Okay, What Is Lana’s Deal On Too Hot To Handle?

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
The host of Netflix's Too Hot To Handle, is Lana — an AI robot kind of like an Amazon Alexa — and we have a lot of questions. (Namely, where can we get one of these?) Lana is white, cone-shaped robot with a purpley, blueish light that turns on whenever she wants to speak to the cast. She's touted as the constructor of the relationship "retreat" where there's a ban on sexual touching so that contestants can get to know one another better from the inside out. She's also probably just piping in a producer voice, because the idea that Netflix would have constructed a working, talking AI machine who was all-seeing and all-knowing just for an eight-episode reality show seems a little far-fetched. But, hey, stranger things have happened.
Throughout Too Hot To Handle's eight episodes, Lana alerts contestants about date opportunities, tells them when the no sexual touching rules have been broken, and even has conversations with the houseguests. It seems like without any contact besides with each other (and even that's limited to hugs and talking only), they came to consider Lana a friend. Matthew Smith even gives her a hug sometimes and they all start greeting Lana excitedly by name when she turns on. But Lana is also, in the words of the narrator, "A talking air freshener" who is "going to cockblock you."
Because the idea is that Lana is watching at all times, contestants aren't able to kiss or perform any sexual acts without being caught — and getting caught means that money is deducted from the show's $100,000 prize. Contestant David Birtwistle told Men's Health that Lana's cone-shaped presence in every room and area of the resort kept them from being too naughty. "We were very aware that Lana was everywhere at all times," David said. "There were definitely a few moments where you know for a fact that if Lana wasn't there, some stuff would be happening."
Contestant Sharron Townsend also explained to Entertainment Tonight that Lana's reach was unparalleled. "Lana can see into the shower. Lana can see everything," Sharron said. "Lana actually sees and knows all. Shower, bed, everywhere." Indeed, there was even one sex act that contestants Francesca Farago and Harry Jowsey thought they'd gotten away with late at night under the covers, but Lana exposed them at a group meeting later. That's the thing with Lana — because she's more realistically just strategically placed cameras that needed to be watched by a crew of producers for transgressions — Lana wouldn't report broken rules until the next group meeting, which was sometimes a whole day away.
But even if Lana is nothing more than a nightlight whose power comes from Big Brother-style night vision cameras, the producers scanning footage, and definitely a real human voicing her, I kind of love her.
Consider the time she wades right into the drama to reveal who had broken the no-kissing rule, with little regard for the tension she was about to create. Or when Chloe Veitch called her "Alana" and Lana was quick to correct her in a scathing deadpan. Or when she rejected Matthew's joking flirtation. Plus, she "created" a whole retreat and a system for the contestants to get to know each other and themselves better.
Yes, we know that the fake cone robot didn't set this whole thing up, but play along, okay? Don't worry, Chris Harrison. Lana's not coming for your job anytime soon.

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