For weeks now I have had friends complain about how awful the ending of The Bachelor was. How the show is just a whole lot of drama with no real payoff at the end. How the stakes are always raised but the show doesn’t get more interesting. As much as The Bachelor (or The Bachelorette) pretends to be a game show, it isn’t. It’s an attempt at a reality dating game show where the possibility of everyone losing is ever present. And for weeks now I have been telling my friends about this really great reality show from Japan called Terrace House which they should check out because it is the inverse version of shows like The Bachelor.
When I explain Terrace House to my friends I say that the show is a Japanese reality show where three attractive men and three attractive women move into a nice house and are encouraged to date. That’s it. There are no goals, no end games, and no challenges of the week – that is all. But how is anyone supposed to get into a show with no objective? I can’t tell you that because although I want there to be an aim, there isn’t one and I just really enjoy the show.
The show starts with our panel of experts who provide commentary throughout the episode telling us that the show is unscripted. This makes a lot of sense when considering how you can feel the awkward shy moments and the parts where people are getting offended without the other person realizing that they’re being offensive. The camera angles are great too, as they catch all the shade and side eyes so well that it builds natural unscripted drama – it’s just a really clean cut show that brings out the most of its cast. And because everything is real, and the drama is consistently at a low, you don’t think of these people as buffoons, you actually consider them people that are real and that you care for. The drama being so light, also makes tense moments really intense. I think that I’ve squirmed more from awkward moments from this show than any other. My roommates would literally hear me punching the couch at tense situations.
The show is just so natural as it ebbs and flows. There are no rules, there are no goals – it’s just 6 individuals who are encouraged to date but sometimes they don’t even date people in the house. And perhaps I’m getting way too deep into this but perhaps the goal of the show is to have you feel emotionally connected to the cast, in order to feel like they are someone you know, and someone you care for. However, the show does play out slower than an American reality show, so perhaps not everybody is going to like it – and that’s totally understandable. Regardless, I love this series. I think that in these tough times, it’s a great palette cleanser and a great way to introduce yourself to Japanese culture.