The cast of Southern Charm, like its avatar, Shep Rose, has become lumpy and bloated almost to the point that I no longer recognize what exactly is going on. This week we got some excellent introductions to new(ish) characters. We see Venita at home trying to be the umpteenth Bravoleb to try to convince us that being, like, an influencer, like, isn’t what they, like, wanted to, like, do but now that, like, they are, like like like, there is a lot of work. Then we see Chleb on the phone with his mother, who talks like she’s a Micro Machines commercial but at 33 rpm when the record should have been at 45 rpm. (If you understand that sentence, congratulations, you remember Jem and the Holograms and are the better for it.)
And let us not forget about Marcie, Shep’s hard-partying lady doppelgänger who is somehow even richer than Miss Patricia. Where is that money from? Is it the same family money that Shep has? Paging Celebrity Net Worth Dot Com, we have a job for you, and it is every single cast member on this show. Marcie seems like a person who is constantly three espressos deep, but we didn’t see much more of her.
Then there are all the rest of the people. Who exactly is on the cast? Pringle keeps showing up to DILF the place up and talk to Madison “JL Home Wrecker” LeCroy, but we’re not seeing them at home. Are they in the cast? Whitney is a producer and shows up at this party, but we see more of Venita’s assistant than we see of him. What about Paige? Does she get a paycheck? And Taylor, Shep’s girlfriend? And in what witness protection program did they put Danni in? Is she okay?
I guess we need to talk about Kathryn, someone who truly does not need to be on this show anymore. We get her fight with Chleb in flashback, but I wish we could have seen the whole thing. She’s upset because, at her party, Chleb said she should talk to Venita and she felt he was on Venita’s side rather than hers. No, Chleb is trying to make fewer people hate Kathryn and make her look like a good person. That is being on Kathryn’s side and she doesn’t even know it. He makes an excellent point, he doesn’t have beef with any of his friends, but when it comes to Kathryn’s friends, it’s beefier than a chili cook-off in the parking lot of a Ruth’s Chris Steak House.
The difference, most obviously, is that Chleb’s friends are actually his friends and Kathryn’s friends are her coworkers who are forced to hang out with her even though she has done awful things to just about all of them. But it’s sweet he wants her to repair those relationships. But it speaks to the spoiled brattiness of Kathryn that she doesn’t think of herself as the common denominator. It’s not that she has a problem with these people, they have a problem with her, and it’s not her fault. Come on, sister. We get that Thomas terrorized you for years, but at some point you have to stop playing the victim and take some accountability for your actions.
Patricia says it euphemistically that Kathryn has “lived an inelegant life.” Naomie doesn’t even invite her to her party because no one really wants to be around her. Then why is she still collecting a paycheck? Every time she’s on my screen, I just want to emit a low grunt that sounds like an asthmatic pug trying to peg a set of bagpipes.
As everyone is ignoring Kathryn, they’re paying way too much attention to how many times Craig slept with Naomie. Austen concocts this whole conspiracy theory that they hooked up more than that and that they want to get back together or something. When he confronts them about it, they both say it was twice, and Paige knows. Why does Austen care? Because Craig lied to him? Because Craig didn’t want to tell him anything because he blabs his business to every sorority girl he comes across at bars he’s too old to be hanging out in?
Austen isn’t really concerned with what Paige knows or how Naomie feels, like he claims; he just wants to try to catch Craig in some way. He’s just pissed that he’s no longer central to whatever is going on, and it’s stupid and lame. They’re all adults, they’ll figure it out. Go focus on, I don’t know, selling your beer or buying some footwear other than flip-flops or not wearing your sunglasses on the brim of your baseball cap — work on you, Austen.
Speaking of Austen, I am not feeling this Olivia creature. First of all, she’s 23, which seems way too young for these middle-aged sacks of rotting hops. Also, whatever relationship they have looks totally fake and concocted. They both say they like each other’s height and sense of humor. Great. The problem is that Austen is like, “I’m not ready for a relationship and a family,” and she’s like, “If he is not going to give me kids, he better leave through the wall like he’s the Kool-Aid man.” Austen is always cracking on (sorry, it’s Love Island season) with these girls but doesn’t want to settle down. That’s great; then stop dating girls looking for a commitment and screwing them over. Chelsea, Madison, Ciara, the list of his victims is long and distinguished, which I wish we could say about his Johnson, but I have a feeling we could not.
Olivia also doesn’t seem cut out for this world. She runs into Naomie, Venita, Madison Simon, and Patricia talking about Kathryn and Naomie’s situation. She asks a very valid question. If Naomie had no interest in repairing her relationship with Kathryn, why did she go to the party? We all know the answer; it’s because it’s a work event. But instead, all of the women lunge at Olivia like she’s the last pair of Louboutins at a sample sale.
Naomie’s answer, which Venita then mimics, is that if someone offers an olive branch, you take it. Um, no. That is how murders happen. If the ghost of Jeffrey Epstein were like, “I’m sorry, come spend some time with me on my private island and I’ll make it up to you,” would they go? That’s ludicrous. And Olivia shouldn’t feel bad for asking what, to a civilian, is a sensible line of inquiry. At least Venita has the tact to go and apologize to Olivia for making her feel attacked, making me think that Venita is the classiest influencer I’ve ever met, and I’ve met, well, exactly none.
On the way out, Austen has to talk to Craig and Naomie one more time about something that is absolutely none of his business because if he doesn’t make Craig’s relationships a point of conversation, he’d have absolutely nothing to talk about except his entirely manufactured relationship with Olivia, a box from Alta Beauty that somehow grew a face. Just leave them alone already. Let Naomie pine and let Craig bury his face in Paige’s soiled bed clothes because she will never get off her mattress. Let the two of them stare out in the middle distance from their separate porches as fireflies blink in the night and crickets and toads make mating calls in the darkness. Let them all dream of one day being free of Austen, the giant-tongued pall that hangs over all of them.