I have just concluded watching Terrace House: Boys and Girls in the City parts 1 and 2 and I’m sad to see all of the housemates leave after spending an extended amount of time living and building relationships in the Tokyo residence. I’m surprised that my mom actually put me onto this show, but I’m very glad she did.
As a quick synopsis:
In the opening sequence of every episode one of the commentators Ehara Yukiko popularly known as “You”, explains that Terrace House is “…a show about six strangers, men and women, living together and we observe how they interact with each other…” “We”, being the six celebrity commentators who analyze each episode. These individuals come together, still pursuing their careers, schooling, etc. with the only change being they live in this house together day in and day out.
For a reality show of this nature, a standard timeframe would be anywhere from three to five months, but Terrace House whether due to popularity or otherwise had the season last 46 weeks, 6 weeks shy of a year. During this time individuals are freely allowed to leave whenever they please, and in turn they are quickly replaced. Since episodes are filmed weekly a cast member could be there 4 episodes and decide to leave for whatever reason and it makes you think they haven’t been there that long when in actuality they’ve been there for a month of filming. The rotations are so rapid that by the end none of the original cast remains.
Something else interesting you have to keep in mind is that this is a Japanese reality show so it’s very enlightening to see the stark differences between Japanese and American cultural norms. I think the biggest difference was in how the members handled conflicts, more often than not, arguments on American reality shows quickly lead to raised voices and sometimes physical altercations, which is severely opposite to how conflict goes down in Terrace House. Everyone in the cast is very direct about saying how they feel, but at the same time it’s done in a very respective and non-hostile manner meaning issues get resolved fairly quickly without any big commotion. I learned a lot in the ways of conflict resolution just from watching how they interacted with one another and expressed their discontent so cordially.
Besides general format differences, the show follows the same formula of young adults trying to find their path and finding love along the way. The age range is particularly wide to presumably reach a greater demographic with the youngest member being 18 and the oldest being 29 during the course of the series.
I enjoy watching the cast and their interactions, but what keeps the show entertaining during the dull moments would have to be the cast of commentators who appear and bring humor, personal anecdotes and wonderful dissections of actions and events that take place in the house. They are a selection of six public figures ranging from comedians to actors that each bring a personality and perspective that is fresh and insightful. They gel off each other well and the dynamic between them is one that is very genuine.
Terrace House is a nice refresher from the average reality show and I’ll be awaiting the arrival of Terrace House: Aloha State on Netflix that takes place in Oahu, Hawaii.
Many different elements make this show successful; my only warning would be to not get too attached to members since you never know when they’ll decide to leave, but if you’re willing to take that risk I think you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.