‘Terrace House’ offers a different kind of reality TV

Kendall Aronson, Campus Carrier Asst. Arts & Living Editor

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Residents of the Terrace House converse in the living room.

Terrace House is a Japanese reality TV show, produced by Netflix, that has recently released its fourth installment of the second series. 

Its premise is simple: three women and three men live together in a home and are filmed. They can each leave the house whenever they wish and most of them have jobs that are separate from the show. There is no winner. There is no script at all. 

Largely, the drama of the show is created by the romantic advances of the people living in Terrace House. The vast majority of the people who are on Terrace House are “single and ready to mingle,” and the real-life drama of watching them do so is very entertaining. What really makes it unique and fantastic however, are the breaks for the commenters. 

There are six well-dressed individuals who watch the footage of the Terrace House with the audience and give their own opinions about the participants of Terrace House. Each of them are famous in Japan for modelling, voice acting, comedy and acting. Their commentary is what brings the show together as the participants come and go. Their stories, jokes and general “roasting” of the people on the show is amusing and endearing. 

Many people apply for Terrace House to gain exposure, to live in a very nice house and meet attractive people their age. The participants are generally 18-30 years old, and the most common careers of participants are modeling and acting. Other participants have careers ranging from baseball player, artist, hairstylist, hat maker, to fashion designer. 

The show originally aired in Japan for two years and was then cancelled after a movie before Netflix picked it up in 2015, where it hit the global stage for the first time. It has gained a great deal of popularity over this time as well. 

Terrace House is successful for a lot of reasons. Visually, it is very appealing, with a gorgeous house and beautiful car provided for the participants. The participants are attractive and have a very calming sense of style about them as well. 

The show also requires the audience to observe the residents and really pay attention to their small conversations, which are far more reminiscent of real life than other reality TV shows. It doesn’t have confessional interviews like most American reality shows do. The audience learns what the participants are thinking by watching, listening and hearing what the commentators have to say. There’s also a lot less drama than a scripted show would have, which makes the show much more relaxing to enjoy. There is conflict in the show, but the contestants are there to make friendships and not enemies. They try and solve their issues with one another, just like in real life. 

The show also gives a very unique perspective to Japanese culture. The participants go to many different events on dates or other outings, and many things are different about the courting process in Japan than America. 

There are also very many funny events which are great to watch, like the “Meat Crime.” This is a large part of the drama of the first series, in which members of the house eat the meat that belonged to another member. It creates a complicated situation which ultimately leads to people breaking up. 

There are some ways in which the show could be improved, such as having some more diversity in terms of the sexual orientations of the participants, who are all heterosexual. It might give a unique aspect to the show if some participants were not heterosexual. 

Overall, it is a fantastic show to binge on Netflix this week. The beautiful scenery and pleasant blossoming of relationships is a pleasure to watch, and the commentators can make simple situations very funny. I enjoy watching it tremendously. 

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