Netflix’s ‘Hype House’ Is So Sad

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Courtesy of Netflix

Chase Hudson (left) and Tommy Petrou of Hype House

In a scene from Netflix’s new reality show Hype House, Tommy Petrou, 22, the de facto leader of the eponymous content collaboration TikTok, calls a meeting to discuss the members’ lack of commotion.

When they get together – there are maybe a dozen members – he looks around and wonders how the group has become so small.

“Everyone’s become too famous,” one laughs.

This line sums up the central tension of Threshing house, which somehow manages to make being young, rich and famous in Los Angeles horribly depressing. The members of Hype House, who are all in their late teens and early 20s, live together in a mansion and create content for TikTok as a collective on the premise that bringing more creators together will make their videos. more dynamic and interesting.

No one in the house, however, seems to be enjoying themselves. Throughout the show’s eight episodes, members of the house are clearly upset, consumed with the need to succeed while watching their peers reach heights they know they might not reach.

Even Chase “Lil Huddy” Hudson, a founding member who has gone on to become a star, is stressed. Credited with helping kickstart an emo revival among Gen Z, Hudson was signed by Interscope Records, and here it seems to realize that he has to leave his old friends to advance his musical career. Hudson approaches this dilemma with the awkwardness of a freshman trying to get rid of his high school girlfriend over Thanksgiving vacation. It’s clear he wants to move on – he left Hype House to move into his own mansion – but he’s very much aware that his influence has been a major factor in the group’s success. Without him, what do they have?

“Chase is the person who made Hype House what it was. Because he’s not there, everything about that brand is falling on me,” Petrou remarks in one scene, noting in another that Hudson might. elevate any member to new heights by posting them every now and then on their page, but don’t.

Maison Hype was started at the end of 2019 by Hudson and Petrou and at one point counted some real TikTok thrills like the Amelio sisters (Charli appears briefly on the series, but is not interviewed) and Addison rae among its ranks. Today, however, many stars have moved on, leaving Petrou to lead a stable of less experienced and famous designers. “Less famous” is all relative; everyone in the house has millions of subscribers on TikTok, but the remaining team does not enjoy the same recognition as its former superstars.

“We were like family… it was so much fun creating content every day, and now times have changed,” laments Petrou, interspersed with nostalgic clips from old Hype House videos.

This is a problem for Petrou, who is trying to keep the Hype House afloat financially. He struggles to motivate his gang of mostly indistinguishable white dudebros to contribute to the results of the house (a scene of Petrou lecturing the group on their laziness to a shot of a member throwing a potted plant at the sleeping form of ‘another).

As Petrou worries in front of the camera of working 10 to 12 hours a day to fulfill the group’s branded partnership agreements, which pay for everything in the house, members like Connor Yates, 23, and Michael Sanzone, 19 years, lounging like, well, young people who have no adult supervision and very few responsibilities. “I’m totally bored!” Yates complains.

Ironically, the interesting thing about the majority of Hype House members, given their popularity, is how boring they are to watch. The majority of them are so unforgettable that I couldn’t name most of them, and very few outside of Hudson and Petrou have a script over the course of eight episodes. They all mingle, a mass of handsome white young people lounging around the house, eating snacks in sweatpants and sometimes doing generic pranks or dances on TikTok.

Larray, a YouTuber and semi-involved member of Hype House, explains in one scene why he doesn’t go home so much anymore. “The vibrations don’t hit,” he says.

Larray and fellow YouTube star Nikita Dragun (who is friends with many members) are by far the most watchable actors, which is odd because Dragun isn’t actually in the Hype House and neither of them are. was famous mainly on TikTok. They’re so peripheral to the collective that you have to wonder if the production got them to make up for the boring team at Hype House (they’re also, notably, the only POC in the series).

YouTubers could certainly do a show on their own. Dragun is fascinating (that’s how she got so famous!), But it often feels like she’s on an entirely different show. She discusses the ins and outs of running her makeup line, which she developed after failing to find the products she wanted as a trans woman, and drives around Los Angeles in her fuschia sports car complaining. of the attack on Trisha Paytas on Twitter. I could have watched hours longer just that. But it’s Threshing house – she eventually has to drag herself out there to do things with the crew. She puts the boys in makeup and heels, and while it’s not as entertaining as watching her pull off, it’s a respite from the monotony of uninspired TikTokers.

Courtesy of Netflix

Larray and Nikita Dragun in Threshing house

Larray, who is known for his comedy on YouTube, also stands out, discussing his rise to social media fame and its impact on his life. Larray is extremely dynamic in front of the camera, with a unique presence. In a poignant scene, he recounts how he distanced himself from his parents when he revealed his homosexuality. His own crew seems more closely related than that of Hype House, from his loving grandmother and aunt in Compton to his roommate Ravon, who was a fan and caught Larray’s attention by posting a Carpool Karaoke-video style with a cutout of the YouTuber on the passenger seat.

During this time, the members of the house who have stories mostly made me sad. Vinnie Hacker, a designer who seems to come out of an Abercrombie catalog, is openly struggling. As Dragun describes it, Hacker is “extremely sexualized” on TikTok because of his hot body, but he’s really just a gamer at heart who wants to get to Twitch rather than posting thirst traps.

The other two members who get substantial screen time are young couple Alex Warren and Kouvr Annon, both 20-year-old original members of Hype House. Warren and Annon both open up to the cameras about their tumultuous childhoods and the instability they experienced before reuniting and ending up with the Hype House. This story contextualizes Warren’s roaring anxiety, which radiates from him whenever he’s onscreen. He is constantly talking about making sure he gets more views, how popular he is, and how to stay that way.

This leads him to plan increasingly ambitious prank videos, with mediocre results. In one attempt, Warren injures his ankle and spends many subsequent scenes hobbling. In another sadder scene, he convinces Annon to organize a fake wedding for a video, which he is confident will get a good number of views. Annon is quietly crushed; she says she would marry Warren for real, but he clarifies that he is only interested in a stunt marriage. Annon tells cameras that she is ready to start a family with Warren, even though she is only 20 years old. Aware of the gap, the rest of the house clumsily proceeds to the false wedding.

Courtesy of Netflix

Alex Warren and Kouvr Annon from Hype House

“I think it’s a little cruel to be honest, but at the same time, like I guess anything for the views,” Dragun jokes. (Warren later admits that the video didn’t work out as he had hoped.)

All of this highlights the central problem, which is that the Hype House is a shell of itself. There is a lot of pressure to perform well, and the sanity of the TikTokers seems to be affected by those expectations. Even Petrou’s Hail Mary’s attempt to reclaim the old magic – a great group trip to Joshua Tree, where they can all create together in a new setting – ends in disappointment. After a night of fighting and bad vibes, Petrou collapsed to the ground outside. He recites the names of successful Hype House girls: Charli, Dixie, Addison.

“I wish they would talk to me someday,” he said.

“I’m so scared of having to go back to where I came from,” says Petrou (he also talks on the show about having a difficult upbringing). Annon later tells Petrou that the same fear drives Warren, who admits on camera to being “very depressed.”

The drama that takes place in Threshing house reminds me of the words of TikTok Sound slash Taylor Swift: “I think I’ve seen this movie before and I didn’t like the ending.” Content houses like the Hype House have been popular since YouTube celebrities became a thing, and they aren’t a guaranteed path to fame and fortune. Perhaps the best known, Jake Paul’s Team 10, was also once the darling of the social media scene and he launched several stars; Petrou himself was even briefly a member.

However, in the years that followed, the Team 10 house was accused of being the host of bullying and sexual assault, and Paul was accused of exploiting the members and taking their profits. The house was raided by the FBI in 2020 after Paul was investigated on the looting of a shopping center in Arizona.

But perhaps most relevant to the members of Hype House is that many members of Team 10 have vanished into obscurity. Many still work in the industry, such as Nick Crompton, who was able to use his experience on Team 10 to become Vice President of Business Innovation and Art Strategy at Universal Music Group, and Alissa Violet, who works as an Instagram influencer. But their influence has for the most part disappeared, and they’ve been supplanted by newer, brighter items – mainly, well, the children of the Hype House.

By the end of the show, Petrou seems to understand that the Hype House may not be long for this world. “It just doesn’t work anymore; I think it’s just time to shut up [the Hype House] low, ”he said.

In the last episode, Petrou reveals that many key members, including Annon and Warren, have moved, although they are still in the collective. It still exists, but the dysfunction makes one think: is the Hype House still there because of the Netflix show, and not the other way around?

If I had a conspiratorial mind, I would say it’s like the show was made for the express purpose of convincing teenagers that it sucks to be famous on social media. “I feel like a kid who has all the toys in the world, but no batteries to run them,” Petrou confides in the last episode, his head in his hands. Every member of Hype House seems miserable, and you just want to give them a hug, a great place to sleep, and a 24 hour social media break.

Threshing house is certainly an interesting look at the machinations of content houses and the struggles that go with them, but it’s not a very fun or interesting show. In the end, I begged Hype House to break up and end our misery – as well as theirs. ●


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