Netflix’s Hype House will make you feel so old
You might be too old to have heard of social media stars / influencers like Chase “Lil Huddy” Hudson, Charli D’Amelio and Nikita Dragun, but you might have heard of their California collective known as by Hype House. … Okay, you might not have heard of Hype House, but you’ve heard of TikTok? … Okay, you have a call, however, right?
The new Netflix series Threshing house is aimed at an audience that won’t have a way to fully grasp the meaning of their stars, and that’s okay, because Threshing house and its content-creating inhabitants are best seen from afar. The Gen Z audience who made these kids very popular and very wealthy are unlikely to watch them. When the drama of a reality TV show has already unfolded months ago across multiple social media platforms, the documentary version can’t help but seem outdated, but that’s only if you’re at the current of this community in the first place. Those who approach Threshing house as if they were investigating a new species of life on this planet (which they are in many ways) will likely get the most out of it. Whether what they get is either fascination or horror can be in the eye of the beholder.
The creation of the Hype House at the center of this eight-part docusery made the news in late 2019, if only for a distillation of the bizarre and unknowable ethos of Gen Z entertainment. For years, vloggers, Instagram influencers and other inhabitants of the social media ecosystem have racked up huge subscribers and racked up millions of dollars in referrals for their amorphous “content”. That this content often boiled down to little more than direct-to-camera video logs, sponsored product unboxes, makeup tutorials, and lip-syncing tended to baffle outside observers, especially when Zoomers have apparently ditched movies and television in favor of watching each other make videos for YouTube or TikTok. And so the news that a group of teens and young people in their twenties all decided to move into a mansion in Los Angeles where they could collaborate and amass sponsorships and further influence and hypnotize their Gen Z cohorts was a easy object to be mistaken.
Now, more than two years after the founding of Hype House, comes this Netflix series, a delay that is more than a whiff of “how are you, comrades?” to that. It takes a long time for a baby boomer to climb the hill to the closed location of Hype House. The obscenity of the fantasy of this house is serves as one of the series’ introductory shakes. The next one is when each of the docuseries cast members are presented by a chyron with their name and the number of online subscribers they have, with most counts ranging from tens of millions. You could watch Threshing house for a while without ever going beyond the central question: Why are these kids so popular?
Some possible explanations emerge, but they are fleeting. Is it because they are young and cute? That certainly applies to most of them, like “who were the cutest boys you ever knew in grade 10”. Is it because they give young people the kind of representation they don’t have elsewhere? This certainly applies to Nikita Dragun, whose success as a transgender beauty brand must be inspiring in a way trans youth didn’t have access to a decade or more ago. Is it because they are particularly creative and talented? The jury is still out on this, but ask anyone who wasted an hour scrolling through TikTok and they’ll tell you that the way some of these videos are edited takes a bit of skill. But of course, a big part of the success of vloggers and TikTokkers as a community – especially among their A-Listers – lies in the prospect of keeping up with the interpersonal drama that unfolds before their eyes.
Threshing house alludes to part of this drama as being the basis of the popularity of its founders. Chase Hudson (18, 31.6 million followers), who makes music under the name “Lil Huddy”, rose to fame in part thanks to his teenage romance with fellow TikTokker Charli D’Amelio, a relationship whose on / off status at the time of filming seems to be somewhat in doubt, although Chase and Charli don’t say much.
Chase is at the center of the most gripping storyline in Threshing house, as he and founder Thomas Petrou (22, 8.1million subscribers) experience a kind of soft fallout after Chase decides to leave Hype House proper and move into a mansion in Encino. The root of much of the tension going through Threshing house, especially when it comes to Thomas, who is clearly the most business-oriented of the collective, comes down to who is and who isn’t creating enough content to run the Hype House engine. Rent is paid by sponsors, and sponsors pay for clicks, eyeballs, likes, and followers, and it’s all content generated. What kind of “content”? It can range from Nikita (25.14 million followers) combing her face, to fresh-faced Vinnie (18.12 million followers) fighting a sumo wrestler in a quasi Donkey moment, to Alex (20, 16.7 million subscribers) surprising his girlfriend Kouvr (20, 13.5 million subscribers) with a playful baby fox. There are times when Thomas talks about content creation where the whole business starts to look like a sweatshop with ring lights, the creators getting out of bed and pulling out a few extra bits of video in order to satisfy the masses and get them. keep alive. in mansions and fast cars. The show also touches on other aspects that suggest the life of an influencer is more difficult than it looks, such as when Alex and Kouvr grapple with the complications of a relationship on social media.
Then there are the controversies, which you may have heard of before, in the first few months of the pandemic when a group of popular TikTokkers got into trouble for attending a maskless rager at a party in town. ‘birthday. The backlash has been severe from the media, and perhaps even more so from other influencers who have criticized party-goers for being irresponsible and setting a bad example for their followers. This birthday party was for Larray (22, 24.3 million subscribers), hosted by Nikita, and its fallout makes it one of the big stories of the season.
Again, if you are already following these people, you have heard this story before, but if you are already following these people, Threshing house isn’t going to offer you much that you don’t know, because the whole point of all this Zoomer celebrity genre is that they are talking about everything on their own platforms. Only Chase seems to house more than he hints at in photoshoots and social media posts, but it’s probably also the brand that Chase cultivates. There is hardly any chance that Threshing house will give you something other than the meticulously branded content that the people of Hype House make. When you’re dealing with people who were apparently raised to perform on camera, a show like this seems unable to pull off layers that they haven’t already revealed. The end result is Threshing house little more than an add-on to the real deal, but if you’re a veteran and / or not interested in browsing the dozens of accounts and platforms that you would need to juggle to keep up with the life of these people in real time, the Netflix series serves in a way Reader’s Digest version. Old people love Reader’s Digest, and Threshing house will definitely make you feel like an old man.
Threshing house premieres on Netflix on Friday, January 7.
Joe Reid is editor-in-chief of Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, Vulture, The AV Club and more.