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Test the waters with Bravo's 'Below Deck'

pdonohue@islandpacket.comAugust 9, 2013 

Cast members from Bravo's "Below Deck."

My history of success with the books, television shows and apps recommended in this column have been a little hit-and-miss.

I stand behind my recommendations of series like "Girls," "Game of Thrones," "House of Cards," and, most recently, the BBC and Sundance Channel's "Top of the Lake." All were recently nominated for Emmys. I'll try not to break my arm patting myself on the back.

I feel similarly confident about having pointed folks in the direction of great apps like the endlessly playable word game SpellTower or developer Tiny Heart's alarm clock app Wake.

I still love and use both apps.

I cannot say the same for the once-great to-do list manager Wunderlist, which was rendered unusable by a recent update, or email app Mailbox, which was quickly erased from my phone when Google launched its revamped Gmail app.

My history with television shows is similarly mixed.

While I did recommend the award-winning series listed above, I also vouched for MTV's original scripted comedy "I Just Want My Pants Back," which was canceled less than a month later, and Bravo's "Gallery Girls," which, much to my chagrin, doesn't appear to be getting a second season.

Given that, I'd be crazy to recommend another Bravo reality show, right?

Crazy like a fox.

Earlier this summer, I began seeing promos for "Below Deck," a show about the lives of the crew aboard "Honor," a 164-foot mega yacht chartered by the rich, and so far, the not-so-famous.

Think Animal Planet's "Whale Wars" with more caviar and champagne and fewer annoying environmentalists and Japanese whalers.

I didn't expect to like the show, but the minute I saw the crew's first charter clients, a group of stylists, led by the fashion photographer Johnny Eyelash who stepped onto the dock in St. Martin in a dirty, presumably once-white bathrobe, I knew I was hooked.

It only got better as the aforementioned Mr. Eyelash and his party proceeded to get rip-roaring drunk before going ... well, below deck for a few moments to, the show's editors would have you believe, snort cocaine.

One of the yacht's stewards, an emotionally unstable blonde named Kat, found a rolled-up dollar bill, cocaine residue and a small bag of cocaine and informs Lee, the yacht's no-nonsense, law-and-order captain, who returns to St. Martin and kicks Mr. Eyelash and his band of merry men off the ship.

And that's just the first episode.

Granted, it doesn't get much more interesting than that, but the show is still worth a watch for any sailing or boating enthusiasts or for anyone who just wants to see rich people behaving poorly.

Because there is a lot of that.

"Below Deck" airs at 10 p.m. Monday on Bravo.


Below Deck

For more columns by Patrick Donohue

BBC's 'Top of the Lake' proof that there's good television out there

"'Signing Their Lives Away' an interesting and irreverent look at the men who signed the Declaration of Independence"

"MTV's 'The Challenge: Rivals II' is just stupid fun ... and there's no shame in that"

"Who does it better in the battle for mobile video-sharing dominance, Vine or Instagram?"

"Spotify Sessions gives rare insight into minds, work of up-and-coming musicians"

"A visit to Monticello offers insight into one of America's great problem solvers"

"Tiny Heart's Wake app for iPhone makes for a better start to the day"

"Five new albums worth your time (and money)"

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