“The Bachelor” has been a staple on ABC since it first hit TV screens in 2002.
The premise seemed romantic; women would meet a handsome man and hope to find true love.
The scenes were like something straight out of a perfume commercial, with everything girls dream of; jet-setting to quaint and beautiful European spots, wearing gorgeous pageant-ready gowns to cocktail hour and crimson-red roses at the ceremonies.
Hold up. There is nothing “romantic” about competing with 20 other girls for a guy’s attention. That’s messed up.
Who really wants to go on “group dates’ with a bunch of other girls?
The women try to be friendly, beautiful and poised, all while knowing it’s like “The Hunger Games” plotting to have some alone time with the bachelor.
And what is it with the fantasy suite? C’mon ABC we don’t have to euphemize everything to make it look PG, let’s be real.
This is when “UnREAL” comes in
Premiering on Lifetime on June 1, the new series exposes all of the secrets of producing “The Bachelor” in a fictional series “Everlasting”
The show opens with an elaborate set, complete with bubbling fountains, trees and shrubs glowing from the evanescent sparkle of white twinkle lights and a mansion. Of course, what Cinderella night would not be complete without a white horse and carriage?!
The intro, true to form, stars a Chris Harrison look-a-like, always attached to the hip of the bachelor.
Don’t get me started on him. I’ve heard rumors that he slept around with contestants and saw him on “The View” promoting a fictional romance novel. Really, Chris Harrison?
Anyway, the bachelor is there too, in the series he is called the “suitor” (cue the fainting couches and calling cards.) Yet there is nothing Victorian about Adam (Freddie Stroma), besides his English accent and huge… trust fund.
The allure of the set that we are accustomed to seeing on TV is marred by tons of camera people and assistants buzzing around the fantasy set, smashing the bubble of the seemingly-perfect world.
Behind the scenes is chaos. There is a high-profile woman, Quinn (Constance Zimmer), barking orders with a short black haircut. Her boyfriend with a wife at home Chet (Craig Bierko) is smoking pot in the back of a truck, meanwhile the suitor is M.I.A.
Leave it to a previously fired producer to save the day.
Once a MVP producer of the show, Rachel (Shiri Appleby) could not take all of the malicious plotting that they did just to make the “reality” TV show a hit.
All that Quinn cares about (if she cares about anything at all) is ratings, getting grown women to fight with each other like girls at prom night, crying on camera and going crazy.
At the final rose ceremony the year before, the ones in places that look like exotic islands where the “Bachelor” is supposed to propose with a Harry Winston stunner, she let it all out.
Drinking down a bottle of champagne, she cursed the show and went off in the company car.
Back to present day: She walks through the set, getting looks like she came back from the dead. Her ex-boyfriend is on set, already moved on to a younger blonde girl that they are working with.
She’s going to need the champagne now
Thee producers are seen, staying up at all hours of the night, dressing up as servers in the mansion to ensure that some of the girls get way too drunk off of free shots and glasses of wine so that they mess up on national TV.
The contestants meet the suitor and then rush off to the rose ceremony. They are there all night, until sunrise, having to stand in stilettos in their dresses until the suitor calls (or doesn’t call) their names.
The producers have secret files with all kinds of dirt on the contestants, and use the secrets like ammunition to create drama and leave the constants in the wake of the fire.
The contestants are forced to give away their phones and have no access to friends and family.
Although she is conflicted about the messed up ways that producers manipulate, Rachel is a pro. She is able to coax the suitor into staying on the series, and talk to contestants in order to get great soundbites and establish them as their characters (The Villian, the MILF, etc)
The series is smart and there is something redeemable in Rachel’s character, who walks the line of trying to reestablish her career but hating how she has to betray people.
It will be interesting and no doubt, wildly entertaining, to see what will happen (the plots, the betrayals, the crying, the fantasy suite) in the next episodes.
Rachel already teamed with Adam to “throw off the system” of sorts when he eliminates “the villain” of the show when he was supposed to keep her on (and let her keep her diamond tennis bracelet, the new rose)
While this is not a tell-all that I’ve been waiting to see, this comes close to a glimpse of the completely fake world of the “reality” of “The Bachelor.”
Maybe real contestants of the ABC show will cheat the system from now on and pull one over the real producers. Stay tuned this summer, the “unreal” drama is too good to miss.