Last summer, I gave a very strange show called Unreal a shot. I knew that it would tackle the cutthroat world of reality TV production, but I had no idea I’d uncover a complex character-based satire filled with dark undertones and sharp themes. Suffice to say, I was completely absorbed by the show’s debut year, and I’m pleased to report that the series’ return is just as solid.
Of course the reason the show works so well is thanks to its two utterly astounding leads: Shiri Appleby and Constance Zimmer. The two women embody Rachel and Quinn in every way – perfectly evoking a spectrum of emotions at any given moment. Their relationship is deeply flawed and complicated: part mother-daughter, part sworn nemeses. It’s the beating heart of the show, and this season – with Rachel taking on showrunning duties (well almost…) – means the dynamic can take on an added layer of competitiveness and duplicity. Incredible!
The drama on Unreal is only ever as good as the fictional reality-show it presents, and this season we’ve got the first ever black suitor on Everlasting. It’s a fascinating element, dutifully allowing the show to not only provide its usual commentary on network and gender politics, but race as well. Although we haven’t met all the female contestants yet, I’m eager to see how the show plans on topping itself this year with the constant machinations and manipulations.
– The dual tattoos (money, dick, power) are just wrong.
– The crazy cocaine sex party in the teaser made me really uncomfortable- as this show so often does.
– I love Dr. Wagerstein. More screen-time for her please!
– I honestly never really clicked with the Jeremy character. Here’s hoping that changes this season!
– Loved how Rachel ruthlessly fired Jeremy’s guy in the whole “kill list” shebang.
– The way Rachel got Madison to “gut” the contestant by bringing up the accident? Perfection.
– Chet is back from his “Crossfit” journey! It seems the war between him and Quinn will provide the backbone for the season. I’m all for it! Particularly the blood-pumping music as Quinn walked away at the party.
– Is it just me or does the Rachel-Quinn dynamic remind anyone else of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman on Breaking Bad? That’s how good it is.
Quips & Quinn
Quinn: It will be a ratings bonanza. Or I can just get you another small-dicked white boy from Missouri with a bunch of horny kindergarten teachers because nobody’s bored by that.
Chet: Oh, well, this is what happens when you shed 50 pounds of weakness, sadness, and pussydom.
Chet: I went on a paleolithic lifestyle retreat with my grand leader.
Quinn: Oh, what is that? Like CrossFit or some bullshit?
Quinn: Suck it up, Goldberg. If we fired everyone we had s*x with, we wouldn’t have a crew.
Rachel: Oh, okay, was it free lobotomy week at Burke Williams?
Rachel: Madison, we aren’t camp counselors. We don’t solve problems, okay? We create them. And then we point cameras at them.
Madison: I mean, how am I supposed to force her?
Rachel: I don’t know. Tell her your mother died or something. Act like you get it.
Madison: My mom did die.
Rachel: There you go.
Quinn: How do you like puppeteering?
Rachel: Are you kidding me? I feel like God.
Madison: You know, wearing a head scarf doesn’t actually make you a terrorist.
Quinn: But wearing pigtails at your age does make you retarded.
Chet: I tried as a hard as I could to be everything you wanted me to be. And I ended up a castrated, obese mess. You ended up a dried-up old spinster.
Chet: I’m taking my kingdom back. May the best man win.
Quinn: She usually does.
Quinn: Put her in someone else’s underwear if you have to because I’m an underwear psychic, and I bet this bitch packed granny panties, okay?
A strong return from one of TV’s most creative (and cynical) offerings.