Lifetime’s new show UnREAL is hands-down your summer must-watch guilty pleasure TV.
As someone who has worked in production — be it movies, television or, yes, even reality TV — I can tell you life on the set is no joke. It’s tough! And UnREAL definitely gets the stress and grueling hours down perfectly, showcasing the exhaustion in an hourlong window like a pro.
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But I haven’t ever worked on a reality TV dating show, so I have no idea what the contestants actually go through, but our experts seem to think what goes on behind-the-scenes is pretty spot-on (if not a little less dramatic) to what we saw in the premiere of UnREAL tonight.
And if that’s actually the case, it should terrify you.
Why anyone would ever want to put themselves through that kind of objectification and stereotyping is beyond me. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bachelor Nation (which the reality show in UnREAL called Everlasting is obviously based upon) lost a lot of hopeful contestants after women watch the new summer series.
On the flip side, many Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants report a positive experience. Plenty who have gone on the show hope to continue in the series’ spin-offs like Bachelor in Paradise so it can’t be all bad right? Well, either that or there are some people in this world who just really like attention more than they like their sanity.
I’m guessing it isn’t that bad.
Here’s where I think UnREAL takes some fictitious liberties:
- I don’t think the guy picking the girls is really that selfish and in it for himself. I think the vast majority (not all!) of men and women who go on The Bachelor/ette are ready to settle down.
- The staff doesn’t drunkenly ruin rose ceremonies because they are so morally against the heart of the show.
- I think producers are more respectful.
- Cameras can’t be everywhere at all times. Plus, it takes a ton of time and crew to set up shots, so it isn’t easy (with lighting and sound) to suddenly be filming.
The pilot episode was so crazy that I was stressed out just watching it at home — but in the best possible way. Shiri Appleby sells it in the lead as producer Rachel, who has the job of getting the emotion and drama out of contestants. And I’m a little disappointed Arielle Kebbel, who plays Britney, will only be in the pilot since she absolutely killed it as the rejected villain tonight.
I can’t wait to see how each week unfolds. And, call me a hopeless romantic, but maybe the characters will actually learn a thing or two about themselves and find love in the end. The series could definitely end with an engagement or two… I just don’t think it will be the one Everlasting is planning.