Perfect for people craving content adjacent to Love Is Blind and Bachelor in Paradise, Netflix’s latest reality show, Too Hot to Handle, centers on a group of young, hot singles who move to a resort and are tasked with forging deep, romantic connections. A $100,000 cash prize is waiting for them if they succeed.
But here’s the catch: They’re not allowed to have any sexual contact with each other. Any kissing, fondling, or actual sex results in a decrease in the prize money. Wild, right? It takes all the best elements of Love Is Blind and Bachelor in Paradise and amplifies them.
There’s another show Too Hot to Handle will remind you of, too: Love Island, the British reality dating series about hot singles who spend an entire summer coupling up with other hot singles in hopes of emerging as the audience’s favorite duo. If you even casually know what Love Island is, you’ll see the comparisons to Too Hot to Handle easily. If not, allow me explain—and after you finish Too Hot to Handle, give Love Island a spin. I promise you’ll be just as hooked.
The mega-mansions that house the contestants in each of these shows are just as important as the people themselves. They are similar in style, both with gathering areas, fire pits, getting-ready pods, and huge pools. All the daters sleep in a single room with multiple beds, which means it’s very difficult to get away with…you know, doing things. On Love Island, they just don’t care and do it anyway. On Too Hot to Handle, they literally can’t without breaking the rules.
The snarky narrators
The best part of Love Island is arguably the narrator, Iain Stirling, whose shady commentary grounds the hot-people problems of the show in some kind of reality. The same thing applies to Too Hot to Handle, courtesy of a delightfully sarcastic female narrator who doesn’t let any of the ridiculous things the cast does go by without some comment. When she rags on Haley for thinking the word “loophole” meant “silver lining,” or when Chloe congratulated herself for saying “animosity?” I died.
One-on-one dates on Love Island and Too Hot to Handle don’t happen consistently, like they do in Bachelor Nation. They’re sporadic and impromptu—and both daters don’t know about them until minutes before. The dates on these shows also aren’t extravagant like they are on The Bachelor. They happen in hot tubs or on blankets by the beach. Nothing fancy, but arguably more intimate than anything we’ve seen on any Bachelor show.
The gathering spot.
In both Love Island and Too Hot to Handle, there’s a spot where the collective group meets for big announcements: a fire pit. It’s here where the hosts typically drop major bombshells, like cast eliminations on Love Island or if the group has lost money on Too Hot to Handle. In the latter’s case, it’s even funnier because the host is a talking, Alexa-like robot named Lana.
The introduction of new housemates.
These shows each do a good job at bringing new cast members in to shake up the state of the union. On Love Island, it’s to break up or challenge existing couples. On Too Hot to Handle, it’s similar, but mostly it’s to see if a new person may tempt someone to break the no-hooking up rule.
The dress code
Everyone is in swimsuits 98% of the time. During the other 2%, they’re wearing Instagram influencer-ready evening wear, which is funny because….who are they dressing up for? I’ve always wondered this on Love Island, and I had the same confusion during Too Hot to Handle. I understand it’s a TV show, but the pomp and circumstance of it all is not lost on me.
And last but not least: The conceit of the show
While the methods of the programs differ, the goal is to same: to find a true romantic relationship that stands on solid ground, and then see how money plays into that. Both shows offer the promise of a cash prize if you find true love. What happens after that, though, is anyone’s game.