Keep­ing it real

Un­Real takes a harsh look at the re­al­ity be­hind re­al­ity TV, writes AN­DREW FEN­TON

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - TV Guide - - News -

CO- CRE­ATED by for­mer US The Bach­e­lor pro­ducer Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, Un­Real is a mer­ci­less look at the ma­nip­u­la­tion and dou­ble deal­ing that hap­pens be­hind the scenes on a re­al­ity show ex­actly like – you guessed it – The Bach­e­lor.

Strangely, though, the show ap­peals just as much to those who love The Bach­e­lor as those who can’t stand what they see as its trick­ery and ar­ti­fi­cial­ity.

“It was one of the things we were afraid of, ac­tu­ally – the peo­ple who love [ The Bach­e­lor]. Would they not want to watch it?,” says Con­stance Zim­mer, who plays Quinn, the morally ques­tion­able and bor­der­line rep­re­hen­si­ble pro­ducer of Un­Real’s fic­tional dat­ing show Ever­last­ing. “So I think when both sides loved it equally, that was the big­gest com­pli­ment.”

Zim­mer says she be­came fas­ci­nated with the re­al­ity-TV world while mak­ing the show.

“I’d read th­ese scripts and think, ‘How is it pos­si­ble this is a tele­vi­sion show?’ And then I would go and watch a cou­ple of th­ese dat­ing com­pe­ti­tion shows and I was just floored by how much they were mir­ror­ing what we were do­ing.”

Un­Real has struck a nerve with some, in­clud­ing US host of The Bach­e­lor Chris Har­ri­son, who at­tacked it as “ter­ri­ble, re­ally ter­ri­ble” and “com­plete fic­tion”.

But anony­mously, re­al­ity-TV in­sid­ers here and in the US have con­ceded it’s not that far off.

“I have to say [the re­ac­tion] has been fairly pos­i­tive from peo­ple who aren’t afraid to ad­mit how close to the truth it is,” Zim­mer says.

Un­Real is al­most a post-fem­i­nist show in that it’s not afraid to show its two fe­male leads – Zim­mer and co-star Shiri Ap­pleby, who plays stand-in pro­ducer Rachel – as strong women who leave a trail of hu­man wreck­age be­hind them.

“Look at the stream now of flawed, com­pli­cated women who are the leads of tele­vi­sion shows – even more so than films be­cause tele­vi­sion is ready and will­ing to ex­plore that women are just as messed up as men,” Zim­mer says.

Pro­duc­tion for sea­son two is set to start soon, with a twist: this time the show will rather point­edly of­fer up the first ever African-Amer­i­can Bach­e­lor.

“In the first sea­son of the show we were mak­ing sure we didn’t up­set peo­ple too fast, too soon,” Zim­mer says.

“But now we’re like, ‘Oh you like that?’ We’re go­ing to give you more of that and it’s go­ing to be darker.”



Be­hind the scenes: Con­stance Zim­mer plays the con­tro­ver­sial pro­ducer of a fic­tional dat­ing show (top) in UnReal.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.