The Japanese Take Reality Shows to a Whole New Level
Reality television has come a long way. In its infancy, there was a spark of genuineness that caught people's attention and got them in front of the screen. But as the genre grew, and so did its popularity, it turned into something highly stylized and overly dramatic.
Terrace House on Netflix
Which is why the Japanese reality show Terrace House feels like a breath of fresh air. The thing that makes it so compelling is how very mundane it is.
Terrace House and other new Japanese reality shows like it are taking a new approach to a bloated theme. They focus on showing a more natural (albeit stylized and sometimes glamorous) side to everyday life.
So let's explore why Terrace House is defining a genre and why people enjoy this show so much.
Analyzing the Genre: Why Is Terrace House so Popular?
When most people think of Japanese television, they probably imagine all the strange game shows they've seen and heard about. Sure, those can be seen on Japanese television, but the country's growing film and TV production industry can offer more than that.
So what makes Terrace House stand out?
It's a big departure from the regular reality TV and other Japanese shows which the West is used to. There are no weird human Tetris games or eating household objects, hoping they're chocolate. It's just ordinary people leading normal lives.
That may sound strange to some, but it makes sense in a world that's always moving at a pace that can seem overwhelming. Something as normal as Terrace House can be a relaxing experience, especially when considering there's no gimmicks or fake drama.
Reality television is all about fake friendships and fights, and the more drama producers can force into an episode, the better. Reality TV has grown to the point where it doesn't mirror reality at all anymore. Not that there's anything wrong with liking that sort of entertainment. But it certainly can't be called "real".
Back in reality, Terrace House offers a peek into people's lives that doesn't feel scripted but rather genuine. It hearkens back to what reality television aimed to be before it became populated with fake tan and catfights.
Somehow, there's something comforting about this realistic peek into people's lives and their everyday challenges and conversations. It might not be action-packed stuff, but it's certainly been enough to rivet a whole mass of followers.
And that is why Terrace House is starting to revolutionize the reality TV genre. Of course, that isn't to say that the show isn't scripted. Because it very well might be, but they do such a good job of it that it isn't apparent.
Getting Access To The House
The reality show is so popular that it recently started streaming on the US Netflix as well. However, it's only available in Japan and the US. So anyone who lives in another country will have to make do with a workaround.
Luckily, VPNs are one option that are easy enough to find and set up. They're a good option for watching region-locked Netflix (or other streaming services') content.
Netflix is the biggest streaming service in the world, catering to nearly 100 million people. But it isn't the same experience everywhere. Terrace House is currently one of the most discussed TV shows that Netflix produces, but it's still only available in two countries.
Terrace House isn't the only thing people from all over the world are missing out on either. There are many quality Japanese anime and television shows. But unfortunately, most of Japan's content is out of reach without a VPN . Watching content from other countries can be a struggle due to location restrictions.
So what does a person have to do if they want to watch shows like Terrace House but they don't live in Japan? Using a VPN is one of the best options out there. It allows a person to use their Netflix account to access other countries' Netflix libraries regardless of where they live. It also allows for peer-to-peer sharing without upsetting any ISPs.
Finding a workaround is worth it to get access to new, quality content like this.
Shaping a Genre
Other shows like The Many Faces of Ito and 1 Million Yen Women also follow the same sort of recipe where they let reality play out. They're quickly gaining popularity too and might help shape the future of the genre as a whole. Even Korean reality television is following suit, with shows like Hello, My Twenties gaining traction.
It may not drown out the spray-tanned side of reality television, and it may never overtake it. Those shows are popular for a reason, after all. But Terrace House and others like it certainly show a different side to life. Hopefully, it at least sparks a new offshoot for the genre as a whole.