Love Island. Love is Blind. Dating reality shows have taken over our world, exploring the various challenges that singles can face when trying to find a committed and serious relationship. When Netflix tried- and succeeded- to mimic the success of Love Island and The Bachelor by producing Love is Blind, they well and truly turned the modern dating game on its head. However, its new show seeks to do so even more, and with varying degrees of success.
The premise of Too Hot to Handle is simple: some of the sexiest singles from across the globe come together in a fabulous island villa trying to find love on television. However, these particular singles are known for their preference for more casual relationships or even just a string of one-night-stands. When Lana, their AI host, tells them that in order to win the prize of $100,000, they can’t so much as kiss their potential partner, let alone have sex with them, it turns the whole game on its head and proves a significant challenge for the majority of the contestants.
Too Hot to Handle has a myriad of problems; unlike its influences, it is significantly shorter, at just 8 episodes, and there’s very little focus on any couplings or even finding a partner at all. Whilst the message is clear after that many contestants just seem to hang in the balance, not really doing…anything. It barely lives up to the drama we all crave, and the show ultimately finishes far too quickly for our liking.
But Too Hot to Handle’s focus on developing relationships without a sexual connection seems to be a bit misguided. The contestants also take part in workshops, which are always themed around confronting something, whether it be toxic masculinity or even affirming that your ‘Yoni’ (yes, that’s what they called their vaginas) is worth treating right, which here means making sure their partners ‘deserve it’. Throughout the series casual sex is made to seem invalid compared to a committed, more traditional relationship, which is far from what the modern world says. Apps like Tinder and Grindr often considered a surefire way to find a partner for one night only, have never been more popular. Marriage and pregnancy, particularly in that order, are now seen as far from compulsory, in fact, many couples are choosing to remain child-free, or non-monogamous. Too Hot to Handle is an easy way to pass a day on the sofa, and makes for a decent discussion with your friends (not having sex for a few weeks for $100,000? Debatable!). While watching though, don’t let the show’s blatant dislike for casual relationships influence you. Netflix’s attempt to make one of the most modern dating shows yet, turned into a disaster of a competition that sees it set back 60 years, rather than the innovative genius they seemed to aim for.
Image Credit: IMDb