It’s undeniable. The Hype House content creators are big: unimaginably big. With millions of followers (around 132.4M) between them, these TikTok stars are a sensation unlike anything the world has ever seen. Now, a series on Netflix aptly called Hype House gives a glimpse behind the scenes of what it takes to be top-of-the-game content creators.
The series does a good job sharing some of the realities and difficulties around being a content creator, it neglects to paint a clear picture of how they address their mental health needs. While that is, in and of itself, an honest portrayal of modern life – it leaves some wondering if they have a responsibility to send a clear message to fans, many of whom are young and impressionable.
Hype House: The Series
In the beginning, we get a glimpse into the mindset that led one of the founders, Thomas Petrou (8.1M followers on TikTok), to create the Hype House – “Why can’t people who hit millions of other people be as famous as A-list celebrities?” This also suggests the mindset behind the Netflix series – giving these stars who are already social media sensations a taste of the a-list life now that they’ve segued into regular entertainment.
The other collective members who appear alongside Petrou in the series include Kouvr Annon (13.6M followers), Nikita Dragun (14.3M followers), Chase Hudson (32.4M followers), Larri Merritt (25.4M followers), Alex Warren (14.8M followers), and Jack Wright (8.9M followers). Sienna Mae Gomezbriefly appears, but some behind the scenes drama that include accusations that she sexually assaulted fellow Hype House star Jack Wright led to her place in the show being diminished to a brief appearance in the first episode.
The show takes viewers on a journey through the day to day lives of the Hype House residents. They share origin stories and thoughts on becoming famous, and the very first episode shows a rift between the biggest influencer, Hudson, and the rest of the house. When the Hype team move into their current house, Hudson opted not to move with them – but was still considered part of the group. However, despite Hudson’s promise to continue making content to help the Hype team grow, he slowed down creating content on social media and began focusing on a music career after being signed with Interscope Records.
Mixed Message on Mental Health
Overall, the show is a fun journey behind the scenes with the team. You see how they interact with one another and how their lives play out – but it’s a bit of a mixed message, since it’s still on camera. It’s hard to imagine every moment of your life being played out on camera, and the show reveals how the creators often craft life’s moments around their ability to film it.
There are some honest glimpses at what’s going unsaid about the whole experience. For instance, even though Hudson is shown enjoying his music career building process, there’s also a bit of brooding and isolation that suggests there’s more brewing beneath the surface. Nikita Dragun – arguably one of the most successful trans influencers – reaches out to support her friend, but it’s clear that they’re all doing the best they can with an unprecedented situation. At one point, Hudson gives a laugh and thanks the internet for destroying his trust and vulnerability – a brutally honest glimpse into the kind of pressure and exposure these stars face for every move in their lives.
The message seems a little confusing: they’re struggling, as anyone would with enormous sudden fame. But it’s worth it all. The internet has been buzzing with a debate about whether the show is handling the topic of mental health responsibly. It’s good to let the artists tell their story the way they want, but it’s not exactly healthy to brush mental health concerns under the rug when so many of their followers are young, impressionable, and grappling with a different kind of unprecedented mental health challenge with the pandemic.
However ultimately, Hype House tells a fun story of these young people creating the lives they dream of – and the show is a fun, fast-paced peek into a world only hinted at online.
The Guardian poignantly posits, “The Hype House, with its requirements of XYZ videos a month, comes off like a Faustian bargain: free living in exchange for control of your public persona. Despite everything, the status still elicits pride. ‘I worked my ass off to get here,’ Michael Sanzone says to Hacker when the latter expresses lack of interest in the required collaborative videos. Hype House does effectively argue for how serious everyone takes the job. But it also implicitly asks the question: at what cost?”
We don’t want to give too much away – it’s worth the watch, so anyone who’s interested should take the time to watch it and see these creators tell their own story. That said – the unsung star of the series may be mouthwash.
Will There be a Season 2?
The natural next question is of course – is there going to be a season 2? Since the series just dropped earlier this month, it may be too soon to determine whether or not Netflix will re-sign. But there’s been enough buzz and excitement around the series – plus the 100+ million followers are a pretty solid viewer base to start with – that we believe there’s a good chance the Hype team will be back for another season.
The show shares the hard moments when the influencers face the stress of having to be “on” all the time, and that’s a challenge that won’t fade any time soon with luck. So, season 2? Get hype.