By now you know, we’re obsessed with UnREAL. Lifetime’s original TV drama delves deep into the underbelly of reality TV, taking aim specifically at The Bachelor with its promise of romance and guarantee of making its contestants fodder for ratings. Well, Bachelor host Chris Harrison is not impressed to say the least. Actually, he’s pretty pissed off.
“Really, the main difference that I’ve seen is that people watch The Bachelor. It’s complete fiction. As much as they would love to jump on our coattails — they were begging for us to talk about it and for people to write about it — at the end of the day, no one is watching. I mean, absolutely nobody is watching that show. Why? It is terrible. It is really terrible.”
Harrison is right in that way more people watch The Bachlor/ette than UnREAL, millions more in fact. But let’s keep in mind that these two aren’t really competing for attention. The former has 19 seasons under its belt. 19! It’s a big, fat franchise that runs on ABC. By contrast, UnREAL is an original program in its first 10-episode season, premiering in the summer, and on Lifetime, a channel that until recently was most often associated with guilty pleasures and being a joke of a network. Basically, if The Bachlor/ette is the Transformers movies, UnREAL is Ex Machina. They have a little in common in their content, but do wildly different things with them, with very different intentions.
As to riding the coattails, Harrison has a point there too. It was a smart move on Lifetime’s part to run UnREAL Monday nights after The Bachelorette, making the more popular show an unwilling opening act to the new kid on the block.
And I can totally understand why Harrison hates UnREAL, though I’m not really convinced he’s even watched the show, and not just its ratings count. It aims to shed an unflattering light on what manipulation can go on behind the scenes of so-called reality TV, something Harrison has dedicated his career too. And his UnREAL double is a womanizing douchebag regularly mocked by the reality show-within-a-show’s producers. UnREAL also gives the women who have so long been judged and mocked on The Bachelor a bit of dignity back by making viewers realize they are real people behind their projected stereotypes of bitch, slut, virgin and princess.
Harrison can sputter all he’d like about how UnREAL doesn’t show the proper respect to the franchise it’s used as a launchpad, but that plays into UnREAL as well. Harrison has admitted UnREAL wants to tie itself and The Bachelor together in people’s minds. And here, with these quotes, he’s helped them. (Quinn would be thrilled.) He can call UnREAL “terrible” and disrespectful, but him being so hot under the collar about it is sure to lure more viewers to the show…which just so happens to be offering its big finale next week.
UnREAL airs Monday nights at 10PM on Lifetime. Catch up on eps 1-9 now online.
Kristy Puchko be fly for nothing.