Terrace House Proves Boring Can Still Be Interesting
If you haven’t heard about Terrace House yet from your hipster cousin, it is a Japanese television series recently picked up by Netflix Japan. Terrace House picks 6 applicants to live together. The producers provide a large home for them to live in, a car to use as they see fit, and there is no script at all.
There are no one on one interviews, there are no weekly elimination challenges and no hidden cameras. The show has hosts but they are forbidden from interacting with the housemates and can only observe their interactions and comment on them.
The show ran for a total of 8 seasons on Fuji TV in Japan before moving onto Netflix exclusively, where it has seen international success. The members of the home are allowed to watch episodes as they are released on the streaming service, and we even get to see them watch it in the house’s playroom.
The roommates meet their friends, they go to their jobs, they go on dates with each other, they have dreams of becoming models, actors, architects and, musicians. They’re normal people who don’t do much.
This is the main drive of the show: we’re only here to see the interactions between these strangers. We get to see them become friends, build stronger relationships and whenever they feel like it’s time to say their goodbyes, they leave. That’s it.
We just get to be a third party and watch these people live their lives. It’s oddly satisfying to see the roommates be free of the intense drama that usually infect these shows over time. If someone likes someone, they ask them out, they go out on a date, if someone has a problem with the date, they don’t fight or complain, they bring it up calmly. When someone makes a mess of the room, they have house meetings to talk about it.
The roommates don’t really go out clubbing, but they’ll go out to shop or get food. It’s interactions like these that are so refreshing. To witness genuine humans just live together and try to make the best of their situations.
The show’s announcers are another story entirely. While watching the episode, the announcers will pause the show to discuss and analyze different interactions. “Oh wow she said that I wonder how he’ll respond to that?”, “Wait but didn’t X say that about Y?”, “Oh I'm glad they got that job they really needed that.” The announcers’ commentary is an extension of our own.
This panel of celebrities and comedians are fans of the show just like we are and have the same questions we do. I found myself asking questions just to have the announcers discuss the same questions I had.
The show is currently airing in a new home and a new set of roommates in the beautiful island state of Hawaii. Terrace House: Aloha State is the first time the show has ever taken place somewhere that wasn’t Japan, definitely a decision influenced by the new acquisition.
The cast of housemates are either recent moves or Hawaiian locals. Most are bilingual in Japanese and English, but that’s where the differences end. The show is still fundamentally the same and still enjoyable to watch. 6 strangers, living in a beautiful home, and there is no script at all.