The debut of Lifetime’s new series UnREAL — a scripted dramedy about the behind-the-scenes drama that takes place at a Bachelor-like reality show called Enchanted — left the Yahoo TV staff with several questions. While we all know that “reality” TV isn’t exactly real, did UnREAL get the level of the genre’s unreality right? Are the producers really that manipulative? And what would a former Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor Pad contestant have to say about the show?
Melissa Schreiber with Brad Womack on Season 15 of The Bachelor
Fortunately, Melissa Schreiber — a veteran of The Bachelor and Bachelor Pad — agreed to tackle these pressing questions for us.
Burning Question: Are the women on The Bachelor really not allowed to get out of the limo to pee during shooting?
Melissa Schreiber Says: I will never forget being brought to Bachelor Pad in the minivan — not limo. I had to pee soooooo badly but they kept telling me to “hold tight, it won’t be long” — that was for about 2 hours. You are alone in the van to Bachelor Pad, not with other contestants. It’s just you and the driver. A handler — or in my case, a producer — came and hung out with me a few times and chatted while we waited to be allowed to pull into the driveway.
Chris Harrison with Melissa Schreiber on Bachelor Pad
Burning Question: Do producers regularly ask for more than one “take” of a scene?
Melissa Says: Yes, more often during rose ceremonies and dates. For example, I was on a date where we were doing “skits” to make a commercial for the American Red Cross. We literally had to do each scene like 30 times. It took hours. Producers are also always around telling us what to talk about with one another, and then they would ask us to “say that again” if they get something that they like.
Burning Question: How do the producers on UnREAL compare to the real-life producers you worked with on The Bachelor and Bachelor Pad?
Melissa Says: They are beyond similar. Very warm and compassionate, and you really think that they are your true friends. I did get lucky enough to make some life-long friendships with a couple of the producers, but for the most part, they have a “job” to do and their job is to get the drama going, and they will do whatever it takes. When I got sent home, I refused to talk in the limo and my producer tried so hard to get me to talk — she begged, she cried, and she told me that her job was on the line if I didn’t talk.
Ashley Scott and Shiri Appleby on UnREAL
Burning Question: Who was your favorite character and why?
Melissa Says: Shiri Appleby [who plays Rachel] for sure! She is clearly mentally broken down by what the senior producers make her do, but she is damn good at it. She comes across as naturally real and relatable, and you can totally become her best friend — but at the same time she is secretly ruthless.
Burning Question: Which of your real-life experiences on The Bachelor/Bachelor Pad should the UnREAL producers use in an episode?
Melissa Says: Well, for starters here is a summary of my time on Bachelor Pad — tt was narrated by fellow Pad alum Michelle Money:
Also, Erica [Rose] reminded me of an episode on our season of Bachelor Pad where they had us do an egg toss challenge. They lined us all up standing next to each other, blindfolded with painted targets on our backs. Then the opposite sex had to answer questions like the following “Who is the least attractive girl in the house?” and then they have to throw an egg at the girl who they felt was the “least attractive.” There were a series of about a dozen, not-so-lovely questions like that.
Many thanks to Melissa for helping us fact-check the “reality” of this fictionalized reality show. If you watched Monday night’s premiere of UnREAL, let us know what you thought in the comments.
UnREAL airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on Lifetime.