TV REVIEW: Too Hot To Handle Season 1 – All 8 Episodes Rated and Reviewed

Lana, not Nana (or is it Alana?). So, I got that part wrong in the lead-up to this show. That’s the name of the robot cone that monitors the young, hyper-beautiful dating people and penalizes for any physical intimacy.

Like any trashy reality dating TV show there are twists. Some twists in this show don’t make sense — even in the framework laid out by the show — but we’ll dig into that.

First, the required spoiler warning. This is not a spoiler-free review, so if you are interested in watching this show, go binge it and come back when you’re done.

One positive thing about this show is the episodes aren’t a full hour, they are around 40 minutes each. You’ll blink and be halfway or more through the series.

… you’ve been warned, SPOILERS ahead…

Episode 1 – “Love, Sex or Money”
Air date: April 17, 2020
Run time: 41 minutes

This “luxury no bone zone” is being watched over by Lana. There is a 12 hour timer to the “no sex ban!” and that’s the dramatic hook meant to draw us in, along with being very quickly introduced to the cast of hot women and men on the island. Unsurprisingly most are portrayed or really are very skin deep and lacking much brains to go with their super beauty.

Seriously, the tatted Sharron tells us that he is “most proud of his penis.” That along earns a half star for the laughter rating. Just about every outtake interview makes you wonder if these young people are as phony in real life as they are phony here. It’s not a very diverse cast, sadly.

Matthew is presented as — no joking — a Jesus character. he takes off his hat and it’s the total Jesus look.

Matthew frequently has freeze shots on him, poking fun of his Jesus-like appearance

“I bet he’d do good on Christian mingle!” – snarky narrator

The strongest character is Lana, the bot that gets its own description card and location as China.

I found myself not liking pretty much any of these people. Not off to a great start unless we’re rooting against them and … guess what, that seems to be the storyline, complete with a narrator that frequently chimes in with a zinger, putting down something stupid that someone just did.

The look on the faces when these people realize the island is a setup to capitalize on their desires to be hedonists, but instead much stave off all their sexual desires, is pure film gold. In fact, let me share just some of these expressions.

If not for the “OMG!” expressions, Lana (!!!) and 12 hour countdown to the sex ban against this shallow group, there wouldn’t be much else here to watch and root against.

Alas, I was interested, entertained and intrigued enough to see what would happen next.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Episode 2 – “When Harry Met Francesca”
Air date: April 17, 2020
Run time: 36 minutes

Harry and Francesca are the first couple to break the rules by sharing a not-so-secret kiss. Of course they have to tell the rest of the group that they couldn’t resist temptation.

Lana is more than happy to tell them this is a $3,000 penalty, bringing the pot down to $97,000.

There is a little bit of a revolt against Harry who lies about Francesca kissing him instead of telling the truth.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️½

Episode 3 – “Revenge Is a Dish Best Served Hot”
Air date: April 17, 2020
Run time: 38 minutes

Francesca runs into the arms — literally — of Haley and the revenge these two plot is to kiss each other and then try to keep it a secret as “revenge.”

This invokes a $3,000 penalty, but made me think this was the way the show as going to go. Little factions conspiring against each other and not caring about the prize fund. Sadly, it does not go this way.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️½

Episode 4 – “Two’s Company, Three’s a … Threesome”
Air date: April 17, 2020
Run time: 42 minutes

The participants receive black watches that light up green when it’s “good to go” with physical activity. What? So, now they are going to work the watches so they go green.

Lana chimes in and gives a night alone in the private suite for Sharron and Rhonda but no green lights for this “biggest chastity test.” Why? What kind of drama is this? We’re just supposed to watch them in this private suite holding back their physical desires after you were supposedly rewarding them for their actions towards each other earlier in the day?

Those chalices … yes, for drinks just like in Love is Blind

And then the episode is just … over, ending very awkwardly.

I think this was meant by the producers to be the crazy twist in the middle to keep viewers interested, but it fell flat for me. I would rather they had some sort of vote them off the island or penalty box vs. letting certain people on the island that showed meaningful relationship traits the ability to go Pavlov’s dog and have a little bit of physical intimacy.

This episode pretty much drained my interest and enthusiasm for the series, leaving me feeling like “is it a train wreck?” from here. After you know the rules don’t really matter, the drama that was setup in the beginning and pre-show hype, then Lana no longer is this quirky, omnipresent robotic dating gatekeeper. She’s sort of a quasi relationship counselor? Not buying it.

Ok, I hated this episode. Ruined just about every bit of momentum created to this point.

Rating: ½

Episode 5 – “Boys To Men”
Air date: April 17, 2020
Run time: 42 minutes

Sharron and Rhonda return to tell what happened in the private suite. They resisted the urge to have sex, but they did other stuff, which according to Lana’s rules would invoke a financial penalty.

I started asking myself about Rhonda’s super long fingernails. Really? What does someone do with nails that long?

“It’s like we’re in sexual rehabilitation .. only with our minds.” – Chloe

(WTF?!)

Lana weighed in. List of offenses: kissing, inappropriate touching of the (BLEEP!), constant use of (BLEEP), not to mention the (BLEEP!)

Why are they bleeping out the sexual language? If you’re going to wade deep in the pool of softcore porn and sexual profanity, then just dive in already. This movie has no problem dropping profanity and showing backsides of nudity, but no frontal nudity and, in this case, bleeped out words from the penalty robot.

Lana’s penalty: $16,000. Prize fund stands at $78,000.

Francesca has a private talk with Rhonda about her feelings (still!) for Harry, even though she’s been flirting around with Kels. Rhonda listens, but there is nothing that comes out of the scene except exposition from Francesca.

The night rolls in and Bryce, the sea captain who badly plays keyboard, and Chloe are the focus. Of course, we’re getting to where the rules don’t matter and they kiss.

Make that $75,000 left in the prize fund. Considering we’re at episode 5, with three more episodes to go, it could be full on orgy mode soon. I guess that’s the new dramatic tension driving the series forward? That’s it for me, anyway.

Kels and Harry have a man to man discussion over Francesca. Throw down boys, that’s how to push up the interest here in a hurry — but no.

Time for a workshop with Deva the Heart Warrior. This guy is like part Karate Kid, part drummer boy and full on hilarious. “There’s something that we all have in common … what is that?” – Deva goes on, “We come from this earth. We’re going to use the earth as a means to connect all of us so we feel like one united form.”

Time to rub mud on each other! Thanks Deva.

Of course what do a bunch of muddy guys do next, Deva? Hug it out!

The girls get turned on by the boys rinsing off the mud in the ocean. Francesca comes clean to Harry about still having feelings for her. He has the same feelings for her. Another penalty box moment? As viewers we want it, but of course the rules prevent it. Does the money matter?

End of the episode. Even the skulky narrator is pissed.

A little bit of redemption as far as re-invigorating my interest in the show due to the mud madness with Deva and quickly falling prize fund … but still mediocre.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️

Episode 6 – “The Bryce Isn’t Right”
Air date: April 17, 2020
Run time: 42 minutes

Harry says he wants to make it real with Francesca but not violate the rules. Lana likes this answer and gives their watches green lights so they can kiss. Anti-climactic.

David talks in his sleep. Kels pumps iron. Lana checks in on Matthew. He’s missing the sexual temptation of the journey. Lana tells him to “keep an open mind and try to remember how far he has come.” Who’s left for Matthew to hook up with? The sour pus sorority girl Haley?

Nope, she’s been kicked off the island. “Bye bitches!” she says with a smirk-smile.

Good riddance.

So, now with Haley out, a new boat comes in with two sexy women and another hunky guy to join the group. They’ve been told the rules … but have they been told the prize pot is 75% of what it once was? Don’t know.

Party night. “Let’s get lit!” says Bryce. Just what this horny group needs.

Matthew has his eye on newcomer to the island Lydia, but his awkward conversation with her screws up that opportunity.

Chloe is feeling the same about the new guy. Uh oh, Bryce!

Lana chimes in with the chastity test for Harry and Francesca. They get a night alone in the private suite. That cost the group $16,000 when Sharron and Rhonda went in there, so what will this cost?

The next morning the group gets the penalty bill from Lana. Heavy punishment for the first sex on the island. Fine for sex is … $20,000. Prize pool now at $55,000.

Matthew quits and goes home. The Jesus lookalike will have to find his emotional connection elsewhere. People cry … this all feels like really, really, really bad soap opera TV. Maybe it’s all genuine, but it didn’t have any emotional contact for me. Half the money is gone, and so is Matthew.

This episode feels like more of what viewers expected from the previews. Definitely more of what I was looking for: people getting removed from the island, new people coming in, the rules getting broken, the no sex rule broken.

My second favorite episode so far (episode #1 edges this out)

Rating: ⭐️⭐️½

Episode 7 – “Sisters over Misters”
Air date: April 17, 2020
Run time: 43 minutes

Less than a week left at the retreat, $55,000 of $100,000 left. Er, make that $52,000, because Chloe went kissy face with Kori.

Lana has a female empowerment workshop planned for the girls, but first she asks newcomer Kori who he wants to go on a date with? Chloe is interested in him, but he chooses Francesca. Harry is a bit bummed when Francesca agrees to the date. The drama intensifies. Chloe is pissed.

Francesca gets on the date and realizes her passion is overtaking her. She says, “911. What’s the number for 9-1-1?” (No, can’t make this stuff up! lol)

Ultimately, Francesca resists temptation. She’s sticking with Harry, because she’s falling in love with him. Lana should give the pot back money (that would be a nice twist!). Chloe lashes out at Francesca and says she will not be talking to her again.

Shan, the relationship expert, is back teaching Yonipucha. Yoni = vagina. Pucha = worship. So, are they worshipping their vaginas? Mirrors on the ground for the girls to see what they have between their legs. “Pick up the mirror and explore at will!” – Shan.

Next, the women are tasked with painting their vaginas. These paintings are gold!

Ok, add the f-bomb for emphasis.

Unicorns and vaginas!

Vagina painting 101 made this episode worth watching.

Lana up for the penalty phase. Chloe and Kori, David & Lydia both gave into their lips. $6,000. And another $6,000 is deducted for Francesca giving Harry some kind of “job.”

Prize pot is at $43,000. Why oh why am I still watching this garbage? Parts of it made me laugh, at least. The season finale is next. Only one word saves this: orgy!

Rating: ⭐️

Episode 8 – “Lust or Bust”
Air date: April 17, 2020
Run time: 43 minutes

56 hours left. Speculation among the group who is getting the prize pool? Will it be one of them? Given to a couple? All of them?

My guess would be Sharron and Rhonda, despite the fact they cost the group $16,000. They’ve been together and resisted having sex in the private suite. Will Lana give whatever is left of the cash to someone else?

Ding! It’s Lana again. She’s going to give them a chance to win back money. The fate of the group relies on Francesca and Harry, of which Francesca says, “I wonder how much anal is?” They have to spend another night in the private suite together and if they do all their penalties will be returned to the pot.

The group doubts there will be any money left after this night.

Next morning, Lana reveals that Harry & Francesca resisted their physical urges. Prize pool now back up to $75,000.

They are tasked with one last workshop. Painting word labels on each other.

24 hours left and Lana chimes in, kicking more people off the island. Gone are the people that weren’t taking part in the process: Madison and Kori.

Who gets the money? That’s the grand finale. Lana calls them all in for the big reveal. Lana asks the following people to stand up: Francesca, Harry. Sharron, Rhonda. Then she asks the rest to stand up. They are all declared winners. The $75,000 is split among all of them. $7,500 each, before tax.

Would have been better to give it all to the couple that showed the most development, but makes sense to split it equally.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️½

Season 1 Overall Summary

Hell no.

I feel a little stupid after binging this wreck of a show. Want my time back! I’m reminded just how bad most reality TV shows are and decided to review this all the way through for a good example (bad example?) of why I dislike most of what is cranked out by this genre. Sure, there are moments where I laughed and was mildly engaged, but it was more like how you slow down in the car near an accident scene.

Kara, clearly the wiser of the two of us, wanted nothing to do with this show, perhaps relegating it based on the previews to nothing more than thinly veiled reality softcore porn experiment.

Not that far off base.

This is not remotely in the same league as Love is Blind. That show, which certainly had some of its own faults, seemed to be on a legitimate mission to answer questions of love. Compared to this, which is shallow, exploitation with a cheap, flawed game design.

The question is was it overall entertaining? No.

It often moves too scattershot through the cast, their trials and tribulations, never giving us any real time to learn much depth about them (making them even less likable), doesn’t have a reliable narrative (but has a smarmy, snarky narrator that acts sometimes like the viewer’s conscience complaining how everything happening is brain cell reduction), has rules that can, in fact, be broken if you get a “green light” on a watch.

And on and on.

The premise teased that this show probably wasn’t going to have much in the way of intellectual depth, but it is a “youth trying to go wild” insult show based on a flawed gimmick. Not good, not recommended, not binge-worthy.

Too hot to handle? More like too cold. Save for a few laughs here and there, you’ll feel colder after watching this chilly mess.

Season 1 overall rating: ⭐️½

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