If you haven’t already guessed from the amount of reality TV mentions on this blog, I love me some good ol’ trashy TV. From the Kardashians to True Tori (a docu-series on Tori Spelling’s marriage woes – please don’t judge me!) I’m a sucker for anything that features a ‘real housewife’ or a wannabe next top model. It’s my time to escape, to laugh and feel a bit better about life for a while. And yes, I’m aware that the majority of reality TV is scripted and so beyond real life it’s not even funny, except that it is really bloody funny.
It probably comes as no surprise that I watch The Bachelor, both American and Aussie versions, and its many spin-offs. They’re insane and infuriating and most of the people on them are batshit, which of course only adds to the hilarity of them. So you can imagine my near-pee reaction when I discovered there was a new TV show, called UnREAL, a written dramedy that’s set behind-the-scenes of Everlasting, a The Bachelor-esque show. Effing genius, right? I’m only two episodes in so far and I’m already hooked. Created by Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, who has previously worked on The Bachelor, UnREAL pulls no punches when it comes to revealing just how scripted the popular TV dating show is, not to mention how ruthless the people working on the show are. It’s eye-opening to see how easily they manipulate and use the contestants like puppets to create drama-filled storylines all to achieve ratings success. Not only is it cleverly written and massively entertaining, it also stars a female character who I love because of how real she is portrayed.
Rachel Goldberg (played by Shiri Appleby) is one of the producers of Everlasting, who returns to the show after an epic meltdown the season before. Forced to face her crazy-ass boss, Quinn (played by the brilliant Constance Zimmer) and the outrageous and unethical decisions she imposes on her, Rachel is nothing short of a hot mess. Her character has so many raw and tangible qualities, it’s refreshing to see a female comedy lead who isn’t a cookie cutter that’s there purely to deliver witty one-liners. Like most of us, Rachel is flawed and has layers, many layers, which is why she is awesome.
As a writer, I’m especially drawn to female comedy characters who are essentially hot messes and don’t have their shit together because who does? Despite what the media and Instagram tells us, none of us really have our shit together. We can chuck as many filters on our photos as we like, but the truth is underneath we’re all flawed and messy because that’s what real life is. It’s eating toast for dinner and accidentally drinking too much on a Tuesday night and never going to yoga like you always say you will. And when we want to escape and forget about real life for a while, we turn on The Bachelor and laugh.
P.S. Thanks to Gemma Burgess for alerting me to this UnREAL on her blog. Like I needed another excuse to not write and watch telly instead. 😉