When the Hype House show was first announced by Netflix, there was outrage, frustration, and chaos. People couldn’t understand why Netflix would create a show to highlight the lives of, in their opinion, privileged, problematic influencers, while shows like The Society and Anne With An E were getting canceled. Social media users stormed Netflix’s comment sections and announced their displeasure.
you cancel so many good shows after just 1 season and instead give us a reality show trash like this? Literally nobody asked for this.— Ron Swanson (@thegoddamnJets_) April 23, 2021
The show was supposed to revolve around the daily life and experience of the TikTok influencers that made up the Hype House. Starring popular figures such as Chase Hudson (also known as LilHuddy), Nikita Dragun, and Larray. With the help of its controversy and its stars' prominence, the show climbed Netflix’s charts and is one of the most currently popular viewings on the platform.
Being honest, I didn’t have high expectations for this show. I wasn't a huge fan of these influencers and, even more so, disliked their actions as the pandemic raged through the US, but I found myself enjoying all 8 of its episodes. Of course, the show had its flaws, but it certainly wasn’t abysmal. So, how was the show?
For a solid majority of the show, I enjoyed it. As someone who somewhat followed these influencers and their drama, I thought the show explained every situation well. Like so many other reality TV shows, each influencer has their own, characterized background story. I don’t think I can recall a single person who did not have somewhat of a ‘sob-story’. They dealt with abusive parents, death of family members, homelessness, bullying, getting kicked out of their own homes, and more. I couldn’t help but feel bad for these influencers that I never liked. Each and every one of the Hype House’s members sat down and became vulnerable with the camera. They weren’t afraid to talk about past traumas or what irked them currently. With their sense of openness, their own stories felt more feel-good than just “pretty boy gets famous on TikTok”.
A New Point of View
This show was an important reminder to always look for different perspectives; what’s presented to you isn’t always the truth. The lack of understanding from fans is even addressed in the show. In one situation, Nikita Dragun was accused of practically forcing her best friend, Larray, to come to a party even though she knew he had COVID. Or, at least that’s what Larray’s management was trying to paint. None of that was true, and during the episode where that drama occurred, the show talked about the harms of only knowing one side of the story. On top of that, viewers were able to watch Hype House members talk about the negatives of being a TikTok star and/or member of the content group. From dealing with anxiety, to seeing the behind the scenes of content creation, there were bits of everything.
You don’t need a huge, booming personality to go viral on TikTok, but it sure helps. Almost every person this show spotlighted had something enticing about them. Larray and Nikita Dragun had these wonderfully chaotic personalities, while Alex Warren was incredibly strategic with his content creation. It was fascinating how they each approached their careers as influencers; some of them didn’t care about their fame while, for others, it was their sole reason for existence. In their own individual interviews, they were able to express their unfiltered opinions and feelings, which added some needed flavor to the show. What makes the concept of the Hype House so interesting though, is that everyone in it is so different. Some of them like to do TikTok dances, others are big about pranks, a few like streaming video games, and one was even a fashionista beauty guru. The show always had someone to watch and follow.
The show had plenty of things to enjoy, but I wasn’t a fan of everything. Let’s talk about it.
Out of Touch
One of the most common critiques of these influencers is how out of touch with reality they all are; the show proved that to be true. Keep in mind, these are the same people who were under fire for partying in the pandemic. They clearly don’t have the best understanding of what’s going on in the real world. It was certainly frustrating when these influencers would refuse to film a 1-minute TikTok advertisement that would pay their rent for an entire month. Not many of them acknowledge how lucky they are to be in such a prosperous situation. It came off as somewhat spoiled and overly privileged.
With wealthy, famous young adults, there’s going to be controversy. These teenagers and people in their young-20s are going to make mistakes, and because they have a platform, they’re going to have to own up to it publicly. My biggest problem with influencers in general was lack of accountability! One of the show’s stars went to a party, in a pandemic, while he had COVID! He endangered everyone around him; the show didn’t really talk about it much. The influencers and they just addressed it briefly, then went on with their daily lives. When Nikita Dragun was accused of blackfishing, I felt they moved past the issue so fast. If they were to take the time to sit down, acknowledge their wrong actions, and try to do better, all of these influencers would be so much more liked.
Lack of Entertainment
When I think of reality shows, I think of the Kardashian sisters throwing shoes at each other while screaming profane words; this show was not that. When you watch a reality show, you want that juicy drama, but most of the people on the show got along well. Even when there was a fight or confrontational moment, it was resolved within a minute. It’s not necessarily bad for all of the show’s stars to get along, they just need to make up for the entertainment factor elsewhere. The show tried to do that the best they could, but there were definitely moments where I caught myself snoozing off.
Regardless of the show’s flaws, I still thoroughly enjoyed watching the lives of these infamous influencers. Going into it, I was not fond of some of the influencers, but now that I’ve watched the show, I’ve gained some sympathy for them. Their lives aren’t perfect, and this show was a perfect reminder of that.