Despite its name, the Hype House fails to capture its hype in its new Netflix reality series.
Posted Friday, “Hype House” follows a TikTok content house founded by Thomas Petrou, Chase Hudson, better known as Lil Huddy, and Alex Warren as they pursue their latest personal and professional endeavors. However, since its heyday, the Hype House has lost many of its high-profile members and also left its Hollywood mansion, making the announcement of its reality show an inconvenience to many. When Netflix released its promotional material on TikTok, millions of users took to their phones to review the show even before it was released. And the predictions of the TikTok community were true – the show is disappointing.
The series begins with a visual tour of Hudson’s new home, which is not the main Hype house now located in Moorpark. The episode begins with her moving story to focus on the music. But opening up with someone who wants to break up with the House defeats the supposed purpose of illustrating the success of the Hype House. Starting with Hudson also sets a dull tone, as his confessionals lack the high energy and personality normally associated with entertaining reality TV.
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Although many members of Hype House have similarly Nikita Dragun’s dreary personalities, confidence and pot-stirring ability as well as Larray’s outgoing and lovable personality thankfully add an entertaining factor to the banality. Observing the complex dynamics between the two is a bit more engrossing than the other storylines, as the pair bicker over Larray’s team blaming Dragun for his irresponsibility after testing positive for COVID-19, leading to a production stoppage. This conflict had the potential to be gripping, but the plot the background feels rushed with its choppy transition and lack of footage or other visual elements to help communicate the premise of the story.
And although Dragun and Larray are the most compelling to watch on screen, they don’t live in the main Hype House. This is a fundamental problem with the reality series, as it is meant to showcase the lives of the people in the house, but tends to focus too much on those who are no longer associated with the house, like Charli D’Amelio. In one scene, Hudson invites some friends, including D’Amelio, to a dinner party, during which Larry reveals in his confessional that he worries about D’Amelio being used as a “plaything of influence”. Yet that’s exactly what the show itself does – because the current members of the Hype House are irrelevant, they constantly name and flaunt D’Amelio to bolster the house’s credibility.
Like the Hype House, the D’Amelio family also recently released a Hulu reality series with the same goal: to present a personalized view of the influencers behind TikToks and headlines. But unlike “Hype House,” the D’Amelios were able to transform their unfavorable reputation and become accessible to the average viewer by exposing vulnerable moments and their mental health issues involving a toxic social media culture. On the contrary, when examining the implications of cancel culture, the Hype House members seem superficial because they talk in business terms rather than emotional, eliminating the sympathetic reaction they targeted.
Adding to the frivolity, the main conflict presented throughout the show is Petrou’s frustration with the members’ lack of effort and infrequent messages. Although it helps to better understand the business aspect of TikTok, the conflict spans all eight episodes. The show inserts dramatic, dark music around the discussion in order to portray Petrou as a victim, but instead characterizes him as irritable and authoritative.
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Unlike their peers, Warrenit is and Vinnie Hacker’s story arcs are the most authentic of those that actually live in the house. Warren’s emotional breakdown upon visiting his father’s grave is heartfelt as he opens up about his difficult upbringing and how his father inspired him to create vlogs. Additionally, Hacker’s storyline is relatable as his confessionals are authentic when describing the challenges. to quickly go from average kid to TikTok idol, like the reluctance to date due to fear that his superfans will ambush his romantic interests.
Made up of young influencers with intriguing backgrounds, “Hype House” had the potential to showcase an authentic and fresh side to TikTok culture, but it instead reinforces the negative stereotypes associated with the creators of the platform. Although the show aims to humanize the faces seen on thousands of For You pages, influencers mostly discuss social media followers and money. The admirable reality TV show has a cast ready to share every emotion and thought on its mind, but the members of Hype House seem fearful and reluctant to open up to the camera – except in a few cases – creating an uneventful and lifeless series.
Not even Netflix can rekindle the hype.