The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
About a week ago, a friend and I flipped through the streaming services on the living room TV, switching from Hawkeye to Too Hot to Handle to even The Book of Boba Fett (which I’m surprised I sat through, having seen not a single Star Wars movie). In one final hope to cure our incessant boredom, we returned back to Netflix and saw it. The aggravatingly neon green words that read Hype House illuminated the room, taunting us to click play. We shared a glance and the next thing we knew it was on and it claimed ownership of not only my TV but my mind until 4 a.m.
Yes, I, a girl who primarily uses TikTok to watch fancams and edits, knowing embarrassingly little about these creators who supposedly “own” the app, sat and watched the Hype House show for four hours straight. And my god do we have to talk about it. (Just between you and me though, some part of me is forcing myself to write this so I can at least say that I got something out of those four hours.)
So, let’s get into it. What are the people who “put TikTok on the map” really like? Behind the camera? Before the editing?
To be honest — boring.
If this show was meant to be a way to garner support and humanize these public figures, the mark was missed ten times over.
While I could draw on and on about all of the first-world problems the cast complains about, I refuse to subject you to that. However, I will bring up one theme that we all can somewhat relate to that was the subject of some complaints: COVID-19.
At the time of filming, early 2021, the majority of us worried in our homes (as per CDC suggestion) wishing for the end of this seemingly endless pandemic. Personally, I remember my mom constantly wanting to ban me from attending work in fear that I’d get it. Living in this same exact world as us, our Hype Housers were surely doing the same thing, right? Wrong! I genuinely forgot the pandemic existed throughout the duration of this show. I was quickly reminded of it, though, during a Nikita Dragun confessional where she brings up a scandal she may be involved in and therefore “canceled” for (I wish you could’ve seen how hard I rolled my eyes). The scandal in question was the potential of her urging a COVID-positive person, Larray (who also is in the show) to attend a party.
Now, frankly, I don’t have enough time to unpack and digest just how many violations of guidelines were made nor the pure selfishness of each person involved — but I can try.
First of all, in 2021 there were hundreds of thousands of people getting infected and dying from COVID, but by all means that could never affect people with “clout.” Here’s a secret they don’t want you to know: their millions of followers actually serve as a vaccine stronger than any booster you could ever get! Adding onto the pure ignorance and selfishness of the party during a pandemic, the level of Nikita’s entitlement to go on to complain about getting called out about speculated events at said party is one I’m terrified of. She was never even embarrassed about being “caught” (I say “caught” because there was no attempt to hide her actions) partying, rather she was upset that people were lying about her. I’m not disagreeing with her anger at that, but I’m turned off by the lack of common sense on her part. The whole issue wouldn’t have occurred, and she wouldn’t have been at risk of being “canceled,” if she just followed CDC guidelines and stayed home.
A similar, embarrassingly first-world, issue occurred when one of the members of the Hype House was diagnosed with COVID. None of the members expressed worry of becoming sick around the diagnosed member, at times member Alex Warren is repeatedly yelled at to stay away from the infected member. Instead, they worry about how they’re going to make content in their million-dollar homes with cars you rarely see in real life. Sitting through their whining of being stuck in the house for two weeks after having been stuck in my own for months at a time just made me intensely upset and apathetic towards them. They acted as they’d never experienced a quarantine, and I just think that says a lot about them and whether or not they ever suffered the same loss of socialization the rest of us did.
Okay, I’ll lay off them now. In all honesty, in the show, you learn the downright tragic backstories of each member and it does sit with you. Struggling with abuse, addiction, discrimination and poverty, our 20somethings have beginnings that are so real and so heartbreaking. While these scenes were not as plentiful as the others, this is where you get bits and pieces of the humanization you were promised at the show’s start and initial hype (no pun intended, I promise). At each cut-off of an impactful scene, I would let out a sigh seeing the show’s potential slip away.
I’m not calling for an all-out trauma-dumping session where each member sits in front of the camera and tells us their deepest, darkest secrets. To be frank, I don’t think anyone would want that, as it’s just upsetting. I just think the show’s constant fight between boss Thomas and the rest of the members was so tiring. Creator of the Hype House, Thomas Petrou and his girlfriend, Mia Hayward, beg the fellow members to do their job for eight episodes straight with no change in behavior ever occurring.
Instead, I think the show would’ve been more enjoyable if different aspects had more screen time. I have such confusing feelings towards the show because there honestly is some good; you just have to sort through the piles and piles of complaining and fake fighting to find it.
It would’ve been so nice to see the precious content that they all create. For example, member Vinnie Hacker, who Thomas has said brings in so many views, streams on Twitch for hours each day, but it’s only brought up by other members to try to insult Vinnie, saying he doesn’t contribute enough to the team (which is insane because he was one of the only members I actually knew beforehand). Another member who I think deserves so much more time is Chase Hudson (known online as Lil Huddy). Chase is in the middle of making a huge career transition from content creation to music, and once again, like Vinnie, his career is mostly used to attack his contributions to the team. The few scenes we got of just him working were immensely better than whatever stunt Alex was torturing his poor girlfriend, Kouvr, with.
While I did spend the first half of this talking badly about her, Nikita’s side story was better and so much more interesting than the main point of the show. Nikita’s plot, if you could even call it that as it was limited to maybe three scenes, delved into her relationship with womanhood. As a trans woman, Nikita has had a very unique journey in discovering her womanhood and what she defines it as. Now, I’m not Nikita nor trans so I’m not sure how she would’ve felt about her story being a bigger forefront of the show. But assuming it’s something she would be okay with, her story easily could’ve shot this show to unpredictable heights with rave reviews.
After all of this, if you do decide to watch Hype House, please take what I say with a grain of salt. My opinions are simply that: opinions. My perception of the show is going to be entirely different from yours as we are two different people. And to me, that’s the true beauty of TV. Please feel free to contact me about your thoughts on the show; I’m itching to talk about it more.