below deck mediterranean
I finally figured out why Hannah and Conrad are so terrible at their jobs, and that’s because they’re classic middle management. They’re the type who think they’re all powerful because they have titles like “SVP” or “Chief” something, but are actually, unbeknownst to them, completely incompetent. If you work in an office it’s likely you have a manager just like this, who ruins the lives of everyone beneath and around them while fooling their bosses into believing they’re something other than a complete bozo. Seeing that they’re bozos, they hire other bozos, leading to the phenomenon Steve Jobs famously called the “bozo explosion.”
And that is why we have Kasey, who can’t work an iron, and João, who claims he wants to stay up all night to prevent guests from falling into the sea while the boat is docked. And Brooke, who may not struggle with toilet paper points or turning espresso pods into drinks, but tries to pick up both João and Adam, who seem about as capable of emotional connection with women as with the rags they wipe the boat with.
We open this episode with a hot mess of people either making out or trying to. After telling Adam pitifully that she likes him while sitting on the cobblestones outside the nightclub like a panhandler, Brooke gets back to the boat where she makes herself a salad, which she eats alone, still wearing her chandelier earrings and going-out peasant blouse. If there ever was a cry for help it’s a drunk woman coming home alone and making herself salad instead of stuffing cold spaghetti into her mouth like a normal person.
Kasey seems enthused by João hitting on her. He holds her hands behind her back like he’s leading her to her doom — a Hades in which he flirts with her for all eternity.
And Conrad and Hannah are sucking face on the bus in front of all their co-workers despite Conrad insisting that he’s professional and doesn’t want anyone to know they’re doing it. Conrad claims it’s “completely new” for him to have feelings like this, but I don’t believe him one bit. I think he’s the Disney Prince of Bravo, falling in love with women left and right, daydreaming and picking petals off flowers instead of setting up the slide like he’s supposed to. While he and Hannah smoke and drink on the deck, the editors, who must hate João as much as I do, share shots of him alone in his bunk struggling to remove his shorts and shirt.
The next morning everyone has sobered up and realized they probably embarrassed themselves. Conrad jumps into Hannah’s bed to tell her they “snogged” in front of everyone. Brooke says she feels like a dick because she told Adam she likes him and he didn’t say it back. And Jamie, who really grows on me this episode, is in the galley talking about how much she likes chocolate milk in cereal.
Captain Sandy calls a preference sheet meeting, where we learn the next group of guests are a squad of seemingly normal middle-aged couples and the primary, an executive recruiter, is taking them on this bozo-run boat to thank them for their friendship. None of them are vegan or gluten-free or paleo or whatever Vinny is on Jersey Shore now, and want to eat whatever Adam feels like cooking, which puts him in a good mood.
Hannah pulls Kasey out of the laundry room, where she’s complaining to João that people just “throw things” in there, as though this is out of character for a laundry room. They sit with Brooke for a meeting in which Hannah tells Kasey that she wants to make sure she’s “feeling quite confident with the coffees” so she doesn’t get woken up in the morning. You know, Sandy didn’t sit Hannah down to ask her if she was “feeling quite confident with the fire code,” to keep from setting the fire alarm off so she doesn’t get woken up in the middle of the night. But anyway, Kasey says that the “barista training” she put on her resumé meant she knows how to throw a pod in a Nespresso machine and push a button to make a coffee — which, if I’m not mistaken by the espresso pods on the wall of the galley, is exactly how they make coffee on this boat. Yet, Hannah is appalled and asks Kasey if she’s really done “silver service” as her resumé also stated, and Kasey admits that she had a friend rewrite her resumé to make her an appealing candidate for yachting jobs and that she never read it when the friend was done and she doesn’t even know what silver service is. (Girl, neither do I!)
This sends Hannah into a frenzy and she spends the rest of the day telling everyone that Kasey lied on her resumé instead of ordering groceries and polishing the glass aquamarine stones she foists on all the centerpieces. Naturally, no one really gives a shit, especially Captain Sandy who points out that Kasey is in an entry-level position and if she’s suffering in her duties it’s Hannah’s fault for not training her properly.
Finally, the next guests arrive, looking like they blew in from a backyard BBQ in Westchester. After Hannah shows them the chartreuse velvet bedspreads, they change into their swimwear, and we learn that one of the men is super hot. Jamie says she doesn’t feel bad for staring at him because she’s starved for hot men on this boat, which restored my faith in her entirely. She’s the only woman on the boat aside from Captain Sandy not trying to get into the pants of one of the deck crew dodos.
After Kasey sets the dinner table with the usual chunk of coral and aquamarine parachute, Hannah tries to find fault with everything else she’s done that day. She berates her for not having a checklist to track all her chores, and Kasey says, “I mean, it’s not brain surgery.” Which is true! Making beds and vacuuming is not brain surgery. I think part of the reason Hannah finds Kaseys to pick on every season is so that she looks important and smart — like she’s the only one who can handle this super hard job of waiting tables and washing glasses.
Shout-out to these guests who show up to dinner in sweat suits like normal people instead of animal prints and viscose from Caché. They love Adam’s food, which makes him happy until the hot guest starts clearing plates because “this is what I do at home.” Hannah is unable to control him, which sends Adam into a rage because he needs Hannah’s usual slow plate-clearing to give him time to plate the next course of deconstructed carrot cake, which weirdly thrills the guests. I mean, you’re in Positano eating a slice of carrot cake, which given the setting, feels like the Mountain Dew of desserts. After dinner, Conrad slides into bed with Hannah while Kasey settles into bed with her chores checklist.
The next morning, Kasey tries to kiss Captain Sandy’s ass because João tells her to, which actually isn’t the worst advice. She asks her how she likes her coffee and vacuums her wheelhouse, which delights Captain Sandy, who lays on the deck in peace while the guests are on land buying knickknacks. João and Conrad have a dick-measuring contest over setting up the slide, which Colin has decided is “maybe the worst invention in the history of life.” I’m assuming he hasn’t seen this season’s centerpieces.
After the guests splash about with their “toys,” Brooke makes another attempt to pick up João, which is just depressing. Jamie puts it best when she says, “It’s absolutely horrifying watching João flirt. There’s a point where you’re just like, please stop.” The only thing more horrifying than watching João flirt is watching women who know what João is like try to flirt with João.
That night, Adam serves New York strip steak and key lime pie, and the guests are beside themselves with delight. Between courses, the hot guy takes the plates down again, which infuriates Adam, who tells Hannah to stop him. Hannah, who is lazy and would never say no to help, says there’s nothing she can do. And Adam sums up Hannah perfectly when he says, “It’s never her fault.”
But Hannah doesn’t care because Conrad visits her chambers that night, rendering him tired and useless the next morning. Sandy, who wants to teach Conrad a lesson, allows a giggling João to drive the boat out to sea while Conrad does lowly anchor stuff. Next week, we’ll find out if João wrecks the boat! Will Conrad let Hannah have the piece of driftwood while he freezes to death or will he be too mad to save anyone but himself?