Staying In: Terrace House

Terrace House reaches a global audience by offering a unique approach to reality TV

Image courtesy of Polygon

By: Kim Regala, Peak Associate


Forget The Bachelor or Keeping Up with the Kardashians, this Japanese series is sure to satisfy your cravings for reality TV. Co-produced by Netflix and Fuji TV, Terrace House has hit a worldwide audience by storm, and for good reason. It holds the classic premises of reality TV: six strangers live freely in a house granted all amenities. Of course, friendships form along the way, tensions rise, and romance unfolds. However, unlike most American reality TV, Terrace House actually finds a way to appear authentic and real.

Showrunners make sure that storylines appear as unscripted as possible, refraining from too much meddling with the narratives and minimizing the amount of edits they make. As a result, viewers get the full picture of every day and week that goes by. Granted, some episodes can feel a bit dull. However, these uneventful moments only work to strengthen the show’s authenticity and further emphasizes the sense of “reality.”

At the same time, Terrace House offers something unique by introducing hosts that act as commentators throughout each episode. The show breaks off a couple of times into a separate room where we see them reacting as they too watch the story unfold. While shows typically avoid such pauses to allow for a more immersive feel, these moments effectively work to create some comic relief and build up some excitement for what’s to come.

Terrace House is a four-part series, and three of its parts, “Opening New Doors,” “Boys & Girls in the City,” and “Aloha State,” are available for streaming on Netflix.

Best for: Reality show junkies, voyeurists, and anyone who’s always wanted to learn Japanese