To 7 Life Lessons from Binging Terrace House
Confession: I'm not a big fan of reality TV. I'm the biggest fan of reality TV. It's practically a full-time job keeping up with the Kardashians, Housewives, and who's getting the final rose. 🌹 (Still not over Rachel and Bryan, btw. #TeamPeter) To keep it 💯 — I don't really have the time to add more shows to my weekly line-up, so when I was introduced to Terrace House, while on a date, I immediately thought to hell with responsibilities and began binging.
Side note: I've learned that being an adult doesn't mean being responsible enough to manage your responsibilities, it's being responsible enough to know that you have responsibilities — and eventually getting around to them. It's essentially like a teenager, but with wine!
The concept behind Terrace House is an interesting one. It's essentially like a Japanese Real World. Six cast mates in one house — three men and three women, ranging in age from 18 to 30 — living their lives. Unlike the Real World, they have their own jobs and responsibilities, and are allowed to keep their phones — so no duck phone conversations on this show. One differentiator, is that there's a panel of famous Japanese entertainers (models, comedians, a token millennial) that critique, discuss, and on occasion, even reenact scenes from the show.
Not only are the folks on the panel hilarious, but they're brutally honest — and ask the questions we're all thinking while watching the people in the house. Another differentiator, is that the show begins to air, as people are still living in the house! Can you imagine people in a Real World house watching scenes and commentary about them, while they're still living with the other housemates?
The show is a bit more tame than the reality TV that we're used to, but there's enough to suck you in, let me tell you. After binging an entire season, and now working my way through the second season available on Netflix, I've learned quite a few lessons. These are my top seven:
1. Be open to new things, and get out of your comfort zone
For a lot of the cast mates, this will be the first time living with other people, or with the opposite sex. Depending on the season, they're either brand new to Tokyo, or the US, and are ready to experience all the city has to offer. It's a reminder to shake up your routine from time-to-time, experience new things, and possibly even change your scenery. The magic (and growth) happens outside of our comfort zones.
2. Regain some of that good 'ol fashioned innocence
Being born and raised in the US, I never realized how sex-crazed we are compared to other countries. While there's certainly some sexual tension, love triangles and even a real-life sex scandal between these six strangers, there's a sense of innocence that's almost refreshing, compared to that of Jersey Shore. To many of the cast mates, holding hands is a serious relationship step, and a date is a monumental event. It's sweet, and compliments the panel's sexual innuendos perfectly. So, maybe take a page out of the TH book and don't be in such a rush to live that hoe life — actually getting to know someone can be just as fun as getting to know their something. 😏
3. Laughing at yourself (and others) is good for your soul
The panel commentary is the glue to Terrace House. The wit, humor and drama is what we millennials call #goals. Or is it #goalz? Regardless, they get on each other, laugh at themselves and dish it right back out. It's another tall drink of water in a world that's so sensitive. Maybe it's just my sense of humor, but I think digging into someone (playfully) is a form of love. My favorite thing is the asshole knows he's an asshole, the innocent girl knows she's innocent, and the perv knows he's a perv — and they own it. We could all benefit from owning our personal identifiers, and using it to our comedic advantage.
4. Create your own path (on your time)
Despite their age, background or personal motivations, each of the cast mates come to Terrace House with a goal in mind. The three most common: to practice their English, to have an exhibit of their work and to fall in love. One of things I ❤️ TH for is that these people each have their own paths and focuses while living in the house, rather than working in a FroYo shoppe together. They help one another achieve their goals, and help to push and motivate their new-found friends while in the house.
5. Subtitles aren't so bad after-all
I have never been a subtitles person. Like, ever. For a period of time, they were stuck on my TV, and it drove my crazy. For this reason, I've never watched a subtitled foreign film, because I felt like it would be work. I am here to tell you that I couldn't have been more wrong. I got used to the subtitles so quickly, and don't feel gypped in the slightest. In all honesty, I forget that I'm reading along as I watch, and will check a text or get up to make a snack, or four, and realize after a minute that I don't understand Japanese and now have no clue what's going on.
6. Be honest and communicative... IT'S THAT EASY
It's interesting to see such a mix of personalities in one house. There's always a passive aggressive housemate, one that's unabashedly blunt, a shy one that bottles everything up, so on, and so on. The beauty for us, the viewers, is sitting back and watching the storm that ensues with that many personalities (and love triangles) under one roof. It seems, even if they occasionally rub people the wrong way, the people that are most communicative and open with their grievances do the best in Terrace House. I'm making more of an effort in being completely open in my relationships, and am seeing positive changes, even if the water is a little choppy at first.
7. Find (and perfect) your pack, then enjoy it
Granted, the cast mates don't know each other before coming into the house, or have any sway in who else moves in — but for the most part, they work hard to come together as a collective unit. They cook for the group or one another, plan day-trip excursions and try to make everyone feel welcome and included. It seems that, even in a relatively short period of time, a lot of the cast mates are forging lifelong connections with others in the house by supporting each other, actually caring for one another and even highlighting some of the character flaws that can be worked on to better themselves.
If you're still not convinced that terrace house is both highly-educational and highly-entertaining...
All images courtesy of Netflix