Too Hot To Handle review: Cringeworthy, toe-curling and completely addictive, meet your new Netflix binge

The newest reality TV contender is steamy, saucy and very seductive, says Helen Daly

Too Hot to Handle

Our summer plans may be looking a little different than what we’d envisioned, but there’s plenty sun, sand and sangria in new dating show Too Hot to Handle.

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Netflix have ventured into the world of Love Island and Big Brother for its new output, which sees 10 singletons travel to “The Retreat” for the chance of a steamy holiday with their good-looking counterparts.

If they win and find “The One”, a healthy $100,000 falls into their bank accounts… but they only get the money if they manage to resist each other physically.

They are under the guidance of Lana, an Alexa-style smart device, who isn’t just sassy but has got some eagle-eyes on her too. The contestants will have to resist any sexual activity to stand a chance at winning the prize. If they slip up, even for a moment, Lana lays down the law and removes a wad of cash from the fund. Even just one kiss costs the group $3,000 in episode one.

In reality, Too Hot to Handle isn’t that much different from the likes of Love Island. There’s a “villa”, a bunch of contestants with model looks and there’s even the Netflix equivalent of a “bombshell” new arrival to shake things up – the “grenade”. And Desiree Burch offers her unique brand of humour in her narration, in a role not too dissimilar to Iain Stirling’s on Love Island.

But with Love Island proving to be so popular across the world, why wouldn’t Netflix have a go at it? A fun tweak this time around is that the contestants come from across the globe – sure, it’s the US, UK and Australia, but that still makes things slightly different…

And of course the main change is the strict no-sex rule. There’s temptation in every corner of the Retreat, but there’s also a big incentive not to do anything, and as a result this show promises the contestants will have a deeper connection with their partners than in any other reality TV offering.

Yes, we heard that before with Love Is Blind, where the contestants believed they’d found their soulmate merely by conversing and not seeing them, but in Too Hot to Handle, the cast spend every moment together, learn any annoying habits before it’s too late, and more importantly, learn to respect each other as equals.

Too Hot to Handle

I’m predicting Too Hot to Handle will be your next bingewatch – I certainly soaked up three episodes in one sitting. It’s fair to say it’s not the classiest of shows. There’s a disgusting amount of toe-curling flirting and seriously, the amount of “naughty” games played is borderline inappropriate. And I couldn’t help but gasp in disbelief when American Haley admitted she had no clue where Australia was.

But let’s see it for what it is – a dating show with a difference. It knows it’s tongue-in-cheek and it isn’t trying to be anything it’s not. It won’t leave you with the same breathless excitement that Love Is Blind did, but it’s got enough drama and intrigue to drive you on to the next episode, quite easily. You will also fall in love with some of the contestants; try not to erupt with laughter, as I did, when Essex girl Chloe yelled at everyone to “THINK OF YOUR NAN” if any tempting impulses did take over.

And look, if you can’t be on that luxury holiday yourself, you might as well watch some others have some good, (very) clean fun, right?

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Too Hot to Handle is available to stream on Netflix now. If you’re looking for more to watch check out our TV Guide.