My name is Dana Norris. I have a Masters Degree in Religious Studies and now I’m recapping Season 4 of Southern Charm for a website called Heauxs and I’ve never been happier - LET’S DO THIS.
I am deeply, deeply obsessed with this show. The mixture of unexamined sexism, toxic masculinity, 50-year-old fuckboy realness, and highly functional alcoholism does something for me. All I want from reality TV is to watch people with better kitchens than me having worse problems than me, and Southern Charm DELIVERS.
Ba ba doo, ba ba dee dee dee.
We open, first episode of season four. Perpetual bachelor & 54-year-old tragedy Thomas Ravenel, who got kicked out of political office due to his cocaine parties and went to jail and got out and lost his next election by like 1,000,000 votes, is outside of a house, bringing a long-stemmed rose to a girl. IS IT KATHRYN, the ex-girlfriend, mother of his two children, red-haired, emotionally unstable center of this show who he hates yet continually impregnates? (Hint: it’s not Kathryn). It’s Landon, which is unfortunate because her name sounds like a discontinued antiperspirant. Landon has no discernible job or eyeballs and does that thing where she is constantly laughing after her own sentences, so we don’t like her. And I guess she and Thomas are dating now? They take her dog for a walk and sit on a bench overlooking a river and confess their feelings for each other in way I can only describe as “meh”. Landon’s dog sits at her feet and contemplates jumping into the river so he can finally feel something real.
And PSYCHE – the producers tricked us! Thomas and Landon debating whether or not to date happens in the future but the show is in the past, so now we jump three months back to a simpler time when Landon and Thomas aren’t in fake TV love and instead everyone is getting ready for their days and wearing white.
Cameran, the moral center and Real World San Diego alumni of this show, drives to Craig’s house. Cameran and Craig haven’t spoken all summer but now she’s stopping by his house because filming has begun and the producers told her to. Craig was a “lawyer” who “lied” about “everything”, and is now a backyard carpenter. Craig plans on taking the bar exam in February so he can actually be a lawyer for real real and no longer for play play and, in the words of Cameran, “Until then we’re cutting wood”
Back to Thomas, who is known affectionately by his enablers as “T-Rav.” He now has primary custody of his two young children and he explains, “My life has taken a transformative change,” which, my man, you know you don’t need both of those words? “My life has changed” or “My life has transformed” or, “My life has really changed,” or “My life has very much transformed,” or, “Shit be different.” Point is: money doesn’t give you a mastery of the English language.
T-Rav is taking care of his children by storing them in the guest house. He explains that this is necessary so he can protect his $30,000 rug from spit up and instead relax while his children spit up on his $200 guest house rugs. T-Rav, my dude, when you buy a $30,000 rug they really should throw in some stain protection for you.
Moving on – Shep! Shep is like the ghost of T-Rav past – he’s still in his thirties so drinking every night and bedding random chicks can still pass as cute. You got two years left Shep: revel in it! Shep walks into a bar while wearing a plaid shirt and meets a man who is also wearing a plaid shirt and one can only assume that this bar has a plaid shirt dress code. Shep is rich, has chicklets for teeth, and always seems to be sweating out a hangover. Last season, Landon confessed her feelings for him, but she phrased it as a question? And then Shep spilled some wine? Point is: Shep is not a one-woman man and his plaid-shirted compatriot is named Austen now they’re trying to Eiffel tower some girls and isn’t being a white man fun?
Awww, Austen gets a title card with his name! Here’s what we need to know about Austen: he is a low rent Shep, he is a douche, he has no money, he just broke up with his girlfriend, he’s escorting a woman 800 times better than he will ever be out of his apartment, he reps a beer company, he’s disappointing his parents, he doesn’t care if his butt appears on camera, and he very much wants us to believe that he is better than Shep. Austen vs. Shep is like Shell vs. BP – they both have blond hair and are destroying the world but sure, pick your fav.
Patricia’s house! FINALLY, THE REASON WE ARE HERE. Patricia is an ageless southern woman who I aspire to be one day. She wears feathers and gives zero shits and her only fault is that she gave birth to Whitney, a 49-year-old man who loves his mother so much that he made sure his facelift matches hers. We are here to discuss how Patricia’s new electronic buzzer is not as a good as an old-fashioned bell when summoning her butler to make her a martini. We are also here to discuss how sad it is that T-Rav’s ex, Kathryn, did drugs and went to drug rehab because of the drugs and drugs are bad don’t do drugs just drink every waking moment like a civilized person.
Landon paddle boards and thinks about how last year her life was shit because she pitched a website using paper print outs and Shep didn’t agree to settle for her and she didn’t sleep with T-Rav even though everyone knows she slept with T-Rav. So she spent the summer away from Charleston but now she’s come back to face her haters because filming has started and she signed a contract.
T-Rav plays polo with Eliza Limehouse, which is not a name I made up. Eliza Limehouse is 20-years-old and wears a pink helmet while she plays polo so you don’t forget about her vagina for a single second. Eliza is planning a pool party and T-Rav lets us know that her family arrived in America 100 years after his family so he’s better than her. Eliza thinks that there might be a spider in her helmet and T-Rav jokes that spiders are allergic to blueblood which is true in that spiders hate inbreeding.
Cameran and Shep go bathing suit shopping together because they need to get ready for Eliza’s pool party and because Cameran needs someone to film with since her husband refuses to be on the show. They talk about how Chelsea will be at the pool party and Shep has a crush on Chelsea and Chelsea may be able to change Shep‘s wicked ways in which case RUN CHELSEA YOU WERE PUT ON THIS EARTH TO DO MORE THAN TO PULL SHEP OUT OF THE BARS/VAGINAS AT 5AM. Chelsea, girl, start a website, go back to school, move to Kansas City, do literally anything else with your time.
Cameran and Shep also talk about Craig and his lying lies and how he’s basically a busted Talented Mr. Ripley. Shep comments that Craig, “Couldn’t get pussy in a monkey whorehouse with a sack of bananas over his shoulder,” and Cameran laughs because she’s not a regular girl, she’s a cool girl, and we all agree that pussy is a commodity, a status symbol, an object to acquire like clothes, or a car, or a home that only holds value in that your acquisition of it and ability to show other men that, through that acquisition, you have worth. Hah hah unexamined misogyny! Hee hee the prison of masculinity! Hoo, boy. What a hoot.
Meanwhile, Kathryn calls Craig and his girlfriend, Naomie, on the phone. Kathryn is coming back to town, she’s sober-ish, and Craig and Naomie take the news the way one would take receiving a phone call from an incoming hurricane.
Cut to Eliza’s pool party, where they have these tragic high boy tables with purple table clothes tied back with electric green fabric and the official beverage of the party is frosé, which is frozen rose, and Eliza I need you to fire/kill your party planner. Also, you are 20 years old, this is not your beautiful house, this is not your beautiful life, but way to keep your mom from appearing on-camera. Also, Eliza’s bikini is so gorgeous I have to acknowledge it. Damn.
Craig and Naomie stop by Landon’s house to pick her up for the pool party/rehash why Landon and Kathryn hate each other. You see, Landon slept with Thomas, Kathryn is insane, Landon has tiny eyes, Kathryn has huge eyes – it’s oil and water ya’ll. We flash back to last season when Landon’s tiny eyes were right up against Kathryn’s huge eyes in a staring contest where the category was evening wear and Kathryn fucking WON.
They head out to Eliza’s pool party, where T-Rav, a 54-year-old man attending pool party hosted by a 20-year-old, stands shirtless in a pool and sips frosé through a straw and now I know what rock bottom looks like. Drew, Landon’s 25-year-old boyfriend shows up, and he is indistinguishable from any other white man. Eventually, Landon and T-Rav talk and agree to play polo and Landon debuts an interview look with enormous, turquoise, tassel earrings. It’s like she got confused about where to put the pastie.
Chelsea, the only hope Shep has in the world, shows up to the pool party and they talk if she touches him I swear to God I will drive to Charleston to do give this girl an intervention.
Speaking of interventions, Shep has an intervention about Craig’s career trajectory with Craig’s girlfriend, Naomie. Is he a chef because he once cooked when he was a child? Is he a carpenter? Why does he pretend to be cool? He’ll never be a big boy like Shep! Naomie’s face/eyeroll says everything. SHEP WHY DO YOU CARE? BECAUSE IT’S YOUR ONLY STORYLINE? OK THEN.
Meanwhile, white people squirt down Eliza’s inflatable water slide and presumably die, and someone else is wearing tassel/pastie earrings so I guess that’s now an approved look.
Kathryn’s cousin, Shelbie stops by the pool party, and unfortunately does not drink any juice, but does show us 2/3 of her booty while wearing brown high heels. She also reminds us that she threw Kathryn out of her house and implies that Kathryn is not really sober. T-Rav states that he has taken three drug tests while Kathryn hasn’t taken one since the one she failed and are this many drug tests normal in a custody case? Or are they just required because their judge watches this show?
T-Rav claims he is his children’s only salvation while we all know that the live-in nanny who is raising those children 24/7 in that guest house on $200 vomit-covered rugs is the real MVP.
Meanwhile, somewhere in the South Carolina swamp, Kathryn gets into a car drives and drives and drives and drives to... take a drug test! Let’s hope she has some of that monkey whorehouse pee on her so she can pass.