Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Southern Charm Newbie, RelationShep Edition: Bringing it All Back Home

S1E3

Posted by Dustin Waters on Tue, Dec 19, 2017 at 2:09 PM

click to enlarge A reasonable response - BRAVO SCREENSHOT
  • Bravo Screenshot
  • A reasonable response

Here's a questions: How many of you have actually been on a blind date? I must say that I have not. But I can say that I recently spotted what I thought to be a stray cat sitting waist-deep in snow in the alley behind my apartment. As I leaned down and carefully attempted to call the animal over, it scurried away. It was at that moment that I realized it wasn't a cat. It was a opossum.

So after this experience I believe I have a pretty good understanding of what blind dates are like. You meet a stranger in a dimly lit location. Soon you realize that they are a near-sighted garbage animal. And when they run off, you're left thinking "We could probably make it work. Don't be too picky."

Now onto this week's episode of RelationShep.

We find Shep back in Charleston – and fantastically, he's wearing a shirt with his name on it. I was always warned as a child that this is a good way to get kidnapped. According to the explanation that I received as a youth, it allows a stranger to walk up and say, "Are you Dustin? Yeah, your parents sent me to get you. They've been in an accident. Come with me."

click to enlarge Is this the van I’m supposed to step in? - BRAVO SCREENSHOT
  • Bravo Screenshot
  • Is this the van I’m supposed to step in?

Of course, kidnappings were treated as much more routine in the '90s. Tommy Pickles was kidnapped at least once in the first season of Rugrats. Looking back at the synopsis of that episode, the kidnappers believed he was the child of "millionaire Ronald Thump" and were hoping to earn a sizable ransom. Tommy escaped unharmed, meanwhile, years later, I find myself to be the only nine-year-old boy at a young women's self-defense class that my mother decided to drop me off at. This could explain my distrust of men and reluctance to go on blind dates.

Anyway, maybe Shep will get kidnapped and the show will transform into a sort of Taken scenario where his female suitors turn into the Fox Force Five and track down his captors. This is the premise we'll be running with for the next little bit.

Meeting up with Cameran, Shep briefly describes the women who are en route to Charleston and they order an obscene amount of food.

Back at the beach house, Bella is the first to arrive. If you'll remember, Shep and Bella first met in a medieval escape room in New York. Since all relationships slowly come to resemble an endless series of puzzles hidden under a superficial veil of romanticism, I can't think of a better way to begin dating.

Bella immediately heads for the pool, while Kylie, the young equestrian from Texas, arrives. Priscila, the agitated New Yorker follows soon after. Going back to our previous scenario where all of these women form some elite crime fighting unit, Priscila falls squarely into the mold of Raphael from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I mean this as a compliment.

Eventually, Peyton rolls up to the beach house. For those of you who can't remember, Peyton is a tall dog groomer/actress that Shep met in California. Meeting the other women, Peyton jokes that she is the "giant in the house" and the only blonde.

click to enlarge I wasn’t lying - BRAVO SCREENSHOT
  • Bravo Screenshot
  • I wasn’t lying

As a shorter man, it's always been interesting to see the difference between the sexes when it comes to height. Tall men tend to pick other people up as they smash their empty flagons of mead on the floor, while tall women have second thoughts about wearing heels so that they don't embarrass their prom dates. Flash forward a few years and all the short guys who felt intimidated by tall women are struggling to change light bulbs in their apartment. All I'm saying is, Wonder Woman should be taller than Superman. She's a damn Amazon, and anytime that's not the case is a lie.

Anyway, the four ladies gathered at the beach house proceed to drink and ask if anyone has kissed Shep. Kylie reveals that she and Shep kissed back in Texas. Apparently, she's the only one to have kissed Shep, which is sure to become a point of contention.

Finally Shep arrives, bringing with him a bucket of beachwear. Being a sound human being not socialized by a computer program, Shep acknowledges how weird this all is – there being four women cohabitating while vying for his affections.

But, wait. There are five pairs of flip flops in Shep's bucket. Which means ... there's another woman on the way.

In a brief explanation, Shep says there is a fifth and final woman set to arrive at the beach house. It's his unfinished date from New York, when he was pulled away to tend to Producer Sarah's ailing mother.

We then see Arden arrive, as the other contestants begin to make margaritas. Arden is the wildcard from the New York date that was cut short. Maybe she'll exhibit some manic behavior and chop off all her hair in a fit of rage. We'll see.

Anyway, Cameran arrives at the beach house to interrogate all of Shep's love interests. She mentions the sister wives thing, which I predicted in my first recap of episode one. I'm not saying I have this show's number, I'm just saying.

Cameran begins to describe Shep's dates as if she had kind of watched the first two episodes while checking her phone. To start things off, Cameran asks Kylie if she is "The horse girl." This is the worst way to address someone, yet somehow accurate.

Cameran eventually gets to the important question: "Do you believe in aliens?"

click to enlarge ‘Sorry, it’s just a fact,’ says everyone who said something that could have gone unspoken - BRAVO SCREENSHOT
  • Bravo Screenshot
  • ‘Sorry, it’s just a fact,’ says everyone who said something that could have gone unspoken

Of course, the only correct answer to this question is to say, "If there were extraterrestrials, the United States government would have found them," while blinking "I believe" in Morse Code.

Surprisingly, Arden explains that she believes in ghosts more than aliens, which is an interesting response. It's like if someone asked if you believe in lycanthropy, but you said it's more likely that house cats try to steal your breath every night as you sleep.

The suitors are then asked how they feel about Shep's numerous past sexual encounters. Everyone except Arden raises concerns about this, apparently forgetting that they are sharing a home with four other women who are all dating him simultaneously. Remember everybody, there's nothing wrong with having been "around the block" as long as the other person knows it's not a one-way street. You get yours and don't take any grief.

In an odd, yet transportation-based transition, Cameran announces that they are all going on a trolley date. Because trolleys are a great place to find love? I don't know. Let's just keep this moving.

Arden is first. She immediately gets a beer, which I didn't know was allowed on a Charleston trolley, but heads up y'all. Shep shows her the sights and apologizes for their date having been cut short. Arden says she is in a stage where she says "yes" to everything, which isn't a good sign. If Jim Carrey movies are any indication, compulsively agreeing to everything that comes your way spells disaster.

Kylie boards the trolley and is immediately offered a Lime-A-Rita, which is a great sign that you should tuck and roll from a moving vehicle. Shep soon learns that Kylie is missing her graduation to appear on the show, which is rough. Kylie soon plays the egg card, saying that if Shep were to select an older woman such as Priscila, his significant other may not be able to have kids when the time comes. This is a brutal move.

Kylie may as well have been replaced with a voiceover from Werner Herzog, saying, "As the female's chances for reproduction declines, nature finds them unnecessary and allows their bodies to deteriorate." It's a grim, grim scene.

Thankfully, Peyton is next on the trolley line. Shep soon spots a dolphin, and ponders as to why humans are so fascinated by these aquatic brethren. Peyton suggests that it is because dolphins are the only other animal that has sex for pleasure, which is dolphinantly, I mean definitely not why humans like dolphins.

Anyway, as the two move to depart the trolley, Peyton downs the rest of her beer — making this the best date thus far... Huzzah?

click to enlarge Maybe not you can't - BRAVO SCREENSHOT
  • Bravo Screenshot
  • Maybe not you can't

Shep then calls Bella, having decided that the trolley isn't the preferred conveyance for finding your love. They meet for dinner because that trolley business was clownshoes, and Shep reminds Bella that it was pretty great to wake up in a multi-million dollar home. Pivoting, Bella asks about Shep's dating history. He explains that his longest relationship occurred in 2004. Bella says that's when she was in the fourth grade. That's ... um .... rough. It reminds me of when a date asked me when about my birthday, and I said I've always been alive, but have never really lived. This posed a problem, as most women are not willing to share a relationship with the undying — for whatever reason.

Anyway, Shep goes for a kiss, and Bella says she's not comfortable doing so on camera.

Cut back to the beach house and the other ladies are drinking in the pool. Peyton calls on everyone to take a drink while standing on an inflatable flamingo, which proves to be a major challenge. This is how you get broken glass in the pool. Not cool, Peyton. Not cool.

click to enlarge Spoken like a true Disney prince - BRAVO SCREENSHOT
  • Bravo Screenshot
  • Spoken like a true Disney prince

Bella then gets spirited away to the sidewalk, and Producer Sarah calls on the film crew to hang back and give them some space. Watching from around the corner like a private eye who's had his car repossessed, the cameraman catches Bella and Shep share their first kiss.

This becomes the main point of conversation when Bella returns to the house. The other ladies are super curious, and Kylie appears slightly irked that another contestant has shared a bit of physical intimacy with Shep. Meanwhile, Bella demands peanut butter, which is the balm of the gods.

click to enlarge Aim high - BRAVO SCREENSHOT
  • Bravo Screenshot
  • Aim high

The next day, Southern Charm costars Austen and Craig meet Shep and the ladies on the beach. After a bit of socializing, Craig breaks a beer bottle or something and Arden gets a slight flesh wound on her leg. As Arden points out, this ensures her a bit of one-on-one time with Shep, but maybe someone shouldn't have to expel blood to make that happen. That's like being on a sitcom and only being able to date a doctor if you have a concussion.

After sharing her dislike over the mutual sharing of a meme between Shep and several contestants, Peyton is having none of Kylie, who she will likely toss into the sun. Peyton's visible animosity against Kylie registers with Shep, who begins to questions who exactly he invited back the Charleston.

Everyone heads back to the clubhouse to ready up the grill. Peyton is crushing a burger and parroting Kylie's comments. Peyton is a total Michelangelo. Kylie, the Leonardo of the bunch, deems this unbecoming, which is a legitimate response to being mocked by a stranger.

Out of nowhere, Producer Sarah calls Shep outside. Someone is on the way, a previous date that Shep did not invite to Charleston.

It seems like an uninvited stranger trying to enter your home would be reason enough to call the police. Is this going to turn into a Fear 1996 situation and Mark Wahlberg is going to shove a severed dog head through the front door? Shut this down, Shep. Shut this down.

Ending on a very serious sort of cliffhanger, I'll see you next episode as we learn who the hell is arriving at the beach house unannounced like the villain in an I Know What You Did Last Summer sequel. Keep safe.


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