Too Hot to Handle (TV series)

Too Hot to Handle is an American-British reality television dating game show produced by Fremantle production company Talkback. Created by Laura Gibson and Charlie Bennett, the show's eight-episode first season was released on Netflix on April 17, 2020. Hosted by a virtual assistant named "Lana", the show revolves around 10 adults - all of whom primarily engage in meaningless flings and are unable to form long-lasting relationships - who are placed together in a house for four weeks and must go through various workshops, all while being forbidden from any kissing, sexual contact or self-gratification. The contestants start with a $100,000 grand prize that gets reduced any time a rule is broken.

Too Hot to Handle
Too Hot to Handle title card.png
GenreReality dating game show
Created by
  • Laura Gibson
  • Charlie Bennett
Based on"The Contest" from Seinfeld
by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld
Developed by
  • Charlie Bennett
  • Laura Gibson
Presented byLana
Narrated byDesiree Burch
Country of originUnited States
United Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series2
No. of episodes19
Executive producers
  • Viki Kolar
  • Jonno Richards
  • Ed Sleeman
  • Leon Wilson
Production locationsPunta Mita, Mexico (Season 1)
Turks & Caicos Islands (Season 2–present)
Running time36–43 minutes
Production companyTalkback
Original networkNetflix
Picture formatHDTV 1080p
Audio formatStereo
Original releaseApril 17, 2020 (2020-04-17) –

The first season ended with contestants Chloe Veitch, David Birtwistle, Francesca Farago, Harry Jowsey, Kelz Dyke, Lydia Clyma, Nicole O'Brien, Rhonda Paul, Bryce Hirschberg, and Sharron Townsend all being deemed the winners and splitting the remaining $75,000 prize.

In January 2021, the series was renewed for two more seasons, with filming underway concurrently amid the COVID-19 pandemic on the Turks and Caicos Islands.[1] The first half of the second season released June 23, 2021, followed by the second half the next week on June 30, 2021.[2]


Hosted by a cone-shaped virtual assistant named "Lana," the show revolves around a group of adults - all of whom primarily engage in meaningless flings and are unable to form long-lasting relationships - who are placed together in a house for four weeks. While there, the contestants must go through various workshops, all while being forbidden from any kissing, sexual contact or self-gratification. The idea behind this is to foster genuine connections between the participants. The contestants start with a $100,000 grand prize that gets reduced any time a rule is broken.

Each season starts with 10 new contestants, although later new additions occasionally join throughout. Similarly, contestants who are unable to form connections in the house or commit to the process are sometimes kicked out.


SeriesEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
1917 April 2020 (2020-04-17)8 May 2020 (2020-05-08)
21023 June 2021 (2021-06-23)30 June 2021 (2021-06-30)

Season 1 (2020)Edit

No. in
TitlePrize moneyOriginal release date [3]
11"Love, Sex or Money"$100,00017 April 2020 (2020-04-17)
22"When Harry Met Francesca"$97,00017 April 2020 (2020-04-17)
33"Revenge Is a Dish Best Served Hot"$94,00017 April 2020 (2020-04-17)
44"Two's Company, Three's a ... Threesome"$94,00017 April 2020 (2020-04-17)
55"Boys to Men"$75,00017 April 2020 (2020-04-17)
66"The Bryce Isn't Right"$55,00017 April 2020 (2020-04-17)
77"Sisters over Misters"$43,00017 April 2020 (2020-04-17)
88"Lust or Bust"$75,00017 April 2020 (2020-04-17)
99"Extra Hot: The Reunion"-8 May 2020 (2020-05-08)

Season 2 (2021)Edit

No. in
TitlePrize moneyOriginal release date [4]
101"C**kblocked by a Cone"$100,00023 June 2021 (2021-06-23)
112"You Gotta Watch Out for Pete"$79,00023 June 2021 (2021-06-23)
123"On Est dans la Merde"$73,00023 June 2021 (2021-06-23)
134"Resist Everything… Except Temptation"$68,00023 June 2021 (2021-06-23)
145"An Offer You Can't Refuse"$68,00030 June 2021 (2021-06-30)
156"Give Up The Chase"$60,00030 June 2021 (2021-06-30)
167"Misters Over Sisters"$40,00030 June 2021 (2021-06-30)
178"Money Down The Drain"$30,00030 June 2021 (2021-06-30)
189"Green Lights and Hot Nights"$55,00030 June 2021 (2021-06-30)
1910"I Did Not See That Coming"$55,00030 June 2021 (2021-06-30)



The show was created by Laura Gibson[5] and developed by Charlie Bennett, citing Seinfeld episode, "The Contest" as their inspiration for the premise of Too Hot to Handle.[6] Laura Gibson, creative director of Fremantle-owned production company Talkback, which produced the eight-part series, told Deadline Hollywood that she had been working to produce a dating show since 2016.[7]

Viki Kolar and Jonno Richards, executive producers for Too Hot to Handle,[8] said they found inspiration for the virtual character from artificial intelligence and virtual assistants, especially in video surveillance. Viki Kolar stated, "[A.I.] is literally everywhere around us. It's kind of governing us, it's taking over," in an interview with Glamour.[9]


On 5 May 2019, Netflix Studios, LLC applied to trademark the phrase "Too Hot to Handle" for all educational, training, entertainment, sporting, and cultural purposes. The application was approved on 24 June 2019, and was extended on 5 March 2020.[10] This has been done with other Netflix original programs such as Stranger Things, The OA, and Big Mouth.[11] Too Hot to Handle was produced by Fremantle production company Talkback.[12]

The show, instead of using a human as their host, used a virtual assistant named Lana. Desiree Burch provided voice-over narration, making snarky and comedic remarks towards the contestants.[13]


In 2018, Talkback announced that casting for an untitled reality television show was open.[citation needed] In total, over 3,000 people auditioned for the show; however, producer Louise Peet stated that the people who ultimately ended up being on the show stood out to the casting team and were chosen quickly.[14]


A luxury resort called Casa Tau[15] in Punta Mita, Mexico opened to guests in December 2018.[16] Soon after, Too Hot to Handle started filming at Casa Tau in late-March 2019[17] and ended filming in April.[18][19] After filming had ended, all fourteen contestants were able to spend several days at the resort with no cameras before going home.[20]


On 10 April 2020, Netflix released the trailer for the first season of Too Hot to Handle.[21] The first season of Too Hot to Handle consisted of eight episodes,[22] all of which were released on 17 April 2020 on Netflix.[23] A reunion episode aired on 8 May 2020, where Desiree Burch interviewed the fourteen contestants.[24] The second season premiered on June 23, 2021.[2]


Season 1 At the allocation ceremony, the ten remaining contestants became the winners. Bryce Hirschberg, Chloe Veitch, David Birtwistle, Francesca Farago, Harry Jowsey, Kelz Dyke, Lydia Clyma, Nicole O'Brien, Rhonda Paul, and Sharron Townsend all split the $75,000 prize fund, resulting in $7,500 for each person.[25]

Season 2 At the allocation ceremony it was down to three contestants: Carly, Cam, and Marvin. The fellow finalists were the ones who voted for the winner, selecting Marvin as the winner of the $55,000 prize fund. [26]


Too Hot to Handle became the #1 television program on Netflix during the week of April 20.[27] Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes gives the first season of Too Hot to Handle 35%, holding an average rating of 4.41 out of 10 from 23 reviews.[28] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, gives the series a metascore of 43 based on 10 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews."[29]

Critic John Serba of Decider panned the show, describing it as "a mashup of Temptation Island, Love Island, "The Contest" episode of Seinfeld and The Peter Griffin Sideboob Hour", stating that "to call it tawdry is to engage in nuclear understatement", calling it "some of the dreckiest dreck ever drecked", and advising viewers to skip it.[30]

Rachelle Hampton of Slate also wrote a negative review, stating: "Despite an irresistibly juicy premise, Too Hot to Handle doesn't know what kind of show it wants to be, and it suffers for lack of direction. (...) Its will-they-or-won't-they concept is ruined as soon as it becomes clear that, yes, they obviously will, even if it means losing tens of thousands of dollars."[31]


  1. ^ Kenter, Jake (27 January 2021). "Netflix Renews 'Too Hot To Handle' For Two Seasons; Show Changes Location & Fremantle Switches Up Production". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  2. ^ a b Kenter, Jake (19 May 2021). "'Too Hot To Handle': Netflix Sets June 23 Premiere Date For Season 2". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
  3. ^ Harnick, Chris (10 April 2020). "Too Hot to Handle Tasks Horny Contestants With Keeping Their Hands to Themselves for Money". ENews. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  4. ^ "Too Hot to Handle – Listings". The Futon Critic. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  5. ^ Arruda, Aline. "Too Hot to Handle: How Seinfeld and Dick Pics Inspired Netflix's Wildest Dating Show Yet". Vanity Fair. Vanity Fair. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  6. ^ Kurkland, Daniel (17 April 2020). "Too Hot To Handle: Awesome Facts About The Making Of Netflix's New Show". Retrieved 19 April 2020.
  7. ^ White, Peter (16 April 2020). "'Too Hot To Handle': Producers Dish The Dirt On Netflix Reality Show That Combines 'Seinfeld's 'The Contest' With 'Love Island'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 19 April 2020.
  8. ^ Nakamura, Reid. "Netflix's 'Too Hot to Handle' Producers Explain Why That Blow Job Cost $6,000". The Wrap. The Wrap. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  9. ^ Tannenbaum, Emily (17 April 2020). "Netflix's Too Hot to Handle Is the Funniest, Least Sexy Reality Show About Sex". Glamour. Retrieved 19 April 2020.
  10. ^ "TOO HOT TO HANDLE - Trademark Details". Justia Trademarks. 29 May 2019. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  11. ^ "Netflix Studios, LLC Trademarks". Justia Trademarks. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  12. ^ White, Peter (10 April 2020). "'Too Hot To Handle': Netflix Unveils Trailer & Sets Premiere For Steamy Reality Dating Format". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  13. ^ Smail, Gretchen (17 April 2020). "'Too Hot To Handle' Narrator Desiree Burch Is The Perfect Person For The Job". Bustle. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  14. ^ Nicolaou, Elena (18 April 2020). "The Too Hot to Handle Cast and Creators Answer Your Burning Questions". The Oprah Magazine. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  15. ^ Weaver, Hilary. "WHERE WAS TOO HOT TO HANDLE FILMED?". LPR Luxury. LPR Luxury. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  16. ^ Lague, Adam (27 March 2020). "Is This the Most Luxurious Home in Punta Mita?". Luxury Retreats Magazine. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  17. ^ Brockington, Ariana (18 April 2020). "This Is When All The Too Hot To Handle Action Was Filmed". Refinery29. Retrieved 19 April 2020.
  18. ^ Blanton, Kayla (16 April 2020). "Where Was 'Too Hot To Handle' Filmed? You Can Plan Your Own Luxury Stay". Bustle. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  19. ^ Nicolaou, Elena (18 April 2020). "Netflix's Too Hot to Handle Was Filmed at This $15,660-a-Night Mexican Villa". The Oprah Magazine. Retrieved 19 April 2020.
  20. ^ Baty, Emma (17 April 2020). "Harry and Francesca From 'Too Hot to Handle' Felt Like the Group Was "Against" Them During the Retreat". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved 19 April 2020.
  21. ^ "Season 1 Trailer: Too Hot to Handle". Netflix. 10 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  22. ^ Corinthios, Aurelie (10 April 2020). "Netflix Drops Too Hot to Handle Trailer: See 10 Hot Singles Attempt Celibacy for a $100K Prize". People. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  24. ^ Longeretta, Emily (8 May 2020). "'Too Hot to Handle' Reunion Includes Tears, a Proposal and a Still Annoyed Haley". US Weekly. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  25. ^ "Lust or Bust". Too Hot to Handle. Season 1. Episode 8. 17 April 2020. Netflix.
  26. ^ "Lust or Bust". Too Hot to Handle. Season 1. Episode 8. 17 April 2020. Netflix.
  27. ^ Decider (23 April 2020). "Netflix Top 10 List: Today's Most Popular Shows and Movies, Reviewed". Decider. Archived from the original on 23 April 2020. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  28. ^ "TOO HOT TO HANDLE: SEASON 1 (2020)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  29. ^ "Too Hot to Handle - TV Show Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  30. ^ Serba, John (17 April 2020). "Stream It Or Skip It: 'Too Hot to Handle' on Netflix, Possibly the Trashiest Reality Show Ever". Decider. Retrieved 19 April 2020.
  31. ^ Hampton, Rachelle (16 April 2020). "Netflix's Too Hot to Handle Bungles Its Juicy Reality TV Premise". Slate Magazine. Retrieved 17 April 2020.

External linksEdit