Liz Farrell

‘RelationShep’ recap: Shep tries to build an all-female army to fend off zombie date

Shep Rose in “RelationShep” on Bravo TV.
Shep Rose in “RelationShep” on Bravo TV. Bravo

Oh lord, that Summer plot-twist …

I’m obsessed with it.

He thought she was gone but she’s back!

How did that come about even? Was it all Summer’s idea?

Did she, on the morning after she was rejected, lace on that Kim Zolciak wig she seems to be wearing, stand in front of the bathroom mirror, point her finger right in the teary face of her reflection and bravely say, “Don’t be tardy for the party, Summer”?

Or did she come to the conclusion that “RelationShep” would be vastly improved by a surprise visit when her French bulldog — sensing the need for a morale boost — dropped a copy of “The Alchemist” at her feet, left the room and returned again with the golf ball from her date with Shep, then led her to the vision board she had created last January (featuring her headshot, a picture of the now-discontinued line of Victoria’s Secret’s jeans with “RIP” written over it and the Bravo logo surrounded by hearts), before letting out several human-like whines that Summer took to mean “Your hopes and dreams tho!”?

So many questions!

Actually, here’s how I think it really went down: The producers (not Sarah) were like “Zzzzzz” when they realized that Shep had somehow chosen five women with the combined on-screen personality of the L.L. Bean Turtleneck Dress Collection.

So they huddled together (not with Sarah) and were like “What do we do about this?!?” and then one of them was like “I know! Call that woman Summer who he said wasn’t good enough for his Old South Classy Class Family. We’ll surprise Shep and he’ll be like ‘I’ll try to Eliza Doolittle her, I guess’ and the roommates will be all ‘OH NO!’ and Summer’ll be like ‘Y’all, what’s that thing you look up what words mean in?’ NO ONE TELL SARAH ABOUT THIS.”

Then, when Summer and her dog (what? why?) got there and were like “Heyyyyyy. Hopes and dreams, y’allllll!,” Shep was horrified by the thought that his show would now include the low-rent plot device of “surprise the protagonist with something ridiculous!” so he was like “Yeah, I’m not doing this. Sarah, make this stop.”

How horrible was that moment when Sarah had to tell a very hopeful-looking Summer — seriously, she had the facial expression of the kind of woman who thinks things like “And for my wedding entrance, I’ll ride up to the church in an actual Cinderella carriage and everyone will think I’m so beautiful and will stare at me like I’m a famous princess and I’ll get a photo of myself blown up on a stretched canvas … ” — that she couldn’t stay?

It was so embarrassing and she seemed so deflated and annoyed. I had to look away from the TV. And when I saw she had brought her dog with her I was like “Oh boy. She’s going to have to stay at a La Quinta.”

But then, get this, I TOTALLY FORGOT ABOUT HER! When Shep was like “I saw Summer” later in the episode I was like “Who? Huh?” And then I got really excited because it was about to go down … but then it didn’t.

It fizzled.

We got like three seconds of “I can’t do this. You’re not like my people” “Really?” “Yeah.”

And it was over.

I feel like we need a Summer spin-off to give us more insight into what this was all about. It can be just one episode. Titled “No Really, We Don’t Understand Why You Did This.”

Here’s the other stuff worth talking about from Monday night:

— I think this show is giving us some amazing insight into how guys like Shep get away with being guys like Shep. One, when faced with the stress of Summer’s arrival, he immediately ducked under his towel and then turned the five women auditioning for his love into his own personal army. He was like “SHE INVITED HERSELF!” and they were like “WHAAAAT! HOW DARE SHE?” and were all charged up and ready to run outside and wicked step-sister the gown right off her (or the off-the-shoulders shirt, whatever). (Btw, you know the editors loved that Kylie/Bella — I forget which one is which sometimes –— was like “Why would she waste her time?” because it gave them the perfect opportunity to splice in the very reasonable reasons Summer would waste her time, mainly Shep’s tongue, Shep’s texts, Shep’s giving her all the signs that they had connected except womp womp, Summer, no Hilton Head homecoming for you because your blood is regular old red.) Two, Arden bowed out, making it very easy for Shep and saving him the very difficult task of having to send her to the Oompa Loompas because of course it would work out so neatly for this man ...

Sidenote: Did Sarah the Producer refer to him as “Shepard”? I think she might have … shame shame, you love his name and also him, girl.

— OK. Imagine getting beyond drunk and giving the man you’re interested in a righteous talk about him being a disappointingly predictable and basic old perv and then, after you’ve made your final excellent point, having to storm off in a thong-ish bottomed bikini? I like Peyton. Not for Shep, necessarily, but definitely for the show. She’s just like “Grrrrrrr. Out of my way. I’m hungry for finger-foods and your soul!”

Sidenote: Shep is the only person in the history of the world who has used the word “impugn” at a drunken pool party, right?

— Kylie keeps overhearing Peyton insult her, but it’s OK, she has the “lessons of pageantry” in her pocket so she knows how to handle this. Smile with a thousand-yard stare. Wave as you walk. Cry tears of happiness with both hands on your mouth. Dance in heels while holding an inflatable beach ball. Did she do any of those things? I had to get a snack right at that moment.

— Oooooh, Arden. I thought for sure she was going to scream “I volunteer as Tribute” when Shep was assembling his Summer Army just so she could get the heck out of there faster. Thank you, girl, for putting your hobby of “quietly sitting” on hold for this show … we’re going to miss how you were sort of there. Seriously, though. How painful do you think this experience was for her? She had to literally numb herself with alcohol to cope at that pool party. Every word that slid out of her mouth when she was breaking up with Shep rhymed with “Mbluwsh.” Also, she seemed to be short-circuiting. He asked her a simple question about the Peyton situation and she answered it as if she had just been asked to help a special needs adult in the bathroom and she didn’t want to say no because that would reveal so much about who she is as a person, so instead of “Yes” she says “I … uh … well … I think. .......... Just take it with a grain of salt?”

Most accurate quote of the night (from Arden): “If Shep’s into younger girls then he’s allowed to be into younger girls.” I mean, sure. If you speak you have spoken, right? What are we doing here?

— Referring back to my “why guys like Shep get away with being guys like Shep” statement from before, wasn’t that such NOT A SURPRISE when Cameran told Shep that Arden seemed a little too straight and narrow for him and Shep made it seem like he was TOTALLY on top of the matter and had TOTALLY talked to Arden, who is now TOTALLY leaving as, one would assume, a result of that talk he had? OK. Technically he didn’t lie. But … girl, Arden took care of that business, not you. I swear Shep’s mom sends him some of her old skirts in the mail so he can have something to hide behind.

Inadvertent slam of the night (from Arden as she explained why she was leaving and how she differed from the others): “These girls have an interest in Shep,” which I think was her way of saying “Call me when there’s a show called ‘My Puzzle and My Cocoa of the Month Club,’ Bravo.”

Incorrect assumption of the night (from Bella on Peyton’s penance lunch with Shep): “She’s not coming back.” She is, lady. She is. “Grrrrrrrr. Food! Souls!”

Shep Lesson of the Week: Oh! Did you know that “public confrontation is for rednecks”? Yes. It is. Only whitenecks can get drunk and stupid on reality TV. Keep it straight, people.

Sidenote: When Shep gets his hair done, does he show the hairdresser a picture of season two Eleven from “Stranger Things” or a picture of first season Laverne from “Laverne & Shirley”?

— If an artist painted Kylie’s one-on-one date with Shep, she would title that masterpiece “Middle-Age Man Discovers He Loves Virgins.” I’m not saying Kylie has never done it, just that Shep was practically salivating at her doe-eyed “I’m just a girl who hasn’t seen a beach” persona. His comments, “She’s a little green” and “I kind of want to show her the world” and “Have you ever gotten in trouble ever?,” were all code for “WOOFITY WOOF! UNTOUCHED TERRITORY! TIME FOR ME TO PEE HERE.”

Record scratch of the night: When Kylie told Shep about her Miss USA dreams. His face was like “OK. No.”

First thought when I saw Bella’s one-on-one date outfit: Someone went to David’s Bridal.

Second thought when I saw Bella’s one-on-one date outfit: Ugh. She looks great in it.

Foreshadowing of the night: Bella has a job! I wonder why she’s telling us about it ...

“His relationship problem is this” quote of the night (Shep to Bella): “When I think about you, there’s zero negativity.”

— OK. So. Bella and Shep have chemistry, and now I think I know what that scene of Shep bringing flowers to what appears to be NYC is all about in the preview … SHOW OVER! HE PICKS BELLA!

— Which is why her announcement that she “has to go to NYC” all of a sudden is like yeah, OK. The producers were probably like “Every good romance has a ‘they can’t be together’ moment! Let’s orchestrate this! Don’t tell Sarah!”

— I love that the rest of the women are discussing all the ways they’re going to sexually attack Shep while he’s in the middle of falling in love with Bella and kissing her from a safe camera distance.

— NOOOOO. Why is Landon in this episode?

— Oh. OK, Landon. “Let’s sit here and judge everyone”? So it’s all right for her to do that to actual people in real life but not OK for recappers watching a dopey TV show to do that to her, a person who chose to expose her life on-screen for entertainment purposes? Mmmm.

Sidenote: Poor Peyton looks like an ostrich at a prairie dog convention every time she’s with the other girls in the house. When they walked up to Liz’s surprise party together it was like “Sex and the City: Duck, Duck, Goose.”

Feminist moment of the night: “You guys are vying for his affection.” “No. He’s vying for ours.”

— OK. My favorite part of this whole episode … MY FAVORITE PART. Priscila. Bow down, Landon. Bow the blah blah down. “If you don’t love him or think you would marry him, why would you come all this way?” Oh my God. Give me a break. I love how Landon tried to make this an exercise in comparative virtue, like “Commandment: Only travel for people you could fall in love with … like I do.” In the words of Priscila, “How’s that worked out for you, though?” I’ve never seen Landon’s expression of confused instability materialize so quickly. For a brief second, she looked like a cat that decided to go as Charles Manson for Halloween. Like “Waaaaaah? I’m going to meow you UP for the meow-meow revolution that’s coming.”


— Oh no! Bella has an administrative assistant work emergency at the job she was talking about earlier (her boss was like “Get on a plane and bring Starbucks to me now, Emily!”). She needs to leave RIGHT AWAY but is scared to tell Shep and she doesn’t even want to go because she’s starting to fall for him (awwwwwww) and he’s starting to fall for her especially after noticing she doesn’t need him for anything at this party. I can’t believe this is happening! How unfortunate! What bad timing! ...

Sarah’s imagined reaction to this “plot twist”: “Two down. Three to go. (Sarah remembers Summer. The camera pans out, and she exchanges a meaningful look with Cameran who has been sitting next to her this whole time.) THREE down. Three to go.”

For recaps from previous episodes of “RelationShep,” click here.

Liz Farrell: 843-706-8140, @elizfarrell