Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Confessions of a Southern Charm Newbie: We can all just get along

Season 4, Episode 9

Posted by Dustin Waters on Tue, May 30, 2017 at 2:25 PM

click to enlarge Nothing says relaxation like sitting in a nursery - BRAVO SCREENSHOT
  • Bravo Screenshot
  • Nothing says relaxation like sitting in a nursery

Hey everybody. Hope you all had a fun long weekend. There really is nothing like having an extra day to sober up after church, but now it’s back to the grind so let’s get right into this week’s episode.

Now, there is a lot you can do with the opening of a TV episode. You can establish the stakes of the show or highlight what will set the plot in motion. This is the discovery of Laura Palmer’s body wrapped in plastic in the original run of Twin Peaks or the glance north of the wall in Game of Thrones. You can encapsulate the circumstances of your main character like Walter White’s Winnebago crash in Breaking Bad or the Twilight Zone’s peek at an astronaut’s complete isolation in the series pilot. Or, like this week’s episode of Southern Charm, you can just go pick out lamps with two of your main characters.

Turns out, Cameran is hoping to fix up a spare room in her home and turn it into a bit of a sanctuary for herself. There’s nothing wrong with this. We all deserve a place where we can go to escape the stresses of everyday life. What is a little bit concerning is her husband’s suggestion that this “Zen Room” as Cameran calls it also doubles as a nursery or room for a child. Appearing on the show only as a disembodied voice — like some modern-day Charlie addressing his Angels — Cameran’s husband takes the idea of her carving out a piece of their home for herself and recommends that she also put a baby in there. Cameran’s husband seems like the type of guy who would have a lot of opinions about maternity leave and refer to Lamaze classes as “pregnant yoga.”

Anyway, Cameran announces that she is going to Home Goods to create her escape room. Chelsea will be joining her. What follows is a five-minute commercial for Home Goods, where their motto is “Home Goods: If it didn’t fit on the truck to another store, it’s Home Good enough for you.”

Leaving behind the unapologetic product placement, we find Craig in his home office as he receives a letter from the dean saying that he completed his work for law school. To celebrate, he prints out a copy of the email to hang on the fridge and gives his cat a treat. Craig also calls up his parents to tell them the good news. Since this is TV, his parents forego the usual method of communication wherein your mother takes the phone call and loudly interrupts you to relay every other statement to your disinterested father in the next room.

click to enlarge Unfortunately, Craig’s parents are trapped in the Negative Zone - BRAVO SCREENSHOT
  • Bravo Screenshot
  • Unfortunately, Craig’s parents are trapped in the Negative Zone

To celebrate completing law school, Craig invites Naomie out to dinner. Upon hearing the good news, Naomie reminds Craig that it feels good to do what you are supposed to do. This meal is not going as planned for Craig, who covertly waives off the line of waiters he had enlisted to sing “I Fought the Law.”

Over at Shep’s house, we are treated to a few brief shots of empty beer cans lying around to remind us that he is no longer living the sober life. Shep gives Cameran a call to apologize for shouting in front of the fortune teller in last week’s episode. In all honesty, she should have seen it coming. Anyway, Shep invites Cameran to the big lunch he’s planning for Kathryn. Cameran is reluctant to accept Kathryn back into her life. Meanwhile, Shep looks across the room at the weird penis doll that Cameran bought him from the voodoo man. The love doll is sitting upright and watching Shep as he makes his phone calls. Shep hasn’t slept in days, afraid at what the doll will do when he isn’t watching.

“You must be tired,” the doll says. Shep has tried to throw the doll away repeatedly, but each time it just reappears on his couch. Reconciling himself to his fate, Shep sits quietly across the room, dry-clicking his revolver at the doll, and longing for sweet release.

Over at Thomas’ house, we find him telling his nanny about his big date with Landon that evening. Thomas also says that his son took a “power nap” earlier in the day, which are really just regular naps when you are an infant.

Meanwhile, Landon is preparing for the date when she receives a call from her sister. Landon explains that if she did agree to pursue a relationship with Thomas, the wedding would happen pretty quickly and she would have “all the horses she ever wanted” because middle school dreams do come true.

We skip ahead to dinner to find Thomas ordering wine. He casually says he ordered the most expensive bottle because he is very cool. Thomas’ Uber rating is so low, he can’t even ride in an ambulance. Thomas is to capitalism what Jared Fogle is to fast-food spokesmen.

click to enlarge ‘I just want to make sure everyone heard that. Most expensive. Money.’ - BRAVO SCREENSHOT
  • Bravo Screenshot
  • ‘I just want to make sure everyone heard that. Most expensive. Money.’

After making sure everyone in the restaurant knows which bottle of wine he bought, Thomas then listens to Landon explain that Patricia declared him to be an adequate suitor.

Succumbing to the power of suggestion like a hypnotized chicken, Landon invited Thomas out to dinner, but she is reluctant to pursue a serious relationship with Thomas, no matter how many horses she could get. Landon ultimately decides that if Thomas were 20 years younger, had no kids, and no past relationships that could cause any friction, they would be perfect together. He would also be an entirely different person.

Landon says she is too concerned with what other people think. Luckily, she is speaking to the patron saint of DGAF, Thomas Ravenel. Very casually, Thomas explains that there are things about him that some people could criticize: Having kids out of wedlock (not so much), the felony (Bingo), but he just lets it all wash down his back like a shameless duck in the rain. Then things get interesting.

A crazy woman sitting at the next table interrupts Thomas and Landon’s dinner to explain that they are meant for each other. She has been married for over 30 years and listening to these two for about 20 minutes, and she knows they are meant to be together. It is, of course, best practice to take relationship advice from the loudest person in the restaurant. This woman seems like the type of person who’s been thrown out of a Chili’s. Every email from this woman begins “FW:FW:FW:FW: Obama Lizard Person” and ends with “Forward this prayer chain to everyone in your address book and all your dreams will come true.” This woman’s bucket list just says Panama City over and over again. Bravo has already signed this woman to a three-season deal for a show called “Dinner Date Ambush” where she accosts hungry people before their appetizers arrive and offers terrible advice.

click to enlarge ‘Put me in your TV show. I’ll wait.’ - BRAVO SCREENSHOT
  • Bravo Screenshot
  • ‘Put me in your TV show. I’ll wait.’

Skipping ahead to the big lunch with Shep, Kathryn, Craig, and Cameran, we find that Cameran is nervous about the reunion and has invited Whitney to tag along. Whitney is, of course, dressed like Marlon Brando from The Wild One.

For all the hell we give Whitney, he does offer to get the door for Cameran as she enters the restaurant, which is great to see. Anyway, Cameran and Whitney meet up with the rest of the crew at lunch, and the show acts like Kathryn is about to go off the rails because of Whitney’s unannounced visit. Things are quickly smoothed over, and we are treated to a rarity in reality TV — an actual pleasant conversation. Everyone is just catching up and this is probably the most human this show has ever been. Cameran announces that Whitney is in a serious relationship. Kathryn jokes “With what?” Craig announces that he graduated law school. It’s actually a nice scene of a group of people catching up, and it was nice to watch.

We then find Austen and Craig at the golf course. This seems like a casual event until they decide to bet $20 a hole, which seems pretty intense. I don’t think any of my friendships could survive me owing the other person $360 from a day of golf, and I have actually had my friend report my death to the Tybee Island police. Needless to say, it took some convincing, but eventually I tricked the authorities into believing I was a ghost and they let us go with a warning.

Jumping over to Chelsea’s salon, we find Shep showing up without an appointment, but he gets a haircut anyway. Chelsea says that she just recently cut Shep’s hair, but he acts like he was caught by surprise at its growth. Shep is lucky that Chelsea cuts hair, so he can easily work up an excuse to visit her and talk. Things would be a bit more complicated if she were a proctologist, but at least we’d know he really cared.

Also, these haircut conversations between Shep and Chelsea more and more take on the tone from those dramatic scenes in shows where someone is shaving a mob boss’s throat with a straight razor. You keep waiting for the double cross and then it comes. After discussing the casual nature of her relationship with Austen, Shep invites Chelsea out for wine. This does not bode well.

Jumping over to Thomas’ house, we find him and the nanny planning his son’s first birthday party. Thomas calls his father to invite him to the festivities. Arthur Ravenel explains that he is going to the dentists at 2:30 p.m., which is the same time that you go see the dentists when you live inside a bad joke. Arthur says he may not make it to his grandson’s birthday, and Thomas quietly resigns himself to this fate.

click to enlarge ‘But I have these paintbrushes. Surely, the lawyers will understand.’ - BRAVO SCREENSHOT
  • Bravo Screenshot
  • ‘But I have these paintbrushes. Surely, the lawyers will understand.’

Later in the episode, Landon meets up with her boyfriend-type person Drew. She quickly goes through all the emotions, from crying and saying she just wants a man who will walk her dog with her, to comparing herself to an old hen whose eggs are all dried up. Landon then perfectly describes Southern misery — “Look at me. I’m crying into a chicken wing.”

The major revelation from this meal is that Landon’s website, “ROAM,” can’t be called ROAM anymore. It turns out the name is already taken, and Landon didn’t consider that another business may exist with the name ROAM. This is amazing. Why is the entire show not scenes of Landon calling the other companies named ROAM and asking that they “Just be cool” and give her the trademark?

Closing out this week’s episode, we find Kathryn meeting up with Liz for lunch. Kathryn says it’s her son’s birthday, but she can’t be with him due to custody restrictions. This is sad. Kathryn and Liz then sadly eat a massive chunk of birthday cake as Kathryn reads a letter from Thomas. Through their correspondence, the two have agreed to focus on their children. Kathryn gets invited to her son’s birthday party, which may or may not feature Arthur Ravenel depending on how things go at the dentist. A true cliffhanger if there ever was one.


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