The first season ends, inevitably, with Quinn and Rachel alone together. Alex Metcalf, a supervising producer, explained to me that in a show’s second season “you have to raise the stakes.” The first season had wrapped its provocations around love triangles and other familiar soapy elements.Though “Un” was subversive, it provided the pleasures of the genre it satirized: the fictional bachelor on “Everlasting” was as chiselled as the real ones on “The Bachelor.” This pleased the executives at Lifetime, which is best known for women-in-peril movies.She does a good imitation of his irritating growl: “Hey, Rach!” She was proud of the fact that Season 1 had easily passed the Bechdel test.In the second season of “Un” are a caustic “Everlasting” producer named Quinn and her ambivalent deputy, Rachel, whose character clearly owes a lot to Shapiro.
Shapiro presented a twenty-minute short that she’d made, “Sequin Raze,” which centered on a reality-show producer.Rachel keeps trying to escape “Everlasting,” and Quinn thwarts her every time. In Shapiro’s hands, Quinn—who has been denied her fair share of the show’s profits by venal male colleagues—and her protégée emerge as antiheroes, and beneath the giddy parody “Un” is the sneaky way the contestants emerge as sympathetic—behind the scenes of “Everlasting” one sees the humanity that the producers suppress onscreen.She threatens Rachel with lawsuits, she lavishes her with praise, she threatens to expose a tryst. One day in February, Shapiro sat with the show’s writers in an office on the Sunset Gower lot, in Hollywood, and began imagining the futures of Quinn and Rachel.“I told a lot of people to fuck off.” Lifetime wasn’t sure of the match, either: its head of research found the show-within-a-show conceit too dizzying.Since then, the partners have grown” has won a Critics’ Choice Award and a Peabody Award, and Lifetime is thrilled to have an acclaimed show that attracts a hipper audience.