American reality TV never disappoints if you’re looking for cheap thrills and with this show they’ve quite outdone themselves. Put together every cliché aspect of a cheap thrill – love, looks, an exotic location, romantic drama, a funny and engaging narrator, a whole lot of sex and voila – you have one of the most successful reality shows on Netflix, Too Hot to Handle.
Let’s just say it – its thrash. But for a while now, creators of youth based ‘entertainment’ reality shows have unabashedly embraced the idea of buying into cringe and selling crap despite open criticism. It’s thrashy and all those negative words you’d denote with a reality show like this one – and they know it. They’ll sell our disapproval right back to us and we’ll buy it either in the name of guilty pleasure or just to validate why we hate such shows. Either way, they end up successful.
Yes of course, Netflix has made two seasons of Too Hot to Handle and I, like millions of others, have watched every episode. And I’ve looked up few of the participants on social media. And I’ve felt some pleasure at the choreographed surface level legitimacy of the content seen on the show in comparison to their real lives. We all have.
The makers actually came up with a reasonable concept – they deprive a bunch of good looking, sexually hyperactive youngsters of sex and force them to form meaningful connections through their stay at a seaside retreat. Ones capable of catching the pulse do manage to form some connections and go back with a few fulfilling memories but the rest just add to the viewership of the show. Even if the basic idea of the show means well, the ultimate ratings agenda keeps it from being executed at all because the trouble makers cannot be sent home or the ratings will drop. It’s true for every reality show but here the impact is so emphasized that the whole point gets ruled out.
What’s amazing is that we still live in a world where pretentious shows are made with massive budgets despite there being a large part of the population that ruthlessly criticizes it. The marketing genius behind them has openly embraced the concept of cringe and cheap thrills and sells without a second thought. Zero consideration is given to concepts like impact on young/teenage minds, propagation of wrong body/ethical standards and other ethical framework. People that emerge from such shows end up making fortunes. All is wrong with the world and we’re amused by it.