The eight-episode series, which is now streaming in full, sends ten sexed-up singles to paradise. What they don’t realise is they’re about to enter a place where the magic isn’t going to happen. See, to win the $100,000 (£80k) grand prize, these gorgeous guys and gals have to give up sex completely. That means no kissing, no masturbating, no hanky-panky of any kind for a full month — or it will cost them.
Let’s be honest, Too Hot To Handle just hits differently during the quarantine, but it might also scratch your nostalgic itch for classic sitcoms. The premise of Netflix’s latest reality series is not unlike the plot of Seinfeld’s season 4 episode, "The Contest," in which Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer bet they can become the master of their domains by resisting the urge to pleasure themselves. While that Must-See-TV foursome only wagered $150 (£120) each, the stakes are much higher on Too Hot To Handle: Every indiscretion will result in a deduction of the prize money. Each punishment fits the crime; the more you do it the more you lose.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, which is why we decided to do this R29 Binge Club a little differently. Instead of a straight recap, we'll be capturing all the dramatics via episode-by-episode superlatives. With each episode, these contestants will be judged, not for how well they keep their hands — and everything else — to themselves, but for those other things they do or do not do well in the absence of sex. Think of this like a high school yearbook in which the contestants on this island get shout outs for being the Most Likely To Become A Cruise Ship Director or having the Best Ben Affleck Impression.
Let’s be honest, this very horny show might give you flashbacks to your high school years when love and affection also seemed out of reach. While that might sound a wee bit depressing, we swear, for a good time, keep scrolling.
Episode 1: “Love, Sex or Money”
This show is a glorified meat market. You can look and not touch, but you’ll be forced to hear this narrator make a lot of sex puns. These poor clueless singles think they’re on this island for a hedonistic holiday, but in 12 hours will learn the only thing they’ll be doing on this vacation is abstaining. Only their conscience and an Alexa-type virtual guide named Lana will save them from making bad decisions — and losing lots of cash. The hope is they learn to stop having flings and start having meaningful relationships. Surely, being trapped in the No Bone Zone will help make that happen, right?
While we wait and see, how about a little less conversation and a little more getting to know these DTF contestants?
Chloe; Essex, UK: Twenty years old and “quite ditzy.” She’s addicted to dating and has a weakness for tattoos.
Sharron; New Jersey: A self-declared feminist who studied Women and Gender Studies in college, which he says is a “blueprint” on how to pick up women in the grocery store. He’s most proud of his penis, which he says is air freshener length. We’ll assume Glade.
Haley; Florida: A sorority girl who is into guys and girls who look like her: “blonde hair, big boobs, skinny.” She has a back tattoo in a different language, but she’s not sure which one.
Harry; Queensland, Australia: Accents make him melt like butter, which happens to be his favourite pick-up line. He DM’ed Kourtney Kardashian and Kendall Jenner with the line, “Hello, my little butter chicken.” He’s had no success with them, but swears other girls love it.
David; London, UK: This nice guy is always ready to apply sunscreen to beautiful women. Seriously, where is he keeping all those bottles? Isn’t really into the concept of shirts, but #LovesASexParty
Francesca; British Columbia, Canada: This Kardashian ringer knows how to find her light. She also has her own bend and snap, it’s a hair flip and eye contact — and it works every time.
Matthew; Colorado: A deep thinker who thinks about everything a lot like monogamy and spreading his seed to the women of the world. Everyone on the show thinks he looks like Jesus. Wears a beanie in the summer; that’s how committed he is to his swag.
Rhonda; Georgia: She would rate herself a 10 out of 10; especially proud of her butt. She wants a man with a job and tattoos.
Nicole; Cork, Ireland: A party girl and reformed Catholic school girl who is not interested in anything serious.
Kelz; London, UK: This “king of the jungle” loves The Lion King and has a lion tattoo.
Now that we know them a little better and know all about the hell that they’re about to enter, it’s time to start handing out episode 1 superlatives.
Most Mixed Metaphor: Rhonda, who said she’s a baby cheetah who is pulling guys into her web. Does that make her a cheeder?
Most Likely To Lick Something: Francesca, who wants to lick Harry, Kelz, and Harry’s body. Don’t count out Jesus (a.k.a deep thinking Matthew) either. She might need to say three Hail Marys after that.
Best Meghan Markle Impression: Chloe, who lets everyone know she “would ruin Harry.” Clearly, this Brit is a Kate in the streets, but a Meghan in the sheets.
Most Likely To Become A Cruise Ship Director: Sharron, who came to this island ready to lead a game night for these cooped up passengers.
Most Likely To Mansplain Online Mattresses To You: Harry, who seems a little too well versed in spring squeakiness, would probably love to tell you why he loves his Casper.
Most Likely To Fail Geography: Haley. Let’s hope before this is all over she knows where Australia is.
Most Likely To Overuse The Peach Emoji: David, who can’t stop referring to Rhonda’s derriere as a peach. Yeah, we got it.
Most Likely To Give Cheer’s Jerry A Run For His Money: Matthew, whose mat talk to Chloe (ie: “I like you in red. Keep going.” “You stand out.”) is Navarro College level.
Episode 2: “When Harry Met Francesca”
Everyone is freaking out now that they know they can’t do anything with all that pent-up sexual energy, which is why Sharron swears he’s becoming a born-again virgin. Cuddles and snuggles are legal, but the bigger the crime the bigger the fine. To try and keep their minds of all the sex they’re not having, Lana is filling up their days with dates and workshops, but also “grenades” (i.e. a private suite) that will make it hard for them to well, not get hard.
We’ve got a lot of rulebreakers on this “retreat,” as it is now being called, which sounds very Blumhouse Fantasy Island, but if you kiss, Lana will tell. By the end of the 36-minute episode they had lost $3,000 for their indiscretions, but had come up with inventive ways to skirt the rules. Seriously, Chloe and David’s no-touch strawberry smooch was very clever. Alliances are also forming, so watch out for those.
Let’s see who deserved a little love this episode since, you know, they’re not supposed to be getting it from anywhere else.
Most Likely To Leave THTH With A Catchphrase: Harry, who can’t stop calling people “naughty little possums.” Let’s assume the Aussie will be selling possum merch once this is all over.
Best Ben Affleck Impression: Kelz. He’s adding up the financial risks of the sex tariffs like he’s gearing up to star in The Accountant sequel. Ben better watch out!
Most Likely To Start A Cult: Matthew, who is already trying to get the others to follow his very Zen approach to this sex-free vacation, which includes flirting with Lana.
Best Follower Of The Girl Code: Haley, she had Francesca’s back in the Harry kiss fiasco – and was the only one. But, is it really out of the goodness of heart or coming from another part of her anatomy?
Most Attitude: Lana, who might be AI, but still shaded Chloe’s smarts by spelling out her name for her. Girl is not trifling.
Most Likely To Join The Triwizard Tournament: Francesca, who might be giving ten points to Gryffindor, but is definitely losing money for that kiss with Haley. She’s not yet a wizard, Harry.
Episode 3: “Revenge Is a Dish Best Served Hot”
Another $3,000 lost thanks to Francesca and Haley, who are sabotaging the retreat. They assume no one will know, but Lana is always watching. Still, they’re determined to keep it a secret, which leads to a lot of infighting at the counsel. But, also some realness from Sharron who opens up to Rhonda about having his heart broken. Unfortunately, he’s not ready to break those walls down yet.
However, this island is ready for another single: Bryce from Los Angeles, who is living that #boatlife and having sex every damn day. Oh, is this piano man in for a surprise.
This is a story with no happy endings so let’s find some happiness where we can.
Most Likely To Live Life By Her Horoscope: Chloe. She’s really into checking the vibes of the island. We wouldn’t be surprised if she keeps her astrologist on speed dial. Wonder what her birth chart says about David?
Most Likely To Get Stuck In The Friend Zone: David, poor David, who gets the old “it’s not you, it’s me” from Chloe.
Most Likely To Star In A Fifty Shades Remake: Matthew. We get it Jesus, you’re very into bondage, like so much so you might as well start calling yourself Christian Grey.
Most Likely To Try Tantric Sex: Sharron, who two episodes in says it’s the longest he’s ever gone without sex, but he’s into it. Perhaps, he’d like to take it even slower with this ancient Hindu practice?
The Next Meryl Streep: Haley, whose fire pit performance is Oscar-worthy. She points fingers at Sharron who folds under pressure before walking away from the situation all together. Suspicious? Maybe, but a good actress lives for the drama.
Most Likely To Narc: Lana. Ask and she will answer, which is a new wrinkle in this game.
Most Likely To Attend The Catalina Wine Mixer: Bryce, who already has a boat, but maybe is in the market for a helicopter?
Episode 4: “Two’s Company, Three’s a… Threesome”
The addition of Bryce, aka “the nautical nympho,” has reinvigorated the girls, who can smell blood in the pool water. The guys are filling him in on their love connections: Sharron still wants Rhonda and Harry wants to give it another go with Francesca. Too bad, she’s interested in Kelz who is not interested in losing any more money.
The halfway point leads to a boat party thrown by Captain Bryce, who plays an original tune for the contestants. Let’s hope there will be no encores. They also take part in a workshop called “Without Words,” where yes, they have to connect without using words. Some new feelings arise, as does a new sexy twist: The contestants are now wearing a device that gives them permission to skirt the rules. But only when they form real connections can they connect sexually and only for a limited time.
This time around only Sharron and Rhonda get the green light and they use it to makeout on the beach. David did a good thing urging his friend to open up. Especially, since it gives them a night in the Private Suite, which is the biggest test of their chastity.
Bless Francesca’s heart for trying so hard to get Kelz to ignore Lana and then leaving him high and dry when he didn’t.
Luckily, we haven’t gone nonverbal yet, so here’s who else deserves a shout-out this episode.
Most Likely To Tag You In The Pushup Challenge: Sharron. To keep himself from busting something else, he’s busting out all the fitness routines. He’s jumping rope and doing push ups with David. Who else is rooting for that bromance to make it through the retreat?
Most Likely To Steal Simon Cowell’s Job: Kelz, who does his best impression of the American Idol after Bryce’s impromptu performance. No, Bryce will not be headed to Hollywood, but Idol producers should give Kelz a call.
Most Likely To Host A Rom-Com Marathon: David, who describes his hug with Rhonda as that moment when someone runs up to you in the airport to give you a hug. That sure sounds like the end of Love Actually to me, how about you? Clearly, his sidekick will be Sharron. Seriously, I love those guys and hope they get a green light.
Most Likely To Get Really Into Crystals: Chloe, who believes she can truly see into Bryce’s soul after their wordless workshop. Get this girl some rose quartz, stat.
Episode 5: “Boys To Men”
#Sharonda might have made everyone #broke. Their island mates are concerned that the two just lost them a small fortune, and THTH’s producers are interested in building tension. Kelz is brushing off his Francesca kiss-off, Harry is giving bedroom eyes to the fish, and Chloe plans to get to know Bryce well enough to get her Lana band to flash green. Boat bro Bryce definitely needs work on his hashtags though. #Bloey? Well, that’s a #Noey from us, dude.
Sharron and Rhonda managed to not have sex, which set a new tone for the whole retreat. Now everyone is looking to get boo’d up. But, that doesn’t mean Sharonda didn’t lose any money. Beyond kissing, there was a lot of inappropriate touching, which cost a total of $16,000 (£12k). The current prize is now $78,000 (63k) with three more episodes to go.
This one, though, is all about male-bonding with the guys spending some quality time with Deva, the Heart Warrior Guru. They paint themselves in mud, free themselves from their vulnerabilities, and hug it out. Francesca also looked to get back in Harry’s arms, but we’ll have to wait until the next episode to see if they can work things out. But we won’t keep you waiting for our latest superlatives.
Best Tony the Tiger Impression: Sharron. After his night with Rhonda, he’s feeling grrrrrreat! As for his impression of that cereal tiger, well, it’s not so bad either.
Most Likely To Become an Instagram Poet: Chloe, who is sharing her deep, deep thoughts about this process. She’s a poet and she doesn’t even know it.
Most Likely To Become A Used Car Salesman: Bryce, who talked Chloe into a ride that cost $3000 (£2,400). She ended up wanting to trade it in for something better.
Most Not Here To Make Friends: Haley, who is officially done being nice, and ready to get real about how stupid she thinks everyone else is. We’ll see how that goes.
Most Likely To Become A Heart Warrior: Matthew, who let’s be honest, is a Deva in the making. Namaste.
Episode 6: “The Bryce Isn’t Right”
This one picks up right where the last one left off: Francesca asking Harry to take her back. Lucky for her (his sentiment, not ours) he’s become a more forgiving person after his heart warrior training and is willing to give her another chance. But he’s got a few stipulations; he’s not interested in breaking the rules anymore. Luckily, this heart-to-heart gave them the green light to share a Lana-sanctioned kiss.
While this was happening, Haley was packing up her stuff. Her bad attitude and insufficient progress caused Lana to throw her out of the house. This left the door open for three new contestants: Lydia from Portsmouth, UK, the sex positive boxing and MMA ring girl; Kori from Plymouth, UK, a water treatment engineer who is a part-time model, part-time selfie-taker; and Madison from California, who is a model/stylist looking for a man, any man.
The new arrivals are stirring things up, but they’re also here to grow and get drunk and dance. Kori is giving Chloe good banter, and Matthew’s faux intellectualism is turning Madison off. Francesca and Harry are getting one night in the Pleasure Suite. After all their “we don’t want to break the rules” BS they had sex and cost everyone $20,000 (!!!). Jesus lost faith in the process and decided to go home.
Pour one out for Matthew and find out who deserved a little extra love this episode.
Most Likely To Become A Motivational Speaker: David. Whether he’s awake or asleep his mind grapes are focused on personal growth. Let’s hope he bottles that juice.
Most Likely To End Up With Lana: Matthew. He might not think there is anyone on the show that is right for him, but we’d argue him and Lana were getting pretty hot and heavy. Seriously, did you see all that PDA he gave her? We thinks he owes at least a couple hundo for that.
Most Likely To Invite You To Burning Man: Lydia. This California girl used to be all about Coachella, but now she takes her flower crown to the Nevada desert. Yeah, she’d say she’s a Burner.
Most Likely To Start A Podcast: Chloe and Nicole. With all their chats about sex, we’d love to see them turn this into a weekly comedy podcast where they talk about sex faces and anything else. Seriously, we’d like and subscribe.
Episode 7: “Sisters Over Misters”
It’s officially cuffing season on THTH. The contestants are forming true bonds just like Lana wanted. Lydia and David are resisting their urges, Francesca and Harry are LOLing all the time, life seems good on the island. Well, except that Kori might have just used Chloe for a kiss that cost them a Chanel handbag. That troublemaker is asking Francesca out on a date, which she uses to flirt and officially (again) commit herself to Harry, losing Chloe’s friendship in the process. Oh, and Rhonda is trying to get up the courage to tell Sharron about her son.
Luckily, Lana scheduled a girl’s only retreat to let these ladies work things out. Relationship expert Shan is back with some yoni puja, a practice of “vagina worship.” where they put that pussy on a pedestal and celebrate it for all it is. The girls are stripping down to inspect their powerful vaginas, which leads Chloe to clap back at Kori’s behaviour. You go girl.
Another legit powerful moment on THTH is Rhonda telling Sharron about her son and having him be open to knowing more. Could these two really be forming a real connection? Still, they’re burning through money thanks to David and Lydia’s kisses and Francesca going down under on Harry, which cost them $6,000 (£4,800). I write these superlatives in the after shock.
Most Likely To Own A Copy Of Neil Strauss’ The Game: Kori, who fancies himself a ladies man, seems as if he’s flipped through the pages of this 2005 pick-up guide. Girls, you in danger.
Best Barbie Impression: Chloe. She’s a Barbie girl in her hot pink satin mini in a Barbie world where basically everyone is like Ken and is perfectly flat down there.
Least Likely To Be Your Emergency Contact: Francesca, she’ll throw you under the bus and forget the number for 911.
Most Likely To Manage A Boy Band: Bryce. The piano man is getting the boys together to rehearse a little number that we’re sure he’ll try to monetise at some point.
Best Lisa Frank Wannabe: Nicole. Anyone else feel like her neon yoni self portrait looked like a Lisa Frank homage? Just me?
Future Pun Master: Kelz, who really couldn’t help himself in the final moments with his “literally blew it” joke. Seriously, somebody please enter him into our girl Jo Firestone’s Punderdome.
Episode 8: “Lust Or Bust”
Bless Rhonda’s heart for assuming that their time on the island had made everyone more disciplined. By Lana’s count, they only have $43,000 (£34k) left and still a whole episode to get through. Quick, somebody go lock Francesca in the closet for the final 56 hours of the retreat!
Lana is getting ready to allocate what’s left of the prize money to those she thinks were able to control themselves. Will one person get it all or will it be parcelled out among just a few? My bet is on Sharonda, who solidified their GF/BF relationship status on that yacht, getting a large portion, along with David and Chloe. Our little girl is growing up and deserves to get paid.
Their white party gets disrupted by Lana who is offering them a chance to win back their money. The catch is, it all relies on Harry and Francesca spending a night in the suite without any physical contact at all. Wow, Lana is a savage. This is their chance for redemption and to get back all the money they lost, a total of $32,000 (£26k). Ah, if only they knew about the CDC’s current social distancing guidelines this might be a little easier.
I’ve got to agree with Kelz, this seems unwinnable, but I’m hoping Rhonda’s optimism wins out. Though, the minute Harry brings out the whips, it’s hard to believe they’re not gonna end up in the red. Yet, somehow they did, but honestly, it was way too hard for them. (That’s what she said.) Now the pot’s back up to $75,000 (£60k).
The final Chloe-less workshop (our boo’s got the flu) has them writing a bit of emotional graffiti in which they’re forced to wear the worst words they’ve been called. Even for this show, this felt forced and watching Madison and Kori leave Bryce hanging after he bared his soul was cold, ice cold.
All we really want to know is who won dammit! But Lana keeps blocking us at every move and in her final one, she asks Madison and Kori to pack their things and go. Bye, boy (and girl). The final day means some serious conversations on what happens next, Harry is moving to Canada, and Sharron is FaceTiming Rhonda’s son. No, you’re crying.
Finally, Lana stops teasing us and gives answers as to who is going home a little richer. Francesca and Harry, Sharron and Rhonda are the first names called. Then David, Chloe, Kelz, Lydia, and Bryce are all asked to stand up. What do you know they are all winners! A little anticlimactic, definitely yes, but I guess it’s nice to see them all get a little something for their troubles or whatever. In the end, they got $7,500 (£6,000) each, but the experience, well that’s priceless. Look at Netflix with the lessons.
Our final superlatives are the most super of all, just our way of rewarding you for making it through the retreat.
Most Likely To Give The Best Wedding Speech: Sharron. Whether he’s your Best Man or just the best man in attendance at your nuptials, he’s the one you want with the mic at the end of the night. Seriously, he’s got a way with words.
Last One On The Dance Floor: Bryce, who won’t stop, can’t stop once that beat drops.
Least Likely To Become Michael Phelps: Harry. While he might have the wingspan, his form needs serious work.
The Most Enlightened: David, who is spreading his knowledge of self-improvement like he used to spread his seed. We’re proud of you, bro.
The Most Likely To Hook Up After THTH: Kori and Madison. The two Debbie Downers didn’t learn much during the retreat, which is why my bet is on them doing the horizontal-mambo in the future. Let’s hope it’ll all be revealed on the Too Hot To Handle reunion special. Come on Netflix, don’t leave us hanging!