The inherent tragedy of most reality television programs is that they are about children trying to act like adults without the inner resources or sobriety to pull it off. Just look at the Jersey Shore crowd, trying and failing to hold down jobs, relationships, and fame in an environment that was made for fist-pumping and GTL-ing until you’re old enough to start AARP-ing. Or The Real World, where a coed cast tries to get past their hookups and hang-ups to make a mark on the world, only to end up trapped in the reality TV purgatory of The Challenge until they’re old enough to run for president.
The crazy thing about Southern Charm is that it is exactly the opposite. The tragedy of this show is that it is about old men trying to hang onto their youth and failing miserably. That is pretty much all this show is about. Look at Shep. He is a 1,394-year-old mummy masquerading as a recent college graduate. He has the haircut, personal style, and apartment of someone who has an Urban Outfitters “tapestry” on at least one wall and no fewer than three bong-water stains on his carpet.
His hard-drinking lifestyle is starting to take its toll. His doctor calls up and says that his “bad cholesterol” is a bit high and that he has some funky liver enzymes because his liver is inflamed. “I’m not going to say it’s liver failure …” the doctor says. Um, if you hear any sentence that starts that way, you should probably act like you have liver failure and start reconsidering all of your choices. The doctor then tells Shep, “Shots would be a good thing to eliminate.” This should be a letter every single American gets on their 30th birthday from either the federal government or a concerned aunt. There is no need to do shots after you are 30. I mean, a couple of times a year when you’re trying to get more messed up than Meg Ryan’s lips, sure. But shots should not be a regular feature of anyone’s diet after they make their first contribution to a 401K.
The doctor’s call scares Shep enough that he goes on a health kick and starts making smoothies in his Magic Bullet blender, rather than single-serving frozen margaritas. He’s sober for about three days and decides that he should do yoga to get fit. Yoga, like playing the harmonica, is one of those things that seems easy until you actually try to do it and you end up falling on your ass or proving that you are not nearly as good as Blues Traveler’s John Popper. Shep does yoga with Kathryn, who appears in the episode for such a short period of time that she seems like a nice, sober woman rather than a reality-TV gremlin who turned into a monster after checking her Twitter @-messages after midnight. Whatever, it is kind of cute.
It is so sad that Shep keeps saying he wants a wife and two kids and a nice house, even though he does not behave like he does. What’s even sadder is that his friends take his statements at face value. Cameran shows up at some weird porch that is haunted by a dead dog with her new hoodoo doll Momma Estelle. (So last week, I got confused by hoodoo and voodoo and made fun of South Carolinians for saying they were close to “voodoo.” I think this is an easy mistake to make, based only on the pronunciation of the two words. I can’t wait for the day I can jump on the recapper for Boston Commons, a reality show about basics in Bean Town, because he doesn’t know the difference between a Star Market and a Market Basket.)
Cameran tells Shep that if he needs a wife, he needs to fall in love with Chelsea, as if she’s the only fish in this particular sea. In response, Shep tells her that she’s dating Austen and he doesn’t want to mess with her. Then Cameran gives him a scary love doll and tells him to leave it on her porch like he’s trying to end up on a tape from 13 Reasons Why. The doll is even anatomically correct, with a long, floppy penis that looks like Bugs Bunny’s dick if it got slammed in a door.
Anyway, Shep does not want a relationship so trying is futile. If he did, he wouldn’t behave the way he does. It’s like when I say that I really want to get abs and then I have a Costco-size bag of Chex Mix and four frozen Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for lunch. I might say that I want abs, but I’m sure not acting like I do, so there’s no point in trying to support my delusions.
Thomas Ravenel is just as bad. This man is 50 years old and has two children with a woman best described as a rainstorm that deluges the countryside in tears. Whitney and Patricia want to set him up with Landon, but that is just a seriously bad idea. The only difference between her and Kathryn is that Landon is too stupid to be angry at the world and too boring to want to do drugs. Though I do like Patricia and Whitney’s way of setting someone up: They just sit them next to each other at dinner and let them think it was their own idea. That’s way better than some crazy limp-dicked love doll.
At dinner, Thomas says that if he were to marry Landon, he wouldn’t need a prenup. If I were Landon at that moment, my hand would have gone under the tablecloth and grabbed his pecker and I would have never let go. She doesn’t need to keep messing with that dumb website when she can just marry Thomas and be done with it. Anyway, I wish Patricia would stick to what she’s good at — modeling caftans around her house and calling for Michael her butler ——and leave all of these idiots alone to ruin their own lives.
Austen seems to have it together and he’s only 30, even though his parents think that he needs to start planning on getting a real job and having a wife. Gosh, give this kid a break already and let him work for the stupid beer company for a few more years. The only one who seems unapologetic about his ways is Whitney, who is either too stupid to want more for his life or too smart to know that aspirations will only cause him heartache. Patricia doesn’t seem to pressure him at all. She’s just happy he’s around to lift her fat pug Chauncey up onto her lap.
But Craig, oh, Craig. He’s another case entirely. I don’t know what Craig’s problems are, but they are myriad, from his insistence on embroidering every scrap of fabric in his house to saying things like, “I don’t want this in my portfolio,” when Cameran shows him a house he doesn’t like. Um, it’s a rental property. Chill out. Also, that’s like seeing a pair of pants and saying, “I don’t want that in my wardrobe,” even though you are completely naked and don’t own a dresser to hold your nonexistent underwear.
The other problem is that I want to side with Naomie every time they have an argument. She was totally right to leave his late ass at home when they went to the Sip ‘N’ See. What is a Sip ‘N’ See? Glad you asked. According to Naomie, it is where you go and drink and hold the baby. Isn’t that a bad idea? I mean, I hate going to meet the baby, so maybe it’s more fun in a party atmosphere. But aren’t those two activities that don’t belong together, like water-skiing and weapons testing or bottoming and visiting an all-you-can-eat taco buffet?
Craig is a classic reality-TV head case. He wants to grow up but doesn’t know how, then resists Naomie when she shows him a very prominent road map. The rest of these boys simply have no idea what they want. They’re all one Magic Bullet margarita away from slamming their cartoon dicks in a door and regretting it for the rest of their lives.