The last few days of December (post christmas) can be a strangely, dangerous time. It’s that floaty period where you don’t really have to rush any work deadlines, but neither can you go 100% Holiday mode as well. And it is during this peculiar period that the temptation for late night binge-watching is ever so strong.
After devouring the anime KuruMukuro and The Expanse on Netflix, the missus and I were desperately hunting for our new fix. We couldn’t really get into The OA and I had already finished Narcos on my own, so we were left stranded. And like any other TV addict suffering withdrawal, she decided to give the Netflix recommendation bot a shot, and clicked on a curious Japanese series entitled: Terrace House: Boys and Girls in the City.
Now, I am not a big reality tv fan because there is only so much yelling and crying I can take in one day so I wasn’t entirely thrilled with her choice. Plus, that name Terrace House sounds incredibly dull…
But alas, that’s when I walked right into the Danger Zone!
The premise of the show is pretty simple: put 3 guys and 3 girls together under one roof, and see what happens. No plot, no script (at least that’s what they claim). Anyone can choose to leave the program anytime they want and will be replaced with a new person of the same gender. That’s it.
Sounds ridiculously boring I know…but wait, let me finish! The first thing that hooks you is the ultra-chic modernist house that they are staying in. Its like that dream house that you drool over in magazines or that billionaire playboy’s love nest that’s been overshared on Instagram. And all the participants are young, single and good looking, with an interesting fashion sense. So okay, I guess I could watch on…
I was expecting to see the usual finger-pointing “you dont know me” scream-a-thon fracas, but I was quite pleasantly surprised that none of that surfaced. Don’t get me wrong, there were the usual conflicts and betrayals, with lots of tears and confrontations, but its just the way the Japanese delivers it. They don’t yell their heads off or threaten physical abuse, instead the accuser simply lets out a sarcastic remark (sometimes with a half smile) that carries a hidden insult and leaves the accusee to be alone in self-reflection after the exchange. Time, is then the final ‘ingredient’ that slowly rips open the seemingly minor scratch into a gaping wound, and you can almost see the horror on the their faces when they realise what assholes they have been.
War has never been so elegant and polite – its pure TV gold!
It was definitely an eye-opener for me because prior to this, I always thought that the Japanese were reserved and shy and mostly kept their opinions to themselves. But apparently I was wrong. Girls expressed their fondness for guys after meeting only once, and all unhappiness are declared openly and bluntly. Not sure if it’s because they are on TV, or if that’s how the millenials really behave these days.
Another highlight of the show happens halfway through every episode. 6 show hosts ( 3 guys 3 girls as well) of a mixed age group will chime in from the studio to give their opinions and thoughts on the events unfolding. Surprisingly, instead of fast forwarding this segment, I actually look forward to it all the time because it’s always filled with hilariously rude comments and naughty suggestions. I never knew the Japanese had such a twisted sense of humour!
Terrace House is a quiet and unassuming show that simply documents Life unfolding, including all the flaws, mess and mundane routine of everyday living. Yet it is so strangely alluring that I can’t seem to peel myself away from the screen. Its like getting access to the backstage and hanging out with your favourite band, you grow to become emotionally attached to all the members. And apparently i am not the only one – Netflix extended the series from 18 episodes to 46 due to its popularity.
I highly recommend this series for those who are interested in topics like Japanese pop culture, minimal living (think Muji), Fashion, Architecture and Design.
The new season of Terrace House, Aloha State, is taking place in Hawaii, and its already airing in the US. Can’t wait for the local Netflix to start showing that!
Disclaimer: We are not associated with Netflix in any way, and this is not a paid review of their content.
But hey, Netflix, if you wanna hook up, we are all ears. 🙂