Sometimes we talk about how reality shows have filler scenes. You know, silly things to just make an episode last 43 minutes. Sometimes there are filler episodes, in which everything is calm between huge altercations. What we seem to have here is a Southern Charm filler season. This whole season exists just so they can figure out the cast, get rid of COVID protocols, and give us something great later. Or maybe not great.
This episode is divided in two — with the girls going out on a “girls’ night” (minus Madison, who may or may not be on this show), and the guys going off to Patricia’s for her annual “Gentleman’s Dinner,” which is what my first boyfriend called tossing a salad.
[LOUD BEEP] We interrupt this recap to test the Emergency Alert System. A handsome middle-age gentleman and father of two named John Pringle has not been seen for nearly a month now. If anyone knows his whereabouts, please immediately contact the Housewives Institute’s president and founder. This concludes the test of the Emergency Alert System.
There was a little bit of prep for both parties. Whitney invites Naomie over to ask her to co-host the party, because it is French-themed and she is as French as the kisses she gives him, the toast she makes him in the morning, and the fries he gets at McDonald’s on his long drive back to Miss Patricia’s house. They hug, and he goes in for a kiss; since the cameras are there, she swerves and just hugs him. She says she can’t host it, because “Craig hates me,” which is a completely reductive take on what he told Leva, the human game of telephone this show runs on.
Over at Austen’s house, we have to watch Bailey give him a haircut. I feel like Bailey is just another person this show is asking me to remember and care about when the people I do care about aren’t even on the show. Thank God, she just disappears.
The girls all meet up at Bubbles N’ Bourbon, where they serve — you guessed it — brown liquor and boba. Kathryn arrives in this ’70s-inspired rainbow-stripe sparkly minidress, and for a brief shining moment, I forget how much I absolutely hate her. No one is saying anything when all the guests arrive, so Leva blurts out, “Naomie hooked up with Whitney, so that’s something you two can bond over.” I’m surprised she didn’t get up and scream, “Eskimo sisters!” before letting off a confetti cannon and sitting back down.
I love Kathryn’s response when everyone says, “Ew, that’s weird.” She says that Whitney is actually a catch and she doesn’t know why they’re all freaking out. I hate to say it, but I agree with Kathryn. Whitney has money, little interest in being on reality television anymore, and can probably score you ketamine in any city worth visiting. He is tall, in good shape (considering his advanced years), would do anything to please his mother, and has a good sense of humor. (I LOLed IRL when he took Austen’s jacket, then threw it on the ground.) Sure, he has more notches on his bedpost than Mar-a-Lago has Chick-fil-A wrappers in its dumpster, but if he’s ready to settle down, these ladies could only hope to do so well. I mean, he’s no Pringle, but these people have dated Shep, Craig, and Austen. Whitney is a remarkable upgrade.
It seems to work, and the two are getting along. Kathryn even talks about a dating event she was invited to, where all the girls have a key, all the guys have a lock, and they have to find the match. Naomie tells her it is a swinger party and to beware. No, Naomie — a reporter for the failing New York Times and a fake-news connoisseur. That is a key party, where everyone puts their car keys in the bowl and whoever’s key the lady picks is the dude she has to fuck. No one here has watched The Ice Storm.
Then Leva says the reason Venita wasn’t invited to Friendsgiving was that Austen thinks she is a reporter for Madison. She adds that Madison has come between their friendship. Here is Madison carrying this show like it’s a Telfar, and she’s not even in the episode. Apparently, at the dog wedding (Woof!), Leva told Madison it looked like she was still into Austen. Madison freaked out on her, so Leva texted Venita that she’s “dumb.” Venita says that at that moment, she and Madison got into her car, she handed Madison the phone to play DJ, the text came through, and Madison saw it.
This is not a fight. Leva is mad that Venita got between her and Madison, but that is not what happened. Leva talked shit about Madison, and serendipitously, Madison found out about it. Leva says, “It was a misunderstanding gaslit into a war.” Um, did she say “gaslit”? No. No, she didn’t. Burn the word gaslight with fire, even though that will do nothing because it’s already a flame and will probably just make it bigger. To gaslight someone means to tell them that something true is really false. That is not what happened here. She got caught. There is no one trying to turn this into something it’s not. You just embarrassed yourself. If you have a problem, blame yourself.
Over at the boys’ party, it is basically a montage of Craig spilling things on a $45,000 sofa and breaking the legs of a $25,000 chair. It’s a French chef getting mad that the escargots are getting cold because everyone has too many old-fashioneds in the living room. There is no drama. There is no tension. There is just messiness. I don’t mind.
We finally get it when Craig gets a message from someone saying a “blog” posted Shep’s Raya profile and says he’s in Bermuda. Craig and Austen pull him outside to tell him he needs to delete the profile, and he’s like, “Yeah, whatever, man.” It seems like an honest mistake. Someone could probably find my Manhunt profile still active, but it doesn’t mean I used it to cheat on my partner. What’s shocking is that Shep doesn’t really care. As Craig said at dinner, if there are no repercussions from Taylor, why even bother staying faithful? Why not just have his cake and eat escargot too?
At the girls’ dinner, they’re all telling Taylor that she needs to leave him, but Taylor says that the Lord in Heaven Above has told her to stay with Shep. The Lord gives his biggest battles to his fiercest soldiers, but let me tell you, this is not one of them. That man is a dud, and I am glad Taylor found her way out of that one and into the light. Now, if only this show could stop being on pause and give us something really meaty to get into, I would pray just as hard as Taylor right after she has been called a “fucking idiot.”