This show is UnREAL!

I have found my summer show. No. Scratch that – I have found the show that will etch 2015 in my tv-memory as particularly exceptional! So please, without further adieu, welcome to UnReal, a fictional show about what it’s like to film reality shows. More particularly, it parodies the years-old format of The Bachelor. It’s even written by someone who used to be a producer on The Bachelor – so now you can catch a relatively accurate glimpse of what that world could look like – in a fictional setting. Can you feel the meta?

So let’s get to the reasons as to why I bingewatched the first 9 episodes in one go…
Note: I only discovered it when 9 were available and next week’s already going to be the season finale, which is silently killing me already it’s so tragic! But thankfully I also immediately read the news that season 2 is already approved – thank you, Universe!
Anyways – why I love UnReal and you should too:

1) Meta! I love meta! Especially when it’s a parody on something I absolutely abhor – I don’t even see the point in reality tv. Not only is it not real – harr-di-harr-harr – but real life usually isn’t all that awesome anyways. Fiction is… Possibility. It’s dreams. It’s an endless world of beautiful endings. Why film real life? You want something entertaining, right? I don’t find it entertaining to watch people fight each other – unless I know it’s actually not real anyways. It’s not fun to see “real people” hurt each other – and trust me, that’s what gets you your ratings. It’s simply disgusting. And fiction is a way to let that pretty harsh world slide and find a better one. Even when it’s about reality, such as in this particular instance, it’s damn near awesome to watch.

2) Shiri Appleby! Since an amazing performance back in the late 90’s – oh Roswell, how I miss you – she hasn’t really been doing that many great things, if I’m honest. But she is bringing an absolutely stellar performance here! Gone are the perfect youthful good looks from her days in Roswell, but let’s bring in some actual wrinkles and bags under her eyes and generally a person who looks like a person. Not a person who looks like a cute actress – with too much make-up on once she gets older, but an actual person. So I’m really happy about that. And also, she’s just superb at nailing this anti-heroine persona she’s got going for her. Her character, Rachel, is someone who’s actually pretty evil, but you can’t help but love her, root for her and hope she gets her happy ending. And, ironically, she just seems so real here. Truly some exceptional acting, in my opinion.

3) The open and honest BLUNT fun! Omgosh hahaha, this show is hilarious! As I said, it’s based on The Bachelor – the show they’re shooting in this fictional universe is called “Everlasting” and the bachelor is aptly named “The Suitor” – and there is absolutely no political correctness in this series. “It’s about ratings people! And the winner is never a black woman. I can’t help it if America is racist.” Hahahaha! Stuff like that. All. The. Time. It’s absolutely hilarious, because it’s basically a bunch of conversations between people who have no social filters. Naturally, I feel at home in this show.

4) The romance. Let’s be honest. A girl loves a good romantic story – or perhaps not “romantic” per se, but more about… Something that feels like it could be real. No perfect dinner dates. No first looks that immediately mean love. No sweet kisses in these gorgeously cute settings. No looking absolutely stunning at all times. Instead we’ve got a woman recovering from a mental breakdown, working on basically no sleep, dressed like “a homeless wizard” and with the added benefit of having a mentally abusive mother to boot! We have a gorgeous suitor who needs to lose his bad reputation and prove to his father he can be successful on his own, but is often no more than a puppet strung along by different people. We have all these characters and none of them have it all together – which is very often what real life looks like, fictional though this is.

And that leads me to my point: this show just feels so real in its unreality. The crap they pull on their fictional show: I don’t know how much of it is completely made up and how much of it does happen in real life on The Bachelor. I do know that some of it is undoubtedly exaggerated, to add some extra drama of course. But the characters themselves? They are as real as anyone can be, given those situations they’re in. They may be actors and actresses, but if that was a real person in his/her real life, I have no doubt that’s who they’d behave like. And that’s some sweet meta, guys. That’s an amazing hook that’s got me watching until deep into the night! Shows like this don’t come around often. In my many years of bingewatching – and when I say “many”, I mean before it was even appropriately named “bingewatching” – there have not been a lot of shows where I literally could not let go and had to forego sleep to keep watching.

The last time I’ve been this excited about a new show was about 3 years ago when I first discovered the full first season of Teen Wolf and was able to watch that back to back. Trust me when I tell you… That was a good day. And so was the day when I discovered UnReal: if you are not watching this show, you are doing it wrong. If you have it on your “to-watch” list, you are doing it wrong. If you are watching something else at the minute, you are doing it wrong. Basically: stop reading my stupid blog and get your ass watching this show! Seriously, you are unreal.

And just something to get you started… You know, the first time you see an attractive guy (or woman) naked should be in some hot and intimate circumstances – one would hope. Real life is often different. And our Rachel simply hadn’t showered in a while, so… Hygiene first, the rest “whatev”. This show has no filter concerning speech, but also definitely not concerning personal propriety. Who gives a shit whether you’re basically a stranger and this needs to be a professional relationship: “I smell and you have a perfectly good working shower right here. If you happen to be in it at the moment, I’m unable to care, so just move over and let me get the soap!”
Seriously folks… I. LOVE. UNREAL!

The professional

My dearest reader,

I apologise for the horrendous absence you have endured. You must have been feeling abandoned, lonely and discarded like a used paper towel by my prolonged non-writing here. I wish I could ease your suffering somehow – reimburse you for the pain you’ve had to withstand. But I’m afraid I have no proper excuse for my behaviour. So let me make amends by grovelling appropriately and letting you back into my most inner circle of thoughts.

[…]

Did you like that? Was that professional?

These days I’m all about finding the balance of being professional and remaining true to my personality. And damn, that’s hard. To a lot of you, it’s so easy: you just don’t say anything weird, nor something that could be construed as an insult, nor the first thought that pops into your head – unless you just never think in bizarre ways, in which case that last one isn’t for you. And to be fair, that does sound easy, even to me. However, for those of you who’ve met me and spent more than half an hour with me, I’m sure you know that does not sound like me.

I wish I was innately professional like that. I wish I had a filter that would make all my jibber-jabber come out as perfectly polished English. I wish the cultural barriers – even though it’s only a trip across the pond – were not as big as they clearly are. I wish that I was as poised as my British counterparts. I wish that people wouldn’t find my behaviour weird, or inappropriate sometimes. I wish that I could fit in without pulling a muscle. I wish that it was easy.

But then again… I don’t wish my family had raised me differently – and in my family, yeah, we are ALL like that. [And yes, you are free to think about our family reunions at this time, with a bunch of people who are all hilarious, quite loud, think in funky ways and see the world like a jigsaw puzzle they don’t know the final image of – and they’re okay with that.] Also, I don’t wish that I didn’t value honesty above everything – public perception be damned. And I don’t wish that I was like everyone else: more reserved, difficult to read, an enigma to be deciphered.

I’m okay being an open book. Feel free to flip through the pages, read into my mind, wonder at the jibber-jabber you’ll undoubtedly encounter. I invite you as a passenger on the journey that is my life. Feel free to write your name in the passenger registry. Or if that’s too open for you, I’m sure you can be a stowaway somewhere below decks, hidden where I can’t see – I won’t mind. Don’t worry about propriety and what it all means, but just keep reading, word after word, page after page. There’s nothing on here I feel uncomfortable sharing. Perhaps you’ll think it’s all bizarre and a waste of your time. Perhaps you cannot fathom why any one person would do this, have an open window into his/her mind like that. Perhaps you’ll just have a laugh. Perhaps you’ll recognise my voice and enjoy spending time with me. Perhaps there’ll be a thing or two to open your eyes and make you look at the world differently, however insignificant or small that may be. And maybe, maybe, you will want to stay tuned to catch a (hopefully) happy ending.

However, being this open – I can only do that here. And of course, in my personal relationships. At work though, different rules apply. And I can’t say it doesn’t bother me that at work it feels like a part I have to hide, of sorts. Not really hide, just… Be careful who I show it to. Because it’s not really something I can change: my open/for-all-to-know thinking was like this when I was 5, it was like this when I was in my teens, I’m sure it will stay with me for a long time to come. But it’s about channelling it properly. And I guess that makes sense. Even to me. And there’s no shame in admitting you’re still learning. =)

But I suppose the main take-away from this is… That you can take the girl out of Belgium, but you can’t take the Belgian out of the girl! So Happy National Holiday my sweet fellow countrymen! I miss you loads and look forward to coming back: the 10th of August I’ll be arriving and staying for about 2 weeks…

See you soon, dear reader.

P.S. While writing, I was totally enjoying this beat. And you know what they say… Sharing is caring: