Too Hot to Handle

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Francesca Farago and Harry Joswey in 'Too Hot To Handle.' (Ana Cristina Blumenkron/Netflix)
Francesca Farago and Harry Joswey in 'Too Hot To Handle.' (Ana Cristina Blumenkron/Netflix)


Too Hot to Handle




3/5 Stars


Ten young, hot singles from around the world come together in a tropical paradise for what they think will be the most exotic and erotic summer of their lives — but there’s a twist. These commitment-phobes who love a casual hook-up, will have to give up all hanky panky for the entire retreat if they want to win the $100 000 grand prize.


How Netflix continues to get me hooked by locking people in rooms, having them communicate through walls and sending them to resorts to find meaningful connections, I don't know. But I just binged the latter in the form of Netflix's Too Hot To Handle in 24 hours, and my only regret is that I didn't appreciate a good thing while I had it.

Too Hot To Handle is Netflix's latest reality TV offering that sees ten contestants whisked away to Casa Tau, a private resort in Mexico. The contestants were carefully selected – all were flirty, thirsty commitment-phobes who enjoy casual hook-ups over forming genuine relationships – so imagine their surprise when they found out their entire stay at the resort would be monitored. They needed to abstain from sex, kissing, any kind of heavy petty and, as Sharron put it, beating your own meat (gasp!) in order to win a cash prize of $100 000 should they manage to form deeper, meaningful connections.

My first impression after reading that premise and seeing the contestants parade around in bikinis in the trailer was probably a lot similar to yours right now. Trash, but I'm going to watch it anyway.

If I've learnt anything after eight magical episodes with Lana – the AI robot that sees the contestants' every move – it's that you really need to get to know someone first.

See, Too Hot To Handle was a lot of fun – even more so than my old flame, Love Is Blind – and the contestants with their unscripted responses that revealed their goofy, sometimes vapid, but in the end, likeable selves made it all very entertaining. The narration by former dominatrix and comedian, Desiree Burch, gave the show life; she says the things we're all thinking in a witty, not-so-subtle way – Chloe would call it "banter". And then there are the workshops, of course, that helped the contestants create and take something more meaningful from the whole experiment, that lifted the entertainment value and bants.

In one workshop, the guys become "heart warriors" when they're encouraged to be vulnerable and confront their biggest fears, in another the women empower themselves – and their yonis (vaginas) – and form stronger bonds with each other. The final challenge sees the entire group write the hurtful names and words they've been called throughout their lives on their bodies with paint, before literally and symbolically washing it all away in the ocean.

I was pleasantly surprised by how the contestants embraced the challenges (when Harry broke down, so did I) and the way everything turned out. I will say that, while I didn't completely agree with the ending, it was good to see people form connections – and not all of them were of the romantic kind too. Some found themselves, and I stan a David and Sharron friendship – name a better duo, I'll wait.

So, admittedly, like many past hook-ups shows, this too will come and go as a frivolous, fleeting 30 minutes of entertainment, but there was more to it than I initially thought. And I know there's a lot of series on Netflix right now, but don't just swipe left on this one. Make yourself a nice TV dinner, cuddle up on the couch, and invest your time in this 8-episode fling. Maybe get under the covers – it's getting cold outside...


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