Wednesday, June 14, 2023

TV show: Unreal


This show is so messed up. I love it.

I don't think I've watched any other TV show where the main character is both this sympathetic but also this objectively bad of a person. A monster, not an anti-hero and yet we're still on her side.

The show is packaged as a parody of the Bachalor. Sure enough, it is a show within a show, and the main cast are producing a reality TV show that is clearly meant to be the Bachelor.

However, what really shines about the show is how it is a character study of the main lead (Rachel). In the world of the show Rachel is a "producer", charged with manipulating the reality TV contestants for maximum drama.

Everything interesting in this show is either Rachel's relationship with her boss Quinn or her internal struggles. How she navigates the dysfunctional world of making reality TV. How she tries to act morally in a world that makes that all but impossible. How she is both trapped in this world but also unwilling to escape. How her manipulations are both self-serving but ultimately self-destructive. How she both hates herself for everything she's done but also seems to relish the thrill of it.

I'm not sure I have ever really watched anything quite like this. A protagonist who you just want to give a hug to, but at the same time feel like she should be arrested. To be sure, season 2 and 4 are quite shaky, but a fascinating, if occasionally difficult, watch nonetheless.