The new season of UnREAL dropped today without warning, which is a shame. Because, if Hulu had warned us, we might have been able to warn you that this season makes fun of Bachelor in Paradise. UnREAL is a fictional television show about the making of a Bachelor-esque reality show called Everlasting. It's relentlessly modern and in-your-face critical of current reality television. The second season saw Everlasting feature a Black Bachelor, something The Bachelor still has yet to do. The third season had a female "suitress." And the fourth season is all about Bachelor in Paradise, the messy little sister to The Bachelor. This gives the series room to make fun of more, let's say, specific Bachelor archetypes, like Nick Viall.
To recap: Nick Viall, a former software salesman, appeared on The Bachelorette twice only to be rejected at the last possible minute. He then went on Bachelor in Paradise and upped his chances of being the Bachelor. Then, he became the Bachelor. He and his Bachelor winner, Vanessa Grimaldi, broke up a few months after his show's finale.
On UnREAL, the new premise is titled Everlasting: All Stars. The (fictional) producers bring back former show favorites to compete for $1 million. The premise is Bachelor in Paradise-esque in that there are both men and women, all of whom are returning to the show after having appeared on a previous iteration. (That changes quickly, but, for now, that's the premise.) One contestant named Jack (Christopher Russell) is returning for a third time.
"Both your seasons were before my time, but I obviously know who you are," Rachel (Shiri Appleby) gushes during a producer interview.
"Hoping third time's the charm," Jack replies.
That was Viall's chorus when he returned for Bachelor in Paradise. Then, when he made it to The Bachelor, the theme was "fourth time's the charm." Ergo, UnREAL is very lightly parodying Viall.
As season 4 progresses, Everlasting: All Stars evolves into something far darker than Bachelor in Paradise. (That isn't to say BIP doesn't have its issues. The show halted production last year after a producer claimed to have witness sexual misconduct.) But UnREAL often goes to arenas even more nefarious than the show itself. The first episode alone involves women being "dumped" via tablet. And, when they get dumped, they literally get dropped into a pool of mud. It's absurd, but it's not that far off to the machinations of Bachelor in Paradise. In other words, UnREAL is here to make you question your fandom of every Bachelor show.
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