UnREAL Explores Scripted Reality TV, Something Bachelor Contestants Know Well
If any ounce of you, maybe your optimistic, glass-half-full side of you, thought The Bachelor had any string of realness, a new Lifetime scripted series confidently puts that to rest.
In the 30 combined seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, there has yet to be a TV show, movie, or book that portrays the unfiltered, behind-the-scenes moments of the show.
But Lifetime’s UnREAL changes that. Former Bachelor producer Sarah Gertrude Shapiro writes the scripted series and it’s presumably about her time producing the hit reality show.
The scripted series depicts producers in a new light. It shows them mapping out the entirety of the “reality” show before the first woman even steps out of the limo. Producers are seen yelling “cut” when the suitor — or the bachelor, per se — messes up their preplanned storyline. The black contestants are encouraged to act up to a certain stereotype, while other women are labeled “wifey,” if they are seen as frontrunners. But mainly, the producers are seen setting aside their morals to ensure good television — or at least high ratings.
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Jeremy Anderson, local guy, former Bachelorette contestant and lawyer at Anderson Beakley, PLLC, can attest to all of those things.
He says everything on the show is thought out before production even begins.
“(The producers) basically say, ‘We pick people we think are going to mesh well or are going to be a good match for the main person. We pick two or three of those guys and then we just pick a bunch of guys who are going to make good TV. They’re going to clash with each other, they’re going to cause drama, and that sort of thing. But we know who the main contenders are going to be because we pretty much know what the girl is looking for,’” Anderson, who was on DeAnna Pappas’ Bachelorette season, says.
“(A producer) said, ‘So look you’re going to be one of the guys we think she’s really going to be into.’ I’m sure they probably tell everyone this, but that’s what she told me,” he says. “‘And we think there’s a real good shot you guys might end up in a serious relationship after this.’”
Alcohol is present throughout the Bachelor mansion. During ITMs — in the moments, where contestants are seen alone talking to the camera — producers often encourage contestants to drink before talking, Anderson says.
“You go into these little production rooms, little studio rooms, and there’s, like, lighting, camera guy, producer sitting there on a stool behind the camera, and a countertop full of nothing but every alcohol you can think of,” he says. “And they’re just over there, first thing they do, ‘You need to take some shots. You need to loosen up. Take some shots.’”
From the beginning, Anderson says producers ensured him that he was a frontrunner. The night Pappas had to cut three men into two was no different. A producer told Anderson he had nothing to worry about.
“The producer said, ‘You have nothing to worry about. I just left DeAnna’s room and everything is good. It’s going to be Jesse (Csincsak) out,’” he says.
But when it came time for the rose ceremony, Pappas gave the first rose to Csincsak. That’s when Anderson knew he had been lied to.
“When you see my face, I was staring at the producer,” he says. “I was looking at her, like, ‘Really? That just happened?’ She pulled me aside and said, ‘This is all part of it. Don’t worry. You had to be shocked. Trust me.’ I was genuinely upset and felt betrayed. Not by DeAnna but by the producers.”
From there, Anderson climbed into a limo, like all the losing contestants before and after him, and was questioned by producers. He says his limo ride took hours because of his unwillingness to talk.
But his story wasn’t done then. The producer went on to tell Anderson that Pappas thought she had made a mistake.
“’Here’s what needs to happen,’” Anderson recalls the producer telling him. “’She’s sick. Here’s the story. She’s made a mistake. You’ve got to go over there. You’ve got to talk to her. You’ve got to convince her on camera that she’s made a mistake and that it needs to be fixed. There are no rules. It’s her show. She can do whatever she wants.’”
As he recalls the story, Anderson whispers “bullshit” under his breath.
Anderson went along with it and arrived back to chat with Pappas. But he quickly learned Pappas was shocked to see him and it was all set up by the producers to make Anderson look desperate for Pappas to take him back.
“(The producers) are satanic little people,” he says.
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