Netflix has become the expert at giving us the reality shows we seem to need at exactly the time that we need them. The Circle and Love Is Blind were both big hits for the streamer earlier this year, and now we can look forward to a new "dating experiment" focused reality show with the fast approaching premiere of Too Hot To Handle. Where Love Is Blind attempted to see if singles could form emotional connections without seeing each other, Too Hot To Handle will let the sexy folks do all the looking they want...but with none of the touching. So, what are critics saying about this new series?
Anyone who watched Love is Blind, or who's taken a peek (or 24) at The Bachelor and its many assorted franchise shows will know that reality dating shows can be a very mixed bag. The enjoyability of these things depends not only on the many daters who populate each season and their emotional investment, but how the concept plays out and how much drama that setup can deliver to viewers.
Well, with pretty much everyone on Too Hot To Handle wearing the least amount of clothes on their hot bods as possible, and every sexual physical interaction taking money away from the potential cash prize of $100,000, you can be sure that the drama will be very real. And, Andy Swift of TV Line thinks that the show is absolutely perfect for the particular times we are living in:
If it makes you feel any better about yourself, you can treat Too Hot to Handle like a sociological investigation. (Can these international hotties resist their primal impulses and learn to speak a common dialect… of love?) But you really shouldn’t have to rationalize your binges of choice. Not in this climate. Here’s the deal: If you found yourself hooked on either of Netflix’s recent reality hits, The Circle and Love Is Blind, you’ll probably get a kick out of this naughtier endeavor — an oddly relevant guilty pleasure in the age of social distancing.
I'm sure it dawned on the good people at Netflix that a show where a bunch of half-nekkid, good looking people will do each other (financial) harm by getting all touchy-feely with one another would be oddly perfect for the situation we now find ourselves in. Not only do we get to see some hotties (something that is nearly impossible in real life right now, unless you happen to be self-isolating with a person you deem as such), but we get to watch them struggle not to have sexytimes, or to give in and do the deeds anyway.
It makes a lot of sense that this particular concept would scratch a lot of itches at this point in 2020, but Time's Judy Berman actually thinks that the very comfort we might get from watching Too Hot To Handle for that reason, is what could lead to some unexpected consequences for viewers. Berman thinks it might be too much like our current lives to lift us up the way this kind of reality TV is supposed to.
As Too Hot so salaciously demonstrates, once one person (or couple, as the case may be) has reaped the benefits of undermining the common good, others who’d initially committed to acting in the public interest start to suspect they’d be suckers not to put themselves first. At the bottom of these slippery slopes: no money for the sexy singles. No end to the coronavirus pandemic. In the event that the fast-approaching climate crisis isn’t diverted, no long-term future for humanity. Is this an odd, unexpectedly dark place to end up when you logged into Netflix in search of something brainless to pass the time between video chats? Absolutely. But then, what could be more in sync with the current zeitgeist than odd, unexpected darkness?
Yeesh. I am going to hope that Too Hot To Handle will be goofy enough to encourage basically a near mental shutdown for most folks, so that they don't have to go down the rabbit hole of despair that Berman did. Unfortunately, according Brian Lowry of CNN, the audience shouldn't really have to worry about such things, because the whole thing really is "too silly" to lead to much of a reaction from anyone who tunes in.
Of course, the no-touching rules in Too Hot to Handle have gained an extra layer of meaning...The metaphor, however, gets quickly lost watching the show, which -- using all the tricks of the trade, including editing the footage in order to shape narratives -- seeks to make these 20-something "commitment-phobes" look as shallow as possible at every turn...But even as undemanding fun-in-the-sun escapism at this unsettled moment, Too Hot to Handle feels too silly, ultimately, to hook up with -- barely generating enough heat to warm a room, much less leave a mark.
Ouch! OK, well, the only way for us to know for sure who's opinion to trust is to check out the show for ourselves, right? Too Hot To Handle hits Netflix tomorrow, on April 17. Do you plan to watch? Let us know in the poll below!