Netflix's 'Too Hot To Handle' Is The Latest Reality Dating Show You Need To Binge
What do you get when you put a bunch of attractive people in a house on a beautiful Mexican island? If you’re thinking that everyone is going to want to have sex with each other, you’re correct. This is the basic premise of Netflix’s newest dating show, Too Hot To Handle. If you think the show gets batshit bonkers, you’re also correct. And that’s why it’s going to be your next binge watch. If you’re a fan of shows like Love is Blind or Love Island, this is definitely the show for you.
So that’s the basic premise, a group of sexy singles from all over the world are put together in a Mexican villa. What they don’t know is they’re being watched by a giant air freshener that talks, aka Lana. And from the beginning, the viewers know a very important detail the houseguests don’t. Twelve hours after their arrival, they’re not allowed to engage in any sort of sexual activity…for the rest of their stay. Did I mention they’re staying in the house for a month?
But wait, there’s more! Everyone is competing for the chance to win $100,000. And any time anyone engages in any kind of sexual activity (including masturbation) they lose money. What exactly is the point of this? Well, apparently it’s to force them to create deeper relationships. You see, these “hot” young people are as vapid as they are attractive. In this “swipe” dating culture, they’re never looking to do more than have a good fling.
While Too Hot To Handle’s premise is in theory, admirable, come on. Do we really think that a bunch of young hotties are going to give up sex for deeper connection? Even if there’s money at stake? It’s laughable. And that’s not to say that some of them don’t actually take it at least a little bit seriously. Yes, there is growth. But there’s also a bunch of horny twentysomethings testing boundaries with the same reckless abandon as toddlers.
Let’s meet our cast, shall we? Too Hot To Handle begins and ends with 10 contestants. In episode six, four new contestants arrive to shake things up. If contestants aren’t “growing,” they are eliminated. Pretty much everyone is from either the United States or the United Kingdom. There is one Canadian, one from Ireland and one contestant from Australia. The U.K. contestants are Chloe, David, Kelz, Lydia and Kori. Bryce, Matthew, Rhonda, Sharron, Haley and Madison are from the U.S. Harry is Australian, Francesca is Canadian and Nicole is from Ireland. And again, the average contestant age is 24.
From the beginning, Francesca establishes herself as the hottest girl in the house. And honestly, it seems that everyone agrees. A watered-down, Kim Kardashian knock-off, all the guys want her, and the girls know she’s the one to “beat.” And it’s not just Kim K’s face Franny’s stolen, it’s her vapid personality. Honestly, I don’t get her appeal at all. But alas. Francesca is your classic pretty girl in a teenage drama. She’s petty, childish and manipulative. After kissing Harry and costing the group $3,000, she gets mad that everyone basically turns on her, including Harry. So, she and Haley hatch a scheme to kiss each other and cost the group more money in a true “we’ll teach them” moment.
The relationship between Francesca and Haley is truly the only interesting one. Per usual, Too Hot To Handle is overwhelmingly cis and heterosexual. Though Haley is admittedly straight, the only person in the house who piques her interest is Francesca. Whenever they’re together, Haley turns into a human heart eye emoji. She’s the one who initiates the kissing idea and is certainly eager to do it as many times as she can. It’s clear that Fran only views her as a follower and pawn. Maybe on a different show this could have been something they could explore.
Without giving too much away, some emotional growth does happen. Couples form, gaining permission from Lana to actually engage in some physical interaction, but never sex. That certainly doesn’t stop one couple, and it costs the group mucho dollars. At least Too Hot To Handle is consistent in doling out the punishments. But as the contestants get to know and like each other, they care less and less about the money. However, the money is all some of the other contestants care about. Which is funny, because Lana never explains how the money is distributed until the end.
In addition to forcing the cast to create deeper connections with each other, Too Hot To Handle tries to get them to do the same with themselves. A deeper sense of self does aid being able to cultivate a better romantic relationship, after all. The men end up slathering themselves in mud and hugging each other as they embrace their imperfections. And the women feel empowerment after looking at their yonis (the word they use) and drawing pictures to represent said body part. Again, it’s admirable, but seems a little random and out of place.
While Too Hot To Handle struggles to figure out what exactly it’s trying to do, it’s very entertaining. If you’re looking for something to occupy your evening/weekend, this is it. My girlfriend and I set out to watch one episode, and at 3 AM realized we’d watched all eight. Even if you think the whole thing is ridiculous, you will love the commentary. Comedian Desiree Burch does the voiceover for the show with the same level of snark and disdain for the contestants that the viewers will likely have.
All eight episodes of Too Hot To Handle are currently available for viewing on Netflix.
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