Too Hot to Handle

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S1: Hello, Slate plus. We wanted to take a moment and say thank you once again for your membership and support, which has become more important than ever, especially in times like these. You’re helping everyone at Slate do the work that they do. And we’re doing our best to put out the best work for you. Now, if you’re a reader of Slate as well as a listener, you might have noticed that Slate.com recently installed a paywall. But as Slate Plus members, you have access to everything on the Web site. As long as you remember, you will not hit a paywall on the Web site. All you have to do is sign in at Slate, dot com slash log in. That’s slate.com slash log in. And if you have any questions about your account, you can e-mail us at plus at Slate.com. The following podcast contains explicit language like.

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S2: Charlotte, great paper by.

S3: What’s in the box?

S4: Yo, yo.

S5: Hello and welcome to Slate’s Spoiler special. I’m Daniel Schrader, a podcast producer at Slate. I produced The Gist and Outward. And I’m joined today by Slate staff writer Rachel Hampton. Hey, Rachel. Hey, Daniel. How’s it going?

S6: Oh, you know, it’s it’s recorded under my blanket for film, revisiting my childhood.

S5: Great work. I would love to hear your childhood podcast. So today we’re spoiling. Netflix is too hot to handle a new competition reality dating show that puts a number of singles on an island and then forces them to be celibate, but also form relationships with each other in order to win a cash prize at the end. So we got to watch these people try and figure out if they could build lasting relationships about touching each other or if that was not actually going to work or not, or even if the relationships they built here are real or not. Rachel, give me your feelings. What did you think of the show? Did it pull off what it was trying to do? Do you like any of them? How’s your chat?

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S7: I think you mean my banter. I think I have great banter.

S6: But the first episode I was so ready for this to be The New Love is blind to really like real me in. And by second or third episode I was like, this sucks. I hate what our watching right now. And then by episode five or six I was like, maybe I don’t hate this. And then by the end I was like, Nah, I don’t actually want a second season of this. They managed to find the absolute worst people possible to be on this show. And it’s so clear that this show’s producers also hate the people in the way that it’s edited in a way that isn’t fun. Like part of the fun of like Love Island or other shows that have the voiceover feature is hearing the host’s kind of make fun of the contestants. But in this scenario, it just felt like mean in a way that I didn’t enjoy.

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S5: Yeah, I totally get what you mean. It seemed like they wanted to make fun of their contestants as opposed to indulge in the idiocy as well. It was trying to take a kind of moral high ground in a weird way that doesn’t really work. It feels like the producers need to be on the same team as the contestants. Even if we are looking down on them as viewers, what we should probably first get into is how did you feel about the whole sex aspect? Because that’s really like the defining piece of this that sets it apart. I’d say its closest cousin is Love Island, which takes a group of singles like this and puts them on an island together to compete. But there isn’t this added weirdness of you lose money if you have sexual contact with your fellow contestants. What did you make of all that?

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S6: Yeah, I feel like the defining point of this show is that they can’t touch. But the way in which they define what counts as physical contact, like they’re allowed to cuddle, they can’t kiss.

S7: And then the added kind of slap to the face of they can’t masturbate, which feels so weirdly puritanical. It’s reminded me of like Bible Cab where they were like, oh, what constitutes sex is know sex is oral sex. And I’m like, why are we doing this?

S6: I feel like it was Love Island, but also a chastity retreat. And that had all these strange challenges. And Woods, they were like, we’re here to build up your confidence and to make you better people by doing these bondage things together. I think the bare premise of this show is interesting, which is what got me to watch in the first place. Like you read the description of this and you’re like, wow, this is absolute Bassat. I must watch it. And then you meet the actual contestants and you’re like, oh, they’re setting these fools up to fail. Like, there is no way. And this is actually meant to turn these people into better people.

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S8: And by the end of it, I am fully convinced that maybe two people came out that not being utter trash, but they came in with different life perspectives than the rest of the cast who all just felt like 10 young hot dummies trying not to fuck.

S5: The juxtaposition of these hot people all want to have sex but can’t have sex, and the rule of not having sex forcing them to build closer bonds actually ruins the chance to form closer bonds, at least to me it seems, because so much of their conversation and the focus of their relationship is what we can’t do. We can’t touch, we can’t physically interact. We have to like dance around each other in this way. That does seem cool and. third-year. But also gets in the way of trying to build anything stronger, that’s something like you and my’s favorite show of this year, I would say Love is blind did very well because it removed the physical element entirely as opposed to making the physical element there but unattainable.

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S6: Yeah, I definitely agree that it was trying to recreate the magic of love is blind and completely failed in doing that. I feel like all the various kind of mechanisms you could have to get around the actual rules like there are all these cheap moments and then they’re like, we’re going to put you in a private suite together.

S9: It felt like nailed it in a way where you were obviously being set up to fail, but without any of the like kindness that Nicole Byer and Jack Torres actually have.

S10: And I also just didn’t think the president did. The voiceover was anywhere near as funny as Nicole was, though.

S11: I was just like you. This is failing on all of us.

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S1: And it’s really hard when one of your hosts is just an Aleksa. But Lonna because of that. Let’s get into the show. So we arrive on an island with 10 hot new singles who’ve never met before from all over the world.

S5: We’ve got Chloe, David Francheska, Hayley, Harry Kelze, Matthew Rhondda, Sharon, and I dare you to name the Irish girl. I dare you. Wait, wait.

S12: Exactly. Her name is Nicole. Oh, no, it’s not going to get that.

S5: No. I feel so bad for her, honestly, because she’s just kind of dragged along with the rest of them and never like actually develops a strong relationship with any of them and gets no screen time. Whereas this really does become the Francheska project. But why don’t you tell us about the people we get to meet?

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S11: Oh, my gosh.

S13: So the kind of tension of most reality television shows us finding people who are willing to put their lives on television for money, but also maintaining some earnestness in the people that you’re picking.

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S10: You don’t want to watch someone cynically try and win money for four weeks. Somehow this show manages to find ten people who all are absolute, utter garbage human beings.

S14: I would defend David, but.

S15: So within the first maybe hour of meeting everybody, you hear that somebody has taken a dick pic next to an air freshener can or that Haley has a tattoo in a language she doesn’t understand, or that Sharon studied women and gender studies in college so that he could pick up women. Fucking yikes. And then Matthew, who everyone refers to as Jesus because he has long hair, says, I’m a deep thinker. I think about everything a lot sexually. I’m a lot to handle.

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S10: These are the people on this show that we are supposed to be invested in.

S15: They’re all completely terrible.

S9: And the premise is that they’re all just averse to connections. They’re averse to commitment, basically. So for the first twelve hours, they have zero clue what’s coming. They just think they’re on an island, a hookup.

S16: Then Lorna, who is basically a weird cone, a lets the glow lamp thing.

S1: Yeah, she’s off brand Alexa. Yes, she’s Netflix.

S9: She starts speaking and is basically like, oh, you’re actually in a panopticon where I will watch every single one of your movements and you’re not allowed to have any kind of sexual contact. No kissing, no heavy petting, no masturbating, no sexual release of any kind for for weeks or at least I think it’s four weeks.

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S15: They never quite tell you we’re in. They called. They’re a treat. Where? In the retreat you are.

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S10: And I think it’s because there’s so little interesting footage that they have no way to be able to cut it together in a chronological way. The only time we have any clue what time it is is in the finale when they’re like there’s fifty six hours left in the treat. And I’m like, what happened the previous four weeks? Like, what is happening?

S5: It’s particularly weird to watch in a time when we are unstuck from time ourselves because it feels like they are all in this perpetual day where everything is happening, even though the lights go down and sun comes back up. It still feels like we’re all in the same moment. None of these people have actually grown. Three days could have gone by or a year could have gone by between these people getting to know each other.

S9: Exactly. And the only time you kind of start to get a sense that time has progressed is when two of the contestants, Sharon and Rhonda, get together. And that’s because you kind of actually see the progression of their relationship. They’re the only two people in their tree who I’m convinced are actual human beings and not robot influencers. And that Sharon has some tragic backstory. And Rhonda, you find out, has a child and you look at these two and you’re like, oh, you actually have a life outside of this. I’m not convinced that Chloe does not just stare at a wall all day.

S10: And Chloe is a girl from Essex who if you’ve ever watched Low Island, I am convinced that Essex just turns out really dumb people, which might be rude the saying, but every single Essex person who has ever represented on Love Island or any other show, I am like, where did you come from?

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S9: What’s going on here? She has a heart of gold, though I absolutely adore her, but there’s not a lot going on up there.

S5: And she admits that that is actually one great moment that she has later on in the season where she says, don’t tell the new person that I’m dumb or whatever, which was great. I really love that. But I think that’s the problem with this whole cast in general, is that there is not much behind the eyes. And so because of that, there’s nothing to latch onto for us as viewers. There’s no drama to make. The only time there’s ever actually any drama is that Hayley and Francesca decide to do something sneaky and kiss. To force everybody else to lose money, but then to lie to everyone and tell them that it wasn’t them and deny who it was so that they could just cause chaos. And I liked that, except it never went anywhere. And it also got really gross in terms of let’s be gay for jokes and let’s be gay for villainy, which I mean, I’m all for gay villainy, but not when it’s like used like this by someone like Haley.

S8: Yeah. So maybe let’s backtrack and explain the way the prize money works. So they have the first twelve hours where they’re just kissing up a storm and everybody thinks they’re about to get lucky. Lonna comes in, it rains on everyone’s parade and is like there’s a $100000 prize at the end. But whoever breaches the rules, there’s a collective cut to the prize. So you find out a kiss is worth three thousand dollars. You find out that sex is worth twenty thousand dollars. You find out that a blowjob is worth like fifteen thousand dollars. And so each time someone has an infraction, they cut everybody’s collective prize. And in this way, it becomes a very strange allegory for a current moment in that you are trying to get 10 very selfish people to basically forgo self-satisfaction for the collective good.

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S10: And you find out that it’s not going to work. It does not bode well for our core moment where we are also not allowed to touch for the greater good. I watch this and I was like, wow, we’re all going to get crushed because these are the rules these 10 people can’t abide by when there’s actual money at the end.

S16: Then what are people going to do when there’s the abstract baby of somebodies grandma? So that’s what I was thinking about as I watched this show. So Francesca and Harry end up having a kiss within 12 hours of Warner announcing the rules. And Harry, who is the worst person on this show, just an absolute trash human being, decides to blame the kiss on Francesco when he actually kissed her. And so Francesca is like, you know what? Fuck all these people here. I’m just going to like has them revenge. So she decides to kiss Hayley in a moment. That is perhaps the only actual drama of the show other than will they or won’t they fuck? And they all decide to lie about it, only to realize that Lorna tells everybody at the end of the week who fucked who or who kissed who.

S17: And so there’s this moment where they’re like, no, I didn’t kiss Francesca.

S11: And then is like Hayley, kiss Francesca. And kind of like, what the fuck?

S9: And so that was within the first like four episodes. And after that, everything just got really boring for about two and a half hours.

S5: It really did that kiss between Hayley and Francesca. The show framed it really grossly, making it like, oh, is Hayley kind of interested in Francesca? Is she doing this to like, try and like get the chance to hook up with Francesca or something as opposed to what was at least clear to me?

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S1: It was just Hayley is just kind of an agent of chaos who really couldn’t give a fuck about anybody else in this process, as is seen when she just gets randomly sent home later on in the season. And we don’t even find out she’s been sent home until we get a flashback. And they’re like, oh, wait, we forgot to tell you Hailey’s gone. And they kind of like rewind and show us her getting eliminated. But they’d already moved past her so quickly because they didn’t care about her. And it made sense cause she didn’t really care about the show. But she was kind of one of the only interesting ones, kind wanted to break it as opposed to giving into the woo-woo non-sense that they tried to make these idiots buy into. It was basically like they had three different goup workshops during this whole retreat and it was supposed to make them better people. But I think it just showed us how dumb they are.

S8: Can we get into the workshops a little bit?

S1: Oh, of course. I mean, what else is there really to talk about? So the first workshop we get is when all of the couples get paired up to stand in front of each other and exchange physical contact or eyecontact, things like that to build strong relationships that way. So the first one is that the girls have to hug the boy they’re matched up with based on an emotion that only they can see. And then the boy has to write down the guests of what emotion he was receiving from her. And half of them get it, half them don’t. And then they kind of switch up the game a little bit. And the men and women have to stare at each other and kind of what they call soul gaze at the other person. Which just kill me now, put me on a raft. I never want to be a part of that. But it was actually kind of sweet at one point where David is staring at Rhonda. And he just starts crying kind of randomly in a way that it was actually kind of nice to see such a buff alpha dude who’s also very hot. Cry like that. Not hot, but it was hard to take it seriously because it was such an absurd premise. What were your thoughts on the whole workshop?

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S13: So that entire first workshop reminded me of that viral New York Times article from maybe three years ago where it was like thirty five questions, the form of with someone over the course of two hours.

S18: And that list is as ridiculous as the actual premise. I side note. Did that list of questions with a group of friends, so was just four of us doing it and we all got bottles of wine.

S13: So each one of us was drinking one bottle of wine each. So by the end I was like, am I am of or am I drunk?

S11: Is that the point? Now that’s a show I would watch.

S19: I was so drunk anyway, so I was like junior year of college. So.

S14: That’s what this entire workshop, H0, we get it. You went to college three year. Let’s come down here. Let’s not attack me. I’m not hey, we’re Francheska.

S16: So that first workshop just reminded me of that. And they at the end, I think it was Chloë or maybe Rhondda. They were like, you know, I really didn’t believe that you could see someone’s soul through their eyes. But now I do. And I paused at that moment.

S18: And went to take a lap around my living room because it was so fucking ridiculous.

S16: I will say the workshops and maybe the one time I actually liked anybody on the show because what I love in a reality television show are the moments where people who are theoretically cynical about the process begin to buy in against every single one of their rational believe.

S20: And so the workshops are maybe the one time it felt like that was actually happening and where it felt like they weren’t necessarily performing affection for the purposes of convincing Lonna that they deserved money at the end of this. So there was that workshop. There was the one where they did Shabani, which is like a bondage kind of practice. And it was supposed to be about trusting your partner, basically. There’s this really funny scene where Haley just can not pronounce the word CBRE in my notes for this scene.

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S16: I literally just wrote Haley is so dumb. That was my main takeaway from this entire scene. But so they tied each other with ropes and they’re supposed to be trusting each other.

S20: I don’t actually know if that works. All the workshop instructors were also hot and I was like, is this supposed to be additional temptation? Unclear.

S1: Seemed to me they were hot in the way that like that weirdo yoga instructor might be hot. I’m not attracted to them, but I guess it does for some people. They just looked kooky to me personally. So we have this Yubari workshop and Matthew says some weird things about like being able to tie those knots. Matthew, the Jesus guy is kind of a weirdo that should just be axed from the show, I think. I was glad that he just kind of bowed out himself later on in the season, but he really didn’t make any sense. And he, I think, thought of himself in too much regard. Oh, 100 percent. But it was nice to see him go when he left.

S16: He said the best way for a teacher to teach something is to leave. And I was like, what?

S21: What are you teaching? Who are you teaching? Who’s learning anything from you right now?

S19: I did think he was hot.

S17: I will say that I think he was maybe one of two people or three people on the show that I thought was everyone else. I was really confused. I was like, what’s going on here?

S1: And I get shit for liking David. Get out of. Okay. I’m sorry.

S22: I’m not going to get into look. Same thing here. But Daniel.

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S14: First off, that body be bang. OK. Everyone has a great body on this show. That’s not a high bar.

S5: I think he’s an adorable dork. I love it. I think he’s just like cute. And the face is like nerdy in a sweet way, even if he isn’t very smart.

S17: I do think he has one of the best personalities on the show. I will say that.

S1: Oh, definitely. And I think that actually came out the strongest in the hold love triangle between Sharon, Ronda and him, because he was kind of trying to move in on Ronda, too. But he had also developed most friendship with Sharon. And after he and Rhonda had a chat, Sharon clearly was in his feelings and not wanting to talk to David and was pressed about the issue until David was like, hey, dude, let’s talk about this. What’s going on? Like, I don’t understand how you’re feeling and really was able to get that. Sharon was being so much more vulnerable than he ever felt comfortable being and that he was reacting this way because he felt that his feelings were being taken for granted after having bared them to Rhonda in this way. And it gave David the chance to back off and say, like, hey, if this is something that’s really great for you all, I want you to have that. And I don’t wanna stand in the way. So if you’re going to keep developing something with her, great. But you have to do that. And that I really liked about him. He was like, you have to put in the work to try and be a better person for Rhonda, because if not, then I’m going to move in because you clearly don’t care. But like, if you’re telling me that you care this much, then show her that.

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S9: Yeah, I think those are a really good scene. I think I kind of kicked Sharon in the ass because right before that he had told Rhonda.

S20: You know, I like you. I don’t know if I see it going anywhere else because I have like a lot of hurt from previous relationships. My previous girlfriend cheated on me with my best friend. And then Rhonda was like, Homie, I’ve been cheated on three times and I’ve rebuilt from that. So if you can’t do that, then you need to let me know. And so then he. Sharon was like, you know, I don’t think I’m really here for anything serious. And they kind of separated for a few days. And seeing Rondo with David is what made Sharon think, okay, maybe I should take this seriously.

S16: I think Sharon and Rhonda are the only relationship I saw on this show where I was like, okay, these two are clearly taking. Seriously, these two are clearly not just influencers or if they are, they at least have some real life experience to go along with that. Like there was something behind their eyes despite Sharon’s use of women’s studies to pick up chicks.

S5: Definitely. And we should get into their ending because I think that’s the most interesting. But let’s save that for later on so we can get through a few more of these absurd workshops. They have to put themselves, oh, my gosh. So we talked about the shivery workshop and then the men get a workshop where they have to basically cover each other in my head.

S1: And I mean, part of me was into it because watchin hot men rub mud on each other isn’t against my taste. So if anything, against your taste. Daniel. Well, we’ll see. Haven’t found one yet, but I didn’t really care about that. I think like any type of quote unquote masculinity building workshop is just bunk and doesn’t work.

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S5: Having been to church camps growing up and they would like separate the men and women as like high schoolers and teach all the men how to like be strong leaders for the women in their lives.

S1: And really like all of this weird patriarchal but like spun as progressive posturing has always sat wrong with me and is always a little gross. Like, yes, men need to be taught to be more honest about their feelings and be more open. But to me at least, this type of emotional performance is just another riff on masculinity as opposed to like actually piercing that masculinity.

S23: Yeah, I definitely agree with that. I watched it and my immediate thought was anything that gets men to consider the fact that they have fears and insecurities. Is. All right, by me.

S16: I also don’t mind them rubbing mud on each other. I thought that was Hillary.

S5: Oh, yeah. And that I did like after they rub mud on each other. Then they got like pieces of paper that they didn’t like, wrote down all of their fears on and all of their worries or things that like made them feel insecure. And then they had to like show those to each other. And that was a nice moment of vulnerability. But then they had to, like, hang up. They’re like images and then attack them with spears to destroy them. That’s where I turned on it again. And that’s, I think, where the like a version to it came back.

S1: I would have been happy with just the here’s me laying myself bare the end. But they had to go that extra step.

S13: It really feels like a really compact example of the entire show, which is this rollercoaster of being like, what the fuck is this? Oh, is this OK? What the fuck is happening? Wait. Is this gonna work? And then. Oh, no, they really did not stick the landing there.

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S16: But I don’t know. I will say one of my favorite parts of co-ed shows like this, like there’s the genre of show where it’s multiple people dating one person. And then there’s this genre where it’s different gender segregated camps of people. And one of my favorite parts of this kind of reality television show is seeing the way men bond with each other, specifically straight men. I thought these other. And so the way this workshop. Kind of went down was like right as Harry and another contestant were having some conflict over Francesca, and at the end of it, Kelze, who is British black guy, is like, you know, at the beginning of this, I thought Harry was an annoying puppy. And now he’s my little brother.

S11: And I was like, wow, gross. I’m into that.

S16: But yeah, then there’s Piers. There we are. Little signs with spears.

S17: But then they all ran into the ocean together. And I was like, I’m back on board. I’m here for it. This is what I wanted.

S14: He, like you, have each other and said either I wanted to be one of those women sitting, watching them all.

S17: Literally all the women come out and watch them just run around in the ocean together.

S5: And I was like, yes, this is also what I wanted for all that we’re ragging on this show and deservedly so. There is a certain element of escapist like beach porn to it that we just need to enjoy, especially while we’re forced in isolation. Particularly like us in New York City and our producer in Wisconsin, like we need to take these beautiful, luxurious beach days with all the sunlight and everything for as much as we can while we are all stuck in the non beach places.

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S13: Oh, 100 percent. So then there’s the female version of the male workshop, which is all about the yoni, which if you have any interaction with Gwyneth Paltrow over the past 10 years, you know what a yoni is.

S5: And if you’ve ever watched the movie Fried Green Tomatoes, you know what this workshop is because all of the women are going to use some hand mirrors to look at their vaginas.

S19: It was wild for me. A, I don’t like the kind of genre of femininity that’s like womanhood lies in the vagina because it’s very trans exclusionary. But also all these women were like, I don’t see my vagina in years.

S21: And I was just like, what the fuck are you doing when you haven’t seen your vagina in years?

S18: I’m so confused. I really feel like you need to interact with it on a consistent basis. So what’s going on here?

S5: Well, and I think that gets to one of the like weird things about this show for me is that for these women to have this disconnect between like their sexuality and knowing what their vagina looks like. Granted, I can’t speak from that experience, but like it seems weird to me to have this form of like hypersexualization as a part of this show and your persona online and your character, because a lot of these people are influencers. That’s why they’re here. At one point, Francheska even says Kelze asks her how she makes money or like what she does. And she says I’m an influencer so I don’t worry about money. And they all live this hypersexual lifestyle. But to then not be in tune with your own body enough to like be able to say, Hey, I’ve looked at my vagina this month or hey, I know what I look like naked feels very weird to me.

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S1: I don’t really know how to unpack that right now, but it just stuck out as this like tertiary part of Puritanism that really comes through in this show that I don’t think has been grappled with.

S16: Yeah, there’s this really strange moment or kind of tension of this show where. It’s predicated on their consumption of each other and theoretically the point of the show is to get them to turn that inwards. Their bodies seem to not be for themselves. It seems to be for like the pleasure of other people. And so the point of the show is theoretically to make them more connected and in tune with their bodies. But it’s never quite explicitly said in that way.

S9: And so there’s all these weird moments where you get this insight into kind of how disconnected from themselves they are and how disconnected they are from their bodies is anything but a mode of consumption for other people.

S10: Right. A mode of commodification. Yeah. And so it gets really since the dystopian kind of shit, basically.

S23: And.

S9: A part of me is like, I’m glad that you all had this moment because immediately after this workshop, Chloe, the light of my life, the girl from Essex goes and tells this boy who had, just as the British say, mugged her off.

S19: And she hauri. Yeah. Corey, who is also cute. Corey was the worst.

S22: But those nipple rings are a lot.

S13: So backstory on Corey as the show goes on, they introduce more people into the show besides the original ten people and they kick people off as time goes on, which makes it very similar to Love Island in that way.

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S9: And so Corey comes in with two other women and their backstories are they don’t give a fuck about the rules. So they’re there to kind of test the people who have kind of already committed to the rules of the retreat. So Corey comes in him and Chloe hit it off. They make the group lose three thousand dollars because they kiss. But then Corey goes on a date with Francesca, who is by that point a committed relationship with Harry. And so Chloe is obviously angry about this. So her and Francesca have beef. They go to this yoan he empowerment workshop. They realize something along the lines of girl power. And they’re like, we need to stick together. And so then Chloe goes and tells Corey he’s a piece of shit.

S22: And as I watch that, I was like, wow, I.

S21: I’m rooting for you. Girl, like you have this man. He’s trans.

S22: And I greatly appreciated that scene. And then as he walks away, she literally yells, woman empowerment. And I was living absolutely living for it.

S5: I think it’s maybe my favorite moment in the entire series. Do besides the genuine fact that she does seem to pull something real from that workshop.

S1: It also is nice that like Corey is getting his comeuppance cause he was being such a fuck boy. And I really like Chloe a lot. I think she’s maybe the most endearing of the women on this show.

S5: And I felt for her every time she failed with a guy, I want to see her on something else. And so like that moment was refreshing and nice, even if all of the rest of the workshops were just kind of nothing.

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S24: Oh, definitely. I think Chloe is the beating heart of this show.

S5: I will admit, I still don’t know what a geezer is.

S21: Maybe she’s looking for one.

S1: She’s always looking for a geezer. And as a producer myself, I kept waiting for the sound bite where she’d be like, oh, a geezer, like a bubble bar or a Bulba. But that never came. And so it was just supposed to be accepted as fact that like we knew what that was because she knew what that was and Corey knew what that was. And this Irish girl, Nicole, knew what that was. But like, we just had to accept it as, oh, a geezer. Yeah, that’s who I’m looking for.

S13: That does give me so one of my favourite parts of the show, which is that because it’s an international group of people, it’s really different from Love Island UK or levelling us and that you have these different dialects.

S16: If you watch reality television, you’re familiar with. So when Chloe was like, I want somebody who has chat or somebody was banter and the Americans was pursuing was like, what the fuck is chat? What the fuck? What do you what’s bantz?

S17: And as a viewer of multiple UK reality television shows, I was like, oh, I think I know what a geezer is because I always fucking talk about it on Love Island. But then you hear somebody who is American obviously be like, what the fuck are you talking about? Or like to hear Harry was Australian slang and like the weird communication differences between like all of them was really fun or like how Haleys from Florida.

S1: And she was just like, I don’t understand any of these people. They all sound bad. I’m racist. Yeah, like that was art. She didn’t say that, obviously, but. So, yeah. Before we wrap up, there are a few things we should dig into. And I think one of them is the whole price tag of sex in this and how different sexual acts have different sexual price tags. One of the most irritating scenes for me personally was when after Rhonda and Sharon got a night alone in basically the fantasy suite type thing, the fantasy suite, T.M. bachelor network. We’re not infringing on your copyrighted material, but they come back and then Lonna lays out like you’ve lost this much money for bleep over putting bleep in bleep and for a show that’s on Netflix. So there shouldn’t be any need to bleep anything out. It’s frustrating to not know what they’ve done, to understand what they did to lose that money. Like, it makes it confusing in a way that I’m angry as a viewer because I can’t understand exactly what is being priced, where and how much anything is worth. But then it also. Gets into the grossness of putting a price tag on any type of sexual encounter or sexual favor. And I really just think that this show isn’t equipped to interrogate exactly the problems it has with putting a price tag on sex and misunderstanding how sex fits into developing a strong relationship with someone. And that while, yes, it’s good to wait before you jump into bed with somebody at the same time. At least for me as a gay man, it’s going to be much more common that I end up having sex with someone before I develop a relationship with them. But also that like physical contact is such an important part of a relationship foundation that. Gives me pause that, like they have to focus so much on the management of that personal physical contact as opposed to focusing on the emotional contact they have with each other.

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S24: I definitely understand your hesitations and I think that scene was frustrating for me from a different perspective in that the way they kind of talk about sex and the way they kind of price is that it makes like penetrative sex the end all be all in a way that discourse feels quite regressive for the moment that we’re in right now.

S16: Like I said at the beginning, it reminds me of being in middle school and being like, oh, I’m still technically a virgin because I did X, Y and the like. It kind of plays into this weird virginity discourse in a way where it’s like this counts for this much and anything above that point doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t really count as physical contact because they’re still allowed to touch each other like they cuddle with each other all the time. And so in a way, when they say no physical contact, it’s not. Even kind of a dressing all forms of physical contact. And so it just it puts a lot of importance on specific acts in a way that just feels very middle school. But I also can’t see how they would have priced the show in any way other than the one that they did like. The premise of the show demands this tiered structure.

S24: But the tiered structure than here only flawed. But I also don’t expect much reality television shows to have any form of progressive politics. So in a way it feels like I’m picking a bone with something that I should have low expectations for.

S1: Yeah. I just think even for it being a flawed premise that we have to accept because it’s a reality show. It’s just a boring, flawed premise. Yes. And granted, of course, no good criticism is here’s how they would do it better. But there is a better version of this game, this setup somewhere. And it’s not this. And we can see that just from like the amount of stuff they had to cut this down to to make it fit. Like, I don’t know how long it feels like while violent episodes are, but like I know those air for like five days a week for like a month or something. Can you imagine having to watch five episodes of this a week like that? They had to cut this down to eight episodes and they filmed probably a month or something really tells you how little there is to whatever they came up with.

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S16: No, that’s entirely true. I I know I’m going to regret saying this, but Daniel, your peak take is that you love to watch television at 1.5 speed, which I find absolutely abominable.

S17: And yet this show within the first two episodes, I was like, wow, I really want to watch this on to X speed. I fully regretted signing up to review this show by the fourth episode because it was just somehow so boring.

S16: But there was also so much to say. The premise of Love is blind, which is the perfect reality television show, or even m._t._v.’s. Are you the one? Come on. Come on. Is inherently more interesting than what’s happening here, because even though they’re allowed to fuck whenever they all come to the same kind of conclusion that this show is forcing, which is that a physical connection is important, but it’s not the only thing. Sometimes you can rush into bed too soon. And so this show flick, it was just beating people over the head with something that could have been figured out in a different format for the sake of novelty.

S13: I also had the distinct feeling that the show was so boring that they hired a voiceover later. Like, I really feel like they added in the voiceover as a secondary thought because they watched the footage and realized we would literally never watch this footage without somebody commenting on it.

S5: I couldn’t agree more that voiceover was so heavy handed and it’s because yeah, they really didn’t have anything going on. And your comparison to those other shows is great. I’m reminded of something like are you the one where like having sex with multiple people is what like makes them have to confront who they are and grow? Like that’s how some of those people become better people.

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S1: And so like to prevent them from doing that is maybe actually preventing the growth at the show. So much wants.

S13: And then I didn’t understand how the prize worked until the last episode. I don’t know if you had that same feeling, but I wasn’t sure if it was a plot that everyone who was on the island at the end of the show got to split.

S24: Or if Rana, which is dictate, oh, this couple deserves it the most. And that’s pretty much left up to chance until the very last 10 minutes of the show where they’re finally announcing the prize. And you’re just sitting there like, what the fuck is going to happen?

S16: I guess once they allocated the prize the way they did, which is that they had seventy five thousand dollars left by the end, they just divided it up by the ten people who were there, even though there were only I would say maybe three couples of the ten people were there, the other four were just floaters who hadn’t found a connection.

S13: Yeah. And we’re supposed to believe that they have learned something from the past four weeks.

S19: And as I watched the end credits, my thought was these idiots just got a free four week vacation and seventy five hundred thousand dollars.

S22: And you can’t even say they didn’t fuck because they literally at one point were down to a forty five thousand dollar pot of money, which is a lot of money to have lost over the course of eight episodes like that is how many infractions they were. And so even at the end, you can’t even be like, oh, they only had twenty five thousand dollars worth of infractions. I look at the end credits and it was just like, why did I watch them?

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S1: Yeah, I think the whole explanation of how the prize works was never clear to us. Maybe it was never clear to them either. And so the stakes were always messy and confusing. We didn’t know, like, how much anybody would be getting. And as they were even unraveling the ending, as they were revealing that it still wasn’t clear because they were like, hey, these two people stand up. But now this couple stands up to, oh, now everybody stand up. You all get it. And it was like Setagaya, this false tension of like, wait, is it gonna be one couple versus the other couple? They got to do like some final workshop to see who has found themselves the most or something like that. And no, it just turned out that like everybody who stayed long enough and was nice got the money. It’s like, why is Nicole getting money? She got maybe five words on the whole season. If Matthew had just stayed, he would have just gotten the money. So why did he leave? Like, was he just really that desperate to masturbate? What was the whole problem here? I never really got that. So I’m happy that they all got some prize. I’m glad that our favorite Chloe has some money I’m interested in following. Probably none of them. But how did you feel about the couples at the end that we had?

S23: So we had Sharon and Rhonda. We had. Harry and Francheska.

S14: And we also had Lydia and Dave, and they were sitting apart from each others, like they don’t even count. Yeah.

S16: I really don’t know what’s happening between them, but I include them in my presumed couple count because they were again friendly. But I think that the two real couples we had at the end, herion, Francesca and Sharon and Rhonda, kind of really highlight the weaknesses of this show. Harry and Francesca throughout the course of four weeks lost the group collectively. Thirty two thousand dollars. You realize that the pot of money that they have available to them is forty five thousand dollars for ten people.

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S9: And Lonna gives them the chance to earn it back by allowing the couple who has fucked up the most to go into a private suite together. And if they manage to go the entire night without physical contact, then they can earn back the thirty two thousand dollars that they have collectively lost over the past four weeks. That couples, of course, Harry and Francesca and most of the final episode is wondering whether or not those two idiots are actually gonna fuck everyone else over again.

S16: Sharon and Rhonda lost their share of money, but it was now thirty two thousand dollars. And Sharon and Rhonda both brought into their relationship previous issues in a way that felt more real, in a way that. Herry and Francesco’s issues felt largely self-inflicted. They were arrogant, selfish, and that felt like the main things they were overcoming is their mutual stubbornness. I have very little sympathy for whatever issues they had. Sean and Rhonda, on other hand, both came into the relationships with actual issues like outside issues that they had to work through. And so I felt better about the relationship.

S5: Are any of these couples isolated together? What’s going on? Oh, my God. I wish we could speculate, but we’ll leave that for another show. Would you watch another season of this? No, I definitely wouldn’t either. I can’t believe I watched this one. Thank God I watched it at 1.5 to 2 X the whole way through.

S25: Well, that’s our show. Please subscribe to the Slate Spoiler special podcast feed. And if you like the show, write and review it in the Apple podcast store or wherever you get your podcasts. If you’ve got suggestions for movies, TV shows, anything else we should spoil, or if you’ve gotten the other feedback you’d like to share. Please send it to us at spoilers at Slate.com. Our producer is Rosemary Bellson for Rachael Hampton. I’m Daniel Shrader. Thanks for listening.