23rd Apr2020

‘Too Hot to Handle’ Review (Netflix Original)

by Rhys Payne

Having lived through all the hype of Love Island and being thoroughly disappointed I was expecting Too Hot to Handle to have the same effect on its audience. It was built in exactly the same way as Love Island – with a slew of attractive young looking for love in an isolated location but as the series went on I realise I couldn’t have been more wrong!

Too Hot to Handle is a show that gathers young people who are looking for love as any other dating programme normally does but this show has a twist! The whole concept of the show is that the contestants are not allowed to kiss, take part in any sexual activities or self-gratify themselves at any point in the process, otherwise money will be taken away from the massive prize pot that the winner will get. Which was a really clever idea, as it made everyone wonder if it was worth losing the money or not but also made for some very dramatic TV to watch.

This was a fantastic concept that really got to the audience and essentially made each contestant think as relationships more than just sexual encounters. The best thing about this “no sex” rule was that it was introduced to the audience with a time limit, for when it will come into effect for the people in the Too Hot to Handle house. This added tension and helped the audience feel like they know more than the people in the show, which is obviously beneficial for viewers.

When each contestant entered the Too Hot to Handle house they obviously portrayed themselves as self-obsessed stereotypes (such as the ‘English Gentlemen’ etc) which I normally would detest but this really added to the overall progress of the show.

As I have already stated the show is all about encouraging it’s participants to build meaningful relationships and that helped influence the types of challenges and workshops they took part in. Despite originally being pitched as fun activities these workshops were actually incredible in my opinion. Some of the highlights for these workshops included ‘what makes a real man’ and important messages about female empowerment – which are too fantastic concepts that never seem to be shown on television. To have a series that actively promotes itself as a show for sexy young people, including these vital workshops was fantastic to see.

My personal favourite was one of the final activities where contestants were encouraged to paint words they have been called onto their bodies, which was the perfect demonstration of how far they had come in the process of the show. The combinations of fun activities and emotional, heartbreaking moments all mixed together to make Too Hot to Handle a perfect show.

The host, Desiree Burch, is also so much fun to listen to. Despite never actually being on camera, her joy and comedic nature really added to the atmosphere. She constantly joked about the contestants and one of my favourite lines was when she called them “wannabe reality stars” which was fantastically funny.

As Too Hot to Handle revolves around the idea of abstinence, sex is a constant theme in the show but also ideas of male and female empowerment are key themes; which means this is a series for a more mature audience that is not suitable for pre-teens – though it’s perfect for any mature teenage viewer who enjoys shows such as Love Island and other modern dating shows. The only thing I didn’t particularly enjoy about Too Hot to Handle was the constant cheesy cutaways of the contestants posing which did become slightly tiresome after a few episodes. Though overall, this was SO much better than I originally expected!

***** 5/5

Too Hot to Handle is available to watch on Netflix now.


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