Bravo’s reality programming has never been built on the premise that its Bravolebrities work.
Sure they have jobs.
Vicki on “Real Housewives of Orange County” is always on about her insurance agency and “leads.”
And Phaedra of the Atlanta franchise reminds us in every other interview that she’s a lawyer.
And “Million Dollar Listing,” “Below Deck” and “Vanderpump Rules” are actual shows about actual people at actual workplaces … but let’s face it, they’re not really working. Work is just the backdrop that unites those casts, and their hustle is the thing that keeps them interesting and relatable (even as the seasons tick by and the previously destitute “Vanderpump” cast is clearly now flush enough to trade in their Honda Civics for BMWs and upgrade their couches — but they still “need shifts” at Sur? No. I don’t think so).
“Southern Charm” is a little different: Most of their cast members don’t appear to need to work. Yet two have storylines based almost entirely on their inability to work.
And it’s kind of stressful.
What do I care if Craig Conover never makes it as a lawyer? Or if Landon Clements never figures out that people don’t just hand you stacks of money when you say things like “online travel magazine”?
But, oh my gosh, I do!
On Monday night’s episode, I was sweating when Hashtag Old Craig returned with a vengeance and couldn’t shake his “L.A. flu” enough to get out of bed and help his boss launch the debut of Gentry Bourbon at the Carolina Cup.
YOU’RE GOING TO LOSE YOUR JOB, YOU FANCY PREPPY!
And when we were treated to shots of Landon half-heartedly making lame candles and taking pictures at the beach so she could do “little um write-ups?” (I’m mocking her way of talking … little, um, write-ups?) for her online magazine pitch, I was burying my head in my hands.
THAT’S NOT GOING TO BE ENOUGH, YOU SAD YET SMILEY PERSON.
Never have I been so on edge about other people’s lack of ambition and professional misfires.
But hey, Bravo isn’t exactly known for its fat paychecks when it comes to second-tiered shows. (I’m not busting on “Southern Charm.” It is what it is. But Andy Cohen still can’t be bothered to come to Charleston for the cast’s reunion show.)
This is all to say, I know the show isn’t going to be enough to keep Craig in fuchsia pants and Landon in … no pants at all.
What is with her not wearing pants? Last week it was no pants in North Carolina. And I felt bad for judging her. Maybe that shirt was a full outfit. I don’t know.
But last night she literally said the words “I wish I had put pants on” when she showed up to the Carolina Cup in a cocktail dress.
She had to wrap a blanket around her waist to warm up. Which … what kind of online magazine mogul wannabe doesn’t consult Weather.com before attending an outdoor event?
Heck, what kind of regular person doesn’t? Or maybe even just, open your door a little to check the air temp, Landon.
Anyway, Monday’s episode was a little too chock full of Old Craig’s resurgence and his boss J.D. (who is the Colonel Sanders of bourbon, IMO), and not enough Tender T-Rav and Aw Shucks Shep, both new characters on the show.
Here are some thoughts:
— Who threw up by the blue outdoor chair at Whitney Sudler-Smith’s L.A. home? First of all, his house, while stylish and enviable, looks a little Patrick Bateman-y with its pristine bare white surfaces. I was seriously scanning the walls for the tape marks from plastic drop cloths. At any rate, why didn’t we get to learn who ate that meatball? Or did I miss that?
— L.A. Shep Rose appears to have no game. This is where the episode turned very “The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones.” In the words of Whitney, Shep’s Gomer Pyle act isn’t going to work in Hollywood. But I didn’t even realize Shep’s act was Gomer Pyle-esque until he left town. He was so out of context in L.A. that he almost looked like he had time-traveled. “We're from the South, but we’re not provincial,” he says … at a Bottles and Models party in Los Angeles! Can you imagine the response? “Oh. You’re not provincial? Great. I was worried. Now we can talk about having sex tonight.” Seriously, he looked the way Today show window-screamers do when they’re brought into the studio for makeovers, all rumpled and outdated and wind-swept and a overwhelmed by the flashiness in front of them.
— LANDON LOVES SHEP. I mean, we already knew this. How could we not after that horrid roller skating party she threw for him? (By the way, I’ve fully decided that the “Southern Charm” cast needs to get with the “Vanderpump Rules” cast. Scheana Shay’s decades party looked way more fun and natural and less “We need to do SOMETHING for the camera so why not this?”) Landon’s observation Monday night, “Everything that was missing from my marriage I have with Shep,” could not be more misguided. That’s like saying “That fun guy is fun.” Duh. The ability to hang out and laugh with a guy who is who he is because he’s untethered does not a relationship make. Anyway, I can’t wait to find out if those previews they show of Shep’s reaction to Landon’s confession of love are actually to her confessing or are in response to something completely unrelated. Pesky Bravo. I know your tricks. Either way, his expression is perfect. It says “I just found out I’ve been married to my biological sister.”
— Thomas Ravenel’s daughter actually loves him. I know, I know. This is mean. But it’s true. I was so shocked to see how much his toddler daughter gravitated toward him. I did not take him to be a kids guy. Oh, and I’ve come to a conclusion on Kathryn Dennis. OK. Craig thinks Whitney is in love with Kathryn and that this is why he doesn’t like her. But I don’t think that’s it. Whitney truly believes Kathryn manipulated her way onto the show by getting pregnant. And I disagree with that too … sort of. Kathryn was all Little Mermaid-y and crazy lashes in Season 1 so yeah, OK, she was trying to get on the show whether it meant sleeping with Whitney or Shep or T-Rav, which she did. Whatever it took. She had the look of reality show desperation in her eyes back then. But now she’s no makeup, which means no eyebrows, and at-home hair. She’s not even trying for the cameras. She’s just living life. Which maybe makes her the most authentic one on the show next to Shep.
— Shep checks his voicemail! Yet more proof that even though Shep might come off as some Class A “Peter Pan Syndrome” slacker, he isn’t. He’s business in the back, party in the front. I truly felt Col. Sanders’, I mean J.D.’s, rage when he reached Craig’s full voicemail.
— I don’t want to discuss Craig any more. I really don’t. Or Landon. So stressful. But Craig had the line of the night after his apology to Whitney for accusing him of loving Kathryn: “If we were girls, we’d never be friends again. And we’d be talking (swear word for poop) about each other on Twitter.” Mmmm. Maybe. But I’d argue that girls would never get that weird and angry about being accused of liking someone. I mean, honestly. Whitney was a baby about that whole thing.
— Kathryn can’t do math: “Ravenel Party of Four,” she says on the way to the hospital to deliver their son. Mmm. I think you mean three, sweetie. You are not a Ravenel.