Southern Charm Recap: Kathryn the Great

Southern Charm

Craig of All Trades, Master of None
Season 4 Episode 5
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: Bravo

All right, I finally get it. I finally see why Southern Charm is the magnificent show that you have all been telling me to watch for all of these years. I’ve finally seen deep into the heart of Kathryn Calhoun Dennis, who is surely the master of this universe.

You know how in Harry Potter, Harry is designated as the one who will save the world or whatever because of all of his power? Or how in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, young Anakin Skywalker is clearly the most powerful Jedi of all time? That is like Kathryn, a ginger golem who was built for mastery over the reality television arts and sciences. The force is strong within her and she has never spent a day doing anything other than tickling Voldemort’s taint on the dark side. She is not dark, but beautiful and terrible as the dawn.

This all comes out during Kathryn’s one little lunch with Jennifer who, I don’t know, may or may not be on the cast of this show. I guess she’s a supporting player? The only things I know about Jennifer is that she bought way too many baby clothes and just gave birth to a child who was diagnosed with something awful that’s called encephalocele. I cannot be mean to Jennifer because of that. She gets all the passes. She might as well be a one-legged Holocaust survivor battling pancreatic cancer, because I will not utter one horrible word about her.

After six or seven months, Kathryn calls her up and they decide to have lunch and it’s supremely awkward. As soon as she sits down, Jennifer is like, “Um, I don’t know what I did wrong.” Apparently, Kathryn is mad at Jennifer because at last season’s reunion she said she had forgiven Thomas for everything he had done to her and then wiped her snot in his hankie. For a reasonable person that wouldn’t be such a grave offense, but Kathryn is not a reasonable person, so she needs to sit there across the table with her face screwed up as tight as a coffin buried in a swamp.

It seems clear that Kathryn has no interest in either forgiving Jennifer or hearing her explanation for what went down, so why she calls this lunch would be an utter mystery were the cameras not there. This lunch is not held for the benefit of either of these women; it is held solely for us and our entertainment and I will pay whatever Value Added Tax is passed in Congress to keep funding such valuable sociological work.

Finally Jennifer says, “Are you even going to ask me about my son at all?” She immediately starts crying and Kathryn is just sitting across the table as cold as the audience at Bill Cosby’s next stand-up gig. Jennifer is crying and telling her about her baby with his brain on the outside of his skull and Kathryn is like, “Whatever, I don’t have time for this. You accepted my ex’s apology.” While Jennifer is trying to tell Kathryn how hard it has been to not have her best friend around to handle this horrible sadness, Kathryn says, “I don’t see what they have to do with each other,” because she has a frozen Jell-O Pudding Pop where her heart should be. It is the most horrible thing I’ve seen on television since Britney and Kevin: Chaotic and it gave me almost as much life.

The second-best scene of the episode is when Cameran and her mom go to visit Larry the Voodoo Doll Man. We discover that Cameran wanted to be a white witch when she was in high school, and I was shocked to discover that even magic has to be racist in the South. But seriously, Cameran used to go out into the woods with her spell books and try to do incantations and stuff like she was Glinda floating around in a bubble. This is by an Alabama mile (is that an expression?) the most interesting thing about Cameran and I don’t understand why she doesn’t talk about it all the time, because it is amazing.

Cameran goes to get a voodoo doll from Larry and says, “Growing up in South Carolina, you really hear about voodoo.” Um, no, girl, you don’t. That is some New Orleans nonsense and this is not Southern Charm: New Orleans (coming to Bravo winter 2018). That is like me saying, “Growing up in New England, you hear a lot about poutine.” I mean, sure, maybe, but it’s not like that makes me Canadian and I have some gross desire to put cheese and chili on my French-Canadian fries.

With their elongated and narrow faces, stringy fake hair, and outrageously flamboyant outfits, Larry’s room full of voodoo dolls was sort of like seeing every single Real Housewives reunion special at once. Cameran decides on one named Mama Estella, which I think is Mama Elsa’s little witchy sister. Then she says she wants to get a love doll for Shep and her mom, and that’s when everyone who has ever watched this show says in unison, “Bitch, Shep don’t want no stupid love doll!”

It seems like the only person who hasn’t given up on Shep and Chelsea is Cameran, because if she doesn’t meddle she has absolutely nothing to do on this show. When she isn’t meddling in Shep’s love life, she’s meddling in Craig’s real-estate endeavors. God, Cameran, please get in your mid-range minivan and drive off until you find something more interesting to do.

Shep meets up with Austen to play basketball and talk about Chelsea and he pretty much hands her to Austen like she is his to give. As Landon says later, which is both revolting and sort of empowering, “It’s not your girl, it’s your turn.” Then they prove that, indeed, white men are physically incapable of jumping as Shep falls over into a hyperventilating mess after about three minutes of light physical activity. That’s what happens when your most sincere form of exercise is running to the toilet in the morning so that your beer shits don’t stain the sheets. It is just incredibly sad.

After this little health scare, Shep goes to the doctor and says he has an average of 12 drinks each evening. Say what now? How is this man even legally cleared to drive in the state of South Carolina? He has to be inflating the number for effect, right? I mean, he parties a lot, but that is just stupid.

I guess the last person we have to check on is Craig, who has decided that he is going to keep Hobby Lobby in business by purchasing a sewing machine and making delightful embroidered hankies with cupids in the middle. Don’t let Jennifer cry in one, though, or Kathryn will never talk to him again. But then again, these are the things you get to do during the day when you have no job. You can play around with your sewing machine and set up romantic dinners on the pool deck of your in-laws’ house.

Too bad he ruins that dinner with Naomie (or “Nomi,” as he has her programmed in his phone) by being an absolute freaking idiot. Craig tells Naomie that he’s going to buy a rental property this week, that he and someone named Josh just started their own clothing line (is he going to sew it himself?), and that he has all these other plans. I know he just wants Naomie to be proud of him and support him, but she brings up a very valid point: He has a lot going on right now. He has so many projects he can’t do any of them properly. I mean, this guy can’t even get cat food out of the package without messing it up.

Also, if Craig doesn’t want to take the bar exam to become a lawyer, he just needs to tell Naomie. She won’t want to be with him any less if he doesn’t want to be a lawyer; she just wants him to decide what he wants to do and apply himself to it. The problem here is that Craig, with all of his dissembling and delusions, is perfect for reality TV. Naomie, who is smart, ambitious, and totally slumming, is not. Craig better smarten up or he’s going to lose the best thing in his life. Maybe he and Kathryn really deserve each other after all.

Southern Charm Recap: Kathryn the Great