REVIEW: ‘Too Hot To Handle’ comes in hot as Netflix’s new dating show


Courtesy of IMDB

Netflix’s “Too Hot to Handle.”

Premiering in April amid social distancing and stay-at-home orders, “Too Hot To Handle” introduced itself as a dating show with a unique twist.

The show follows a group of ten insanely attractive, horny and single people from around the world. The premise of the show revolves around the fact that the contestants can’t have sex or any sexual touching including kissing. If contestants break this rule, money will be deducted from their prize money of $100,000. Just imagine the show “Love Island,” but without any sex or kissing.

“Too Hot To Handle” attempts to make a group of people who are used to having surface level and lustful interactions find love through deeper connections. In the saturated genre of reality television love shows, this Netflix series does its best to be an original amongst imposters.

In the first episode, we are introduced to ten attractive people who are perceived as sex-crazed young adults. They arrived at a beautiful island in Punta Mita, Mexico, and they only had 12 hours upon arrival before the sexual activity ban was enacted. In true reality TV fashion, the contestants were unaware of the true nature of the show.

The show features a witty narrator, who serves as an omniscient commentator. After all of the contestants arrived and the 12 hours were finished counting down, they were met with an Alexa-like robot named Lana. The narrator trope in these reality shows has been something of recent creation.

“Too Hot To Handle” points out the mentality surrounding hookup culture. One contestant, a man named Bryce, claimed to have sex every single day prior to the show. With the comedic tone of the narrator, the show comes off as a caricature of the life that young adults tend to live. 

In these reality shows, the contestants are put in a fishbowl environment. There aren’t any real-world influences during the duration of taping. As a viewer, you have to think about how these couples would survive in the real world. 

Speaking of couples, there were only two serious couples in “Too Hot To Handle.” As far as what was included in the episodes, we only see two solid couples throughout the entire experience. There were many “situationships” – essentially a relationship that isn’t official – that didn’t last the duration of the show. Out of all of the possible relationships, there’s only one couple that’s still together.

As many of us know, reality television tends to exaggerate real life and often doesn’t reflect reality. It’s hard to take a dating show like this seriously. One has to ask if the feelings that the contestants have are completely genuine. Do shows like this or “The Bachelor” actually work for real love?

Another thing about shows like this one is that every single person is a moment away from gracing a magazine cover. It appears to be a subliminal message coming from this: that one would have a hard time resisting sexual advances only from an extremely attractive person. A common trend in these dating shows is that they cast the extremely beautiful, so the attraction can seem more apparent. 

“Too Hot To Handle” does its best to address the current state of our dating culture. Viewers should expect the change of the contestants from sex fiends to people who think past a hookup. Whether or not that transformation is genuine is something that only time will tell.