The stars of Lifetime’s new scripted series “Unreal,” which parodies reality-dating shows, have strong opinions about the unscripted genre.
Teaming “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and Bravo’s “Girlfriends Guide to Divorce” executive producer Marti Noxon with former “Bachelor” producer and writer Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, “Unreal” portrays the over-the-top drama on-screen and off of a “Bachelor-like” show called “Everlasting.”
“Sarah comes into this with big eyes and she’s a writer and she has all these aspirations, and then I think Marti brings the here’s what it really is, here’s the dark and we’re going to show you the dark and it does get very dark,” actress Constance Zimmer, who plays “Everlasting’s” executive producer, Quinn, told Business Insider.
How has making the show affected the way the stars look at reality TV?
BI spoke with Zimmer (“House of Cards,” “The Newsroom”); Shiri Appleby (“Roswell,” “Girls”), who plays ambitious young producer, Rachel, and Freddie Stroma (“Harry Potter” franchise), who plays the dating show’s handsome and intelligent bachelor, Adam, about their take on the unscripted TV genre.
BI: Which reality TV shows do you watch?
I am a “Project Runway” addict. It’s really super creative and there is like a task and at the end of the episode the dress comes out and you can judge it whereas like Top Chef, you can’t really like eat the food.
Zimmer: I will admit that if it is a reality show that I feel is accomplishing something in the end, I can watch it. I actually watched “Amazing Race” because I loved seeing all of the challenges and the different cultures and the countries. I felt like I was being educated.
Stroma: There’s only one. It’s usually you kind of admit it with shame and my secret shame was Big Brother in England. I watched probably about two or three seasons of that.
Zimmer: Some of the other reality shows where I feel like I’m just losing brain cells, I can’t afford to lose any more. I can’t watch the Kardashians.
Appleby: I can.
BI: Is love really possible on reality dating shows?
Appleby: Love can happen anywhere. Listen, [dating shows are] definitely a challenging way. Its got its obstacles.
Stroma: Love can happen anywhere. I was always of the opinion that no those shows are jokes. I don’t know maybe it’s just luck and possibilities that every now and then that love can be found that way, but other times you think like well actually you’re meeting 20 to 30 people. For a lot of people, it’s kind of hard to meet that many people who are sort in the eligible range.
Zimmer: Well, I have a very strong opinion, which I know is shocking, but I think there’s a time and a place for everything but I don’t know if I believe that people are real when they are on television.
What was your biggest takeaway from the series about reality TV?
Stroma: I kind of feel of like it’s about how much are you going to follow orders and do what your boss tells you to do the stuff and when are you going to start saying, “No, this is really wrong.”
Appleby: Isn’t that the question?
Zimmer: Yeah and it’s about the human condition; how far are you willing to go to get what you want and is it really what you want when you get it? I mean we all struggle with that whether it’s reality TV stars or not.
Watch a preview of “Unreal” below:
“Unreal” premieres Monday, June 1 at 10 p.m.
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