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The Boyfriend is Netflix’s Gay Version of Terrace House —

The boyfriend Netflix

The Boyfriend premiered on Netflix on Tuesday and has already been described by The Daily Beast as “the best reality series on TV.” Like a male-only version of Terrace House, it is a BL dating show that follows nine men, aged between 22 and 36, who spend time living together in an extravagant house called “The Green Room” in a coastal town just outside Tokyo for around a month. It begins with five of them moving in on the opening day. They all receive a message on an iPad informing them that they’ll be working together in a coffee truck.  

The boyfriend Netflix

Boyfriend. (L to R) Shun, Dai Nakai in Boyfriend. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2024

Insecure Housemates

After a sixth housemate arrives — Kazuto, a chef who cooks for them — they are then asked to write anonymous letters to a person they would like to get to know better. “I’m worried. What if I don’t get a letter? That would mean I’m very unattractive,” says Gensei, a hair and makeup artist from Taiwan. Artist Shun is also worried. “I think I’ll get none,” he whispers. There is interest in Shun, however, from university student Dai. Then the housemates go to a club to meet seventh member Usak, one of Japan’s most famous go-go dancers. Shun subsequently starts to feel a little concerned. 

As with Terrace House, there is a group of celebrity commentators (comedian Yoshimi Tokui, idol and actress Megumi Yamano, actress Chiaki Horan, singer Thelma Aoyama and drag queen Durian Lollobrigida) who occasionally weigh in to give the audience their thoughts on what is happening. The Boyfriend is seen as a trailblazing reality TV show, particularly coming in a country that doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages and where people rarely speak openly about their sexuality. So far, just three episodes have aired, but the reviews have been positive.  

The Boyfriend Reviews

“Netflix’s reality series feels genuinely groundbreaking and deeply, grippingly sweet. You’ll watch these unforced romances unfold with bated breath,” writes The Guardian‘s Daisy Jones. Joel Keller of The Decider feels it is worth streaming, describing The Boyfriend as “a good example of a dating show that can be genuine about how relationships form and are maintained.” Barry Levitt of The Daily Beast feels there’s “an earnestness to everyone’s intentions that makes this feel like nothing else on reality TV.” 

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