I’ve been feeling pretty lazy this weekend, so I thought I’d focus and write a post to feel more productive. (Although – I did do my taxes yesterday and went for a beautiful run this morning, so I should give myself kudos for that ;))
In my last post, I mentioned one of my goals this year is to be more intentional with my time spent outside of work. With all that being said, I probably haven’t been as “intentional” for the past 2 weeks (especially weekends – did I mention I felt pretty lazy this weekend?), and admittedly, one of the reasons is “Terrace House”, a Japanese Reality TV show on Netflix.
Ok, before I lose you here…hear me out for a couple of minutes. First of all, I’ve never written about a TV show before. But the fact that I’m spending time writing this out…you gotta know there’s something more to it.
I’ll admit, when I first heard about this show, I was skeptical. Even after half-watching and skipping through the first few episodes, I was still skeptical, and mentioned to Jimmy that I’d stop watching. But for some reason, I continued to click “Next Episode” to find out what would happen next…
In short, Terrace House is an unscripted reality TV show about the lives and the relationships of 3 girls and 3 boys, who live in a house together. The cast members are free to leave at any point in time, so this keeps the show interesting when new members bring different perspectives and dynamics to the group.
So why is this show so addicting and had us binge-watch for two weekends (when each time I insisted on only watching 2 episodes)? To be honest, I couldn’t pinpoint my reasons so I decided to have a little pow-wow with Jimmy…and here’s my take: (don’t judge – this is what happens when you binge-watch a show – it becomes a big part of your conversations)
- Japanese vs. American culture: One of the main reasons that hooked me in the beginning was seeing the cultural difference between this show and other American Reality TV shows I’ve come across, primarily in:
- people’s interaction and personalities: on a high level, I feel that these cast members are more interested in getting to know the others when they first meet, whereas in the US, I often see people wanting to introduce and talk about themselves more than getting to know the others. It was refreshing to see how polite (and often a little shy) everyone is when they first meet, instead of trying to boast themselves. At the same time, it’s much more frequent to see a confident American in situations like these – which is often a good trait to have. Of course, this is not to say this completely represents each culture accurately (how real is a reality tv show, after all?), but there’s some truth to this based on my personal experience. I’m very interested in different cultures in general, so I love observing these nuances while I watch the show.
- the production: The whole production, including the neutral color tone of the house, portray a simple, clean look that is prevalent in Japanese design and society. Yes, there’s some intense music during dramatic moments in the show, but overall, it feels comfortable to watch this show, because nothing is ultra luxurious/bright/loud to grab your attention. To put it simply, this feels like the opposite of Jersey Shore.
- Nostalgia: Living together with your good friends (and perhaps your crush), going on first dates, and struggling with setting directions and goals in life…etc are experiences that many of us can relate to from our early 20s. So, watching this show does remind us of our younger selves in a way…and for me, personally, seeing this setting in Asia also got me thinking how my life would have been if I didn’t attend international schools and American university.
- It has no narrative: In the Bachelor, for example, you may not know whom the guy ends up with, or where they will go on their dates, but you generally have an idea that the final girls will go on Hometown dates and then in the end, two people will get married. But in Terrace House, it feels like you’re simply observing their mundane lives, but you don’t know what will take place – which, in my opinion, makes it so much more real and more intriguing.
- It’s relatable, hence immersive: Building off of my last two points, all of these make the show more immersive. I understand that not everything is 100% real in this show (in fact, this subject was discussed in one of the later episodes), but I found myself judging and changing my opinions of the characters as I saw them evolve throughout the episodes. It sounds silly, but it almost feels like I know them – because during the show, they’re still continuing their real lives (so we get a glimpse of them at work or coffee dates with their friends), instead of dropping everything to go on a reality show (because really, how relatable is a 20-something girl who has a rich dad and can afford to quit their job to go on a reality show?). When I looked them up on Instagram (no shame here), I can continue to see their “real” lives – as opposed to many Bachelorette contestants who became “celebrities” who posted a bunch of #sponsored #ads.
It’s brilliant, really. Nowadays, we are all aware that what we see on the internet is filtered, so we are craving for something raw, real, and genuine. This has been a trend in marketing as well – I’m curious to see more of it, and will continue to challenge myself to keep this at the back of my mind when we brainstorm for the next campaigns.
Now, on to the next season…
*Disclaimer: I’m simply using well-known American Reality TV shows here as comparison, not to judge or shame anyone. I may or may not have watched a couple of episodes when I want to enjoy some guilty pleasures. 😉