July 10, 2015 4:09 AM - Season 1, Episode 6 - Subscribe

Adam meets Mary's family when the show arranges their one-on one date. Rachel and Quinn make some questionable decisions to win a bet with Chet.

"Rachel and Quinn make some questionable decisions" could be the description of every single episode, honestly.

I decided to just skip forward to the current episode instead of trying to discuss 5 earlier ones, which doesn't seem to be working.
posted by jeather (8 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Holy shit, what a train wreck. I totally disagree with The AV Club's C+ rating on this one - [SPOILER ALERT] Mary's suicide felt like a natural consequence of Quinn's grade-A manipulation, Rachel's gentle goading, and Shia being a full-on garbage person. I wonder if they'll ever reveal that Shia replaced Mary's bipolar meds?
posted by nerdfish at 7:23 AM on July 10, 2015

The AV club was dead wrong on their rating. But I think you mean Rachel's grade A manipulation. "Oh yeah, totally, this will be powerful for her, it's a great feminist move to surprise someone on camera with their abusive ex-spouse!" I admit I am wondering if this counts as a 911 call bonus, and if so who gets the money.

I'm interested by Cromwell, who is just as manipulative and shitty but sort of better because he's at least honest about it. I would like a bit more on the contestants in a more sustained way, not one episode about Faith, one about Mary, etc etc.

They absolutely have to reveal Shia.

It's been renewed for S2 which is great.
posted by jeather at 7:40 AM on July 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

Yeah, nerdfish, I'm totally with you there. I was waiting, breathless, for the hammer of Mary's bipolar to swing back to "depression" from her obvious mania for the full episode.

One of the things that has occurred to me while watching this show is that it's a) a train-wreck of exactly the kind that keeps people watching reality tv in the first place, while b) being an eloquent, strong argument against reality tv show existing as a genre and a condemnation of the exploitation of its stars. Seriously, this is a show that really hits hard about how much reality stars are managed and massaged into exploding on camera for the entertainment of viewers, and simultaneously hits hard about the real costs to those stars of being on camera. Even when they themselves sign up for it willingly!

And even then, it's a show that deftly manages to excoriate the system that produces this exploitation without necessarily setting up any one person as being evil for the sake of being evil. The producers may have no moral compass, but they're squabbling with each other for petty points among themselves in service to the almighty ratings and by extension the viewers. Who themselves probably view their reality tv habit as a petty and harmless vice...

On top of that, arguably the worst harm happens totally by accident. For example, Rachel and Quinn's self-serving "well by confronting her abusive ex she'll be more self actualized!" dialogue is obviously terrible, and the confrontation that happened on camera with Mary and the ex was clearly awful for Mary. But the thing that really sends Mary over the edge--the thing that made me start shouting at the screen--was the ex's pitch-perfect, faux-reasonable, very quiet, knife-twisting conversation in private with her. Who left them alone? It certainly wasn't a conscious choice by anyone on the reality team--after all, there were no cameras there to cash in on Mary's inevitable breakdown. The best explanation I have is that it just happened, because in the shuffle of getting the episode shot and the aftermath of the more public confrontation, no one really thought about where the ex was or where Mary was or anything like mitigating the damage to Mary. It was, after all, an accident.

But it's an accident that happened as a result of the production team's abdication of responsibility. It's an accident that happened because they created a situation that made it easy for that conversation to happen in private, and it happened because they did not follow up on that situation and handle the ex and supervise everyone. That's really huge, because it refuses to let the audience write off Mary's jump as either an accident which couldn't have been prevented or as a deliberate machination of eeeeeeeevil on the part of the production teem. It's an accident... but one that could easily have been prevented if we weren't winding people up for entertainment.
posted by sciatrix at 7:54 AM on July 10, 2015 [3 favorites]

Huh, with that spoiler I am much less willing to watch the series. I think I might wait to see how additional episodes shape up before continuing.
posted by hydrobatidae at 9:02 AM on July 10, 2015

That's pretty fair, hydrobatidae. No lie, it made me question whether I want to keep watching--and like I said, I'm already incredibly invested. But at this point I'm going "oh my god I have to see that one Southern girl get home safe oh my god" and, well, I kind of suspect there are not going to be a lot of good answers.
posted by sciatrix at 9:09 AM on July 10, 2015

This show can be watched on so many levels. It's really surprisingly intelligent and subtle, which it hides under reality show trappings.

I have yet to decide how I feel about Anna (the lawyer). I appreciate that she just turned right around and started playing the game, but playing the game has removed all ethics from Quinn and Rachel, and I don't need to see her do that. (It's amazing how watching her play the game makes her somehow less likable than watching Quinn and Rachel do it makes them.)
posted by jeather at 9:28 AM on July 10, 2015

Did anyone else expect that the big reveal would be that Mary was actually the one who broke Lillybeth's arm? I was kind of expecting that, right up to the point in the trailer where Mary's husband went off. (I also kind of feel like Chet was the one who broke Quinn's arm (the cast he signed) but I have less proof on that.)

But I think you mean Rachel's grade A manipulation.

In more ways than one. The person Rachel is best at manipulating is Rachel -- she's really really good at finding ways to justify the actions she wants to take anyway.

The bit at the end where the EMTs wouldn't respond because they'd been called out too many times -- dark. One of the reviews I read about this episode called it Lifetime's Breaking Bad, which seems accurate in terms of how dark the show is if nothing else.

I have to assume they will either reveal Shia's actions, or Shia will blame her actions on someone else, likely Rachel.
posted by pie ninja at 9:44 AM on July 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

I have yet to decide how I feel about Anna (the lawyer). I appreciate that she just turned right around and started playing the game

It might be a little ham-handed, but I appreciated her offhand comment about how she feels like a different person now - how she's aware-but-not-quite-aware that the producer manipulation is making her do and say stupid things.

My favorite meta-joke in the show (up to this episode, at least) is how cavalier they are about how many contestants they're dealing with, since I feel like they eliminate at least a handful every episode. Did they start with 40?
posted by psoas at 7:45 AM on July 14, 2015 [2 favorites]

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