Shaking off the shade! After Chris Harrison called Lifetime’s UnREAL “really terrible” in an interview this week, the new series’ co-creator Sarah Gertrude Shapiro spoke to Us Weekly on Thursday, July 30, about his sentiments.
“It’s so, so gratifying,” Shapiro — who worked as an assistant to a producer on The Bachelor from 2002 to 2004 — told Us of the show’s success at the Paley Center for Media’s Evening with UnREAL event in Beverly Hills. “I think the most incredible part for us is how much people understand what we’re trying to do. It’s really been a dream come true. Like every day, as reviews are coming, [our] jaws keep hitting the floor over and over. We’re just so happy for all the hard work that everyone put in. Our cast is incredible.”
With that said, not everyone is a fan of UnREAL. In an interview with Variety this past week, Harrison lamented about the very obvious Bachelor franchise parody, starring Constance Zimmer and Shiri Appleby. “It’s complete fiction,” Harrison said of the Lifetime show. “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.”
His comments got back to the producers. “We’re glad he saw it,” Shapiro replied. “We’re glad he saw it.”
Cast member Freddie Stroma backed up Shapiro in a separate interview with Us. “Someone was hanging out with a bunch of the contestants from The Bachelor,” he told Us, “and they were all saying it was very accurate. I’ve never been on it, so I can’t say whether it is or not. But yeah.”
Either way, fans are eating it up. In a recent interview with Us Weekly, once-voracious Bachelor fan Lea Michele told Us that she’s crossed over to watching UnREAL instead of the ABC reality show. “It’s switched me,” she told Us at an #ActuallySheCan campaign event. “I’m less obsessed with The Bachelorette and I’m more obsessed with UnREAL. Emma [Roberts] told me about it. She was like, ‘You have to watch it!'”
Shapiro, also the show’s supervising producer, said she’s heard of people watching both the Bachelor franchise and UnREAL to gain new perspectives about how reality shows are filmed. “We’ve heard that a lot of people are watching those shows differently now because they’ve seen UnREAL,” she told Us. “They’re thinking different things when they’re watching, like picking it apart and analyzing it.”
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