Lifetime’s hit parody show UnReal is entering unchartered territory.
In an unprecedented move, the show has officially cast a black man as its next Bachelor.
Of course, having a black man play the leading suitor is bound to attract plenty of controversy. In fact, the show’s creator, Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, admitted that their decision to cast Britt was challenging.
“It’s a really, really hard thing to do right,” Shapiro stated. “Our room was already diverse, but we’re taking a lot of care in trying to tell this story really well, so making a lot of space for those voices to represent their point of view and their experience in life, uninterrupted.”
Shapiro went on to reveal that the decision to tackle a complicated topic such as race was a group decision. In the end, it proved to be a learning experience for everyone involved.
“As a group, we all decided this was something we wanted to do. For me personally, in the limited weeks that we’ve had, I really am finding myself, as I’m reading news stories, or reacting to people on the street,” she explained. “I’m having a different experience with race, having gone through this process with the room.”
Indeed, the fact the show is willing to explore complex issues of race within the backdrop of a reality show will create interesting scenarios. According to Cosmopolitan, viewers should prepare themselves for uncomfortable situations and intriguing storylines.
After all, this marks the first time in reality TV that a black man or woman has been cast in the lead role. Even if UnReal is a parody, the move is bound to attract discussions of the lack of diversity on shows like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette.
At the same time, Shapiro added that honesty also played a large part in the show’s decision to trump The Bachelor.
“And I think that’s really relevant, it’s an important part of UnReal, it’s to be as honest about ourselves as we are harsh on everyone else,” she shared. “The other option is to shut up and not talk about it and wait for someone else to do it, but I think we should just go ahead and try.”
In an interview with Bustle, UnReal star Gentry White added his own take on the race situation.
In particular, White revealed some of the things fans can expect to unfold this season.
“The race aspect of this season alone is already a character in and of itself,” White explained, adding that it’s not only about Darius. “There are black contestants as well. There’s things dealing with our hair, there’s a girl who wears a Confederate flag bikini, there’s a number of different things that affect each and every person of color on the show.”
Apart from the questions of race, Vulture is reporting that UnReal offers a unique glimpse at what happens behind the scenes on reality shows. In fact, what makes the series so appealing is the fact that fans can take that knowledge from UnReal and apply it to other reality shows.
Of course, in the end, UnReal is just a parody show that often shows reality in a heightened light. Although this can be misleading at times, it also urges viewers to think more about how producers affect the outcome of their favorite reality competitions.
The second season of UnReal continues Monday nights on Lifetime.
Tell us! Are you surprised that UnReal cast a black Bachelor before the actual show The Bachelor? Let us know in the comments below.
[Image via Lifetime]