Out of all the shows that aired last summer UnREAL was definitely one of our favorites. Not only were we shocked that we loved a show that depicted all the behind the scenes action of a reality dating show, but we were even more shocked to see what that action really was. “Reality” really is a horrible name for the genre because it really couldn’t be more UnREAL.
Other than it’s shocking storylines the one thing that really makes UnREAL stand out from other TV shows is the exceptional acting by its two leads, Rachel (Shiri Appleby) and Quinn (Constance Zimmer). Their quirky, yet completely platonic, relationship has quickly become the focus of the show and has really developed into one of the best love stories on TV.
Ahead of Monday’s Season 2 premiere The TV Junkies spoke with Zimmer about Rachel and Quinn’s relationship and looked ahead at what’s to come on this new season of UnREAL.
The TV Junkies: Quinn’s one liners are probably one of our favorite things on the show. How many of those are scripted and how many are ad libbed while filming?
Constance Zimmer: Most of them are scripted. It’s probably about 75-25. The place that I do get to ad lib the most is in the control room when Quinn is just going off on the contestants and the host and all of that kind of stuff. It’s also the more that we get the character the more we can work with it. I think in the first season we were all kind of feeling it out and trying to figure out what worked and what were bits and what were real. We wanted to make sure that we were crossing all of the appropriate lines.
TTVJ: They seem to be a little nastier this season, it’s definitely fun to watch.
CZ: You know it’s funny because I had no idea that they were funny, but we have been doing all these interviews and panels this year and everyone is like, ‘So Quinn’s the comic relief,’ and I was like ‘What? What are you talking about?’ I had no idea and still I think when we are shooting the scenes I don’t think I really see them as being funny. It isn’t until I’m watching the show with a room full of people and I hear people laughing that I realize that ‘Yeah, that was pretty funny.’ But when I’m doing it as Quinn there’s no comedy in it whatsoever.
TTVJ: Most shows focus around some type of romantic relationship but on UnREAL the focus has really become Quinn and Rachel’s relationship. Do you think that was the original intention of the show or has it just played out that way for viewers?
CZ: I believe that there was a little bit of that in the writing and the development of the characters because I think the show is at its best when they are working together as a team. They’re kind of like a force to be reckoned with. I do think that you have to have both of their perspectives to see the whole picture. I think it was planned but I don’t think we had any idea how much people were going to see it and love it — and love that they are the actual love story and not the in front of the camera love story. What I think took us a little more by surprise is how quickly people got that. I don’t think that I even got it until we were well in to the season. It took me that long to realize that they are in a relationship. Sometimes the actors are the last ones to figure things out.
TTVJ: Their relationship seems to flip flop a lot. One minute they’re best friends and the next minute they’re going behind each other’s back trying to get ahead. Is this all about competition to them or is there more to it?
CZ: You know it’s interesting because I don’t think that they really look at it as competition, but I think they look at it as proving who’s more powerful or who has the most power at any given moment because they are both striving for the same outcome right? One of them does it one way and the other does it in a completely different way. If it was a competition I think it would become more about jealousy and it would become shallow. But I think why their relationship has stood the test of time is the fact that they both want the same thing for each other so it’s more a matter of them finding the quickest way to get there together. This season in particular there is a bit of a power struggle over who gets there the best and the strongest.
TTVJ: Rachel seems to keep their competition pretty professional but Quinn always seems to make it personal. She knows exactly what to say to make Rachel feel bad. Is that still about competition to her or is there some innate evilness inside Quinn in those moments?
CZ: I don’t ever believe that Quinn is evil. I just think that Quinn is the master manipulator. We all have that one person in our life that knows how to push every single button to get a response or what they want out of you. I just think that Quinn pushes those buttons a lot more than a normal person should. But ultimately she is trying to do it to help Rachel get ahead, to push her to a place that’s uncomfortable, that challenges her, that forces her to look at her own life.
TTVJ: It just seems like some of it is more mean than helpful though.
CZ: I mean look, it might be, it might be. But it’s very funny because I think in order to play Quinn I have to really truly believe that all of her reasons are legitimate and are producing a product. And that is really what her intention is. I don’t think that she would ever harm Rachel in any way whatsoever. I think that she does believe that what she is doing is to make Rachel better.
CZ: I know, I know. This is one of the really big things on set this season, all of us sticking up for our characters. And all of us are saying ‘What? I didn’t do anything wrong? What are you talking about?’ And all of us are laughing at each other. It’s funny but I think it’s what makes these characters relatable instead of being likeable. We all have to commit to these characters whether they are in the wrong or not.
TTVJ: In the second episode we will see Michael Rady as Coleman joining the crew behind the scenes. How big of a role is he going to play this season?
CZ: Um, It’s a big problem. For Quinn it’s a big issue. She had just gotten the kingdom for herself and then had to deal with Chet coming back and trying to reclaim it, and now they’ve all been given a babysitter. And it’s a babysitter that doesn’t know their show and doesn’t know how they do things. The Quinn and Coleman relationship is torturous. There is nothing about Coleman that Quinn likes so they are butting heads the entire season. And it doesn’t help that Rachel has kind of fallen under the guise of this guy kind of wanting to take care of her, so that throws Quinn into another tailspin as well.
TTVJ: Is he going to affect the dynamics between Quinn and Rachel quite a bit then?
CZ: Oh yes. Quinn and Rachel are at odds this season. Not only because of this new entity that has been brought in, this babysitter of sorts, but because I gave her the show and I took it back. She’s very mad at me. So they are all struggling to put on this show but there’s so much anger and power struggles, even with Jay this season. Everybody is fighting to tell their story and it puts a lot of negative stuff in between Rachel and Quinn. But I just keep saying to people and the fans, don’t worry, in the end they will prevail and they will reign again. But they are gonna have a little bit of a spat.
TTVJ: Quinn and Chet had a rather interesting relationship last season and the two have quite a history as well. Is it over between the two of them or are we going to see some romance between the two of them this season?
CZ: It’s over. I think that man can only be pushed so far for so long until they are finally like, ‘I’m done, it’s over, get out of here,’ and especially because of how he comes back claiming to be all changed. That’s just ridiculous to Quinn, she’s got bigger fish to fry. It’s over for them for now but it doesn’t mean that he’s not going to try. He’s trying the whole season. He’s really really trying. But Quinn gets a new love interest of sorts so that becomes a big distraction as well. I think that I’d say for now because they do still have a deep love for each other but right now there’s distractions.
TTVJ: Everlasting has chosen an African American suitor this season. This is something that The Bachelor has never done. Is there going to be a lot of attention drawn to the importance of that and how much is that going to come in to play throughout the season?
CZ: It plays out as it should I believe. More than anything we’re not really making it a commentary, we are putting out the facts of what it does and how it changes media. But I think our biggest thing is that we are definitely not trying to claim that we have the answers or that we’re even asking the right questions, but by using it as one of the plot points this season we are just shining the light into some dark places that people might not know how they are talked about behind the scenes.
TTVJ: You have been busy this last year, you had the Entourage movie, and your stint on Agents of SHIELD, House of Cards, do you have any plans for anything else once you’re finished filming UnREAL?
CZ: I still voice a cartoon. I’m one of the female autobots on The Transformers cartoon. I do that and I have another cartoon that’s coming out but it’s weird, I don’t think I’m allowed to talk about it yet. They haven’t given me when I’m allowed to talk about it but that will come out. House of Cards comes back for Season 5 but I never know what’s going on with that show. I always get excited when I get a phone call and I’m like ‘Yes, I’ll go, I’ll be there, whatever you want I’m there.’ But I’m actually going to give myself a month off. I’m going to go on vacation, which I haven’t done in a while. The last couple years have been kind of insane but I’m not complaining.
Are you ready for another go round with Quinn and Rachel? Sound off with your UnREAL thoughts in the comments below!
UnREAL premiers Monday June 6 at 10 p.m. ET on Lifetime and Lifetime Canada
Christy is a self proclaimed and proud TV Junkie. Her love for TV began at an early age with shows like Degrassi, Alias, ER, Buffy, The X-Files & Friends. You can now find her watching, ok obsessing over, shows like When Calls The Heart, Saving Hope, Arrow, Outlander, Grey's Anatomy and many many others. You can catch Christy on Twitter at @ChristySpratlin where she will likely be live tweeting her favorite shows and talking about everything TV.