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Too Hot to Handle

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What it’s about:

A group of commitment-phobic, uncontrollably hornt-up twentysomethings from across the globe get sequestered in a beachfront villa thinking they’re on a hookup-based show like Love Island or Bachelor in Paradise. At the end of their first day there, these hedonists find out that they’re actually on a show where the objective is to deny themselves instant gratification in the pursuit of deeper, more emotionally meaningful relationships. And also, if they engage in any hanky-panky, the pot of prize money decreases.

Why it’s worth your time:

If you’re looking for a summertime reality show that’s just a straight-up sexy, trashy fun time, look no further than this ridiculous Netflix trifle. We can’t make the case that Too Hot to Handle has compelling characters you’ll root for, or bring sociological value along the lines of “Hmm, isn’t how these people behave interesting.” It just goes straight to the lizard brain. The show is a titillating guilty pleasure about sexy people obsessing over sex. It’s no deeper than that, which makes it sort of pure. It doesn’t require too much attention to watch, but it’s hard to look away. It’s just a pleasurable experience.

Courtesy of Netflix

The thing that will keep you watching beyond the initial horny gimmickry, though, is that it’s funny to watch these people fail so mightily to exhibit even the slightest bit of self-control. They can’t keep their hands off each other (or themselves) even when thousands of dollars are on the line. Not only are they messing up other people’s money, they’re messing up their own money. They’re a bunch of immature F-boys and F-girls with the depth of a fruity cocktail. You can’t help but feel a little superior. It activates the judgmental part of the brain as much as the amorous one. Again, we’re not saying this show is good for you, but it is fun to watch.

It also moves at a faster pace than most reality dating shows, which is a welcome change. Many shows like this pad out their run times with excessive recapping of what just happened in confessional interviews or showing events over and over again, but Too Hot to Handle moves briskly. And unlike on Netflix’s other recent reality dating show Sexy Beasts, which has a new cast and the same format every episode, Too Hot to Handle tells its story over the whole season, which makes it very bingeable. 

The takeaway:

If the summer heat is cooking your brain, finish it off by throwing it on the grill that is Too Hot to Handle. You’ll only regret it if you actually feel guilt from your guilty pleasures.

Watch it with:

Definitely don’t watch it with any relatives. Honestly, it’s probably best to watch it alone and then text your friends about it later. You don’t need anybody watching you while you watch it.

Worth noting:

Too Hot to Handle is a burgeoning international franchise for Netflix. A Brazilian edition juts hit the streaming service, and a Latin American version is coming soon.

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