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Netflix jumped right back into the reality TV competition game on the heels of bizarre hits like Love is Blind and The Circle. New series Too Hot to Handle brought together ten young singles in a tropical paradise, but this wasn't to find love like Bachelor in Paradise. No, these singles had to not find love (physically, at least) and keep their hands to themselves. According to Too Hot to Handle contestant Bryce Hirschberg, this included producers preventing cast masturbation.
How did the Too Hot to Handle producers pull this off? Bryce Hirschberg explained on the Hollywood Raw podcast, saying this:
First thing, there were cameras everywhere. Even in the bathrooms, but it was just CCTV, so it was not for broadcast, the ones in the toilets. So, it was just to make sure that you weren’t doing that. They’re not recording, but they’re watching, essentially. It’s very awkward, man. I was holding it in a lot, bro! And, the showers, there are hidden cameras everywhere and they rotate so they can catch everybody. If you’re in the shower for more than five minutes, you can see the camera start looking at you, like, ‘What’s he doing?’
According to the official Too Hot to Handle description from Netflix, the show requires commitment-phobes who prefer a casual hook-up to a relationship to endure "no kissing, no heavy petting, and no self-gratification of any kind" in the "luxury no-bone zone." The $100,000 prize money would go down "with every slip," and the challenge was: could the singles form deep emotional connections without any kind of physical intimacy? Including self-gratification?
Well, Too Hot to Handle obviously wasn't going to physically restrain contestants like Bryce Hirschberg from masturbating, but he shared that somebody was always watching and even the length of showers was monitored to make sure no self-gratification was going on. With such intrusive filming, I have to wonder if Season 2 of Too Hot to Handle (if ordered by Netflix) would have fewer applicants. Would a shot at $100,00 outweigh being constantly monitored by CCTV?
Bryce Hirschberg explained why the obvious option of retreating into the ocean of their luxury paradise for some self gratification wasn't an option:
Why not go in the ocean? The most depressing thing out of all it for me, they didn’t have a lifeguard in the production budget or whatever, so they wouldn’t let me go swim in the ocean.
Too Hot to Handle evidently wasn't going to blow any part of the budget on a lifeguard to allow the singles to take a swim and potentially get into some underwater shenanigans where the cameras couldn't follow them. This luxury paradise had a downside for these hook-up lovers, and that was no privacy combined with sexual self-deprivation.
As you might expect, the first season of Too Hot to Handle wasn't eight episodes of singles behaving themselves and remaining totally hands-off in pursuit of that $100,000. To experience what was and wasn't too hot to handle for yourself, you can check out all eight episodes of Too Hot to Handle streaming on Netflix now.