'Too Hot to Handle' on Netflix Is Based on a Classic 'Seinfeld' Episode

Too Hot to Handle Season 2 begins on Netflix in June, with a new group of singletons pledging not to get intimate in order to win $100,000. While the show was enjoyed by many for offering a new spin on the dating show, its central idea actually comes from a surprising place.

In interviews, show creator Laura Gibson has revealed that the show took inspiration from "The Contest," an episode from the classic '90s sitcom Seinfeld.

In this episode, which aired on November 1992, the four main cast members make a bet about who can go the longest without masturbating after George (played by Jason Alexander) reveals that his mother had to go to the hospital in shock after catching him in the act. In this episode, the quartet compete for $450.

"They all had to not masturbate for money, and they all cave. I said, there's gotta be a show in there," Gibson told Entertainment Weekly (EW). For Too Hot to Handle, she expanded the idea, raising the prize money to $100,000, and banning any intimate contact between the contestants, including kissing. She also added one further twist: Every time a couple do get intimate, money is knocked off the total. In Season 1, for example, the final prize money stood at $75,000 by the end of the show.

She said of this twist to EW: "We talked about it being like the minibar in a hotel. This is what the peanuts will cost, like that. $3,000 was set for a kiss, and even that took a lot of debate."

In a Vanity Fair interview, Gibson also added that she was inspired by modern dating app culture and its focus on sex. She said: "It seems like people get their d**** out within two messages on Tinder... I was like, Surely love doesn't have to start with a d*** pic."

too hot to handle season 2  cast
"Too Hot to Handle" Season 2 cast. Netflix

Per "The Contest" writer and Curb Your Enthusiasm creator Larry David, the idea for the show came from a real contest he took part in when living in New York in the 1980s. He told Vulture in 2017: "I don't remember what the bet was. There must have been some money involved. I think it was a small amount. [The contest lasted] two days. Maybe three. I just remember it didn't last very long. I was surprised at how quickly it ended. I won handily, yes."

He then sat on the idea for a few years, thinking that the network would never let them make it. When they did make the episode, they made the decision to use a series of euphemisms like "master of my domain" rather than use the word "masturbation." "There may have been a couple of things [I had to cut out]. But nothing I couldn't live with," said David.

The episode has gone down in sitcom history as one of the greatest of all time. Vulture named it the greatest episode of the show in 2015, and TV Guide named it the greatest TV episode of all time in 2009.

Whereas in "The Contest" the four Seinfeld characters confess when they are out of the running, for Too Hot to Handle, the show's makers had to create a system to keep track of who got intimate when. The show hired what they call loggers to watch the feeds and listen to the audio constantly to monitor the contestants' behavior.

"One of the loggers told me she became an expert of deciphering audio during sexual activity," Gibson told EW. "We would say 'keep an eye on those sounds. What time are they doing it? How long are they in the toilet for?'"

Too Hot to Handle Season 2 is being released in two parts on Netflix, on June 23 and 30.