Ok, guilty pleasure/outting myself time. My wife LOVES all things Bachelor. I’m talking Bachelor, Bachelorette, Bachelor Pad, Bachelor in Paradise, The Bachelor Live, everything Bachelor. Time for admittance: Hello, my name is Mark (Hello, Mark!). I watch the Bachelor and I like it.
Phew, now that we’ve got that out of the way…UnReal is a semi-biographical/satirical look at the reality TV show craze that has swept the nation for well over a decade. It’s the behind the scenes story of a producer named Rachel (Roswell’s Shiri Appleby) who is forced back into a life she thought she had left behind. Her boss, showrunner Quinn (Entourage’s Constance Zimmer), is completely devoid of anything resembling morals or integrity.
Together the two of them embark on creating the tension/drama/great TV you see every week on The Bachelor. The fictional dating show is called Everlasting, where the girls are looking for their everlasting love. The bachelor on season one was British royalty who had damaged his image, along with his family name, and needed to get back in his family’s good graces. It was the ultimate fairy tale.
There’s a lot more to season one, but the point is that Rachel and Quinn, along with the creator of the show Chet (Scary Movie 4’s Craig Bierko), go to whatever length necessary and do everything imaginable to manufacture a train wreck that you just cannot look away from. The lengths they go to are so extreme that they cause one contestant to kill herself. There’s also plenty of behind the scenes sex between the cast and crew, including the man looking for love.
This season the bachelor is, for the first time ever including real Bachelor, a black man (Agent’s of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s B.J. Britt). He’s an NFL quarterback accused of being sexist and violent. His image needs a rehab and he agrees to do the show. The producers go to great lengths to get stereotypical girls: a southern racist, a black female activist and an Arab girl they can paint as a terrorist. They even go so far as to put her in a headscarf and play up possible ties to Bin Laden just to manufacture a villain.
The show is so far from PC that it’s wonderful. It pulls back the curtain to reveal the seedy underbelly of reality TV. The rampant sexual harassment, the quid pro quo Hollywood stereotype, the authentic dialogue of normal, every day people and the treatment of the cast as chess pieces to be moved and sacrificed as necessary for the story.
It’s a refreshing show, made more so by the powerful female leads. They are as powerful, uncaring and un-PC as any man alive. They treat every single person as an object to be used and act as far from the stereotypical female love interest as possible. The tremendous acting turned in by the main cast deserves an Emmy. They are completely relatable and fallible. They are conflicted and well developed.
As with Person of Interest the writing is spectacular. The show is hilarious, raunchy, dramatic and uncaring. They do not care who is offended, they revel in it. In today’s sensitive climate it’s a breath of fresh air. Every single character on the show is crafted masterfully. There are no one-dimensional cardboard cutouts. Everyone is fleshed out and given a chance to shine, no matter how small their part is. The behind the scenes aspect is what makes the show so great.
The authenticity of the show comes from creator Sarah Gertrude Shapiro’s real life experience working as a producer on The Bachelor for three years. As a feminist the experience made her miserable and physically ill. She turned that disgust into the premise for UnReal and created a cultural hit spoofing a cultural phenomenon.
If you’re turned off by vulgarity, sex, drugs, offensive language/statements, powerful women, stereotypes, or promiscuity this is definitely not the show for you. If you want a refreshing look into the behind the scenes antics that Hollywood and the networks don’t want you to see…if you want to laugh your butt off or revel in a PC-free world…if you want to indulge in the vicarious feeling you get from living through these two powerful women who defy stereotypes this IS the show you’re looking for.