Netflix’s Too Hot to Handle Is the Best of Romance Tropes in TV Form


The new Netflix show that debuted April 17 was the perfect social-distancing escape because we could all feel their pain–by their pain I mean the super-hot and super-horny cast all trapped on a tropical island for one month–totally relatable, right? Seems like the dating community has a lot in common with them, except the no gratuitous touching, kissing, self gratification, and absolutely no sex ban they were all under for one month.

$100,000 was on the line and so was their sanity. Ten young, single and DTF individuals were followed by an off screen narrator, Desiree Burch, who called them the “hottiest, horniest, commitment-phobic” cast on television. It screamed romance hero where the unnecessarily handsome, charismatic, and alpha-male is just waiting to be saved by a beautiful and irresistible heroine. The show is probably what we were imagining when we read our plethora of New Adult romance collections and wondered what would that actually be like in real life? Well, the answer is on Netflix in 8 episodes of raunchy, drama-filled, frolicking in the sand fun. 

The premise of the show is that to win the $100k cash prize, the contestants had to stay in the isolated tropical paradise and abstain from sexual activity for one month. It seems easy enough but if a couple pairs of six-packs and chiseled ‘V’s were staring me down suddenly $100k doesn’t seem so out of reach. 

What’s interesting is how the people ‘couple up’ so close to the beginning. Almost on sight, like in real life on a fun weekend, beach vacay, or night at the club. They choose their conquest and form the undeniable physical connection between them, only for Lana, the British-accented eye in the sky, to tell them they can basically do nothing but look at each other. Unlike other dating shows, it builds off a deeper premise to build a deeper connection and find a new level of personal growth within themselves.

It’s a slow-burn, angst filled romance novel with a chapter for every plot twist.

Seriously, it’s like someone picked up a Harlequin novel and put it on tv in eight dramatic, and probably scripted episodes. We get the alpha male, we get the beautiful  girls with inner-insecurities who all end up having much more on the inside and need that special someone to teach them how to love and be loved. Like a past of bad breakups, no deep connections with any partners, and a feeling of insecurity coupled with secretly wanting to be loved. Sounds pretty normal, right?

If they were to take away the ‘glamour’ behind the show, and maybe did a blind meet like Love is Blind I’m sure we’d reach the same conclusion; maybe it’d be less fun to look at, but we had a few characters ‘achieve’ the personal growth the hired gurus and Yoni experts came to offer and walk away with personal and relationship growth. 

Fan favorites were Francesca and Harry, whose meeting was spiced up and hot, and who also broke the rules by kissing first, costing the group a whopping $3,000. Francesca is a canadian social media star while Harry is an Australian, young and ‘not doing much’ hottie. In total they cost the group almost $50k, but as of today according to Instagram they are still dating. Success in an epilogue. According to Narcity and recent posts, “you can find snaps of them on cute dates around B.C., California, and Queensland.”

Rhonda and Sharron were a definite ‘almost’ couple who made a good connection, and Rhonda introduced her son to Sharron over Facetime, but currently are only in touch and not dating. Sounds like a second chance romance waiting to happen, paging Kennedy Ryan…

There were even a few bromances between Sharron and David, the swole and handsome Walmart Michael B Jordan and the UK fit hottie; together they looked out for each other, even after fighting over Rhonda for about a minute of screen time, I was smelling a budding forbidden romance. The other couples were close enough but seemed to just be along for the ride, and their money split ten ways, before not being in touch with anyone any longer. 

Did the show accomplish what it set out for? Possibly, but only time will tell. As long as one person gets their HEA, I think they did alright for themselves. 

Too Hot to Handle is far too relevant to today’s society where people are expected to get close and personal before even meeting and not too soon after. (But now have to stay six feet apart). And where some people lack personal gratification, and closeness in their relationships. It’s the epitome of romance–their happy endings give us hope for ours. 

Too Hot to Handle is streaming now on Netflix.


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