Noted cheery soul Bram Stoker once wrote that despair has its own calms, and I think this is the point we are at. Horror has become a kind of dull ache in the background, like a tooth that isn't quite at the yanking stage just yet.
here are fewer moments in the day when it suddenly pops into your head that there is a virus which threatens us all. Perhaps it is one of the stages of pandemics, after shock, toilet-roll hoarding, comfort eating and baking, we are now at the point where we can switch off the radio when the news comes on, when we aren't telling each other statistics that we don't understand.
We are fatigued from all the disaster and are looking for something entertaining yet mundane. Enter Too Hot To Handle, Netflix's latest reality TV dating show. Those who suggest it is a massive rip off of Love Island are being unfair, as THTH is filmed in Mexico, and not on an island. Other than that, they are almost identical, save that THTH doesn't bother with the ludicrous pretence that this is about love, but rather it is entirely based around sex and money, as is 90pc of all human endeavour.
The premise is this - good-looking people are dispatched to a sunny resort and forbidden from any sexual contact with either themselves or each other. Every time they do, the overall prize money of $100,000 is reduced. A kiss costs three grand, and the price list for infractions goes up from there. It's basically The Hunger Games meets Lord Of The Flies meets The Remains Of The Day, all wrapped up in a gloriously trashy package. It even has a sarcastic narrator who seems to dislike the contestants even more than the viewer will after about 20 minutes. But that's what makes it so enjoyable, because you can watch it for good-looking people trying not to footer with each other, or a study of human nature - the hipster Jesus guy with the messianic complex, the English accountant who keeps talking about the prize money and has little interest in the sex, the Florida girl who despises everyone, the Aussie guy who looks and acts like a troubled kid who arrives in Summer Bay and burns down the surf club to win a bet, and Bryce, an LA musician who lives on a boat and looks like he would get shot in the opening scenes of a Tarantino movie.
In fact, the clash of national identities is part of what makes it fun to watch, as you ascribe ludicrous stereotypes to them - gosh, Americans are confident; gosh, English people are polite; gosh, Canadians speak slowly; gosh, the Cork accent is quite… something. Like, we don't sound like that, do we, like?
You can say that shows like this are a sign of the further deterioration of civilisation, or you can say that pretending to be an amateur anthropologist whilst watching some swimsuit models skip about in the sun is a lot better than pretending to be an amateur epidemiologist whilst a virus kills thousands of people worldwide.
THTH is pure escapism - hot, fickle people trying not to touch themselves or other people in case they lose money, as opposed to our world right now in which depressed middle-aged people try not to brush off anyone in the supermarket for fear we catch a killer virus.
These are strange days when watching a load of nubiles hop about on a beach is actually less voyeuristic and intrusive than the paranoid curtain-twitching that so many of us have sunk to. Even Tiger King, with its deranged murder plots and random limb removals, doesn't offer this level of escape.
After weeks of unrelenting fear, cabin fever and pretending to understand graphs, THTH was a blessed release. We drank some wine, laughed at youth and beauty, and forgot that things may well be very different in our world from here on in, and that a show in which touch is taboo might not be such an odd premise in years to come.