Serena’s Breakdown On ‘UnREAL’ Exposed Just How Tired Women Are Of Being Called “Crazy”
Spoilers for the April 16 episode of UnREAL. Quinn and Rachel may be the force that propels Everlasting forward on UnREAL, but have they truly gotten their due from their superiors and colleagues? Not exactly. Quinn is pigeonholed as a bitter, ice-cold b*tch, and Rachel is “hot and crazy” because she can make someone else do what she wants and make them think it was his or her idea all along. In the UnREAL episode "Recurrent," it's all the more clear: the men around Rachel and Quinn either take credit from them or take them for granted. Usually, they’d just deal with it and bulldoze everything in their path… until now.
All it takes is for one man to mess with lady suitor Serena, and the armor goes up — the women of UnREAL are tired of being called “crazy,” and they're not going to be baited by it anymore. Why is their sanity being called into question when the men around them are going through similar issues?
Serena was chosen as suitress because she is cool, calm, collected, and very, very successful, and until now, viewers have seen her as such. Serena needs to keep it together lest no one take her seriously. But Serena is human, and a bit of her humanity threatens to destroy everything she’s accomplished so far on Everlasting. In another “getting to know you” portion of the show, Serena and her contestants share social media images with each other. Of course, some of these photos involved past relationships, including the man, George, who smashed Serena’s heart into a billion pieces. They were practically engaged, she shares, and then he up and left without a trace, leaving her heartbroken.
This would have be a wonderfully touching moment of vulnerability if Madison doesn't, in a misguided attempt at making drama (everything she does this season is misguided), bring George to the Everlasting mansion to dispute Serena’s statements. He yells, he screams, he says they were never really a thing, that she's crazy and a stalker, and that he's currently engaged to someone else and she should leave him alone. So, Serena had a meltdown (understandably) and the contestants are rattled. Serena is convinced she's ruined her chances at finding love. But nuh-uh — Rachel is tired of being dubbed “crazy” because she has feelings, and this is not something she’ll let happen to Serena either.
UnREAL is good at turning the tables on tropes that are harmful to women, and this one is no exception. Rachel and Quinn take aside Jasper, who is most “offended” by the fact that Serena had feelings for a guy once, and Rachel produces him into an interview that leaves him sniveling. Jasper eschews commitment because he doesn’t want to catch feelings and get hurt, and he’s a hero, but Serena goes all in in a relationship she should have taken more slowly, and she’s the nutty one? UnREAL asks if it’s worse to close yourself off than to open yourself up too much, and it’s a question that doesn’t get posed too often on TV.
In other shows, the cool cad will always win over the emotional woman, leaving the rest of the room to be all, “Man, she was nuts, huh? Women are so dramatic!” But on UnREAL, Rachel methodically cuts Jasper down until he is a shell of a man. By the end, he's admitting that he is worthless, and he is crying just as hard as Serena was when George came in. Man, men can be so dramatic, can’t they? Everyone can be dramatic, when their deepest insecurities are being mined.
Rachel is tired of being called crazy by the crew, her parents, and her numerous shrinks. Jeremy has basically been in love with her for five years and he does whatever she tells him to do. That's kind of strange, no? Why isn't he being called out? Quinn is exhausted by the fact that, even though she has a mega career and a successful, fulfilling life, she is seen as a shrew because she’s alone. Chet, though, is also not in a long-term relationship. But because he's a man, he's a job creator.
Neither Rachel nor Quinn may be able to fully empower themselves within their own respective lives, but within the confines of the show Everlasting, they can reign supreme. And it’s here that they use their power with Serena and over the contestants to cut any perception of "female hysterics" down to size. Just because Serena misread a situation doesn’t make her unstable. It makes her human, and also indicates that perhaps George wasn't completely straightforward with her about how he felt. Serena is able to continue on her journey toward finding love, because she is there and present and ready, and no man’s opinion should change the way she (or any other woman ever) reacts to her own unique circumstance.