In the early noughties, VH1 dominated reality TV with its “of Love” shows and spin offs, making stars into everyday people. After that intense era of television ended, there was a void, a void that has lasted for a decade. I’ve tried other reality shows, but none had the same kick, for me, as Surreal Life, Flavor of Love, I Love New York, and others. There was a level of ratchet that something like The Bachelor simply can never touch. The revamped Temptation Island comes close, but there’s no connecting thread between the seasons (and we all love to see a favorite, like Tiffany Pollard, return).
Their first stint was Love is Blind, a hit worth considering, with one of the most boring reunion eps on the planet. Their new show, however, ramps things up a bit with Too Hot to Handle.
Receiving an astonishing 4.5 out of 10 on IMDb.com and a whopping 38% on Rotten Tomatoes, Too Hot to Handle brings casual folks from all over the globe to an island paradise where they are penalized money for hooking up.
Note: All of the contestants are self-proclaimed, let’s say, “casual” people.
The prize is $100,000, meant to be divided by the end of the show. However, throughout each episode, the contestants are tested. Those that break the rules are penalized various amounts. For instance, unauthorized kissing will cost the team $3,000. And by “unauthorized” I mean that eventually contestants are given monitors with a literal greenlight to make a move. This only can occur if two people are making a genuine connection.
The caveat, however, is that there was at least one moment where this proved to be true, and no greenlight occurred. David (white, British) and Rhonda (Black, Georgia) make such an intense connection that David actually cries. And yet… No greenlight. Implicit bias? This writer thinks so.
Still, there are enough ridiculous and sloppy people to make the show interesting. It would be interesting to see if Netflix takes the time to offer them a reunion, and to see how it goes. A successful reunion typically sets up the next season of mess for a reality series. In this case, it would be particularly interesting in that some of those who walked away as couples were people who were pre-dispositioned to not be in a relationship whatsoever. More than that, they lived in either different states, or different countries.
I binged this show in a period of two days (the average runtime is about 35 minutes, with there only being eight episodes). If you’re bored and want to quench your reality thirst, I would give this show a whirl.