Review: UnReal Pilot

I am a big fan of reality television. I usually imbibe in the Bravo and MTV reality universes, where particularly narcissistic individuals choose to film their lives, but from time to time I have indulged in the network competition shows. Unknown-4 Indeed, it was while I was watching Bravo’s delightful Southern Charm that my hulu account (which knows way too much about me) decided to show me a preview for a new scripted Lifetime show about people producing a Bachelor-like reality show. Unknown-1 UnReal wasn’t the best pilot I’ve ever seen–it was full of cliche characters–but it did perk my interest enough to keep watching. images The show follows two women working behind the scenes of the reality show. The first is Quinn, a career-focused producer (? I don’t understand the distinct roles behind creating a TV show), played by Constance Zimmer repeating her performances from House of Cards and The Newsroom. She’s sleeping with a man who I think is her boss, and I imagine she has a soft underbelly underneath her gruff exterior. It is her job to make good television, at the cost of the feelings and reputations of the men and women on display. Unknown-2 The second is Rachel, the moral compass of the show on her first day back from a crazy moral breakdown while taping the finale of the previous season. It felt very familiar to me, ala Aaron Sorkin’s pilots for Studio 60 and The Newsroom, decrying the lowest common denominator of television production (and facing an ex who works on staff). As with the Sorkin shows, I have troubles sympathizing with these sentiments, mostly because I am an avid consumer of bad television and I think there are more important issues pressing our world. Unknown-3 [In another Sorkin move, she wore a “This is What a Feminist Looks Like” t-shirt. We get it, Lifetime, her feminist sensibilities are part of her moral struggle] images-1 But I am intrigued to see more about the role of television producers in the creation of these drama-filled reality shows; how do they create explosive situations and prod their characters to show their crazy. images-2 images-3 Is this Lifetime making a moral statement about reality television, and if so are they willing to be self-reflexive about their own role in the reality-industrial complex? Unknown-7 images-5 Unknown-9 Unknown-5 Unknown-6 images-4 Unknown-8 I’m intrigued, but not expecting greatness.

2 thoughts on “Review: UnReal Pilot

  1. I’ve watched the first four episodes of this so far and I am into it! You know I’m not as much of a reality fan (I like my drama scripted and my people pretty), but I have consumed a decent amount of bachelor/ette. I think this is great fun so far! I’m mixed about whether they’re really trying to “do something” with it, or if it’s mostly in good fun, but I’m not sure I care at this point. I also love seeing the off-screen manipulations. Not that they’re surprising, or anything, but I like seeing how it can be done with the camera angles and the producers talking to the contestants, etc. Rather mundane reason to like a show, but there you have it! I will def. be watching this summer.

    Liked by 1 person

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