to watch a “dumb” series. But if you watch with an open mind, “Too Hot to Handle” will definitely get you invested and asking for more.

Nanda Illahi, Okayama University

Writer Profile

Nanda Illahi

Okayama University
Political Science, Cultural Anthropology, and Management

Nanda Illahi is a political science student at Okayama University. Nanda has always had an interest in writing and has channeled that passion through various forms of storytelling on her website, school’s student journal and more.

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