UnREAL is a show within a show. It gives you a glimpse at what it’s like to make a reality dating show from the producers’ side, the “suitor” aka bachelor’s side, and the contestants’ side. This show is ALL about manipulation and everyone’s agenda to get ahead. All the characters are basically monsters, but you will still be rooting for them anyway. You will cringe, laugh, and binge.
What’s the deal?
The show is all about the life of producing a hit Bachelor-style reality competition called Everlasting. It focuses on the two producers that run the show and how far they are willing to manipulate their contestants –and each other- for amazing ratings. You think the “real life” reality dating shows have a lot of drama? UnREAL DOUBLES that drama by taking you behind the scenes of how they create the show’s drama. It focuses on the personal and professional lives of Rachel and Quinn, the two women responsible for making the show a hit, while also shedding light on what it’s like to be a contestant on the show.
The Main Players:
Rachel: She is our main character and one of our many anti-heroes on the show. She starts out pretty rough in the first season as she makes a comeback to the set of Everlasting. She had a pretty big melt down the last time she stepped foot on the set and its made her a little self-destructive. She’s sleeping in one of the show’s trailers, living off Craft services, and wearing the same outfit like everyday. Rachel is a self-proclaimed “manipulative bitch” and that’s what makes her the best producer on the show. She is seriously flawed and sometimes you want to scream at her for the crazy things she’s doing to the contestants, but somehow you still root for her.
Quinn: She is the queen on Everlasting. As the executive producer, she runs the show and everyone who works on it. She needs the best on TV and she tells her team to get the best at any cost, even if that means pretty much selling your soul. Quinn is another anti-hero that you can’t help but like in some situations. And curse her in others because there is not really anything she isn’t willing to do. And I mean that.
The contestants: I thought that they were going to portray them as these fame hungry bimbos, but there is actually a lot of heart here. UnREAL gives you a look into what it’s like to do a show like this and how it effects your metal health. What is it like to not have a phone for months? How do you deal with family emergencies? It gives them humanity and sympathy, which I was really surprised by. It shows the relationship they have with producers and how they are effected when the producers want big ratings. We are talking fake 911 calls, violent ex-husbands, pill switching, bloody handprints, and even dealing with sexuality. But it also doesn’t shy away from showing some contestants true goals, to fall in love or to get famous and the extent they’re willing to go to get it.
What’s so great about it:
Besides the fact that this show gives you more drama than you could ever imagine. It deals with a lot of real issues. In the beginning of the show, they give each contestant a role, like the slut, the villain, and the wife. But go on to show how impossible and unrealistic it is for women to fit these stereotypes. And it doesn’t hide from the race problem in reality TV. Quinn stops production on the show when the first woman out of the limo is black and her reasoning is she’s not wife material for their white suitor. And when she gets heat from her team, she simply says it’s not her fault America is racist. There are really hard moments like this to watch, but this whole show is about making you face harsh truths like that.
And finally, this is a woman’s show, even though the male creator stole the idea from Quinn and placates her by letting her run it. The core of the show is about Rachel and Quinn’s twisted relationship and shows how they grapple with the question of how they can be feminists and put women through what they do on the show.
Perk of watching:
To me, this was an exciting look behind the scenes. And no, it didn’t ruin the fun of watching the Bachelorette this season. Yes, it’s a bit of a satire, but it doesn’t feel that way once you get into it. I am a newbie to the Bachelor universe as my roommate forced me to watch it for the first time last fall. And I had to take back all the awful things I said about the franchise as I became HOOKED. Instead, it gave me a lot of sympathy for what those contestants go through. And it’s fun to see who they are talking to while giving their interviews and how the producers get the reaction they want.
Overall, this show isn’t for the light-hearted. It’s fast paced, but also rewarding and always puts the characters before the plot. It has great writing and great acting. The second season is airing now on Lifetime and you can catch the first season on Hulu.
Have you watched UnREAL? What are you binging right now?