9:00am PT by Jackie Strause
How 'UnREAL' Predicted 'Bachelorette' Villain Chad
It happens on the premiere of the second season of UnREAL: When the minds behind the fake TV series Everlasting conjured up the current villain on this season's The Bachelorette.
On the June 6 launch of Lifetime's Bachelor-inspired drama, disgraced Everlasting creator Chet (Craig Bierko) launches into a speech about how their reality dating series needs a major revamping.
"When I was away all those months I wasn't just working on myself, I was thinking about the show's cultural legacy," he tells Quinn (Constance Zimmer), the show's executive producer. "We're telling men that it's okay to swoop out of the sky in diamond-studded helicopters — women don't respect that. You know what women respect? A man who can kill, with his bare hands."
He continues, "We have created a generation of wimps and bitches. We got a whole audience whose waiting for us to show them the natural order of things. Man, the audience will eat that up."
Oddly enough, two weeks earlier on May 23, a villain who fit that exact description was introduced to the reality TV world via The Bachelorette, and viewers have been eating him up in ratings ever since.
In some of the most violent scenes ever aired on the long-running ABC franchise, Chad Johnson, 28, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, has issued multiple threats to physically hurt several of his fellow contestants, even putting his hands around the neck of one while saying : "You’re going to f—ing die if you don’t chill out."
While there is always a contestant who is labeled as the season "villain," none have actually threatened to kill with his bare hands like Chet suggested — a line that was written before JoJo Fletcher's Bachelorette unleashed Chad, as production on UnREAL began in March.
This isn't the first time UnREAL, which has already been picked up for a third season and also stars Shiri Appleby, has preceded The Bachelor when it comes to casting. With the franchise long being criticized for its lack of nonwhite contestants, UnREAL beat the ABC series to the diversity punch by casting its first black bachelor, football star Darius Hill (B.J. Britt), on season two.
"The first season was about the princess fantasy and the idea that someone would come rescue you and how that hurts and destroys both sides of the gender spectrum," co-creator Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, who previously worked on The Bachelor, told The Hollywood Reporter ahead of season two. "And then also race was something we had touched on so briefly but that is really vitally important to all of us in terms of what's going on in the world right now, so it felt like masculinity and race were two incredible things to move towards ... It can't be ignored and we feel like it's one of the most pressing things going on."
Meanwhile on The Bachelorette, the June 6 episode left off with Chad being eliminated and returning to the house where the men are staying in a menacing manner, appearing to be coming to collect on the threats he made earlier.
“I felt like he was losing it, he was becoming super unstable," another contestant, Alex Woytkiw, told THR about the Chad drama, which ended with a "To Be Continued." The booted contestants typically exit the show the night they are eliminated, but, in another rare move, Chad will continue to see more air time when the show returns with a new episode Monday night.
It looks like ABC heard Chet's advice to milk Chad for all he's worth.