The American television drama and dark comedy, UnREAL, which aired initially on 6th June 2015 is all set for its premier on 6th June again this year. This Peabody award winner series, got renewed for its third season on the 2nd of July, which was even earlier than the launch of the 2nd season. The show became Lifetime’s youngest show to gain such popularity and develop a cult following.
The show was the brain child of Marti Noxon and Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, the idea of UnREAL was distilled from Shapiro’s short film, sequin RAZE. UnREAL, takes its viewers on a behind the scenes journey that shows us the ‘unscripted’and ‘real’world of a Bachelor-themed, TV-dating show called Everlasting.
It takes an unapologetic approach to put the spotlight on the misogyny, manipulation of contestants and intra-competitiveness among producers that goes into the making of such reality shows.
If the show’s first two episodes are to be considered, then with season 2, the makers, unsatisfied with just attacking/addressing the intentional patronization of women to their male counterparts, brutal competition and sexual abuse in the TV Bizz. They decided to drop in racial discrimination into the mix as well.
This summer, UnREAL witnesses the emergence of a new eligible bachelor, a black NFL quarterback, Darius Beck(B.J.Britt). Darius is looking to rebuild his image through the Everlasting platform. However, what is even more important is that he is the show’s first African-American suitor.
We find a new dynamic towards the relationship between Rachel (Shiri Appleby) and Quinn (Constance Zimmer), the end of last season saw both the girls receive their much longed-and-fought for promotions. Having said that, viewers need not fret, the tension between them continues to fuel the drama, much like it did last season.
The show begins with them celebrating their achievement. Rachel is in Quinn’s position while Quinn occupies that of Chet’s (Craig Bierko). The “racial uneasiness” nerve is tapped into and experimented unabashedly this season.
As we find among the contestants, trying to fight into the heart of the eligible black suitor, a white southerner who wears the Confederate Flag bikini, an activist of Black Lives Matters, who alleges that black women never make it beyond the first few rounds and is made to air wearing a t-shirt on which is written “I Can’t Breathe”.
It doesn’t end just there; we also get to see the producers of Everlasting urge a Muslim contestant, who has never worn a headscarf before, wear one for the camera. Simply because the producers feel, the audience relates it with a symbol of terrorism. Therefore, we see the aggressive tendencies of this fictional reality show creators, towards acquiring ratings is unchanged.
The show’s actor Britt was heard saying that UnREAL breaks down barriers and is not afraid to go places other shows wouldn’t dare. This happens to be true, when you take into consideration that its real life mirror reflection of a show “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette” hasn’t yet mustered up the courage to do.
The Bachelor, which is 21 seasons down and The Bachelorette, which is 12 seasons long so far, have yet to feature a black suitor or a female one.
THIS Everlasting has been able to achieve in just TWO seasons. The contestants, who were given a rather monochromatic appeal in the last season, seems to have been given a multidimensional feel in this season. Plus, it shall be interesting to see the character of Rachel flourish, struggle and try to come out on top of her mental illness.