Earlier this week a friend asked if I had watched Too Hot to Handle yet on Netflix, and I replied with an admittedly too eager “yes”. This began a conversation where I was then shamed for my viewing pleasure of such a shallow show, whilst I retaliated by saying her opinions were void so long as she continued to sip that Love Island bottle in front of me.
But trash TV is trash TV, and Netflix is not trying to act above this when putting a group of conventionally good-looking people together, telling them they are not allowed to have sex, and watching the breakdown about the hardships of chastity ensue.
To give context to the show: fourteen single people from all corners of the Western world are put on an island villa for four weeks with no real understanding of why they are there except to have a cheeky bit of banter with fellow hotties. However, twelve hours into this seemingly perfect vacation, a virtual assistant which the contestants initially believed to be an air freshener informs our horny cohort that any sexual activity (including kissing and masturbating) is strictly off the table; and if the rules are breached, money will be deducted from the cash prize total of $100,000. The fact that the virtual assistant is named Lana is fitting for the amount of power this bot has on wreaking sexual havoc.
Besides providing unbelievable entertainment at how some people are truly unable to keep their hands to themselves for the greater good of cashing in on a hefty sum of money to thrive in the capitalist world we live in, the show also claims to help the contestants by providing them with the opportunity to develop deep meaningful connections instead of face-value flings.
In order to help this personal development, Lana graciously provides the contestants with activities, such as Shibari (Japanese bondage). My particular favourites were the gender-divided activities in which the boys wrote their fears on paper and then covered themselves in mud as they then went on to stab the paper with sticks as an emblematic gesture of overcoming such emotional strain. While this happened the girls inspected their vaginas and then proceeded to paint their findings, both in actual and symbolic terms to demonstrate their newfound respect for their womanly wonders.
This show is really not asking for much, but it is truly amazing how horny some people are; and the disbelief this inspires makes this the perfect show for a Netflix Party. One party trick that I developed with a friend was having a muted facetime open so that the many nuances behind the simple “OMG” can be truly understood in the heat of the moment.
The only disappointment from the show came from its lack of diversity. The possibility of an LGBTQ romance was quickly nipped in the bud, and while it was saddening to see no Asian representation, the imaginings of what my parents would say if I went on the show made me wonder how many applied to begin with. In all honesty, with a show as overtly superficial as this, it is safe to say that diversity was not at the top of its agenda.
Too Hot to Handle is shamelessly addictive. While it loses a star to maintain the ounce of self-integrity I have left and respect for truly groundbreaking shows, this does not make it any less of a must-watch show.
Image: rungthip37 via needpix.com