From girls on the show to saying they ‘might go for a girl’, to Season 1’s Haley and Francesca with their infamous kiss that was used to death in marketing, the Too Hot to Handle franchise has been on the outskirts of being a purely heterosexual show, but has never crossed the line into queer representation in a way that has actually been meaningful.
Queer or Queerbait?
So far, none of the kisses between two girls have led anywhere. In one of the Too Hot to Handle seasons, there was a clip of some male contestants fetishizing two women being together, but no actual gay relationships. Now, on the show, these are real people making choices. One can say things just didn’t work out that way, or simply blame casting. That is why the video game is going to be so important.
Games Have Control
In a video game, the creators of the game are the ones making the choices of what players can and can’t do, and what non-playable characters will and won’t do. If the Too Hot to Handle Netflix mobile game doesn’t allow for any LGBTQ+ options, that will send the real message of how the franchise feels about the queer community and their place in the Too Hot brand.
Too Hot to Handle… or not?
The plot of Too Hot to Handle is that contestants are invited to paradise with a bunch of other hotties, but they need to form real connection, rather than have ‘meaningless hook-ups’. Contestants will abstain from kissing and sexual activity until they have formed that deeper connection with another contestant, or lose money from the show’s prize pool.
Putting love over sex is a concept full of baggage either way, but there is no reason for this game to only allow deeper connections between heterosexual couples.
Overall, Too Hot to Handle isn’t that deep. It is a fun show with a slightly questionable premise, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t entertaining. That said, the way queer narratives are sprinkled in, but never given the spotlight is frustrating, so let’s see if the mobile game eases that tension with queer game options, or doubles down on the centering of heterosexual romance.
The Too Hot to Handle mobile game will be free for all Netflix subscribers.