“Imagine a fraternity filled with people with millions of followers and dollars at their fingertips, with high-school drama… and a ring light.”
Welcome to Hype House.
That’s one of the opening quotes from the new Netflix reality series, Hype House, that positions ten mostly white TikTok megastars – who are famous for being ordinary, mind you – in a house together to, you guessed it, create content.
Capturing the crushing churn and burn of being a ‘content creator’ as a profession, the Netflix docu-soap does a great job at exemplifying how this million-dollar mansion, while full of excessive materialistic objects, is pretty desolate, and perhaps not indicative of a healthy, happy home.
It also paints a picture of the current mental state that these wannabe celebrities find themselves in. It’s problematic and it’s honestly sad to watch.
Here’s a breakdown of Hype House.
What is Hype House
Picture a multi-million dollar mansion in the hills of California and now dump a bunch of teenage TikTok personalities from Los Angeles into said house in the name of ‘content’. That’s pretty much the idea of Hype House; use the clout of respective social media influencers to build more of it. This collaborative house of sorts is a space where these TikTok somebodies can come, collaborate and curate content for paying brands around the world.
Iterations of Hype House have been running since 2019, where influencers will pay for the rent of these extravagant homes from the brand deals they secure (the Hype House featured costs around $80,000 per month to rent).
What the Netflix docu-series highlights, however, is that teenagers bore quite easily, and the ‘Hype House’ isn’t what it cracks out to be.
Do you mean to say that living in a multi-million dollar home with eight rooms, ten bathrooms, a pool, tennis court, basketball court and cinema, day in and day out, isn’t much fun?
Throughout the eight-episode show, you gather a sense that these influencers are rather fed up living in this house together, creating pointless videos that allow them to live the very lifestyle that they so desperately yearned for. Most of them initially seemed happy to live together in the Hype House – a sort-of schoolies-like experience but much grander.
But I think it dawns on the cast pretty quickly that no, living in this house of wonders isn’t cool, but rather embarrassing.
Kids running around, spending ludicrous amounts of money in the name of content, doing stupid and dangerous stunts – or just dancing around in their pajamas – is just not reflective of the current social zeitgeist.
Who lives in the Hype House?
The stars of the show are simply kids playing house, with their respective ages spanning 17 to 23. Hype House was formed in December 2019 by two of TikTok’s biggest rising stars, Chase Hudson aka Lil Huddy (32.4m TikTok followers) and Thomas Petrou (8.1m TikTok followers), with Petrou taking on the responsibility as the clan’s mother hen.
The duo is joined by Jackass-wannabee Alex Warren, his girlfriend Kouvr Annon, Nikita Dragun, Larri Merritt and Jack Wright. Those who live in the house have made it very clear that it’s not a party house, so there are ‘strict rules’ to living in the house.
“You can’t come and stay with us for a week and not make any videos, it’s not going to work. This whole house is designed for productivity.,” Thomas said in a story by the New York Times.
“If you want to party, there’s hundreds of houses that throw parties in L.A. every weekend. We don’t want to be that. It’s not in line with anyone in this house’s brand. This house is about creating something big, and you can’t do that if you’re going out on the weekends.”
“You either have to be talented at something, or a weird funny mix, or extremely good looking.” – Chase Hudson
Hype House alumni also include TikTok heavyweights Addison Rae, and sister Dixie and Charlie D’Amelio, who currently have the most followers on the platform.
can we talk about how EVERYONE on the hype house show was so toxic except for vinnie, larray, chase and baron
— mouseache (@mouseache444) January 8, 2022
Why is it problematic?
Whether intentional or not, Netflix effectively documents a bunch of kids living beyond their means – and whose sole job is dictated by followers, engagement and content – miserably failing at holding onto the very little fame they have.
No one on the show really appears to be having a good time. Cancel Culture is a reoccurring topic, and one that puts a quiver in the voices of these teenagers when they discuss the very real idea of not being relevant anymore. There’s stress, there’s angst, there’s toxicity; whilst ‘entertainment’ to some, on the whole, it’s rather concerning viewing.
There’s one teen who’s about to have a mental breakdown over his decline in engagement, following and relevance:
“I know it sounds so dumb. You’re a 20-year-old millionaire. What do you have to be depressed about? But that’s what I struggle with. I feel like I’m not allowed to be depressed,’ says Alex Warren in a confessional.
“When you stop posting in this line of work, you lose engagement. You don’t get sick days in this job. If you get a sick day, you lose followers, which is a loss of revenue, which is, you know, your job.”
I want to write a dissertation on Hype House.
— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) January 13, 2022
Then, there’s Petrou who thinks taking his peers on a trip to Joshua Tree will ensure there’s a level of normality in their Hype House experience… only to find that no one ‘films’ their experience. No one is amused. And perhaps, the only reason they are all still together is for the sake of the Netflix cameras.
Hype House is an odd, jarring viewing experience. It’s somewhat cold. It’s not a ‘Disney or Nikelodeon’ experience as Petrou compares it to. It’s a real-life peek into the lives of bratty teens who shot to fame overnight and don’t know what to do with it.
And as it stands, the Netflix series marks the end of the Hype House dream, with most of its members having reportedly moved on to pursue their own careers outside the contractural confines of Hype House.