Season 2 Lifetime (*131) 20:00
From clever editing to make something from nothing and producers who manipulate contestants, nothing’s off limits in season 2 of drama show UnREAL (2015-current). Rachel (Shiri Appleby) is the new showrunner of fictional reality show Everlasting and sums up the premise of UnREAL when she yells at one of her underlings, “We aren’t camp counsellors. We don’t solve problems, okay? We create them. And then we point cameras at them!”
But how many of those “problems” on UnREAL really happen in the world of reality dating shows like The Bachelorette (2003-current; more on 7)? Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, who created UnREAL, has unique insider info – she used to work on The Bachelor (2002current) and reveals that things like watching contestants closely is accurate. “We had a lot of standards and practices as to how to handle certain situations [on The Bachelor],” she says.
Plus, contestants do get nicknames, like “the wife” and “hot Rachel”, as seen in season 2 episode 1 of UnREAL – that’s to help easily identify who they’re talking about. It also makes it easier for the production team to edit that person to portray a certain characteristic better onscreen. And just like in UnREAL, contestants are looking for more than just love and have hidden agendas. A former contestant on The Bachelor, who remained anonymous, said in an interview that “contestants know it’s going to open so many doors”.
While producers do influence contestants, outright manipulation is a no-no. It’s editing that exaggerates contestants flaws, says Sarah, adding that “it’s only influencing people into performing how you need. It’s even just having an ear for syntax as people describe experiences”. NB! See more on p67.