The presence of Austen on “Southern Charm” is continuing to cause me great confusion.
Every time he walks into a shot, my eyes are all, “Why is Craig’s cat-bestie taking a nap on top of Shep’s head?”
And then my brain is like, “Mmmm. That’s Austen. Literally, can’t explain that hair to you.”
I’ve thought a lot about this guy tonight, and I have really, really tried to sort this out.
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First, did he audition for this show? If so, how were the casting agents not like “Isn’t this guy already on ‘Southern Charm’?” How were they not like “Wow. Shep looks so different when he uses a facecloth”?
I mean, honestly, is Austen even a real person?
That’s a question I just cannot answer, no matter which way I come at it.
It’s as if we all woke up in Shep Rose’s existential nightmare, and Austen is some Fyodor Dostoyevsky-created doppelganger here to illustrate Shep’s search for identity as he approaches 40.
Or maybe Austen is simply the action figure version of Shep — plastic and deadened and only vaguely interpreted in a Guanzhong factory until one night he comes to life and hops the midnight express to Charleston to finally meet his life-giver.
Oh. By the way. I swear I almost react-vomited when Austen went into his closet to grab a blue gingham shirt WHILE HE WAS WEARING A BLUE GINGHAM SHIRT.
That was some malevolent life-force stuff right there.
I nearly called the FBI to warn them, “My God. They’ve landed! They’ve landed! They’re here!”
Because what man — what HUMAN man — has EVER re-ginghamed in front of you before? I had never even seen a re-ginghaming before tonight. I had never even imagined a world in which there is re-ginghaming. Single ginghaming, sure. Obviously. Solid to gingham. Gingham to solid. NORMAL STUFF. But this is alien territory. This is clearly the action of a martian pretending to be a Southern man.
Or the action of the first child to ever be born to a picnic blanket after its one-night stand with Mr. Rogers.
And we all knew that was kind of bizarre, but we kept it to ourselves and pretended it was all very gentle and quaint.
So this is Christmas. This is exactly what happens when we don’t say something after we’ve seen something.
We all bear responsibility for Austen landing on this earth.
Kudos to Chelsea, though, for taking two for the team.
Kissing Austen might be a less wet experience than kissing Shep, but you should know that E.T. is going to want to phone home real soon, girlfriend. That bike you rode to the bar on better have a basket in front for Austen and his sleeping cat hair to sit in.
Other impressions from tonight’s show:
— Did I miss the part in which Thomas and Whitney acknowledged that they, too, were wearing blue gingham shirts to Shep’s party? Because if they said nothing about this coincidence, which I totally get happens hourly in Charleston, it means that Thomas and Whitney are also aliens and here to re-gingham the planet with their intergalactic blank-face buddy Austen. And you thought they were here to give everyone vampire bites and love children ... pshhhh.
— Thomas’ lack of shoelaces. Total hold-over from them prison-yard days, am I right T-Rav? Once a felon always a rich and privileged smirk-face who plays polo and says “I can’t entertain everyone” when his toddler wants a kiss from her father.
— OK. Fine. Ugh. We’ll talk about Landon. I want to say some nice things first, though, just to, you know, clear my throat. ………………. nice things, nice things, nice things ……….. Hmmmmmm …. OH! I know! She spelled Shep Rose’s name correctly in her phone, something she did not do for her spirit animal, Craig Conover. OK. Well, that’s done. Molly, bar the door, because here I freaking go: Workwise, career-wise you’ve always “crushed it,” Landon??? When? On that one episode of “The Hills” when you were “Brent’s other assistant” with Heidi Montag? Or during the past two years when you were building a storyline in which you are the lost and aimless divorcee/prodigal daughter who isn’t quite sure who she is professionally. Your sister literally got emotional on TV while teaching you about how people have jobs. But somewhere in there, you’ve crushed it. Or … oh dear. You were talking about your blog, weren’t you? I give up. Fine. You crushed it. Great blog. I especially like how you didn’t prepare at all for its debut on Bravo. Crushing it! How you had a million bucks in free advertising at your disposal and yet were like “Should I redirect from the first blog I created? No. Should I update my Facebook page and unpin the old site? Nah. Should I spell the name of my new site correctly? Why would I?” CRUSHED IT. Wait. Was she being facetious? Maybe she was being facetious. Maybe she’s way more ironic and hilarious than I give her credit for being. Who knows. I’m so tired. But look, it’s not just me:
— We have to talk about O.C., though. When Thomas told Landon she’s “O.C.” who thought he meant Old Cougar? Or Oppressively Clueless? Or Obviously Crazy? We were all wrong, I guess. “Our Class.” Which, judging from Thomas’ and Landon’s weathered appearances, is the Class of ’54. Ohhhhh. Snap. Thomas meant social class. Oh my God how fancy. And then Landon toasted to it all as if she were holding a menthols’ snap-purse in one hand and her Spencer’s gift shop key chain collection in the other. Woooo-hooooo, OUR CLASS! We’re so classy! Horses! Real Estate! Architecture! Huguenots! Bridges! Why else do we both squint so much and look like ruddy twins!
— Hilton Head Island shout-out! Thanks, Chelsea! We’re here! We see you! Thank you for watching our St. Bernard for us!
— Awkward moment of the evening: When Shep expressed his desire for a threesome right when we viewers were still absorbing his in-progress love triangle. Gee, may we suggest something in an Austen and Chelsea, Shep? They’re right there. You and Austen can play the mime-mirror game with each other while Chelsea watches and tries to guess who’s who or maybe you boys can perform an impromptu Milli Vanilli-style dance-off for her. RIP Rob Pilatus. I hate when my mind goes to these places. Now all I want in this entire re-ginghaming world is to see Shep and Austen sing “Girl You Know It’s True” together. It’s all I want. I’m not even kidding.
— Actually, no. I want more Kathryn on the show. What’s this splice-job they’re doing? We get one tattle-tale dinner with Craig Conover? So he can share his intel on how Thomas didn’t kiss their daughter that one time even though that was totally messed up and shame on you, Thomas? Btw, Craig’s Kensie impression? Acting gold. I don’t know where he ends and where Kensie begins, quite honestly.
— Speaking of babies. When Whitney held St. Julien Rembert Ravenel the $10,000 boy-child, I felt my biological clock start ticking like the countdown on an airplane bomb. How could it not? He’s so freaking adorable. I looked at that 48-year-old mama’s boy bachelor holding a baby and thought, “I can do this. I am finally ready. I can give birth to a 48-year-old mama’s boy bachelor. It might hurt. I might need some stitches afterward. I might end up on the cover of the National Enquirer. But if not now then when? It’s a boy! Or a man! It’s a man!”
— P.S. New theory: Cameran wants Shep to be her second husband. Who needs handsome doctors that save lives and provide for you when you can have a mailbox-money leg-shaker who gets oddly wild-eyed and competitive at random moments? I mean this sincerely. I believe all of this on a cellular level. They were Jack and Rose incarnate on this episode. Cameran is king of the world and Shep’s posing on a couch wearing nothing but his appropriately hairy dad bod and the Heart of the Ocean around his neck … it doesn’t get more beautiful than that. For behind-the-scenes shots of his birthday party, courtesy of YotMe, the social-networking app Shep has invested in, click here.
If you’re still catching up with season four, why did you start with episode four? Just kidding, I’m offering help. Right here.