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UnREAL in the Media: News, Ratings, and Previews

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There seems to be a lot of good talk about the show - critically its gotten mostly all positive reviews and for Lifetime I think this has to be its most critically hailed show. They promoted the hell out of it, So why the low ratings? I know it's only aired 2 eps but the numbers are already dropping and that has me a little worried. To me Unreal is a drastic departure from the type of show Lifetime is known for. I could see it as a starz, HBO, even Netflix type of show and I think it probably could've done better as that's more the type of audience I see tuning in anyway. I applaud lifetime for trying something new I just really hope the ratings improve as I would be sad to see this show get the axe.

Do you think Lifetime will give this show a chance to grow? Do you think it's dead on arrival?

I think it's good enough to be Emmy or Golden Globe nominated and by some miracle it can (as critics seem to love it and that's rare for a Lifetime show) that might give it a boost in ratings or give lifetime incentive to keep it. Anyone else have thoughts on this?

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>>They promoted the hell out of it, So why the low ratings?

 

Well, here are some possibilities:

 

1. The kind of viewer who tunes into Lifetime doesn't care for this type of show.

2. The principal characters in this show are mostly unlikable and unscrupulous to one degree or another. There seems to be no one to "root" for. That turns a lot of people off.

3. Viewers who check it out don't relate to the perpetually jaded attitudes and apparently routine loose morality. When Chet's cheating on his wife, snorting coke, and watching a character on his show boink his friend's wife, and when Quinn's doing a married man, hoping he will divorce his wife, and when everyone else is lying to and manipulating the "Everlasting" show contestants--and no one seems particularly happy with life--well, how accessible is unReal anyway? 

 

See, I think that if you have worked in show business at all, you might totally relate to this show and the behind-the-production-scenes shenanigans. But otherwise, as written, I think the show is a hard sell. I wish it had some lighter moments, something we could laugh at to offset the unpleasantness of the main characters and their actions. 

 

As long as it's only 10 eps, and I've watched the first 4, I'm interested enough to continue through to the end, to see how it all turns out.  If it were 22 eps, I might not stick around. And based on the 4 eps I've watched, I would not watch a second season. Too much of a downer.

Edited by adhoc
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The show's audience is on Bravo.  I never watched the Batchelor, but I have been sucked into a few of Bravo's reality shows, and I like this show.

 

I don't find this show a downer.  But then my favorite shows are The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, which torched a 10 year old girl on last week's episode.

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I wouldn't be surprised if real "reality" producers aren't happy with UNREAL and secretly hoping for its demise. I mean it's not like we all didn't know about manipulations behind the scenes, but for the totally gullible, it puts a damper on things. Plus, during their promotions, it appeared (to me) that it was a parody of the Bachelor, so anyone who doesn't watch, wouldn't be interested anyway. Who knows why folks aren't tuning in? All I know is that I'm enjoying it (warts & all) and will stick with it until the end, one way or another.

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I wonder if some of the reason for the low ratings is because the first four episodes are available on OnDemand? Since they've been up, I've binged all of them so I don't need to watch them live. And since you can watch them all whenever you want, I don't know if those view counts are counted in the Live+Same Day numbers. Also, because I've already seen them, I don't need to watch them live and I might forget to tune in when the next new episode actually premieres (aghh why did I do that?)

 

I hope the ratings get a little better, I'm actually enjoying it now.

 

Edit: They're actually showing commercials to binge watch the episodes!

Edited by niklj
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You know they got me to watch the show in the most clever way.

 

I was watching Youtube and it came on as a Commercial.  You know... those things you expect to go on for 30 seconds?  So I sat there and kept wondering how long it was going to go on. I kept expecting it to end, to be truncated at some point as a "preview" and lo and behold... the "commercial" before my chosen 3 minute video was the entire first episode (yes, if I'd really wanted to they had a "skip" option--which I wound up never using).

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Part of the issue might be that the show is on Lifetime.  I still believe there is a stigma where all anyone thinks about Lifetime, other than it's a "woman's" channel, is Golden Girls reruns and movie reruns of "Mother Don't Hit Me b/c My Boyfriend/Husband/Lover Already Did".  I rarely watch the channel unless it's for some tv movie of the week that looks cringeworthy/behind the scenes/hot shirtless guys and this show.  I do admit Lifetime has stepped it up w/ some of their original movies.

 

With all the great reviews the show is getting, you have to remember that these journalists were sent copies of the episodes/season to review, so it's a good possibility they don't watch the network either.

Edited by CMH1981
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Part of the issue might be that the show is on Lifetime.  I still believe there is a stigma where all anyone thinks about Lifetime, other than it's a "woman's" channel, is Golden Girls reruns and movie reruns of "Mother Don't Hit Me b/c My Boyfriend/Husband/Lover Already Did".  I rarely watch the channel unless it's for some tv movie of the week that looks cringeworthy/behind the scenes/hot shirtless guys and this show.  I do admit Lifetime has stepped it up w/ some of their original movies.

I think this may be right.  For years I referred to Lifetime as the Women in Peril channel.  Don't get me wrong, Mother May I Sleep With Danger is still the best title ever for a terrible movie and beloved touchstone for my adolescence, but Lifetime really has a rep that it's only been slowly shaking off for the last couple of years. And even that was initially characterized by a very specific female centric "uplifting" type shows which, while higher in quality and a better message that endless stalker movies, was still likely to leave it pigeonholed as a Chick Channel with fluff as entertainment. 

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My ex-husband referred to Lifetime as WPMS. I think it's the wrong network for this show, personally. It would do better on Bravo, or even one of the big three networks.

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I used to refer to Lifetime as the network for women who like to be frightened into staying at home to watch more Lifetime. I actually think that not only is this the wrong network and that FX would be ideal if they want to start reaching out to women again, but also half of the advertising for this is completely wrongheaded. I've seen ads encouraging viewers to demonstrate that they are a match for Adam. An ad campaign like that demonstrates that the publicity folks don't understand the first thing about this show.

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I agree that this show would work best on another network.  Bravo and E! wouldn't touch it b/c they make their livelihood off of fake-reality programing.  I think FX or USA would have been the best bets for this show, to be fair NBC would have worked b/c let's face it they have nothing to lose at this point and it would really stick it to ABC and CBS which have way more successful faux-reality programming.

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This show should've been on actually ABC airing right after The Bachelorette. I don't think its works on its sister network because Lifetime's audience is not the audience  this.

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From the New York Times: "Lifetime’s ‘UnREAL’ Traces the Cracks in Reality TV’s Fourth Wall"

One of the creators of “UnREAL,” Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, formerly worked as a producer on “The Bachelor.” One would assume a tower of nondisclosure agreements prevent employees from revealing backstage gossip and procedural tricks. But at this point, that might be irrelevant.

 

As the “Bachelor”-”Bachelorette” feedback loop grew in popularity in the mid-2000s, tabloid interest in participants increased, and online spoilers became routine. Show producers came to understand that this parallel narrative—the public meta-commentary—was just as compelling as the show. Now stars of the show are also regulars in US Weekly, which serves as a sort of CliffsNotes, like the recent cover featuring the current Bachelorette, Kaitlyn, with the quote “I’m not ashamed!” (referring to a sex scandal on the show).

 

That’s made “The Bachelor” and its spinoffs self-referential and, at times, self-parodic. (And possibly superfluous: This season’s twist was that there were two bachelorettes on opening night. Britt, who was not chosen, was crying in her hotel room when Brady, one of the men who fancied her, showed up, having abandoned the show, though still trailed by cameras. They’re apparently still dating — so who are the real winners?)

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A lot of people don't watch reality shows, so it's not surprising they don't want to watch what happens behind the scenes of a reality show. 

 

Given how badly a lot of network shows that would seem to have a broader appeal do in the ratings, it doesn't surprise me that this show, which has a more specific audience appeal, isn't setting anything on fire.

 

And then there are the reasons adhoc listed. TV is going through a rough time as it figures out how to compete with streaming services, binge-watching, and other distractions that keep viewers away from watching an actual television.

Edited by dubbel zout
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Drama ‘UnReal’ Premieres Quietly Monday [6/1]

According to same-night Nielsen estimates, 10 p.m. drama “UnReal” averaged a 0.29 rating in adults 18-49 and 815,000 viewers overall in the 10 o’clock hour. By comparison, lead-in “Devious Maids” did a 0.53 rating and 1.46 million viewers overall.

 

Ratings: Lifetime's “UnREAL” Slips in Week Two [6/8]

For Lifetime’s “UnREAL,” the positive buzz did not manifest as a week two ratings increase.

 

Monday’s episode posted a 0.26 adults 18-49 rating with 707,000 total viewers. Both numbers trail those of the June 1 series premiere, which scored a 0.29 with 815,000 viewers.

 

That premiere performance was considered disappointing; the potential for a word-of-mouth-driven week two increase was the main saving grace.

 

That increase did not occur.

 

UnREAL creators: 'Being totally cynical wasn't our aim'

Sarah Gertrude Shapiro: I based UnREAL on a short film I had written and directed, and I had gotten my head around pitching HBO or FX or Showtime—that’s where I saw the sensibility of it finding a home.

 

I had a day job [on The Bachelor] 10 years ago, so I don’t know how they make it anymore. But I’ve had a variety of jobs that informed these moral quandaries, those sexual politics the characters find themselves in. Those conflicts and those themes are so pervasive to women in careers that it’s not super specific to feel, like, maybe you’re doing a sh-tty thing at work and maybe you’re not spending enough time on your life, and you work all the time. All these themes are pretty universal in that way.

Edited by editorgrrl

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Promo for episode 5 "Truth":

 

It's distasteful and unscrupulous, but I have no problem believing that reality tv producers would try to persuade and manipulate a virgin contestant to lose her virginity on the show. The bit with Quinn deliberately exacerbating a contestant's eating disorder in a previous episode was more shocking to me and harder to believe.

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A lot of people don't watch reality shows, so it's not surprising they don't want to watch what happens behind the scenes of a reality show. 

That's probably part of it.  . . but, well, I don't watch reality television, apart from Mythbusters, because I like the quirky things they research and  they blow things up.  I've never watched a single episode of the Bachelor.  I will admit to some of the VH-1 shows' episodes, but I sort of thought those were mostly scripted--with the participants consent--because everything I saw was so ridiculous I couldn't imagine someone going into it thinking a real relationship would happen.  

 

I'm still really enjoying unREAL.

 

I've wondered how many people who watch shows like The Bachelor take it seriously?  Because I think if it were skewering something I thought was sincere, the way unREAL is skewering dating shows, I would not want to watch it.

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I think Hollywood as a general matter overestimates the public's interest in Behind the Scenes shows, neither Episodes nor The Comeback get stellar ratings. This is  a very dark show, and doesn't match well with Devious Maids. Also, it started with a .29. That means the marketing campaign was lousy.

Edited by portfino

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Ratings: Lifetime's “UnREAL,” “Devious Maids” Fall Yet Again

Lifetime’s “UnREAL” suffered more declines in adults 18-49 and total viewership. Monday’s episode, which was the show’s fourth, drew a 0.22 adults 18-49 rating with 552,000 total viewers. Both numbers were down from those of last week’s broadcast, which posted a 0.23 rating with an audience of 565,000.

 

UnREAL, the Television Show About Reality TV We Didn't Know We Needed

[sarah Gertrude] Shapiro and [Marti] Noxon are quick to point out that their show “Passed it, smashed it, murdered it”—the “it” in this instance being the infamous Bechdel Test.

 

“Our women talk about everything, from their careers, to their life, to their morals, to their goals, to their families,” Shapiro says. Some of that is largely due to the source material: dating shows like The Bachelor are, in Noxon’s words, “not relationship shows about boys and girls: these are relationships about girls and girls.“

Edited by editorgrrl

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Unreal may pass the Bechdel Test, but the whole show is about women submitting to the whims of a man (be it Adam or Chet).

I don't know about that—but it's definitely about women undermining each other.

'UnREAL' Boss Marti Noxon on "Difficult" Feminism and the Show's Dark Turn: "There's Farther for [Rachel] to Fall"

Our whole point of view going into the show was not to show an ideal feminist, at all, obviously, but to show that it is so difficult to try to navigate these waters of sexuality and sexual politics—especially when there’s this investment in creating these lies around how people fall in love and lies that even the best feminist women fall prey to themselves.

I always joke that I’m a feminist with a boob job. Figure that one out, I’m trying to still.

Edited by editorgrrl
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Members of the cast will be live tweeting tonight. I think this is the first night where live is the only way to see it first.

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Monday's "UnREAL" set a new series high in adults 18-49. It nearly tied its viewership high.

Among adults 18-49, Monday’s “UnREAL” was the highest-rated episode yet. It nearly set a series high in total viewership.

Up significantly from last week’s broadcast in both regards, this week’s episode posted a 0.35 adults 18-49 rating with 810,000 viewers.

Last week’s “UnREAL,” which was the third straight to suffer a weekly decline, posted a 0.22 adults 18-49 rating with 552,000 viewers.

Not since the premiere, which drew 815,000 viewers, has an “UnREAL” episode drawn a larger audience. That premiere drew a 0.29 in the key adults 18-49 demographic.

Following the June 1 premiere, Lifetime made the second, third and fourth episodes available for streaming. Based on the significant jump for this week’s episode, which was the series’ fifth, a case can be made that ratings for the past three episodes were adversely affected by their online availability.

— Lead-in “Devious Maids” also enjoyed gains this week; it drew a 0.49 rating with 1.335 million viewers (up from last week’s 0.43 with 1.135 million viewers).

The added lead-in support likely helped “UnREAL,” but insofar as this was not the highest-rated episode of the season, it cannot claim complete credit for this week’s “UnREAL” rise.

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I was wondering about how or even if the on demand rating were factored in.  I forgot about the show and then about 3 days after the pilot aired, I looked it up and discovered there were 4 episodes available and watched all of them... and then had to wait WEEKS for follow up.  I wonder how many people also watched them early on demand and if that was captured and included somewhere.

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Monday's "UnREAL" set a new series high in adults 18-49. It nearly tied its viewership high.

Among adults 18-49, Monday’s “UnREAL” was the highest-rated episode yet. It nearly set a series high in total viewership.

 

I'm happy to read this. I binge-watched all the episodes the past two days and am totally hooked. Shows I get hooked on often get cancelled so the early low ratings were disappointing. I hope the upward trend continues!

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I have to bet that the early streaming hurt the ratings.  That's the only explanation.

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There's also been some good buzz about the show in a variety of outlets that was presumably timed to coincide with the first live episode. I just saw a positive article on Slate, which is decently mainstream press. I don't know what Lifetime's strategy was, so maybe everything worked as planned, but I wish they would either have made the whole season available for streaming or made none of it because the wait between ep 4 and 5 was killer for me! 

 

I'm so glad to see the increase in ratings, though. I'm not sure whether or not I even want a season 2 (because how much story is there to tell?), but when the ratings got so low, I was worried that there may be an early cancellation.

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There's also been some good buzz about the show in a variety of outlets that was presumably timed to coincide with the first live episode. I just saw a positive article on Slate, which is decently mainstream press.

You mean "Lifetime’s UnReal is the first antihero show that is created by women, stars women, and at times brutally satirizes women. It’s irresistible"?

UnReal skirts the mistakes that so many antihero copycat shows have made, not by forsaking the antihero or his attendant themes, but by putting them in a new, generative setting: one concerned with women. (Imagine True Detective set among, say, sister wives; I’d watch.)

UnReal, a series created by women and largely starring women, eviscerates a format that mostly features women, and airs on Lifetime, a network for women. UnReal's themes are so somber—cruelty, apathy, self-abasement, perversion of talent, bread and circuses—it would seem to be a more natural fit for a corrupt police office, some seedy underworld, even a women’s prison. But setting UnReal somewhere so obviously bleak would be the wreck of it. The play of darkness and darkness that registers as light is what makes the show so watchable: it’s the TV equivalent of the dress. Figuring out if it’s black and blue or something lighter is all the fun.

Edited by editorgrrl

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Episode 5 is on the Lifetime website after all.  Glad TPTB put it up, because I do not have cable/satellite, so this is the only way I can see it. 

 

There are some issues (as some others have reported about previous episodes) with the website streaming, at least during the first 10-15 minutes, and then it seems to work itself out, or at least that's how it's been for me.  (When I say "issues with the website streaming," I mean that a few minutes of the episode stream fine, then it looks like it's "hung", but then after a while it starts again.)

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Just read on Vulture that UnReal has officially been renewed for a second season! Guess the ratings jump last week and all of the positive media buzz was enough to get Lifetime to pull the trigger.

ETA: looks like someone beat me to it!

Edited by xqueenfrostine
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There is a scene in the episode that airs Monday July 6 that is going to be a jaw-dropper.

Have you seen it yet?

No. Lifetime’s publicists wouldn’t show me that episode. They wouldn’t even tell me what it is.

I’ll say this: You won’t believe we go there. It’s farther than you could imagine Lifetime or the show going.

 

Any guesses on what this jaw-dropping scene is going to be? I think whatever it is will involve Mary because of how last week's episode ended. 

 

And yay on the show being renewed! I was afraid it was going to get cancelled because it looked like the weekly ratings weren't that great. 

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I suspect the media buzz for UnReal is even more important to them than the ratings. Shapiro talks about Lifetime possibly rebranding its image in her interview with Playboy, and how UnReal is a part of that. Lifetime has never been seen as a destination for prestige programming, but if they have any aspirations to become that it would probably be worth it to them to keep the show around so long as the reviews stay so positive even if the ratings aren't as good as hoped. The cred it gets from critics from having a show like UnReal on their network could be valuable in the future if they decide they want to attempt more ambitious programming.

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I binged watch the first three episodes last week and I liked it; interesting concept combined with the behind the scenes snarkiness about  "finding love on t.v. shows". I'll stick around for the rest of the season and glad to see it was renewed.

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I suspect the media buzz for UnReal is even more important to them than the ratings. Shapiro talks about Lifetime possibly rebranding its image in her interview with Playboy, and how UnReal is a part of that. Lifetime has never been seen as a destination for prestige programming, but if they have any aspirations to become that it would probably be worth it to them to keep the show around so long as the reviews stay so positive even if the ratings aren't as good as hoped. The cred it gets from critics from having a show like UnReal on their network could be valuable in the future if they decide they want to attempt more ambitious programming.

If Lifetime cared about ratings they wouldnt be making all those Unauthorized sitcom movies lately. Because they don't get great ratings from those.

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The Saved by the Bell movie was hilarious. They should update it with Screech's jail sentence.

 

Lifetime has some original programming, like when they had Army Wives. Devious Maids is more soapy. I'm still annoyed because they were the distributor for "Blood Ties" and didn't green light a second season.

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A.V Club review of Episode 6 "Fly"

I think it wasn't as bad as they are deeming it to be - I'm certainly not questioning my interest in continuing on with the show after this one episode (as the previous 5 were so great IMO), but I can't say I disagree with some parts of the review either. Hopefully, next week will make up it!

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We were looking for a leading man gone to seed — a good-looking guy who had just quit giving a shit — so he put on weight for the role.

 

It's never been mentioned on the show, but one reason Chet can stop giving a shit is that he's made his fortune. Men can get fat, and being rich certainly doesn't make a fat man less attractive.

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In my mind, Season 2 means Rachel does not "redeem" herself (i.e., get help, start to be in a better place, whatever). Unless there are all new characters in Season 2, that is.  

 

If Season 2 has the same principals (Chet, Quinn, Rachel, etc.), then I would have to assume that Season 2 would  be like Season 1 - a boatload of unlikable characters whose lives are screwed up one way or another, and about whom I give not a flying frittata.

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Ratings for this week episode slipped unfortunately....

Lifetime's recently renewed "UnREAL" suffers a loss in adults 18-49

Lifetime’s “UnREAL,” which has been renewed for a second season, enjoyed a week-over-week ratings loss this Monday.

Monday’s episode posted a 0.32 adults 18-49 rating with 739,000 total viewers. While comfortably ahead of its series low levels, the numbers trail those of the previous week’s telecast.

Also some insight on why Lifetime chose to renew despite the low ratings ....

Why Low-Rated Summer Shows Are Still Landing Early Renewals

•"The show has been a success for us, and the definition of success is evolving," said Liz Gateley, Lifetime's evp and head of programming.

•"We saw that this was a new audience for us, coming from other places, and so we strategically decided to give away the first four episodes, digitally, as a way of getting the viewers to come in Episode 5," said Gateley.

•"Once we saw that fifth-week episode and we knew we had a core audience hooked on the show, [season 2] was an easy green light for us," said Gateley.

•But UnReal's critical accolades—rare for a Lifetime series— were just as important to execs as those ratings jumps. "The real reason we decided to green light it was because it's a great show, and it's our most critically acclaimed show," said Gateley. "It's pushing our brand in a new direction—a younger direction, a more affluent direction—and for us, it's a game changer. It's put us in the cultural zeitgeist."

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A.V Club review of Episode 6 "Fly"

An insightful and well-written review. The author didn't comment on the acting performances, but IMO this Mary-heavy episode wasn't as strong as other episodes partly because there was a lot of Mary and Lily Belle and not enough Rachel and Adam.

 

I loved this line from the article:

 

      Adam’s grunt-heavy investor pitch in “Wife,”

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