A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Terrace House: Boys & Girls in the City is an unscripted Japanese reality series that's subtitled and follows a group of millennials who move into a house together in Tokyo. There's a predictable level of flirting, much drinking (though rarely in excess), some griping at roommates, and a few romantic relationships that invite conversations about sex and show a couple sharing a room for part of the show. There's also the unique addition of a panel of (occasionally snarky) commentators who weigh in on the show's cast and content as it progresses, giving it a new element of drama. This series offers viewers a glimpse into modern Japanese culture and gender roles as they're presented by the stars' experiences.
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What's the story?
The reality series TERRACE HOUSE: BOYS AND GIRLS IN THE CITY assembles six strangers to be roommates in a luxurious house in Tokyo. The participants -- three men and three women, all under the age of 29 -- hail from different backgrounds and are chasing different life goals, but this shared experience promises to influence them in surprising ways. Between scenes set in the house are offsite segments in which a panel of six commentators dish on what's happening at Terrace House.
Is it any good?
Though certainly not a unique setup in the reality TV world, this show's built-in chatter circle gives it a distinct quality that will appeal to viewers who love on-screen drama. No matter how mundane the events inside Terrace House (choosing beds and deciding as a group what's for dinner, for instance), the commentary team always finds something to gossip about. Often that winds up being more entertaining to watch than the roommates themselves.
On the upside, Terrace House's cast of millennials is a mostly appealing group, all gainfully employed and/or pursuing degrees at local universities. They have their share of disagreements, but they're generally polite and considerate, which really offsets the usual stresses of cohabiting. And although reading subtitles can be tiresome for non-Japanese speakers, the show's Tokyo setting exposes viewers to some elements of Japanese culture.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the draw of reality series such as Terrace House: Boys & Girls in the City. Is it hard to believe the content is entirely organic and spontaneous? Do you think watching your own life would be entertaining enough for TV?
How does this series present young adults? Are they responsible? Goal-oriented? Selfish? Realistic? How does this compare with your knowledge of today's teens and 20-somethings? What messages does their lifestyle send about sex?
What differences do you notice between your culture and the modern Japanese experience? To what degree does each new generation break ties with past traditions?
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