If you’re like me, you’re missing your daily dose of reality fantasy.
All of us fell in love with Sam Frost. We kinda fell in love with that guy who was also called Sam from The Bachelor. Maybe you love Snezana? I was more on Team Lana. But now there is a gaping hole in our lives that needs to be filled with extravagant locations, emotional breakdowns and lots and lots of drinking.
What are we going to watch? Well, I have the solution.
UnReal, which is currently streaming on Stan, has all of what you see on The Bachelor/Bachelorette, but it also has a whole lot more. UnReal is a super dark comedy/drama starring Shiri Appleby and Constance Zimmer. On this show we actually get to see HOW ‘reality’ is made and it’s pretty ugly, but I can’t look away. If you fell in love with anyone on The Bachelor/Bachelorette then you need to watch this show. It’s engaging, hilarious and soul destroying all at once. You’ll never look at reality TV in the same way ever again.
UnReal Season 1 (via Lifetime Canada):
The show follows Rachel Goldberg, a producer for a fictional Reality TV dating show called ‘Everlasting’, which looks A LOT like The Bachelor. Oh, and we should mention that Rachel has just returned from an on-camera mental breakdown that was most likely caused by her psycho, ratings driven Executive Producer, Quinn King (Constance Zimmer). Have you signed up for your Stan subscription yet? It’s ok. I know you have.
Throughout UnReal we follow Rachel down the very murky rabbit hole of constructing reality TV: from finding a potential villain, to the art of using highly sensitive personal information to elicit emotional responses from the female contestants and the omnipotent power of the editing. A quick cut of the camera footage can turn a completely unrelated conversation between a contestant and a producer into ratings gold.
Look, I knew an army of producers were working on every reality TV show, but we never actually see them. They might as well be friendly, busy ghosts that make TV magic happen. Oh, wait, they’re manipulating people for ratings. But I can’t stop watching.
UnReal shows you the dark side of TV, particularly with the racial stereotyping of characters and cruel selection process of finding ‘freaks’ to amuse audiences in the first two episodes. Again, I think we all know this exists, but it’s still shocking. Even when it’s shown in a satirical comedy drama.
If you’re hanging out for the beauty, glitz and gaudiness of Reality TV then UnReal has you covered. There are plenty of beautiful people doing some sexy and really ugly things in a tropical-style setting. But, wait, there’s a dark edge to show that can rival House of Cards. Like an onion, this show has layers.
Another reason why you should watch UnReal is that it’s very nicely put together. It follows the standard format of ‘premise – twist – cliffhanger – resolution’, and the production team associated with the American network A & E have done a very fine job in working to a relatable format. You get to engage with the characters in front of and behind the camera. The casting is excellent and the boss/employee dynamic between Appleby and Zimmer is mesmerising and kind of frightening.
Rachel’s moral duplicity forces me to re-evaluate my moral compass at the end of every episode. And that’s the hallmark of good TV. It entertains and it teaches us something about humanity. Old Bill Shakespeare said that art ‘holds a mirror up to nature’. The mirror that is UnReal shows us a lot about how bad we can be and I want to watch a whole lot more.
Good TV is what this show is all about. UnReal may not be real, but it is damn good TV.