The first part of Aloha State was quite a departure from the universally-awesome Terrace House: Boys & Girls In The City, with its new location (the titular Aloha State—Hawaii) and younger members (half were 18 year olds). Even though it had the core look and feel of Terrace House, it still needed a few tweaks. The online Terrace House community felt that Hawaii wasn’t as interesting and noticed a lack of chemistry between the members; possibly stemming from having three teenagers in the show. Luckily for us, Part 2 brought in some member changes that made the relationships tighter than ever in this iteration.
(You can read our Part 1 impressions here)
*warning, part 1 a few part 2 spoilers ahead*
SOMETHING’S STILL LACKING FROM HAWAII
I mentioned in my Part 1 Impressions that Hawaii as a location was less interesting compared to B&GITC’s Tokyo. Much of the scenery shown in the series was of the many beautiful but tourist-filled beaches of O’ahu. I don’t doubt that each of these destinations are majestic in real life but these do not translate much to television. These scenes didn’t make me want to go to Hawaii unlike how B&GITC did for me with Tokyo.
Sadly, Part 2 is still the same. Save for a date that happened in Kualoa Ranch, where Jurassic Park was shot, nothing about non-touristy Hawaii was shown.
Additionally, I still feel that the show hasn’t presented a big chunk of Hawaii’s culture. The members had a Hawaiian Thanksgiving (which apparently replaces the turkey with crab) but not a legitimate Luau. One of the new members practices Hula dancing but we haven’t gotten the chance to see her do it yet.
MEMBER CHEMISTRY HAS VASTLY IMPROVED
Terrace House is a show about relationships. Its entertainment value is anchored on the depth of connection between the members. It may not necessarily be romantic, but just watching the warmth between the guys and gals in the house brings so much joy to any viewer.
The original batch, though more interesting individuals compared to B&GITC’s first batch, just wasn’t good TV. They were generally passive in driving the story forward; save for Naomi who was making things happen in the show. And you know there’s a lack of story when the A plot of your show is anchored on an introvert trying to date another introvert. To make matters worse, Naomi expressed her desire to leave in the last episode. The house then feels to be a mix of just meh.
Thankfully, the producers wizened up and made solid choices with their replacements, bringing more personality to the group. They added (1) a more confrontational member ala Natsumi that’s already causing friction, (2) a more effective figurehead, (3) as well as a member that the panel likens to Winnie The Pooh who brings lightness to the house.
These additions made immediate effect as Part 2’s pace felt much significantly faster than Part 1. More dates happened in two episodes of Part 2 than the entirety of Part 1. And more moments with almost the entire group together. I guess the housemate traffic added to this impression.
And speaking of the panel, showrunners made the panel a whole lot more enjoyable with the introduction of stand-up comedian Tsukasa Saito as a part-time panel member. A die-hard Terrace House fan himself, not only did he give insight on the events in the house, but he also showed chemistry with panel mainstays especially with Yama-chan. In certain comedic bits in the panel, they became more or less a comedic duo with Yamasato playing straight man and Saito playing funny man.
Terrace House: Aloha State Part 2 definitely is closer to the feel of B&GITC thanks to efficient member additions. However, Hawaii as a character hasn’t wowed me yet as much as Tokyo was in B&GITC. Part 2 also didn’t do a good job in setting up Part 3 as a member’s decision to leave inevitably kills two to three good storylines to look forward to in Part 3. Hopefully, its extension of 12 more episodes (from 24 to 36 episodes) would be enough to develop a more solid show.