Southern Charm Recap: S5, Ep. 3 – “Groovy Baby”

It’s another beautiful morning in Charleston and Thomas’ unabashed lechery is on display once again as he tells Ashley he’s glad he found a woman with a good heart, then asks if he can feel her heart up. I think my 10th-grade boyfriend used a similar line on me once, and it was cheesy coming from a 15-year-old. Ashley’s not fazed by it though–she just simpers and giggles and feeds into Thomas’ image of himself as a Rhett Butler-type roguish devil, just like a good gold digger should. And just like a good gold digger target should, Thomas puts Plan B in Ashley’s morning eggs.

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Patricia calls Cameran to tell her she wants to throw her a baby shower/party, but when Cameran tries to gives her some input on the guest list, Patricia informs her that as the hostess, SHE will be in charge of the invites. Of course this means Kathryn will be excluded, as well she should be. Cameran is worried, but has the sense not to challenge Patricia on the issue.

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Why would anyone think Patricia would ever want Kathryn in her house? Aside from going after Patricia’s son Whitney like a coked-up Tasmanian Devil, Kathryn has made a spectacle of herself at every single social gathering she has ever attended. That is, until last season when she decided to pretend like she was getting her shit together in order to get her kids back. Even if Kathryn could be trusted to be on her very best behavior at the baby shower, Patricia has seen her true colors and is not fooled by her little performance of late. So no, Patricia is not going to invite Kathryn anywhere, and no one should expect her to.

Patricia isn’t fooled, but apparently the courts are, because Kathryn has moved into whatever phase of her and Thomas’ custody agreement that allows her to have unsupervised visits with the children. Kathryn’s drivel about being a mother and how much it hurt to lose custody of her kids fails to interest me. I think they would probably be better off if she remained–at most–on the periphery of their lives, but I don’t really care one way or another.

Nor do I care about Cameran’s birth-coaching session with Kathy the childbirth “educator.” This scene seems totally contrived–I highly doubt Cameran is that ignorant about the process–and “childbirth educator”, like “accountability coach” and “feng shui consultant,” seems like just another term for snake-oil salesman. And what is Whitney doing there? Whitney seems even more disconnected to the child-bearing process than Cameran is pretending to be.

Craig and Austen meet for drinks and Craig tells Austen his life would be so much easier if God would just make him gay. Whatever, Craig. Does he think drama and confusion are unique to heterosexual relationships? Craig doesn’t understand why Naomie was crying over their breakup at Shep’s party when it was so obvious she didn’t want to be with him anymore. I kind of wonder about that myself, since they were so clearly mismatched and Craig was so awful last season. But relationships are complicated, and just like the editors made me #TeamNaomie last season, they’re kind of making me #TeamCraig this season, so who knows what really went on between them?

God, more baby stuff. Cameran and Chelt-sea go to a place named “Bond with Baby” so Cameran can get an ultrasound. Yawn. After the requisite cooing, they settle in to discuss Chelt-sea’s relationship with Austen. Chelt-sea doesn’t have a problem with Austen, per se; it’s his lifestyle that turns her off. He’s unemployed, parties all night and sleeps all day. How exactly does that make him different from most of the other guys in Charleston?

Cut to Austen, who sure enough is in the bar in the middle of the day ordering a beer flight and wondering what his next move should be.

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Chelt-sea and Cameran lament the state of the region’s dating pool and I can’t help but think Cameran is mentally patting herself on the back for landing herself a doctor.

Thomas is talking to his father on his phone, and we learn that he is paying for Ashley’s apartment downtown. I bet that tidbit sent Kathryn into a tailspin. Thomas and his father agree that Ashley has a good sense of humor, which Arthur Ravenel approves of, because after all, if you can’t “eat it, spend it or make love to it,” you have to laugh at it. No wonder Thomas has such a healthy respect for women.

Kathryn comes over to Craig’s new house where he shows her his new endeavor–making pillows. Some of his pillows are cute. I can’t fault Craig for not practicing law now that he’s passed the bar and is an actual attorney. I’m an attorney and I’m much happier waiting tables–law is not for everyone and sometimes it takes awhile to figure that out.

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Craig thinks that since he and Kathryn have some sort of bond, they represent a “safe space” for each other. Of course Craig buys into the idea of safe spaces. How did Craig become such a pussy? He seems like a completely different person from the Season 1 Craig who called out Kathryn for sleeping with everyone in the cast and told Thomas she was “trouble.” Now he thinks she’s some kind of soulmate? Good luck with that–Craig is nothing more to Kathryn than an easily-manipulated mark who furthers her sinister agenda.

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Speaking of that, while she and Craig are talking about Thomas and Ashley, Kathryn “lets it slip” that she and Thomas hooked up after the Season 4 reunion. Craig is sure to spill those beans later in the season and Kathryn will sit back and smugly watch the drama she wrought play out. She of course thinks Ashley is playing Thomas the way she tried to play him, but Craig disagrees. So do I. Thomas is way better at this game than Kathryn is giving him credit for–if a full-blown sociopath like herself wasn’t able to play him into marriage, how does the simpering Ashley stand a chance?

It’s baby shower day, and everyone is getting ready for the festivities. Patricia explains that the theme of this party is Slim Aarons, a photographer who chronicled social life in the 60’s. And not just any social life–ultra WASP-y Babe Paley-type social life–so the Southern Charm crowd should be able to relate. I’m not sure if Babe Paley would approve of Patricia’s get-up, but she would probably approve of the spread Pat has set out for her guests–finger foods and lots of booze, just the way we WASPs like it.

 

Naomie is upset that Kathryn hasn’t been invited and tells Chelt-sea she thinks she should say something to Patricia about it. No, Naomie, you shouldn’t. Chelt-sea agrees that if Patricia would just give Kathryn one more chance, she would see the change in her and all would be well between them. How are these people so obtuse? Patricia will not see a change in Kathryn because there has been no fundamental change. She has changed her behavior to achieve certain goals, but she is still the calculating, “hillbilly femme fatale” (tm Whitney) she has always been.

Even though Naomie is French and therefore inherently superior, she’s still a millennial and prone to the arrogance and entitlement that characterizes her generation, so she makes a major gaffe by taking Patricia aside and trying to plead Kathryn’s case.  She barely gets a word out before Patricia makes up an excuse about someone being at the door and walks away from the conversation. Patricia thinks it’s inappropriate to come to someone’s house and air their grievances to that person, and she is right. To her credit, Naomie realizes she crossed a line and has the decency to be embarrassed about it.

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While Cameran is opening gifts and being presented with a vaginal birth cake in the next room, Naomie recounts the Patricia episode to Craig, who is supportive of her efforts to stick up for Kathryn. Naomie thinks that Kathryn feels like she is nothing, and this statement is indicative of the kool-aid everyone except Patricia has been drinking. Kathryn does not now and has never felt that she is nothing. To the contrary, Kathryn is a narcissist and as such believes that Kathryn is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

But Naomie and Craig have both believed her bs about rehab and think she has grown. This prompts Naomie to ask Craig if he’s grown. Uh oh. He mumbles that he’s been really busy and has gotten a lot of stuff done, and Naomie pounces on him by asking why he thinks he’s been able to get more done in the two months they’ve been apart than in the three years they were together. Craig recognizes this as the loaded question it is and refuses to answer. He thinks this is Naomie’s way of calling him a loser, and he’s probably right because the reason they broke up was because Naomie thinks he’s a loser. She tells him he needs to get out of bed and accomplish something during the day instead of sitting at home and pretending to do things.

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Craig wonders why sewing and owning two properties isn’t good enough for her when he’s the same guy he was when they started dating and “traveled the world” together. Naomie says it’s because she got her shit together and stalks out of the room. To her retreating form, Craig calls out that she’s still living off her parents, which, although true, probably wasn’t the best way to make his point since he also lived off her parents for a couple of years.

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Minutes after this confrontation, who walks into the party but Liz and JD–together. This has really been a bad day for Naomie. She is seething as JD and Liz walk into the party and JD gladhands everyone. Shep and Whitney give her some really good advice–basically telling her in a nice way that JD and Liz’s marriage is none of her business and she needs to suck it up and be polite to both of them. She greets them half-heartedly then sits down with the rest of the girls tl pout. She is galled by JD’s smirk and knows he’s thinking that he’s won whatever battle Naomie started at Shep’s birthday party.

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Now it’s Chelt-sea’s turn to step in with some good advice when she tells Naomie she’s done her duty as a friend, but it’s not her fight anymore. JD and Liz know they’re the talk of the party and beat a hasty retreat. When Naomie ignores Liz’s good-bye, Liz admonishes her not to do that then tells the girls she loves them, despite the fact that she knows all of them are going to gossip about her the minute she walks out the door.

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Naomie returns Liz’s attempt at a gracious exit by giving her the finger, which is not very French of her. Quel dommage.

 

 

Recap: Southern Charm New Orleans Premiere

After the train wreck that was Southern Charm Savannah, I’m not expecting a whole lot from the New Orleans version of the franchise, but I’m giving it a shot because at the very least it has to be better than Savannah, right? Wrong. The first episode was BO-ring. At least Savannah had the contrived antics of Ashley to snark on; so far, New Orleans has nothing.

The show begins with a super-sized intro before the credits roll, and then we meet the members of the cast. First up is Tamica, a morning show anchor who is married to Barry, an “entrepreneur.” I’m always leery of people who call themselves entrepreneurs–it seems like a convenient euphemism for doing a whole lot of nothing or shilling cheap clothing lines a la “She by Sheree” or “Alexis Couture,” but we’ll see. Tamica is the daughter of the late Bivian Lee, Jr., a former quarterback for the New Orleans Saints, so she is probably pretty connected in that town.

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Tamica and Barry

After running their two kids around all day, “entrepreneur” Barry picks Tamica up from work and they head over the 24-mile Pontchartrain Causeway to Reagan and Jeff’s house. Jeff played in the NFL for seven years, four of which were spent with the Saints. According to Reagan, her family has been in New Orleans ever since there has been a New Orleans. Her ancestor created bitters and invented the Sazerac, which Reagan says is the official drink of Louisiana. She greets Tamica and Barry with a couple of Sazeracs and the four of them head out to the backyard for dinner–which Reagan has cooked herself. How refreshing. It’s tiresome when people claim to have an aversion to the kitchen, like not cooking imbues them with some kind of aura of sophistication.

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Reagan and Jeff

Tamica and Reagan have been friends for years and have a sister-type relationship that apparently involves a lot of fighting and making up, which might make for some drama down the road. And when the guys meet for lunch the next day, we learn about another bona fide connection in this group. Justin, who narrated the opening montage, went to high school with Tamica who, according to Barry, views him as a little brother. It’s unclear how everyone knows Jon, a 24-year-old artist who has sold paintings to the likes of P. Diddy, Drake and the Obamas. From the previews he seems like a douche, but it’s early yet.

It’s Mardi Gras time, and everyone talks about how great it is, except for Barry, who hates it. He feels like a mouse caught in a trap with all the street closures, crowds and other constrictions. I wonder if he’ll get something worse than beads thrown at him after this episode airs.

The most interesting thing about this episode so far is Reagan’s friend Nicelle’s house.

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Maybe Bravo should forget about franchising Southern Charm and go the real estate porn route by giving us a Million Dollar Listing: New Orleans. All the ladies are meeting there to try on costumes for their Mardi Gras float and drink coffee cocktails prepared by Nicelle’s chef, “Benny Poppins,” an accommodating sprite complete with an apron embroidered with his name. I wonder if Craig made it?

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Justin is a lawyer-cum-sports agent whose father is a judge and mother is a prominent philanthropist. He is moving in with them while his own house–which his parents own–is being renovated. Justin has a girlfriend who may or may not move into his parents’ house with him, and I have to wonder where she lives now. Why would a grown woman move into her boyfriend’s parents’ house for a temporary stay? Maybe this is a setup for conflict between Justin’s girlfriend and his overbearing mother.

I’m so bored. Nothing but exposition is happening in this episode, but it’s the first episode so I’ll give it a break and try to identify areas of potential drama:

Since Justin thinks Tamica is still as “fine” as she was in high school, maybe there will be tension between the girlfriend and Tamica. Or Justin and Barry.

When the ladies get drunk at the Mardi Gras parade while the guys stand around for 6 hours waiting to see their float go by, we learn that Tamica and Barry don’t have sex. Will their marriage hit the skids?

Reagan wants to get an apartment in town while she finishes her third year of law school. Jeff thinks they’re both going to live there, but Reagan apparently wants to him to stay in their house. Will their marriage hit the skids?

Tamica doesn’t approve of Reagan’s plan and thinks it’s bad for her marriage. Since Tamica doesn’t have sex with her husband, Reagan doesn’t think she should be dispensing marital advice. Can their friendship survive?

Jeff’s mother stole a few hundred thousand dollars from him by posing as his wife (eww!) and forging a bunch of documents. When Jeff confronted her about it, his whole family cut him off. Hopefully Jeff’s family is a bunch of malevolent inbreds straight out the bayou and we’ll get to see them in all their slack-jawed glory.

All I have to say about Southern Charm New Orleans is that I hope it gets better, but I’m not holding my breath. Until next week…

Recap: “Southern Charm” Season 5 Premiere

The show has barely begun, and already Thomas’ new girlfriend is my hero. In the face of Kathryn’s tired “as a mother” and “my family” blatherings, Ashley Jacobs looks her in the eye and tells her exactly like it is: Kathryn is a baby mama at best, a mere egg donor at worst. The egg donor comment was a little harsh, but since Kathryn has no compunction about getting down in the mud with anyone, anywhere, turnabout is fair play.

Just like Thomas’ dinner party in Season 3, this scene takes place a few months hence, so we have to backtrack to see how this Kathryn/Ashley confrontation came about. It’s three months earlier, and everyone in Charleston has broken up: Shep and his Relationshep woman, Chelsea and Austen (we already knew that from last year’s reunion), Danni and her fiance, Liz and JD, and–thankfully, mercifully–Naomie and the loathsome Craig.

Shep brings Chik-fil-a to Cameran, who is almost 9 months pregnant. What a good friend!

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He laments that the girl he found on his dating show was not into him after all–of the five nights he was in New York to see her, she only spent two with him. He points out that if someone really wants to see you, they’ll do it, come hell, high water or a nuclear meltdown. Except I think he said “nucular,” which is shocking coming from the usually erudite Shep. Mispronunciation aside, he is right, and with a shrug of his shoulders has moved on. Cameran thinks he needs to start dating women his own age, which as of today is 38. Cameran is wrong. She just heard Shep complain that the NY girl went home at 11pm instead of staying out until 4 in the morning with him; this alone should tell her that the last thing he needs or wants is a 38-year-old woman. Unless said 38-year-old woman fuels her drinking binges with blow and can hang with Shep for the long haul. Cameran, as always, needs to shut up.

Shep has a new beach house, and Cameran suggests he throw a party to celebrate his birthday. This is obviously a set-up for that scene from the preview clips where Naomie and the rest of the girls go at JD over his breakup with Liz. It looks like Season 5 is off to a rollicking start!

Kathryn has an unflattering new hairstyle as well as a new apartment where she can play Mommy to her children. Her number one enabler Danni shows up and is aghast at the bruise on Kathryn’s arm that was caused by Thomas’ insistence that she succumb to random drug tests.

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Kathryn will never change. Here she is, acting like a victim because she is required to take drug tests in order to see her children, when her drug use is the reason her children were taken away from her in the first place. But for poor, blameless Kathryn, everything is always Thomas’ fault–and Danni just sits there nodding and clucking and enabling.

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Kathryn may have to suffer the indignity of drug-testing, but she has emerged the victor in one aspect of her and Thomas’ custody agreement–he has to fire the nanny. Kathryn hates the nanny for some nonexistent reason her sick addict’s mind has concocted and has demanded she be let go. Never mind that the nanny has been nurturing and loving the children for the last year or two–she wounded Kathryn’s ego, so she has to go, the children’s stability be damned. Kathryn is as awful as ever.

Over at Thomas’ new kid-friendly house, he and the nanny are discussing Kensie’s schedule. He’s not happy about her imminent departure, but since Kathryn is an unreasonable monster, he had to appease her any way he could. Enter his new girlfriend Ashley, who we’ve seen all over social media for months, and whom I, for one, am very curious about. Kathryn has also heard about her, and snipes to Danni that it’s a good thing she’s a hospice nurse, because those skills will come in handy for Thomas. Because he’s old, I guess. Enabler Danni snickers as if Kathryn has just said something clever.

Naomie arrives at Chelt-sea’s salon, ostensibly to get her hair done, but really so she and Chelt-sea can catch us up on the status of their respective relationships. Craig and Naomie have finally broken up, because Craig is a sniveling dilettante and Naomie is an ambitious, intelligent young woman. Chelt-sea and Austen are no longer seeing each other because Austen quit his job and had no problem freeloading off Chelt-sea and using her for booty calls after boys’ nights out. He also started dating one of her friends, which was the last straw for Chelt-sea.

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We hear Austen’s side of the story as he and Shep enjoy oceanside beers; he is confused because he thought he and Chelt-sea were exclusive, but she backed away. Then when she heard he was dating her friend Victoria she cut him off completely. Shep says something about having your cake and eating it too, which in this context I guess means that Chelt-sea can’t keep Austen at arm’s length and then get upset when he starts dating another girl.

2018-04-06 (29)The bottom line is that I don’t really care, because I’m as bored by Chelt-sea and Austen this year as I was last year. Single Chelt-sea seems like she’ll be a lot more fun and interesting to watch.

 

Whitney and Shep meet up for coffee of all things, and Whitney tells Shep that Patricia has a gentleman caller and may be engaged, which explains the giant rock she was sporting in the opening montage.

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We get some insight into Whitney’s poor-little-rich-boy upbringing when he tells Shep he found out about one of his mother’s marriages via a telegram he received while at boarding school in England. No wonder Whitney has issues.

They discuss Shep’s birthday and settle on the idea of having a party at Shep’s house. Shep calls Craig to see if he’ll help with the cooking, since Craig is a master chef and all. Craig agrees, and the stage is set for what will hopefully be another drama-filled Southern Charm dinner.

Thomas goes to visit JD, who is living in the guest house after his separation from Liz. JD has gotten into some financial trouble and he was tired of dealing with “nonsense” at work, then coming home and not getting the support he felt he deserved from his partner.

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Thomas can totally relate. JD says Liz told him she’s no longer in love with him, and I can’t wait to hear her side of the story. If that preview clip of Naomie and Chelt-sea calling JD out for being a cheater and a con-man is any indication, it should be a doozy.

Craig and Shep meet at the butcher shop to select meat for Shep’s party and drink whisky. (I’ve had this thought before, but this scene in particular makes me wonder why Whitney’s roommate from My Big Fat Fabulous Life would move to CHARLESTON to live in a sober house. Charleston seems like the least sober city in the world.)

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Craig asks who is coming to the party, and of course it’s going to be all the recent exes, along with Kathryn, Thomas and Thomas’ new girlfriend, whom Kathryn has never met. Given Kathryn’s historic inability to keep it together–ever–Shep’s party should be an awesome shit show.

While Shep and Craig are bumbling over how to operate the grill, at Thomas’ house, Ashley is modeling outfits to wear to the party. It’s the first time she’s going to meet a lot of these people, and she wants to dress appropriately, so she selects…this?

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Thomas scoffs at the suggestion that the shorts may be a little too short (and tight), so this is what they decide she should wear. Bring on the catfights! Thomas points out that Ashley has “beautiful manners,” something he didn’t see “very often” from Kathryn. This, in Whitney’s words, is a bit of an understatement.

Shep and Craig have no idea what they’re doing with the grill, and when Austen arrives he questions the lack of appetizers to snack on. Craig is acting like a little bitch as usual, and it’s funny that the show is trying to set up a potential food disaster as the basis for the drama at dinner, when across town…

All the girls have gathered at Naomie’s awesome new house for pre-party drinks and gossip. Any food problems will shrivel into nonexistence in the face of the actual drama these girls are ready to bring. Naomie is pissed at JD because, since he wanted to attend Shep’s party, Liz is stuck at home watching the kids. I don’t get why Naomie is so outraged about this–if Liz really wanted to go, couldn’t she just get a babysitter? Naomie is ready to “lose her shit” if JD even mentions Liz. Chelt-sea isn’t too concerned about seeing Austen, which–duh–because everyone knows the real issue is how Kathryn is going to react to seeing Ashley for the first time.

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It’s ironic that all of these girls are calling Ashley thirsty when one of them got on the show by screwing almost the entire cast, one got on by dating an abject loser she obviously couldn’t stand, and a third is a Survivor alum as well as a Southern Charm cast member. Those who live in glass houses…  For some inexplicable reason everyone is rallying behind Kathryn, assuring her they’ve got her back and congratulating themselves on their girl power moment. Because nothing bonds women together more than ripping another woman to shreds behind her back.

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Ashley is right to be concerned about the full moon as everyone heads to Shep’s, but alas, since this was a standard catch-up and set-up premiere episode, we’ll have to wait until next week for the the drama to unfold.

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