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Retrospective: An UnREAL Season One

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Here is a spot to discuss ALL of Season One of UnREAL. Every single, batshit crazy moment. Discuss the whole thing.

 

BYOB.

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Overall, I think this was a really strong first season. The weakest episode would have to be "Fly" for me. My biggest complaint is that I felt like the season felt rushed at certain parts and would have worked better spread over more than the 1O episodes they were given - but I feel they did the best with what they had and I really was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed this season very much. Standout acting from Shiri Appleby, Constance Zimmer, Freddie Stroma, and Breeda Wool. Everyone on the cast was really good to be honest. This was really well written and fresh and I hope season 2 is just as good if not better!

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I just binged UnREAL on whim last night and I literally could not stop watching. It was so good and compelling. It's such a high concept show that on paper sounds completely ridiculous and along the lines of guilty pleasure soap, but the way the show was just so relentlessly dark and twisted, and how it never wants to justify or recontextualize the actions and decisions of its characters as anything but self-serving and downright vicious has got me hooked. I love that the showrunners are inspired and influenced by Breaking Bad, and that they have absolutely no qualms about not playing the likability game.

 

Also, holy shit, Shiri Appleby's performance just blew me away. I watched Roswell as a kid and I could not stand Liz Parker, but here she's created this complex, interesting, and engaging character and the show is at its strongest when it stays focused on her. I also love Rachel and Quinn's dynamic and watching the final episode, I never realized how satisfying it was to see them working together and manipulating all the moving parts to work in their ultimate favor. That was fun. Though yes, Fly was a dreadful hour hat makes me feel like maybe this is what the show could have turned into had the writing not been as on point as the other nine episodes are.

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I don't remember what was in the episode Fly, was it the suicide?   

 

I enjoyed every minuet including the jumper.  The only thing that I did not like was the finale showing Jeremy (?) going to Rachael's mother.   I am not looking forward to what that may bring.  It seemed too real.  Everything else I could say, that would never happen.  

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I don't remember what was in the episode Fly, was it the suicide?  

 

Yep, that's the episode with the suicide. I'm not sure if why I didn't like I came from the fact that I just felt like the family date would never. Freaking. End. Or if it's because I didn't think the actress who played Mary really found compelling notes for me to engage in. It was all kind of a little too soap-y for me, which is fine and all, but I couldn't get into it as much.

 

What do you mean by Jeremy going to Rachel's mother seeming too real though? I also kind of didn't like it either, but more for the fact that it just opens up the possibility of more Jeremy, and there's just something about that character in particular that I really dislike. He's just absolutely not compelling or interesting to me, nor do I think he and Rachel have much of an interesting chemistry that would even begin to hint at any apparent "intensity" there may or may not have been in the first (?) incarnation of their relationship.

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Yep, that's the episode with the suicide. I'm not sure if why I didn't like I came from the fact that I just felt like the family date would never. Freaking. End. Or if it's because I didn't think the actress who played Mary really found compelling notes for me to engage in. It was all kind of a little too soap-y for me, which is fine and all, but I couldn't get into it as much.

 

What do you mean by Jeremy going to Rachel's mother seeming too real though? I also kind of didn't like it either, but more for the fact that it just opens up the possibility of more Jeremy, and there's just something about that character in particular that I really dislike. He's just absolutely not compelling or interesting to me, nor do I think he and Rachel have much of an interesting chemistry that would even begin to hint at any apparent "intensity" there may or may not have been in the first (?) incarnation of their relationship.

 

 

I agree on Fly.  Didn't like the actress and it did drag on.  I was not opposed to her jumping as some did. 

 

I thought Jeremy going to her mothers house seemed like it could happen in real life where all the other plot points were over the top and would never happen.   I didn't feel exhilarated as I did with the totally outrageous things that were going on.  And because I don't like Jeremy it means he is going to play an integral part next season.  

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In the NY Times end of year round up, James Poniewozik left UnREAL off his best 10 of the year, but he did have this to say:

 

Was 2015 the best TV year ever? It was, at least, the most TV year ever. There are more original shows every year. Choosing 10 shows annually, then, becomes a crueler and crueler process. As it should be. A list only means something to the extent that it leaves something off. It should hurt. But inevitably, any best TV show list will omit some of what was best about TV.

 

Mine, say, leaves out some of 2015’s most adventurous and relevant series (“Mr. Robot,” “UnREAL,” “Empire”)....

 

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^ interesting thanks! They've been on a few top 10s and Variety put them in their top 20. Hit fix has them a #4 out of their best new shows. Tvguide named Constance Zimmer one of the Best performers of 2015. NY Times just names Shiri Appleby on their Best Performance list as well. Love all the praise their continuing to get - hope they get remembered at the upcoming awards shows!

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I've discovered this series because of a Vanity Fair article naming the best new characters on TV this year. What they wrote about Rachel/Shiri Appleby was so intriguing that I watched the first episode and got hooked and binge-watched the whole season :)

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OK, this has been sitting on my DVR since July. I heard all the good talk and totally meant to watch it, but didn't even start until Friday. Well, two days later, I have watched every single episode and have thoughts. Mostly, that this is sooooooo addictively good!

 

Soapy, but not stupid. I admit I actually sort of 'shipped Adam and Rachel -- and I'm not a 'shipper in the normal course of TV viewing -- and REALLY wanted them to run away together. Not (just) because of his cute British accent, though that didn't hurt, but because they seemed so well suited. Morally and ethically questionable, to say the least, with terrible life choices aplenty between them, they also both had a scintilla of soul left AND were equally terrible, manipulative people, always on the look out for their own self interest, only occasionally glancing around and noting others existed. In short, they felt a little perfect for one another. Do I think it would have worked out? Not even a little. But I think some drunken hot sex on a beach for a few months before it all imploded would have been a great starting point for season 2.

 

Or, conversely, I, like Tara in her recap, hoped he'd pick the redheaded lesbian and try to play one thing on camera, while actually cavorting through a season 2 with Rachel, who may or may not also still be dangling Jeremy — who was kind of a drip — as well. I think that could have been good TV.

 

But, alas, it was not to be. I will be curious to see if Adam returns. I think the actor is good and it would be interesting to see the dynamic between he and Rachel after the wedding debacle. I would/will miss Chet for the same reasons, should he not be a part of whatever Quinn-Rachel-centric season two set-up they come up with.

 

Does anyone know for sure when this one is coming back?

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Guest

I loved this show!  I can't wait for it to come back.  I wish it wasn't the Bach show as its base again but I'll take what I can get.  

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While reading some info about season 2 I came across someone's comments about the season 1 finale. Can anyone shed some light on this comment. 

http://www.spoilertv.com/2016/05/unreal-season-2-first-look-promo.html?m=1

 

Quote

So I was surfing channels a few weeks ago and caugh the last few minutes of the season 1 finale on another network (Star World). And the finale airing there had a totally different ending. In that one, after the last scene with Quinn and Rachel, Rachel goes to Chet and tells him that they need to bring Quinn down a peg. Also, instead of Jeremy going to see Rachel's mom, he and Shia are in his car outside a police station, and Shia says that they are the reason that Mary died. And the episode ends there.

Anyone else see that ending? I wonder if it was an alternate ending on the DVD or something.

 

 

Edited by earlbny

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So I binged the first season recently, and I'm so excited it's coming back so soon, so I don't have to wait long. I just have to get my thoughts on Jeremy off my chest though. 

I hope Quinn follows through and has Jeremy's head, cause he's clearly coming for Rachel. I can't stand Jeremy. At first, I liked him, but the more I got to know him, the more I realized he was a "Nice Guy". He's the guy who goes around talking about women never choosing the nice guy. They go for the guys who are mean to them and the bad boys. But when you really get to the root of the "Nice Guy", he's a sexist, vindictive, manipulative ass. Jeremy is the guy that snaps and murders you when he feels you've done him wrong. He's the kind of guy I run from when they say they're a nice guy. All I hear when I hear a guy say that is "if you hurt my fragile ego, I will kill you, or at least work very hard to make it happen". 

He spent the season completely jerking Rachel around. She comes back and he's immediately following her on set, saying he tried to call her, wants to know what happened, and then has to throw in he's engaged to someone else, and it's her fault, cause he called her, but she didn't call him back. And then he comes on to her, but treats her like she's the wrong one in the scenario. Then he sexes her up after having Mary die in front of her, but also try and take her off the roof, too. And then he's cold to her when she's confused by it, but it's cool, cause he's dumped his fiancé almost instantly afterward and is pretty much asking her move in. Dude gave me whiplash all season, and now he's gonna try and pull her psycho mom into it all because she hurt his ego? Ooh! Take him down Quinn!

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14 hours ago, nosleepforme said:

Having a black bachelor on the show

The racial dynamics (which were mostly hinted at in Season 1) should be interesting.  Will the women be mostly white (alienating black female viewers, as well as the "not a racist!!!" ones) or mostly black (alienating a lot of white viewers).  But neither UnREAL or The Bachelorette is likely to have a black lead any time soon.

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On 6/5/2016 at 5:20 AM, nosleepforme said:

Rewatching the first season, I was surprised by what a great character Chet has been. He could have easily been a hateable one-dimensional douchebag, but the fact that he did indeed have actual feelings for Quinn, giving up a share of Everlasting, made him a much more nuanced character, though from what I read about season two that probably won't be the case this year. He was definitely more interesting than Jeremy by a landslide though.

So, will Madison really be a producer in the second season? That should lead to more disasters than with Shia even.

I really love the dynamic between Quinn and Rachel.

I cosign every word on Chet. I loved his character! Sure he was a lazy slovenly spoiled man child, but you could see glimpses of the younger, hungrier, more ambitious young go getter he must have been once. And I agree that he truly loved Quinn, as much as he could love anyone. Its a tribute to the actor that Chet was, if not lovable or even likeable, human and flawed and sometimes, not unsympathetic. The scenes with his dog were so real. And every now and then you could see this look on his face, like "how did we get here? how has it come to this?" I think he's just great and I'm looking forward to seeing him again this season.

I'm hoping for some attention on Madison, I'm betting she will be an interesting little girl. She's not as naive as she appears but she is green. She wants to be part of this world and she knows its sleazy.

But I think the acting across the board is stellar. Shiri Appleby is just amazing, so subtle she can convey universes with a flick of her eyelid.

I watched the whole first season again this weekend, I cannot WAIT till tonight!

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Chet and Maddison are 2 of my favorite characters. Rachel being the 1st and the reason I started watching this show. I can't wait to see tonight's episode. I like everyone except for Jeremy. Shiri can make my hair stand up without even speaking a word. She's such a great actress.

Edited by earlbny
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See, I like Jeremy.  He's the only "normal" one there.  His character shows up how crazy and hilarious and dark everyone else is.

I love the feminist aspect, but I hope the show doesn't lose Rachel's ambivalence about her job as well as how good she is at it.  It must be very weird to be so good at a job she may or may not like.

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I think this show is wish-fulfillment-for-female-TV-producers.

The problem with "Fly", I think is that Mary wasn't really a character - she was just a walking catalogue of problems. The "Family date" should have shown us other sides of her (in the way that the trip to visit Faith's family did), but it failed. The kid could have been put off, for example, by the way Mary was dressed and made up, which I'm sure she'd never have been at home - I guess the assumption is that the kid, too, is seduced by the TV screen, but it would have been realistic for such a young child to feel that inside all that dress-up her mother was, if not unrecognizable, at least untouchable. That at least would have been an organic problem where we could have had a glimpse of Mary's real character...which in turn would have made her ultimate distress much more affecting. As it was, it was kind of color-by-numbers.

That's actually part of my larger complaint about this show, which is that it's not just that *Everlasting* treats the competitors as dolls to dismember and stage as they wish; it's that UNREAL does the same thing. When Adam called the other girls "paper dolls" I wanted to hit somebody. It's completely unfair - for both the character and the writers - to criticize people for not being something you've never allowed them to be. UNREAL could have been decent - maybe the word is feminist - enough to let every one of those competitors have just a second or two doing or saying something that showed they, too, were real people. (And this is why I have never had the slightest interest in watching reality TV; I think they were trying to design this show so it would appeal to both people who watch reality TV and people who don't, so they're walking the knife edge of both playing and exposing the game.)

It makes me much less interested in season 2.

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