UnReal Recap

Now that Chet and Quinn have officially declared war on each other, everyone else must suffer, especially Rachel. Since Quinn needs a firm grip on the reins to Everlasting to prevent Chet from ruining it with his MRA ideals, she demotes Rachel back into the role of reluctant producer.

Rachel, of course, is unhappy to be exactly back where she was a year ago in less than one day, so she goes to sulk in one of the mansion’s many rooms. She opens a care package sent from her mother and is annoyed to find that her mother sent a bunch of prescription medication for Rachel’s supposed mental disorder.

Wow, can’t Mrs. Goldberg spring for some Oreos and potato chips?

Eventually, Rachel is drawn out of her self-pity spiral when Quinn orders her to get all the contestants ready for their bikini introductions. Rachel notices that Beth Ann, the straight-laced Southern gal who loves to rep the Rebel flag, is now dressed in a generic pink bikini. Beth Ann explains that it’s a “hometown” thing and “other kinds of people” wouldn’t understand. However, Rachel quickly convinces Beth Ann that she shouldn’t be afraid to show her Southern pride. Ruby, the black rights activist, reluctantly recruited for the show, overhears and blasts Beth Ann for wearing the Confederate flag.

As the two argue, Rachel tries to signal for the camera to capture the fight but of course, no one is around when she needs them. Rachel interrupts and reminds Ruby that yes, the show is a platform for Ruby to promote her activism but only when the cameras are on. 

Ruby talks to Jay and asks him about Rachel’s promises for Ruby’s platform. Jay truthfully tells Ruby that she can’t trust Rachel because she only cares about the show’s ratings, not an actual dialogue about race. However, he will help her if she follows his instructions. Ruby agrees and keeps her cool when Beth Ann debuts her Confederate bikini at the introduction even though the rest of the contestants murmur disapprovingly.

Graham, the host, finally introduces Darius…and Darius’ posse? Quinn immediately calls for a cut and angrily blasts Chet for bringing Darius’ friends onto the show. “Did you fill out paperwork? Confiscate their cellphones? Background checks? They are liabilities!” she scolds him.

Reality Reveal No. 1: Why is it so important to sign paperwork before appearing on TV?  Isn’t it assumed that being on TV is a risky venture?

TV Juriste: In most instances, it’s prudent risk management to require anyone appearing on camera to sign an appearance release. Insurance companies might refuse to cover a claim if the production company/network failed to get a release. You want those appearing to promise, in writing, never to sue, even if the claims might be weak, but particularly if the claims could be strong. Let’s say you’re working on a “reality” show where there might be some creative editing to heighten the drama by making a person look violent or nutty. You don’t want that person to be able to sue you based on the creative editing. The “paperwork” producers usually make people sign also requires them to keep their mouths shut about production techniques and the outcome of the show.

Chet and Quinn can’t stop arguing over what to shoot, so they agree to split up the crew and present the network with their version of the episode: Chet’s frat party and Quinn’s romantic fantasy. Rachel worries that this in-fighting will look unprofessional to the network, but Chet and Quinn are firmly locked in their war. Rachel then goes to deal with Beth Ann, who once again has gotten shy about her bikini. Beth Ann explains that her hometown is a huge fan of Darius’ and she doesn’t want to offend him. Hmm, so what happened to “misinformation” and “Southern pride”, Beth Ann?

“Racism is so confusing, isn’t it?” sighs Rachel.

Nevertheless, she convinces Beth Ann to get back out there and arranges one-on-one time with Darius. Beth Ann quickly  apologizes for the bikini. “If this offends you, then there is only one solution,” she says and she takes off her bikini top. Like a gentleman, Darius takes off his shirt and offers it to her and they smile at each other. Yes, this is what Dr. King died for.

Off camera, Ruby has had enough and tells Jay that she can’t keep quiet while people like Beth Ann get to skate by. “If Darius wants to cut me for having a point of view that he should behave himself, so be it!” she tells Jay and then she goes to change into an “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirt, despite Jay’s protests that it’s copyrighted.

Reality Reveal No. 2: Why can’t people wear or use logos on reality TV? Wouldn’t that be free advertising for companies?

TV Juriste: Shows make money from advertising. Networks do not want to give it away for free; they’d rather have a product placement deal in place. Sometimes when you see logos blurred, it’s because the Ad Sales department of the network did not want to give free promotional time to a brand or because a competitor of the brand already has paid money for ads on the show. If Coca-Cola spent a lot of money for advertisement spots on a show, you don’t want your main character holding a Pepsi can throughout the show. The legal risk of a successful copyright claim based on someone on a reality show wearing a plain t-shirt with the phrase “I Can’t Breathe” is pretty small. We tend to worry more about artwork used as set dressing on scripted shows.

Ruby isn’t the only one hoping to make the most of her camera time. Yael aka Hot Rachel asks Rachel for advice on how to seduce Darius. Chantal aka Debutante with Dead Fiance flirts with Darius by offering him a new t-shirt. And, Tiffany aka NFL Wifey, hopes to break out of father’s football shadow by making sure she gets eliminated fast. Chet gets to her and convinces her to hook up with Romeo, one of Darius’s friends, to do so. Luckily, Rachel interrupts and takes Tiffany away and convinces her not to sabotage her chances with Darius.

While Tiffany and Darius have a pleasant chat, Quinn and Rachel watch from the monitor room, pleased. However, Quinn quickly spoils the mood by chastising Rachel for letting Chet kidnap Darius earlier. “Maybe your mother was right,” she tells Rachel. “You got a couple whirly gigs in there, you know? Which was fine before, but not if you want to be the boss.”

Jay finds Rachel smoking a stress cigarette and he mocks her for turning into a Quinn clone. He then softens and warns her that Quinn will never let her be in charge of Everlasting so long as she is around. Rachel fishes out the care package pills from the trash and contemplates taking them as Hot Rachel orchestrates a fall into the pool to attract Darius’ attention. Quinn smugly points that to Chet as proof that America wants romance, not debauchery.

Still, Chet wants to get at Quinn so he tells Darius about Tiffany’s hook up with Romeo in hopes that Darius will eliminate her and ruin Quinn’s wifey line up. However, Darius makes some surprising choices in the elimination: he keeps Beth Ann, Hot Rachel, Ruby, and Tiffany.

Quinn and Chet get to work editing their versions of Everlasting while Rachel sneaks off to tattle to Gary, the network exec. She attempts to convince him that she should be in charge, but Gary decides to bring in Coleman Wasserman, a rising star at the network, to be the showrunner instead. Coleman privately tells Rachel that he knows she was the one who complained about Quinn and Chet and will keep her secret.

“This should be fun,” he says as he gets to work while Rachel sighs.

It’s not just racism that’s confusing–reality TV is too.