Sorry, but did Netflix know coronavirus was coming? If not, please explain the timing of binge bait juggernaut Tiger King. Now, right as we're hitting our second month week of quarantine celibacy, Netflix has dropped a reality TV show all about sexual frustration.
Too Hot to Handle is based on the Boomer-ish premise that young people's fast and casual dating lives have devalued intimacy and commitment. So, they've dropped ten of "the hottest, horniest, commitment-phobic swipesters" in a beachside mansion where no one's allowed to have sex, to see if they can be cured. The contestants can't so much as kiss — the cast's $100,000 ($10,000 each) cash prize depreciates if they do.
The show's participants arrive blissfully unaware of the twist. Twelve hours in, they're informed by the Alexa-ish device that serves as host that any thirsty behavior will cost the group. Kissing docks $3,000 while sex rings up a $20,000 tab.
Compulsory chastity and society-wide consequences if you break the rules... sound familiar? Reality TV already has a lot in common quarantine: social isolation with a group of people you likely didn't choose deliberately, the urge to stir up just drama for no reason, drinking a lot. The only difference is they're not allowed to masturbate. And we know we're only getting $1,200 to begin with.
Netflix became a reality TV powerhouse with The Circle and Love is Blind. This new creation seems to combine their secret ingredient — a pseudo-sociological twist — with the other recent winning strategy of late (see: Love Island UK): accents. Contestants are plucked from all over the UK, Australia and America. Just based on the trailer, besides watching hot horny people shame their hornier, weaker housemates for a lack of control, the accents constitute a good chunk of the entertainment.
Too Hot to Handle seems destined for virality, but can watching people not have sex really be as gratifying than watching them do it? Does watching the show from isolation mean we'll relate more to the sexually frustrated on-screen characters? Will the internet's horniness become unstoppable? Or, will the show make us more sexually frustrated than ever? Sadly, it's Friday and we have nothing better to do than find out.