Terrace House (テラスハウス) is a Japanese reality show that started in 2012, originally airing on Fuji Television as part of their "COOL TV" segment under the name Boys × Girls Next Door for 8 seasons until 2014 and concluding with a standalone movie in 2015. The show follows a group of people living in the eponymous Terrace House in the Shōnan region as they live their lives, work towards their dreams, and make connections with one another.
What sets it apart from other reality shows which follow people living under the same roof is that the housemates (or members as they're known on the show) will leave Terrace House of their own volition, when their career or personal life requires it, they feel like their goals have been met, or they feel the house has nothing more to offer them. The show also has a panel of commentators composed of various Japanese celebrities and media figures who discuss what happens during the course of the episode and also provide an audio commentary track on Netflix.
In 2015, a new season of the show taking place in Tokyo titled Boys & Girls in the City premiered as a co-production of Internet streaming service Netflix and Fuji TV, running for a total of 46 episodes before concluding. It also marked the first time the series was available for international release. The next season of the show, entitled Aloha State, would shake things up by changing the location of the house from Japan to Hawaii, but still following a group of Japanese-speaking young adults. Aloha State concluded in summer of 2017 after 36 episodes.
The following series, Opening New Doors, brought the series back to Japan, taking place in Karuizawa in the Nagano district. It premiered in December of 2017 and lasted until February of 2019 for a total of 49 episodes. The finale teased the newest series, Terrace House Tokyo 2019-2020, once again bringing the setting back after two series.
Terrace House has been noted by many Internet commentators as being a refreshing take on reality TV, being relatively free of staged drama and fights that are commonly associated with similar shows and focusing more on the bonds and relationships formed by the housemates, who seem like ordinary people rather than over-the-top characters.
This series provides examples of:
- Alternative Foreign Theme Song: Taylor Swift has provided the opening songs for all of the series, but internationally the show uses royalty-free music both for the opening themes and background music.
- Back for the Finale: The finale of Opening New Doors shows how several former housemates spend their Christmas.
- Beach Episode: Usually there is one at least once every series, especially in Aloha State since it took place in Hawaii.
- Brutal Honesty: Natsumi from the second series is never afraid to speak her mind, something that put her at odds with some of the other members, particularly Minori and Misaki.
- Cool House: All of the Terrace Houses featured so far, which are all very stylish and modern.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Whenever a new member is set to move in, they will be shown an episode before either out with friends or with their coworkers talking about how they're moving into Terrace House. The scenes are always shot in a way that avoids showing their face to build suspense.
- Everyone Meets Everyone: The first episode of each series has all six housemates arrive at around the same time and introduce themselves.
- Gratuitous English: A few house members (who with a few exceptions are all native Japanese speakers) inject English phrases into their speech.
- In Opening New Doors, Mayu gets made fun of by the commentators for exclaiming "めっちゃ me too!" note in response to Noah saying he likes nature. The episode is even named after this.
- Seina seems to be fond of telling people "Hug me!" in English.
- Lauren Tsai from Aloha State was noted by the panel for often falling back and speaking in English either when she felt uncomfortable or she had trouble verbalizing how she felt in Japanese.
- Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Seina Shimabukuro, who debuted in the first series, is a glamorous fashion model who is known for her outgoing and fun-loving personality, especially when she drinks. She is one of the few members to reappear in later series of the show.
- Hopeless Suitor:
- Tecchan from the first series had a huge crush on Rie, but since she is an idol, she's forbidden from dating. The two did go on a few casual dates, but it never progressed any further. Notably, on their last date, Ricchan pushes his hand away when he tries to hold her hand and the camera lingers on his anguished face.
- Mayu from Opening New Doors ran into this almost immediately with Shion (who is already involved with Tsubasa). She moves on to Noah after Shion graduates, but it's the same result as he's interested in Yui (at the time; he moves on to Seina himself later). He even tells her to her face that there is no chance of things moving forward between them.
- Misaki from Boys x Girls in the City had a huge crush on Hikaru and tried in different ways to show her interest to him, but he coldly shut her down on a date, telling her that he thought she was insecure and had no core.
- Idol Singer: Rie Kitahara was one of the first housemates in Boys × Girls Next Door. She is famous for being in the J-pop group AKB48 and was forbidden to date anyone due to the infamous "love ban" that many idols have to follow. A lot of the initial interest in the series was seeing her.
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Though downplayed, the dynamic between Tsubasa and Shion in Opening New Doors is this: she's a professional hockey player with short hair who doesn't dress very femininely, while he's a male model who's good at cooking and cleaning, and isn't good at sports compared to Tsubasa.
- Tsubasa discusses this when she visits the house after graduating, noting that after she and Shion started dating she felt like she needed to look more feminine.
- Near-Death Experience: In Aloha State, this happens to Guy when he gets knocked face-first into a reef by a wave while surfing. He ends up going to the hospital for his injuries. This becomes a major point in subsequent episodes as he feels anxiety about trying to surf again.
- Old Flame Fizzle: Yuriko tries to rekindle her relationship with her ex, but he rebuffs her and tells her she needs to focus on medical school. She leaves the house afterwards.
- Relationship Upgrade: Most notably in Boys & Girls in the City with Minori and Uchi, who are the first couple in the Tokyo house. Misaki & Yuuki and Arman and Martha respectively become couples, as well.
- Shion and Tsubasa from Opening New Doors, a fan favorite couple who has a slow, but heartwarming, progression to their relationship.
- Sequel Goes Foreign: Aloha State takes place in Hawaii, but also shows some scenes in Japan like when Lauren took a trip there.
- Serial Romeo: Taishi from Aloha State, who stated that he moved into the house to find a "love worth dying for" and subsequently tried to date almost every female housemate that moved in. He eventually began a relationship with Chikako, but the two broke up after the show's end.
- Slice of Life: A notable difference from English reality shows is that the housemates continue to go to school and work while they live in the house. Housemates are even allowed to leave the house temporarily (generally for work reasons) and return days later.
- Spin-Off: The first series had one in the feature-length film Closing Door, which picks up where the TV show left off with 2 of the previous members (Seina and Tetsuya) returning.
- Team Dad: Hansan from Boys & Girls in the City, who was the oldest member of the house and is known for his levelheadedness and maturity, as well as imparting wisdom to his younger housemates.
- Takayuki from Opening New Doors is also one of the older housemates at 31 and often gave out life advice to the younger members.
- Technical Virgin: This becomes a major source of contention in the appropriately-titled "Still a Virgin" in Opening New Doors. After Yui, Maya, Aio and Risako get into a heated argument, Risako and Aio then talk privately afterward, where he claims that he and Yui went "all the way" despite her claims to be a virgin. However, she later states:Tanaka Yui: He said we went all the way, right? We didn't actually go all the way. But, um... we sort of did it. That's the true answer. [...] It's true that we started to do it. But then I... I felt that it was impossible to continue and asked him to stop.