I’m not even sure what I’m watching anymore because it is not a Bravo show as we have grown accustomed to. It seems to be just a random collection of people, some of whom have tenuous romantic connections. It’s less of a cast than it is a speed dating event in a very small town. Kathryn, a clump of mascara perpetually running down humanity’s face, didn’t even make it on the trip. (Can we just fire her already?) Neither did her on-again-off-again boyfriend Chleb.
When a fight erupted at dinner between Craig and the rest of the guys, Venita and Leva just packed up their suitcases, called an Uber, and cut the one-night trip short. Guys, this is a work event. Imagine if you got up from your desk and clocked out at 2:30 just because you thought your coworkers weren’t doing a very good job? You’d be as fired as I hope Kathryn is. Who is even left at Auldbrass, a Frank Lloyd Wright house that Whitney secured for a cast that can’t even appreciate? (But seriously, what is this house? It’s like the Eyes Wide Shut house but for a bunch of Mormons who didn’t want to have an orgy but wanted an indoor basketball court, an outdoor basketball court on a tennis court, an unbelievably chic swimming pool, and 19 versions of a KISS pinball game next to a pool table. How is all of this in this house? Is the front door like Scooby Doo’s bag, it just contains a pocket universe?)
Anyway, who is left? It’s just the same old cast of Whitney, Shep, Craig, Austen, and their sundried significant others. Oh and Shep’s weird cousin Marcie, who is on the show kind of like a barnacle is on a yacht — invisible and stuck on the bottom hanging on for dear life. That’s not a slam on Marcie. She seems lovely. I would be friends with her, but what is keeping all of these people together other than the centripetal force of low-level fame?
The episode starts off with the second half of the Craig fight, which I can’t understand because there were too many shawl-neck sweaters around that bonfire for a grown man to be able to concentrate. I think how it boils down is that Craig finally told Austen and Shep that he’s tired of them dumping on him all of the time and he’s not going to take it anymore. Austen and Shep react to this as if he is insane. Austen tells him repeatedly that he’s acting like a crazy person and that he has had a “psychotic break.” No, Craig is the only sane person here. He finally got a business that works and a hot girlfriend and realized that he doesn’t need this pair of truck nuts weighing him down anymore.
Craig, do not listen to these losers. You are finally growing and evolving and Austen just wants to keep you where he’s comfortable having you, hoovering up white powders from every flat surface while six co-eds named Madison all try to show you their tits.
The fight breaks up, everyone goes about enjoying the rec rooms that are like a TARDIS but without an accent, and the next morning it all kicks off again. And it’s not even because Whitney talked about Naomie’s gait and no one on the cast, Naomie included, knows the difference between “gait” and “gate.” Craig and Austen start fighting again and Austen is again making it out like Craig is some kind of crazy person. He did not yell, he did not rant, he did not come down with a bag of gummy bears screaming about Al Sharpton and vampires. If Austen wants to see a psychotic break there are plenty to choose from in Andy Cohen’s oeuvre, but this is not one of them. That is the problem here. They can’t agree on reality. It’s like arguing with someone who is really into QAnon, a new app developed for gay men to have anonymous sex.
This breaks up and everyone goes to play a good old-fashioned game of egg toss like it’s a church picnic and everyone is being punished. Well, everyone but Whitney, who is sitting under a tree doing emails. He is more checked out than Jack Lacey on White Lotus after he found a dookie in his suitcase. When Shep drops his egg, his girlfriend Taylor, who was on a separate team and standing next to him, stomps on his egg. She thought if you dropped it then the game was over. Shep is under the impression that it has to break for it to be over. This is sort of like how you deal with Free Parking in a game of Monopoly, but everyone on the planet Earth cares about it even less.
Shep freaks out, calls her an idiot, and berates her in front of the group. Olivia, doing the first tasteful thing I have ever seen out of her, tells him not to call her an idiot and throws her egg at him. He retaliates by throwing another egg at her. Naomie also tells him to shut up — I love when sisters stick together — and he says he’ll say anything he wants and that the “wussification of America continues” as if he and his brother in Madras, Tucker Carlson, are the same person.
I have always said this show is about awful men and the women who tolerate them but why do these women keep tolerating this? Marcie tells us that Shep has always been like this and talked to his mother the same way, something he also confesses. Who raised this man? Who allowed him to think that it is okay to treat women as if they just took a dookie in your suitcase the minute they do something you don’t agree with? Jesus.
Inside, Taylor tells Naomie she didn’t even hear the insult because she hears them so often from Shep. Naomie tells her the truth: This is abuse. Outside, Shep is ranting about how he won’t apologize like a 12-year-old who just yelled at his mother, because for whatever reason he is still stuck in that stage of development. Does he still sleep in a bed shaped like a racecar and get a boner from the Victoria’s Secret catalog too? He justifies this as saying that the moment his father got home from work they would roast him and they were sarcastic and needling. That is not what he did to Taylor. He screamed at her and called her stupid over the pettiest of slights. My husband called me stupid exactly once. I remember exactly where we were (on the corner of Broadway and 11th going to the Union Square Regal cinema) and I stopped right in the intersection and said, “If you call me stupid ever again, it is the last thing you will say to me.” That sure stopped that behavior.
Shep goes to apologize and even fucks that up. Taylor leaves the room and he’s stuck raging at Naomie. He tells her, “I’m not Mr. Say It Right all the time, and if that’s a problem, you know, look elsewhere. I’m sure there’s a guy who is a boring accountant and he worships the ground that you walk on. Go get him. Go get him.” This is what drives me crazy about Shep. He thinks everyone is trying to change him and, well, maybe they are. But did he ever stop to think that if everyone wants his behavior to change they might be the ones who are right?
Later, Craig coaches him and says, “Being kind and considerate and nice is not asking you to change.” What? Since when does Craig make sense and know how to handle a relationship? It’s like asking Chef Boyardee to teach you how to cook. The mind does more than boggle, it wants Spaghetti-Os with Franks.
Shep does apologize, but I’m not convinced by it. Even Taylor says she is exhausted by how often this happens. Taylor says she just wants him to be kind to people, but it seems like that is too much to ask. Shep does the worst thing in the moment, which is tell her things she wants to hear that he has no intention of following through on. He says he wants to make plans for the future, but I hope that plan is that Taylor is going to break up with him because that is the future that awaits him. We have already seen it. Hello from the other side, bitch.
Craig and Austen also make up, but it doesn’t make much sense. They just say they love each other and want to eat their omelets together, and then they give each other a peck on the cheek and a little hug like Tom Brady and Gronk do in the shower every time they win a game. That’s how football works, right? It’s just like the videos on Jocks4Jocks.com that I watch, right?
Austen also has a chat with Olivia, who is mystified by Austen. He told her that he didn’t want anything serious but then got so mad she brought a date to a dog wedding (an actual sentence I just had to type while my creative writing degree punched itself in the balls) that he went out and slept with his ex-girlfriend. Now he’s sitting by a lake telling her he only wants to date her, but it is a red flag bigger than his snapback collection. Get out of there, sister. He has fucked with Chelsea, Madison (who fucked with him right back), Lindsay “The Activation” Hubbard, and Ciara. He will fuck with you. Remember, this is a show about awful men and the women who tolerate them. Do what you did during the egg toss and stop tolerating these awful men. Please, we all beg of you. Or at least get Craig to set you up with someone sane.