Too Hot to Handle S2

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Melinda and Marvin in Too Hot to Handle.
Melinda and Marvin in Too Hot to Handle.
Photo: Tom Dymond/Netflix

SHOW:

Too Hot to Handle S2

WHERE TO WATCH:

Netflix

OUR RATING:

3/5 Stars

WHAT IT'S ABOUT:

A group of determined singles visit paradise to meet, mingle, and remain celibate for their chance to win $100 000.

WHAT WE THOUGHT:

It's very difficult to top the chaotic first season of Too Hot to Handle – Harry and Francesca losing the group tons of money, Chloe consistently getting her heart broken, and Kelz trying to keep everyone in line. This season ramps things up with even more debauchery and twists to keep the game more exciting.

When Too Hot to Handle first launched at the apex of the pandemic, many compared it to the popular Love Island. And you can see many similarities - hot singles, sharing a bed etc. But Too Hot to Handle sees itself more as a self-improvement retreat than a dating show, in that it helps its contestants to make meaningful relationships – or so I thought. But it seems as if the show focused more on creating drama (like Love Island) and less time trying to improve the lives of the contestants.

One of the main differences this year was that because the first season was an international phenomenon, to attract the contestants they needed for the show to work, they had to pretend it was a whole different show. Contestants thought they were signing up for a fake show where they could live the party lifestyle, and we see them running free for a few hours before the 'fake host' announced that VIP guest would be arriving... and it ended up being Lana, the AI device that monitors the guests' sexual activity.

It was fun seeing the reactions of the contestants when they realised they were on Too Hot to Handle and that they couldn't partake in any more sexual activity. But what I didn't expect was such a flagrant disregard for the rules. Perhaps it was because they had seen how the contestants made a comeback after losing money in the previous season, but they did not care. The threat of losing money was not enough to get them to change, and the game had to level up.

Another appealing aspect of Too Hot to Handle is that the contestants come from different parts of the world, and it's interesting that horny is as horny does in every language. This season there are representatives from the USA, UK, Canada, New Zealand, France, and even one from South Africa. But what all the contestants have in common is that they're young, hot and ready to have fun. Until Lana steps in. They did an excellent job of casting contestants, especially because they brought the entertainment in droves this year. Last year, some contestants made it to the end that barely got any screen time.

Another original aspect of this show is that Lana sends the contestants to workshops to improve themselves so that they can open themselves up emotionally in relationships. But somehow, it felt as if there were fewer workshops this season. There were definitely breakthroughs made with many people, but it didn't feel significant enough. Perhaps it will give some of them more to think about, but I doubt it will bring lasting change. It did feel like instead of the workshops, it gave the contestants more time in the house to tempt each other, break the rules and make more exciting content, which it seems the producers wanted.

The workshops were more about the contestants talking about their insecurities to build up their self-worth. However, we only really saw some characters respond well to the workshops, and their success stories were punted through the rest of the episodes. There was one workshop between two of the characters who had a break-up where they were forced to communicate that was fruitful. It improved the way both characters moved forward that I thought was well down, and I wished they had done similar one-on-one workshops with Cam and Emily and Melinda and Marvin.

Too Hot to Handle season 2 did a good job of refreshing a show that could have easily been a one-season gimmick. But what makes this show unique is the human story of improvement. The success of someone growing from only connecting with others through sex and being able to grow emotionally. And this season does tell some success stories, although they seemed to be hastily put together towards the end of the season. However, I am extremely interested to see if any of the relationships lasted past the filming stage of the show.

WATCH THE TRAILER HERE:

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