Friday, April 20, 2018

Southern Charm Newbie: There's a baby in the cake

Season 5, Episode 3

Posted by Dustin Waters on Fri, Apr 20, 2018 at 2:23 PM

click to enlarge This is on all y’all - BRAVO SCREENSHOT
  • Bravo Screenshot
  • This is on all y’all

Welcome back, everyone, to the weekly unraveling of the critical parts of your mind. The first two episodes of this season of Southern Charm have been dedicated to the build up and release of what felt like the longest cookout in the history of America. Now we spirit ahead, unsure of what artificially forced social excursion awaits.

I want to start out by addressing the recent situation with Thomas Ravenel because not doing so seems irresponsible. Since the last episode aired, reports have surfaced of allegations against Mr. Ravenel of a past assault of a woman he met through a dating app. Having not participated in the actual reportage or investigation of any of these stories, I will not assume to know any more than what is out there and cannot attest to the merit of these claims. But to not address them upfront and carry on as if nothing has happened seems disrespectful to the readers. Do with that what you will.

Now onto the show.

As is Southern Charm's way, we open with the usual morning wake-up montage. This concludes with Thomas Ravenel casually clutching his girlfriend's head as they lie in bed and saying "I finally have a real woman, with a real woman heart" like he's the damn Beantown Butcher or something. Seriously, I feel like Thomas could quote you a price on a used kidney.

Over at Cameran's, the mom-to-be gets a call from Patricia who offers to throw a baby shower in her honor. With that, this episode breaks the land-speed record for party announcements on this show. Often when watching Southern Charm, I question whether or not I am failing to commemorate every accomplishment and waking moment in my life. Ultimately, I realize that the napkin budget alone would ruin me.

Following Patricia's gracious offer, Cameran thanks her and says she will put together a guest list. Like any great dictator, Patricia says it's her party and she will select the guests. Cameran is concerned that Kathryn will be excluded. To go ahead and resolve that plot line, yes, Kathryn is not invited. How terrible that she can't attend a party that she would not enjoy. It's like not being offered a warm glass of saltwater. She's probably better off.

Speaking of, we then stop by Kathryn's apartment. There's not much to report here. She wakes up her kids. They go to town on some Play-Doh. Kathryn says she feels like she's got her act together as a mother. This seems great. The kids are cute. But wait, you want to see something completely unwholesome and sleazy? Well, Southern Charm has got you covered.

Over at Thomas', he shows us how he treats a lady the morning after. First, he wakes up and makes the blandest looking eggs you've ever seen. There doesn't appear to be the smallest dash of salt or pepper. Thomas follows the same breakfast-in-bed recipe as a child trying to indulge his mom on her birthday. The ingredients are just egg, cheese, and maybe some Sunny D mixed in for acidity. But it gets worse.

click to enlarge Way not to seem insidious at all - BRAVO SCREENSHOT
  • Bravo Screenshot
  • Way not to seem insidious at all

As Thomas serves his girlfriend Ashley her morning eggs, he jokes about slipping in a Plan B pill before asking how her eggs are doing and referring to himself as "the impregnator."

It's always weird when a man boasts about his seed, but to do so immediately following a pun seems like they are trying to disprove natural selection. Thomas seems like the type of guy who wrecked his Range Rover because he was laughing too hard at a Jerky Boys CD. Thomas is the living equivalent of an Ayn Rand quotation written in Sharpie on a bathroom stall.

Continuing with this scene that doesn't really need to exist, Thomas casually asks Ashley if she has ever had a pregnancy scare because, you know, hatred I guess.

Ashley then refers back to when she and Thomas disappeared into the bathroom together during Shep's party. Flashing back, we see the bathroom door and eavesdrop on Ashley telling Thomas that she is menstruating "again."

"Again?" Thomas asks, before following up by inquiring if she had taken a morning-after pill. How many morning-after pills is Thomas feeding this woman? Quit fucking up her cycle, Thomas.

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, we hop over to Cameran's and are introduced to Kathy the birthing educator. Cameran explains that she has not taken any classes or read any books about giving birth. Also, Whitney is going to join in on the visit because he is interested to learn how humans procreate. Learning how humans procreate is key to his mission on Earth. Whitney then arrives, still dressed like Rivers Cuomo if he was the frontman for the Sugarhill Gang.

Asked what her ideal birth would be, Cameran shifts from adorably folksy to an Appalachian medical nightmare. Her preferred method of deliver would be picking her baby off a tree. She goes on to say that she doesn't want to go through labor and have her "vag all messed up and swollen."

Kathy says that Cameran's vagina may not be exactly the same after childbirth, but it will be pretty close. Regardless, you're going to pee a little when you laugh. It's fine. Eventually, we all pee a little when we laugh. Or sneeze. Or forget that we shouldn't be peeing. It's fine.

And one day, when your kids are older, y'all are going to be walking through the fall harvest corn maze with your sister and her kids and you're going to get tickled about how lost you all are. Then you and your sister will continue to laugh so hard that you just pee all over yourselves. Yes, the kids will be embarrassed. But you won't care because you're a mother and you've earned it.

Continuing with Cameran's birthing class, Whitney begins asking about the specifics of epidurals when Kathy whips out a skeleton pelvis and instructs them to commence squatting exercises. This goes as you'd expect.

click to enlarge It takes a village - BRAVO SCREENSHOT
  • Bravo Screenshot
  • It takes a village

Finishing their lesson, Kathy leaves, and now it is time to talk more about the baby shower being thrown by Patricia. According to Whitney, the theme is '60s super chic fashion, which sounds very comfortable and on the nose for a baby shower. Nothing says the era of free love like pregnancy.

Moving on, we catch up with Austen and Craig as they meet for a drink. Austen remarks on his former career as a beer salesman, saying that he is "low-key famous" because all the bartenders know him. On the spectrum of celebrity, this is somewhere between being a mail carrier and being the younger brother of the guy who died in a car accident on prom night. Also Austen, you are on a television show. Maybe consider that when assessing your notoriety.

Anyway, Austen asks Craig if he is excited to be able to scope out babes now that he's single. Yes. He says "babes."

Craig then makes a face like he's reconsidering his third lobotomy and acknowledges that he was in a serious relationship with a capable women whom he found attractive. Assessing his romantic future, Craig comes out with the old "Why can't I just be gay? It'd be so much easier."

You tend to hear this from straight guys who are frustrated with romantic relationships, but I would like to pose this situation for any straight guys who thinks it would be easier to be gay. And this is excluding all the prejudice and hate and everything else you can imagine along those lines. Next time you hear a straight guy say being gay would be easier, ask him to walk into a gay man's house and hang a picture. I swear it will add new layers to how wrong you can be about something.

Shep then joins Austen and Craig and says he "browned out" during the final moments of his cookout. One thing he does recall is Craig cooking the meat on the smoker and saying "To flip or not to flip? That is the question."

Shep says he should have called him "Grill Shakespeare," which is good, but I think "Hamlet" also works depending on how much pork was involved.

Continuing the pregnancy world tour, Cameran goes to get an ultrasound, and Chelsea is there, for some reason. The 4D high-resolution ultrasound begins, and we see that Cameran is giving birth to who appears to be Fatty Arbuckle.

click to enlarge Gonna put that foot right up around where my eyes will be - BRAVO SCREENSHOT
  • Bravo Screenshot
  • Gonna put that foot right up around where my eyes will be

Cameran tells Chelsea that she hasn't really cried her entire pregnancy as Chelsea begins to pour tears at the ultrasound. In what is my new favorite thing, Cameran asks Chelsea not to cry so that she doesn't feel like she has a dead heart.

I'm right there with you, Cameran. I remember feelings. But that was so long ago, it feels like a different life. Now I just watch This Is Us and try to mimic the facial expressions of the characters on the screen. My face, a mask, hiding something I've come to know with fearful intimacy, yet refuse to admit to myself or reveal to the outside world.

Skipping ahead, we, and we alone, join Austen as he heads to a bar and orders a flight of beers, only to sit there and criticize the draft list. Austen asks if they have anything new he needs to know about, to which the bartender responds, "Not since yesterday." This is funny, but also the point at which I would excuse myself and go drink under the overpass.

Talking to the camera, Austen explains that career-wise, he wants to continue in the beer industry, but he doesn't want to peddle someone else's wares. He doesn't come out and say he wants to brew his own beer, but that's really the only other option, right? Unless he brews it, he's not going to, I don't know, discover a new beer. Beer isn't naturally occurring.

Jumping over to Thomas' home, we get to listen in on a call between him and his father, Arthur, who has the diction of an old-school TV weatherman that the station just hasn't had the heart to force into retirement.

Over the course of their conversation, Thomas mentions that he is paying rent for his girlfriend's apartment in town. Arthur asks how expensive rent is and former South Carolina state treasurer Thomas Ravenel says he doesn't know. His bookkeeper pays it.

Thomas laughs off his father's justifiable concern over finances on the basis that Arthur grew up during the Great Depression. This is like looking at at burn victim and saying, nevermind him, watch me light this hairspray on fire.

Skipping ahead to Patricia's baby shower, she explains that she based the party theme on the work of a photographer who chronicled high society in the Palm Beach area during the 60s. In preparation for the event, Patricia is dressed like a cross between Phyllis Diller and Wayland Flowers' Madame.

click to enlarge So many picture frames - BRAVO SCREENSHOT
  • Bravo Screenshot
  • So many picture frames

As Chelsea arrives at the party, we get our first Michael the Butler sighting of the season. Hello Michael, you've been missed.

Everyone arrives and their attire is deafening. Looking at this kaleidoscopic mix of patterns and bright colors is like watching the tunnel boat scene from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory without all the chicken decapitation added in.

Vouching for Kathryn in her absence, Naomie pulls Patricia to the side to suggest that Kathryn should be given a second chance. Patricia immediately declines to hear any of that shit and excuses herself from the room.

Moving on to the cake, it definitely has a doll's arms and head jutting out of a mound of confectionary afterbirth like every nightmare you've ever had, but heated to 350 degrees for 30 minutes. It is the baby-eating scene from Darren Aronofsky's Mother! if it was filmed on the set of Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In. The only thing that's missing is Nixon saying "Sock it to me" as he pushes a power drill into his temple.

click to enlarge Let me take a pic on my cell phone to post on social media - BRAVO SCREENSHOT
  • Bravo Screenshot
  • Let me take a pic on my cell phone to post on social media

Back to the actual party, Naomie steps aside with Craig and they look like Barbie and Ken more than ever. Naomie vents about Patricia giving her the brush off. Then they begin to discuss their failed relationship. The two fight about Craig's unfulfilled potential, and he points out that he owns two homes. This is a good point that I had not realized. Craig can make as many pillows as he wants, he is still a homeowner. That's pretty good.

Then, shockingly, JD arrives with his wife, Elizabeth. Naomie is baffled and super uncomfortable after she unloaded on JD last episode about stepping out during his separation. Shep says that appearances are important in the South and advises Naomie to go hug JD and Elizabeth and pretend nothing is wrong. This seems healthy.

Elizabeth greets Naomie with a friendly embrace and asks if this is a theme party. Yes. They always are. Everything has a theme. We can't enjoy something without a theme, Elizabeth.

Naomie then hugs JD, and she hates it. JD and Elizabeth quickly make their escape as tempers flare and Naomie gives everyone the finger.

click to enlarge Also, everyone looks like this - BRAVO SCREENSHOT
  • Bravo Screenshot
  • Also, everyone looks like this

There ya go. Another party spoiled. Another episode in the can. I suggest you go shove your hand in a bucket of ice water until the pain begins to creep up your arm. Maybe that will help you shake off the sensation of this week's episode. See you next week.


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