Have you ever wondered what Love Island would look like if none of the contestants were allowed to touch each other in order to win the show? Well, that has to be what Netflix thought about before greenlighting Too Hot to Handle.
In case you aren’t familiar with the show, Too Hot to Handle, like Love Island, sends a group of attractive singles to a sunny location and encourages them to build connections while a comedic narrator comments on their behavior. The twist on Too Hot to Handle is that the contestants are barred from doing anything sensual like kissing or having sex. If they break the rules, then an amount of money will be deducted from their prize pot of $100K. Basically, they have to prove that they can prioritize having a meaningful, emotional relationship with someone instead of engaging in the hook-up culture they are familiar with.
Since Netflix releases a new batch of shows every week, most of its content is filmed months or sometimes years, like Love Is Blind, in advance. So, you might be watching Too Hot to Handle and wondering when exactly all these young people had the time to leave their lives, shut off their connections to the outside world, and go on this show. Well, we have the answer.
In a phone interview with Refinery29, showrunner and executive producer Viki Kolar confirmed that season 1 of Too Hot to Handle was filmed almost a year ago.
“[The cast turned up] a couple of days before the shoot, which was the end of March 2019 and we filmed for 24 to 25 days in April 2019,” she said.
While it wasn’t as long a waiting period as the Love Is Blind married couples endured, it’s still impressive. The Too Hot to Handle contestants had to keep quiet about their relationship status and being on the reality television show for about a year. After watching this season, I can’t imagine how difficult it was for this particular cast to not gush about their reality TV experience to their thousands of Instagram followers.
In fact, a day before Netflix dropped the trailer for the show, contestant David Birtwistle spilled the beans about when the show was filmed. He posted a shirtless picture (of course) on Instagram with a caption that read, “I don’t know if anyone remembers but about this time last year, I took a month off social media randomly...Tomorrow, you’ll find out why.”
Can you imagine going on a show where your actions were monitored by a cone-shaped A.I. machine named Lana and not being able to tell anyone about it?
In comparison to Love Is Blind, it makes sense that Too Hot to Handle had a quicker premiere date considering the stakes on the show aren’t as high. The Love Is Blind couples had over a year to see if their marriages would work out. I’m sure many viewers, like myself, doubted that any of the Too Hot to Handle couples would stay together after the camera stopped rolling. It’s likely Netflix held onto the show for a long time just to release it near summertime when shows like Love Island and Bachelor in Paradise also premiere.
Regardless of the reason, I’m grateful because there can never be too many reality television dating shows. Hopefully Netflix has a few more to release to help us get through this quarantine time.