“You get cash bonuses for nudity, 911 calls, and catfights!” screams Quinn, the manipulative producer who encourages her crew to do anything for ratings in Lifetime’s juiciest drama, “UnREAL.”
The series provides a gloriously over-the-top glimpse of all the makings and manipulations of reality dating television to an audience weaned on shows like “The Bachelor.”
Its storyline revolves around the volatile relationship between a field producer named Rachel and her boss, Quinn who bullies her into doing whatever it takes to fuel competition and drama among contestants on “Everlasting,” their “The Bachelor” style show within a show. As much as the two women butt heads, they also work together to navigate the male-dominated industry of reality television.
But it’s women who dominate this show and here’s ENTITY’s guide to the main characters.
The cutthroat producer of “Everlasting” who stops at nothing for the sake of big viewing figures. Whether she’s instigating more drama between contestants, or firing orders at her crew members, Quinn tactfully executes her power as the ultimate creative force.
Constance Zimmer, an award winner for this role, has also portrayed other “unapologetic career women” in “Boston Legal,” “House of Cards” and “Entourage.” Zimmer, 46, spoke to ET about the significance of these parts stating, “This is showing us that we’re going beyond ageism, especially in television — that some of the most incredibly well-written female roles right now are for women over 40.”
Quinn’s character is also known for her quick-witted insults that are so outrageous, Vulture decided to dedicate their very own “insult generator” to highlight their favorite Quinn quotes. Just watch as she dominates the screen with her queen-bee attitude!
“UnREAL” creator Sarah Shapiro modeled Rachel’s character after her own experiences as a former field producer on “The Bachelor.” In an LA Times interview, Shapiro claims that she wrote Rachel with an understanding of how working in reality TV can actually harm one’s well-being.
In the first season, Rachel has a nervous breakdown, shedding light on mental health issues, including bipolar and depression. These illnesses commonly get misrepresented in the media, according to an article on US News, media typically stereotypes these individuals as incompetent and disheveled.
However, Rachel’s character is anything but inept. Her sometimes exhausted and haggard-looking appearance gets credited to her fervent work ethic, and not to the fact that she takes prescription medication to treat her rage. Rachel’s meltdown ultimately shows a softer more vulnerable side to her personality. It helps her to empathize with the naive “Everlasting” contestants, but only when she’s not playing off their weaknesses to get what she wants.
One example of Rachel’s devious planning occurs when she slips a laxative in a contestant’s food and the entire crew captures the results on camera for as piece of great TV. So in spite of her struggles, Rachel always finds a way to prove her competence and work through any obstacle thrown her way.
Genevieve Buechner plays Maddie, the bright wide-eyed intern on “Everlasting.” She’s a bit clueless at first, but remains eager to climb the ranks of the show’s crew member hierarchy. Her vulnerability is just what makes this character so relatable.
In season two, Maddie undergoes a transformation once she’s promoted to a field producer. She soon evolves into a manipulative young woman who can plot, scheme, and blackmail just as shamelessly as her successors, Quinn and Rachel.
During an Entertainment Weekly interview, Buechner, says of her character, “She’s really working toward her weird dream of becoming this manipulative producer who can run the world… She sees Quinn as the Goddess and Rachel as the queen and wants that.”
All in all, she’s accomplishing her dreams by going after the one thing she wants most, even if it means following in the dubious footsteps of Rachel and Quinn.
Dr. Wagerstein is “Everlasting’s” go-to psychologist. She treats not only the contestants on the show, but the production crew as well, consulting Madison after a sticky sexual harassment encounter with the executive producer, Chet.
This doctor seems to show a genuine concern for the women, but don’t be completely fooled by her maternal nature. Dr. Wagerstein also has a darker side that’s explored during an episode where she exploits Madison’s situation to secure her future at “Everlasting.”
“UnREAL” works not just as a piece of entertainment but also by exploring issues. Creator, Shapiro aims to start conversations about all the difficult topics brought up in the show, including abusive relationships, mental well-being, and sexism in the workplace. And according to her, the more uncomfortable the subject matters, the better the script.
The drama continues when the third season launches this April on Lifetime.
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