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'UnREAL' fan recap: Girls, interrupted

Season 2 | Episode 2 | “Insurgent” | Aired Jun 13, 2016

UnREAL has always been just a little less dramatic than its show-within-a-show, Everlasting. And that’s a good thing. Everlasting has had on-camera breakdowns, countless catfights, and a suicide. UnREAL gives us a glimpse into the organized chaos required to set up those moments, capture them on camera, and edit them together into ratings gold. But this week, the world behind the scenes on Everlasting became actual chaos — and not in a great way.

Last season saw Quinn take control of Everlasting in epic fashion and move up the TV ranks, while Rachel was promoted to showrunner. This season opened with all the cards in place for a great season of TV — both on our screens and on those of the fictional Everlasting audience. Rachel and Quinn were preparing for a groundbreaking season of Everlasting: the first with a black suitor. And that suitor, Darius Beck, is interesting on his own (a professional football player with a need to revamp his image). Then, on top of that, there were the contestants, who were all poised to be as deliciously dramatic as last season.

And then, Chet returned.

If UnREAL has taught us anything, it’s that compelling TV requires drama, but this wasn’t the drama I was prepared for. Chet 2.0 is an ultra man’s man, a foil to the romanticized femininity of Everlasting and the downright girl power of UnREAL. Chet 2.0 wants Everlasting to be sexier and faster and flashier, more Playboy Mansion grotto and less fairytale castle. When Quinn refuses to relinquish control of the show, he goes over her head at the network, makes his way back on set, and strong-arms the show into his vision. He kidnaps Darius, makes unrealistic promises to Darius’ entourage, and demands that the opening night, evening-gown cocktail hour be changed to a bikini-clad, poolside orgy-in-the-making. Unable to reach any kind of agreement, Chet and Quinn begin simultaneously filming different versions of the show. It’s an unsustainable, chaotic mess — and not in the way that keeps me on the edge of my seat.

It’s also an opportunity for Rachel. With Quinn back at the reins, trying to keep the show together, Rachel has been effectively bumped out of her new job as showrunner, and no one wants to let her forget that. Quinn let’s her know every time she screws up and reminds her of the screw-ups any time Rachel asks about taking control of the show again. Jay won’t respect Rachel’s authority, throws the fact that Quinn is back in her face, and reminds her that she might never really get the promotion she was promised. Even though they’re bound by BFF tattoos declaring their shared mantra of “Money, dick, power,” Rachel goes over Quinn’s head (and Chet’s, but that part just doesn’t pack the same emotional punch) and tells the network execs that the show is falling apart, with Quinn and Chet attempting to film different shows at the same time. Rachel sees her move as a power play; she positions herself as the person who can take control of the Everlasting wheel and steer the show to greatness.

Unfortunately for Rachel (and, in a way, unfortunately for us, the audience), her play doesn’t work as planned. The network brings in a young hotshot named Coleman to take the helm at Everlasting. Sadly, after evaluating both versions of the show, he says he’s leaning more toward Chet’s vision. He knows that Rachel went to the network about the issues on set, but (so far at least) no one else does. That can’t last long, though, and I can only imagine the hellfire that will rain down when Quinn finds out what Rachel did.

I understand that UnREAL, like Everlasting, needs to push itself into new territory. I understand that Rachel can’t just live happily ever after with her dream job. I understand that business as usual means a slow death for a show like UnREAL. But I’m also not 100 percent sold on the direction of season 2 just yet. I see the pieces fitting into place. I see the potential. This gives Rachel and Quinn a common enemy and an underlying tension. It gives their relationship depth and push and pull and all the things it needs to thrive in the TV world. These shakeups are important and valuable and, if executed well, I know season 2 will be just as engaging and wonderful as the first. I see all of the promise and potential, but I’m hoping that next week brings some payoff.

UnREAL airs Mondays at 10/9C on Lifetime.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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