Lifetime's UnREAL, all about the behind-the-scenes drama of a fictional Bachelor-esque dating show called Everlasting, is going somewhere The Bachelor has not yet dared to go: They're having a black suitor. While ABC's dating competition has notoriously stuck to a very similar type of guy over its 20 seasons (read: white), the cast and producers of UnREAL are excited to tackle race this year.
"We're not afraid to do anything," says star Constance Zimmer, who plays the manipulative reality producer Quinn. "It's actually really exciting because I do feel like the second season for us means we can kind of go darker. And we can maybe go a little bit further than we might've been afraid to in the first season."
Season one went pretty deep. Although it might've sounded like a fluffy, fun show about one of your favorite reality hits, it tackled feminism and the scary manipulation and mental illness you don't usually see on reality shows—what UnREAL creator Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, a former Bachelor producer, calls "a female Breaking Bad."
Shapiro tells E! News that while season one focused on feminism, season two will explore the intersection of feminism and masculinity—all while having a discussion about race through the lens of Everlasting's black suitor.
"I think one thing we've been talking a lot about in the room is who owns their narrative? And the complications of Rachel and Quinn being these white women who decide they're going to take on the race issue on their very complicated, pretty crazy show," she says. While Quinn will love the ratings attention, Rachel (Shiri Appleby) will want to have a serious discussion about race in America.
"We definitely have different voices in the room representing different points of view on this," she continues, "but I think it's a really complicated issue and that being PC about it sometimes stops us from making progress because we're all too scared to talk about it. It's such a compelling issue in our time right now...and that's something we're passionate about talking about even though we're scared of talking about it."
And yes, she is worried about messing up. "I'm terrified! But I just really think we should do it," she says. "I think it's really important."
Although a new season of Everlasting means an all-new cast (on the show-within-the-show), there will be at least one familiar face. "There might be one really handsome guy. He might have an accent," teases Shapiro.
While she insists that every storyline needs to begin with Rachel or Quinn, it makes sense to bring Freddie Stroma's hot British suitor, Adam, back after his relationship with Rachel ended so abruptly. "That obviously left on a pretty unresolved note for Rachel," she says.
Season two of UnREAL returns to Lifetime this summer.