"UnREAL" -- Lifetime's insightful dramedy about a dating show that is not openly "The Bachelor," but is totally "The Bachelor" -- will do in its second season what "The Bachelor" has not managed to do in 20 seasons: Cast a black man as the lead.

Season 2 doesn't start until this summer, but it already sounds like it's going to hit every mark the ABC series carefully avoids. "UnREAL" co-creator and executive producer Sarah Gertrude Shapiro -- a real-life former "Bachelor" producer -- told Entertainment Weekly that Season 2 will take on race with the introduction of a black man as the "Everlasting" bachelor, and continue to explore gender issues as Shiri Appleby's Rachel and Constance Zimmer's Quinn continue their "female Breaking Bad."

"The first season was really about the princess fantasy, and this idea that we're all intoxicated by the idea that one guy can show up and change your life. What [we're] both incredibly interested in talking about in season 2 is masculinity, and how does the men's rights movement intersect with feminism?"


In terms of the new "Everlasting" Bachelor, he's a 20-something pro football player named Darius Hill. "It's the elephant in the room... like the fact that those shows have never had an African-American lead," Shapiro told EW. During the Television Critics Association's press tour panel, Shapiro talked about being involved in "The Bachelor" discussions when they debated whether or not to cast an African-American bachelor. In addition to TV, she worked in advertising and fashion, and referenced those dark stories when previewing Season 2:

"If anything we've all been privy to those conversations, because being in television, you have to be a pragmatist. I've heard in those day jobs really appalling things about race all the time... For us, what we thought about was the Cheerios commercial — with this sweet couple waking up in the morning and making breakfast — and the KKK went nuts on Twitter, because it was an interracial couple. In an era when driving while black is dangerous, there are few things more pressing than this conversation. We don't want to fall asleep at the wheel. We really want to keep talking about stuff that we're incredibly passionate about and we think is important."


And you have to love this self-deprecating aside from executive producer Carol Barbee: "It's really fun to watch a bunch of white women school the world on race." Yeah, that might start some conversations on its own, but that's probably what they want. Overall, it sounds like it's going to be a very topical season, albeit maybe even less of a draw for men's rights activists than the real "Bachelor."

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