REVIEW: Netflix’s ‘Too Hot To Handle’ was lukewarm

Another reality dating show that lacks representation


Graphic by Makenna Roy

Makenna Roy

 Like every other reality dating show, it tried to be different.

Like every other reality dating show, it wasn’t.

“Too Hot To Handle,” challenged 10 single people, five men and five women, to embark on a journey of self discovery and a chance to create more meaningful connections.

The only rules are no fondling, no kissing and no sex for one month.

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The reward is set at $100,000, but each time a rule is broken money is deducted from their winnings.

At the beginning of the show, I didn’t think I would finish all eight episodes. I felt like I was wasting my time because the contestants all wanted something different out of the retreat. At the beginning there were only a few contestants who took the challenge seriously and wanted to make a change, while others didn’t want to be there. 

None of the contestants seemed to want to learn anything about the other people — it was all based on their looks.

While it’s like every other reality TV show, in that it exposes the faults of its contestants, there are times when you begin to see actual growth from each person.

I’m not saying that other reality shows or dating shows don’t foster actual connection but on “Too Hot To Handle,” you get to see people struggling to let their guard down and create meaningful relationships — or try to.

While the premise of the show tried to be different from other reality shows on television and streaming platforms, I couldn’t discern if it was a dating show or a personal development show.

Like most other reality shows, it still perpetuated stereotypical beauty standards.

Each participant came on to the show with a type and almost automatically ruled out anyone who didn’t fit their description.

While people came out of the show with what seems to be actual connections and actual relationships, the other contestants had minimal variety to choose from.

The show was diverse geographically — Australia, Ireland, United Kingdom and the U.S. — but the racial diversity among the contestants was lacking.

Of the original 10 contestants on the show three were Black — the rest of the contestants were white.

I found myself watching each episode and thinking that if I was a few years younger and came across this show I would be tearing myself down right about now because I look nothing like the female contestants.

That may seem a little dramatic but when you hear over and over that the people society considers to be beautiful look nothing like you, you start to question things.

Almost every contestant represented Western beauty standards.

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Representation matters, even in reality TV. It was as if the Black contestants were only there so the producers could fill the minority requirement. 

Watching the show I got the overwhelming feeling that some of the contestants felt like they were better than the others because of how they looked.

Harry. If you know, you know.

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 Reality shows like “Too Hot To Handle” encourage arrogance and perpetuates beauty stands for both men and women.

I already struggle with trying to deprogram the eurocentric ideas of beauty in my own brain, I don’t need more shows that continue to force those ideas onto me.