For a show that has satirized women’s notions of Prince Charming, the creators behind Lifetime’s UnReal said Season 2 will deal with, well, guys. Said executive producer/co-creator Sarah Gertrude Shapiro today during the network’s portion of TCA, “We ask this season how the men’s race movement intersects with feminism.”
“We’re finding what’s edgy in the world and telling the truth to the point where we’re uncomfortable. The men’s rights movement is uncomfortable for us,” said Shapiro, who was also an associate/segment producer on ABC’s The Bachelor, which of course, UnReal knocks, specifically in regard to how these dating shows spur lawsuits and emotional casualties.
While most shows are looking for their token female writer, Shapiro explained that the UnReal staff this season is creating an “interesting male writers room…We’re including men in our process so as to tap the male experience.”
Added co-creator/EP Marti Noxon, “We’re not all about reality TV, rather more intrigued by the sexual politics.”
While ABC’s The Bachelor has been criticized for its failure to headline a black bachelor on its show, UnReal is making an African American the center of their reality show on the series. Shapiro was asked about how her time on The Bachelor influenced this intriguing plot point.
“It’s appalling the things you hear about race, particularly as they come out of producers and executives’ mouths. They’re pragmatic decisions. We thought about the Cheerios commercial that was so banal. It’s of a couple waking up and making breakfast. The KKK went nuts on social media because it was an interracial couple,” said Shapiro, speaking about her inspirations.
Added EP Carol Barbee: “It’s also about the media trying to make a statement about this; that’s what we’re also doing. It’s fun to watch a show about white women making a show on race.”
In closing out the panel, actress Constance Zimmer, who plays an unscrupulous TV EP on UnReal, took time to thank the press corps for not labeling UnReal as another Lifetime show. Said the actress, “We were here last year (at TCA) trying to prove to you that no one needs to be put in a box. You allowed us to break out.”
UnREAL returns this summer to Lifetime. Season one will be available to stream on Hulu starting February 3.