Tag: Roswell

The UnREAL Reality of Reality TV

Posted September 10, 2015 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Film & Television / 0 Comments

unreal_tv_series_posterA new TV show discovery for me is the Lifetime show UnREAL, which chronicles a dating reality show (similar to The Bachelor) called “Everlasting”. This is told mostly from the perspective of Rachel Goldberg (Shiri Appleby), a producer of the show who was brought back by the executive producer (Constance Zimmer) after an epic breakdown during the previous season. Rachel has to find the balance between rebuilding her reputation, the high demands of producing the show and her own mental health.

Let’s face it, Shiri Appleby will always be Liz Parker (Roswell) in my eyes, but it was good to see her back acting. I had a quick look and it seems like she never stopped acting, with a main role in Life Unexpected and in a few episodes of Girls. Also does anyone remember her web series Dating Rules from My Future Self? Anyway, despite the lack of alien love interests, UnREAL is a dark comedy that really dives into the psychological manipulation of reality TV.

I can honestly say I have never thought about reality TV as much as I had while watching UnREAL. I have never watched The Bachelor but from what I have seen in advertising, it seems to be a horrible distorted concept of romance and love. Essentially you have one bachelor dating twelve woman at once, and the show documents all the melodrama that happens between the contestants. However if you think about it, there is a lot of manipulation and distortion of people’s lives all in the name of trying to make good (this work is subjective) TV. UnREAL plays a lot with this behind the scenes look at a show called Everlasting and the way producers force these intense displays of emotions in the hope to capture it on screen.

However the show focuses on producer Rachel Goldberg, who had an emotional breakdown in the last season of Everlasting. The show starts at this new season of Everlasting and Rachel has been brought back because she is very good at her job. Despite the fact she is good at her job, it becomes quickly evident that the show is not good for her and UnREAL documents this struggle between career and mental stability.

I am excited that UnREAL will be returning for a second season; I was not sure if it was possible but I hope that it will be another satirical look at the state of reality TV. I do not know how I discovered this show, I think it was because of Shiri Appleby but my wife and I binge-watched this too quickly. Binge-watching is a lot of fun but when it is over it leaves you wanting more. Have you seen UnREAL, and if so what do you think it says about the Television industry? Let me know in the comments below.