Shiri Appleby UnREAL Finale

Performer of the Week: Shiri Appleby

THE PERFORMER | Shiri Appleby


THE EPISODE | “Future” (Aug. 3)

Among the flurry of favorable adjectives one could use to describe UnREAL‘s Rachel Goldberg — due largely to Shiri Appleby’s consistently layered performances — “unpredictable” is perhaps the most fitting. And never was Rachel, nor Appleby, more unpredictable than during this week’s season finale.

The complicated events of the finale forced Rachel to present a completely different face to nearly everyone she encountered on the Everlasting set, a feat she accomplished with such conviction that it left us wondering if Appleby had somehow cloned herself into five different, equally-flawless actresses.

Between Rachel’s fake-down (that’s a fake breakdown) over Adam, her attempted manipulation of Anna and her haunting exchange of “I love you”s with Quinn, to compile each of Appleby’s breakout moments throughout the finale would be impossible. So let’s just celebrate her stunning portrayal of a woman at her wit’s end and look forward to another season of twisted perfection.

Frankly, it didn’t even matter which contestant Adam eventually picked; in our book; Appleby won that finale.

JulieHONORABLE MENTION | Much has been written about the “likability” — or rather, the lack thereof — of Julie Klausner’s acerbic, self-involved character in Hulu’s new comedy Difficult People. But unless her Julie Kessler winds up sitting behind you (and your kids) at a Broadway show or making cringe-worthy jokes during your Oscar party, who cares? In just a half hour, Klausner brings to life a woman who you’ll secretly laugh with (“An understudy, it’s like a fancy word for disappointment,” she cruelly tells some tiny theatergoers at a matinee for Annie) and openly laugh at (as she pees herself on a Brooklyn sidewalk due to an Uber malfunction and the shock of having her Twitter hacked). The brilliance of Klausner’s performance is the way she not only detaches Julie from any sense of social appropriateness — but defiantly insists that despite all evidence to the contrary, she’s in the right. It’s all a bit of a tightrope walk — how often can you enjoy an acidic dessert without a balancing note of sweetness? — but Klausner’s sly wit makes it go down easy.

JasonHONORABLE MENTION | Dr. John Ellison has had enough of the Complications (upon complications) that stemmed from his saving of Antoine Tyler’s life. So this week he told the lad’s dad “EZ” how it was going to be, in a face-off that afforded Jason O’Mara the opportunity to intensely go toe-to-toe with the incarcerated gang leader. Having suffered physical and emotional torment on a daily basis, John laid out two options, one of which buys the good doctor and his fam peace in perpetuity. Otherwise, he tells all. “Dead or alive, I will bury you,” John made clear, O’Mara’s piercing stare shrinking the towering convict down to size. When EZ tried to play the Protective Dad Card, O’Mara let surface John’s deep-seated feelings on the matter, having had to stand by, helpless, as his young daughter succumbed to cancer. “I would do anything to trade places with you, to have a child who could be saved,” he bellowed, “so figure it out!”

Which performances form the past week knocked your socks off? Hit the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Mr. Tran K says:

    Jon Stewart should have been the performer of the week for his Daily Show farewell. This is bull-BLEEP.

    • Dude says:

      That wasn’t a performance perse and his finale was more about the people around him than it was about him. Shiri nailed it this week.

  2. LADY_in_MD says:

    Great choice Shiri was excellent in the finale and throughout the whole season I hope she get recognized during awards time
    love the term fakedown!

  3. Bwhit says:

    Shiri was fantastic. I would have put Aaron Tveit in there too, The scene with Charlie showed how broken Mike is from everything that has happened (partly his own doing and what happened with Paige) and Aaron’s performance broke my heart. Maybe next week he’ll get a glance because the preview looks intense!

  4. smartysenior says:

    Appleby made a nasty character extremely likable. In another’s hands this could have been a depressing show, in her hands it completely worked. I really like Jason O’Mara but he has truly lousy taste in parts. This show was a complete disaster and he should have know that when he read the script. Good luck to him in future tho.

    • Susan says:

      Absolutely! I turned around during this episode and said “How come we don’t hate Rachel? She’s manipulating everyone.” We agreed that it’s her vulnerability and we don’t see her as sinister.. We don’t quite hate Quinn, either, but can’t stand that on-set psychologist.

  5. matraupach says:

    Rosie O’Donnell should be performer of the week!

    She was awesome in the last The Fosters episode!

    (and the little Trumpy doesn’t like her ;) )

  6. Tracy says:

    Aaron Tveit and Vanessa Ferlito on Graceland. We saw their characters at their most vulnerable and they played it SO well. You really felt their pain.

  7. fernando933 says:

    Come on why did Joanna Gracia not get a mention she made me cry from start to finish. She perform so beautiful.

    • LADY_in_MD says:

      Me too this weeks episode was the best so far

    • Susan says:

      ABSOLUTELY! Joanna Garcia’s performance in Astronaut Wives Club was the best TV in ages! Even if you don’t watch the show regularly, that episode can stand alone. It is worth looking up on It was beautiful and heartbreaking, but not at all melodramatic.

  8. Ryan says:

    Thank you for recognizing Julie! Could not agree more!

  9. bill says:

    Eleanor Tomlinson (Demelza Poldark) and Aidan Turner (Ross Poldark) gave outstanding performances in the season finale of Poldark.

  10. Mommaknowsbest says:

    Gabriel Macht (Harvey Spector) and Rick Hoffman (Louis Litt) from “Suits” deserved at least an Honorable Mention this week!

  11. Luca says:

    Appleby is bland and totally overrated in Unreal. I enjoy the show for her performance says nothing to me. I just don´t see the brilliance.

  12. Hodan says:

    I totally agree with this. Shiri killed in the season 1 finale of UnReal. I love her.

  13. Katrin says:

    I feel like this was an emotional TV show week.
    Yes to Shiri, love her, but Jes Macallan as JOSS in MISTRESSES should have gotten a mention too. Joss was absolutely awesome these last two weeks.

  14. Dennis says:

    Love her! Roswell love :)

  15. Well deserved by Shiri. Her entire show run was Emmy worthy.

  16. FtheFreys says:

    Was there a performer of the week last week because I cannot find anything. Did TVline just skip a week?

  17. Momo says:

    Appleby hands down! Very nuanced performance. This has been an Emmy-worthy performance from the start and the finale took it to a whole ‘nother level. Rachel’s set-up of Adam was masterful, but watch out Quinn! You are about to be Racherized in Season 2. What that scene scene told us about Quinn and Rachel! Fantastic job by Shiri! Season 2 can’t come fast enough.

  18. donna says:

    Complications is the best show on TV The actors are great. Hope it gets renewed.