Too Hot To Handle’s Hot Girl Summer

See also: summer of love, white boy summer, summer of 69 (literally)

You’re reading Now Streaming, a weekly newsletter from Michael Sun, full of what to watch, read, and consume this weekend. It’s part of Netflix Pause, a publication that’s all about hitting pause to reflect on the latest film and TV. Subscribe now to get three free newsletters in your inbox every week diving into screen culture.

If you are like me, and constantly go about daily life by asking yourself WWGPD (What Would Gwyneth Paltrow do), I hope what Gwyneth Paltrow would do is subscribe to this newsletter.

I live in Sydney, so I will unfortunately not be touching anyone this weekend. Luckily, though, I have the pleasure of watching other people also not touch anyone in Too Hot To Handle, with a second season that is somehow even hotter, even hornier, and even more salacious. Let’s ride, baybee.

Now streaming
Watch trailer

Too Hot To Handle S2

As Camus said: “In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.” This is a quote that I have very much taken to heart, except by “within me” I mean “on Netflix” and by “summer” I mean hot girl summer. By “summer” I mean “of love”. By summer I mean the “white boy” variety (or at least its initial promise). By summer I mean “of 69” (quite literally). 

By “summer” I probably do not mean Midsommar, although what I do mean — which is the tropical club paradiso of Too Hot To Handle — shares one element in common with Ari Aster’s cottagecore nightmare and that element is a group of people gathering in a segregated area with the express purpose of fornicating. Unlike Midsommar, however, these people do not actually get to fornicate.

If you think what I am saying is that the only thing keeping me warm throughout this tedious and interminable winter is the sheer schadenfreude of watching hot people literally suffering through physical pain in their efforts to avoid getting down and dirty with other hot people, you would be absolutely correct; that is exactly what I am saying. It’s also the cornerstone to why Too Hot To Handle is — as they say — binge-worthy viewing: the level of almost-too-much debauchery, the sheer will-they-won’t-they suspense dialed up to astronomical (and astronomically horny) levels, the fast and furious editing, the delightful cruelty of watching the reality show equivalent of a chastity belt! But I digress.

The premise of Too Hot To Handle, by now, is well-known: a cadre of beautiful contestants gather on an island getaway where any and all sexual contact will cost them a chunk of their $100,000 prize money. There are Bachelor-esque dates, there are raunchy exercises, there are lots of slo-mo shots of extremely oiled-up skin on extremely oiled-up skin. And of course, all of this occurs under the watchful surveillance of Amazon-Alexa-slash-anti-sex-security-guard Lana, who I’m pretty sure Foucault wrote about or something. It’s Lana’s panopticon, we’re just living in it.

A new season brings us a new array of people who describe themselves as maneaters,  firecrackers, and “a set of open legs” (this is also what my Tinder bio says BTW, please DM me if you are interested), all of whom unfortunately think that they are participating on a made-up show called ‘Parties in Paradise’. What they want is Lindsay Lohan’s Beach Club but sadly what they get is no sex and a digital overlord who is watching them at all times. Among the unfortunate: New Zealand’s answer to Elle Woods AKA Larissa, resident Frenchman Marvin (that’s mahr-VAN to those of you who have now learnt how to correctly pronounce lu-PAN), bottle rocket Melinda, and many other himbos and bombshells.

One thing to note about the show this time round: unlike its debut season, the contestants now know what Too Hot To Handle is, and even after the ‘Parties in Paradise’ ruse is up, they are simply unafraid to flout the rules openly and egregiously. The characters are bigger, the stakes are higher, and their prize pool is rapidly diminishing. There’s also...ostensibly...a plot around finding ~ deeper emotional connections ~, but let’s not kid ourselves: we all know the real reason we’re watching. After a year spent not touching a single person, there’s nothing more relatable than watching the hottest people in the world stoop to our level too.

The first episodes of Too Hot To Handle are now streaming.

Watch these too:

Two other ~ twisty ~ reality shows:

  • The Circle, which is like Big Brother if Big Brother took place during lockdown and everyone was confined to their rooms and couldn’t meet each other and could only talk by dictating text to a digital interface called The Circle and also could lie about their identities.

  • Love is Blind, a dating show where — as the name implies — participants date and get engaged without ever seeing each other first. Also it is hosted by Nick Lachey, who is famously invented marriage on his first reality show.

Two spinoffs:

And one trailer:

  • Sexy Beasts, a show which extends the Masked Singer industrial complex into its final frontier: dating.

I can’t stop thinking about:

And apropos of nothing, a video of Blake Lively saying “it’s all good, just another Tuesday”:

Yes I know it’s a Friday but time means nothing and also A Simple Favor is now streaming.

Like and comment

Michael Sun is the Netflix Culture Editor at Junkee.
Netflix Pause is produced by the Netflix ANZ editorial team who you can also follow on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook. If you haven’t already, subscribe to us to get three free newsletters in your inbox each week filled with deep dives into screen culture. And leave us a comment too, if you’d like!