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‘Hype House’: A hate-watch

| Friday, January 28, 2022

Claire Reid | The Observer
IMAGE SOURCES: Wikipedia, Popbuzz, Bio Overview, Mia Hayward

This week, I forced myself and my friends to suffer through the first season of a complete waste of time.

Hype House is a reality TV show that follows some of the highest-paid Tiktok creators as they navigate the internet and personal relationships in a ridiculously huge mansion. I believe the purpose of this show was to humanize the people we’ve put on a

digital pedestal. In some ways, it does make them feel more real. Through interviews, we learn more about the members’ backstories and personal struggles. While it’s often hard to watch, “Hype House” is successful in promoting discussion about how internet influencers are expanding their social influence and platform. 

What makes reality TV so successful is its ridiculousness. The audience has to laugh through the episodes. Unlike the popular reality series “Selling Sunset” or “Too Hot To Handle,” this show isn’t even ironically funny. Maybe it’s because “Hype House” hits too close to home. “Hype House” feels too real. These kids are internet tastemakers and are getting paid an insane amount of money to do so. Maybe this show can’t be funny because “Hype House” is too depressing. The show lacks the escapism that audiences search for in reality TV. We don’t watch “The Bachelor” to feel seen or watch a slice of life. We’re watching a highly reconstructed version of reality that takes us away from our own realities. 

If I had to pick a favorite thing about this show, it would be the revamped school bus the housemates get interviewed in. The set design captures their age and playful dispositions. The bus is a nod to van-life — a free-spirited subculture — that reflects the house’s Los Angeles location. If I was forced to pick a favorite housemate, it would be Thomas and Mia’s golden retriever, Leo. He’s the single housemate who has yet to be canceled. (Go Leo!)

One of the most painful moments to watch was Lil Huddy’s house tour. Vinny Hacker accurately describes it as looking like a “Cheesecake Factory” with a row of pinball machines in the foyer. This speaks volumes about how much money these young influencers have and how irresponsibly they spend it.

Despite my deep hatred for Lil Huddy’s decor, I do feel like I understand him better. He’s been burned by the internet after his very public relationship with Charlie D’Amelio, which ended due to the pair constantly being under the spotlight. Having his whole life on display has to be incredibly scary. He comes off as a more quiet and private person after the experience, seeming introspective whenever Charlie is mentioned. 

Another painful moment is watching house member Alex Warren gaslight his girlfriend on hidden cameras in their shared kitchen. Alex is frequently compared to Youtuber David Dobrik. His content is the same: following his friends around with a camera, surprising them with some horrific animal or making them drive cars into each other. Alex is a danger junkie. He spends thousands of dollars on each video, trying to create an even more shocking situation than his last post. He’s a great example of the anxiety that comes with content creation. Warren discusses his stress about decreasing views and followers. This anxiety is not unfounded. If Alex can’t stay relevant to his audience, his income will likely suffer. 

While I don’t think I could stomach a second season, there are some redeeming qualities to “Hype House.” I think it would make a great case study on the nuances of human interaction in the internet age. If you’re looking for mindless TV that’s relevant to kids today, this show is perfect. Everyone is college-aged, on the internet, and navigating growing up.



Show: “Hype House”

Starring: Lil Huddy, Nikita Dragun, Alex Warren

If you like: “Selling Sunset,” “Too Hot to Handle,” “The Bachelor”

Where to watch: Netflix

Shamrocks: 1 out of 5

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