The premiere of Southern Charm is behind us now, jam packed with boyish fun and further proof that white people are bad at making their own alcoholic punch. I sat down with fellow Charleston comedians Jeremy McLellan and Lauren Krass to dissect the first installment of Charm and to take a few notes on what we learned.
What Hunter Learned:
A Southern gentleman should not curse, know how to dress and be chivalrous—and depending on your sense of fashion and morality, it appears that the entire cast of Southern Charm can satisfy anywhere from 0-2 of those things. Let’s meet our players.
Whitney Sudler-Smith is a tragic hero: a boy stuck inside a man’s body. He likes cigars a lot, like, a lot. He also plays guitar really loud. So loud, in fact, that it is distracting to his mother, who he still lives with and seems to have a martini glass constantly glued to her hand, which in Whitney’s eyes makes her, “the most elegant woman” that he has ever known. Also, if you don’t understand Whitney, and his documentary Ultrasuede which chronicled a 1970s NYC designer, well, then “f*ck you” (that’s a loose quote, but pretty close).
Cameron Eubanks, a native of Anderson, South Carolina cashes in her reality chips (see Real World: San Diego) and parlays it into a bet that Southern Charm will hallmark her as a reality TV star. We’re introduced to her early in the episode when she meets Shep Rose whose family lineage goes back to The Boykins (as in the spaniel, literally) at 82 Queen to discuss his new hook up. Cameron is studying for her real estate license, which she makes sound like the end-all-be-all of a career opportunity. So remember women of Charleston, either sell real estate or you are done for. Also, according to Cameron, you are a part of an all-female buffet, your role is to get married and bare children, or you are also likewise, screwed (not literally).
We learn that Shep got his degree in Business from Vanderbilt, but who cares? A life of leisure is for him, so why do stuff? He believes 35 is too young to get married and pictures heaven as a place where 50 year old men have sex with 25 year old women, which sounds strangely like a come-on to join some new occult religion. Shep’s bro-in-arms is Craig Conover who really likes hair gel. He’s in law school and working for The Anastopoulo Law Firm (as in, “Don’t scream, call Akim.”)—the car chaser who you may also realize from his reality TV days on the mock court shows Eye For An Eye.
Craig is tormented because he has this thing called, “a job” and can’t make it to a party held at Whitney’s garden at 1 PM on a Wednesday. During a meeting with his boss, it is clear that Craig calls the shots and can’t operate on, “normal people hours,” so stop trying to wear the pants, alright, bossman? Later in the episode, Craig also reveals that if he had all the money in the world, he would have a slide from his bed to his swimming pool: a sound investment in my opinion.
Craig of course does make it to the party, where Thomas Ravenel is eyeing the Southern “celebrutante” Kathryn Dennis. Kathryn has family ties to long-standing South Carolina Senator Rembert Dennis and former Vice President, John C. Calhoun (who, according to every still photo, was always extremely angry). Now, Ravenel usually doesn’t have a thing for redheads, but after some enthralling conversation with Dennis about the fact that she is thinking about growing out her natural color (auburn), Thomas thinks with his “little head” (whoops!) and has a one-night stand with her.
We pick up with the gang at Ravenel’s plantation home, where he is hosting a polo match. The team includes Ravenel himself and local restaurant owner, John David, who likes to call people “brother” and perpetually looks out of breath. Whitney brings along his eccentric friend, Jenna King, who was born and raised in Sumter, South Carolina, but didn’t get married right out of high school like all her lowlife, hillbilly friends. Instead she decided to live in more places than you will ever visit, and is cooler than you. She says she’ll stay in Charleston until she, “gets bored.” Still, Jenna is an outsider to the group, ya know, like us, and so we root for her. She’s not like these other people, because she’s like us. Wait, we’re the ones who live here—stop playing mind games Southern Charm!
At the polo match, it is confirmed by Shep, that the bro-code is alive and well when he “eyes” Jenna first, giving him territorial rights. However, the guys on this show have about as much game as me, drunk, impersonating a douche bag, which is to say, they do not. Stay tuned next week, when we learn who may or may not sleep with who!
What Jeremy Learned:
All of the characters at the top of the show explained their family lineage like it was a badge of honor. I just wish there could have been one black guy on the show, so we could hear someone say, “I could trace my family history to all the other families on this show”—just one black person out there who also has the last name, “Ravenel” who puts it together. Unfortunately, the most racial integrated thing on the show was the zebra rug on the living room floor of Travis Ravenel’s plantation home.
I don’t think Shep will ever find true love. Growing up, I had a Boykin Spaniel and she didn’t find true love either, because we got her spayed. I kind of wish the same would happen to Shep, too. As for Jenna, I really like her style, bringing back the riot mask look.
Thomas Ravenel was actually my favorite character on the show, truly. He is someone actually trying to figure his life out. He has a point of view and he’s unapologetic. His joke about not liking cocaine, just the smell of it, did seem a little rehearsed, though. I’d love for Southern Charm to come to an open mic I’m at to hear my jokes. I could write new cocaine jokes for Thomas Ravenel: "The worst part of being addicted to coke is when the waiter asks if Pepsi is OK. IT'S NOT OK!"
I also learned that every guy on Southern Charmed appears to have bought his sunglasses at Urban Outfitters on King Street.
What Lauren Learned:
Being physically attractive and related to other former slave owners are the key traits when looking for a future wife. Personality does not matter—at all. If you are lucky and get married, you will still be referred to as, “the wife.” Whitney’s mom really wants him to get married, but I didn’t like how she disregarded whoever had been staying with him when she found lingering Ann Taylor sweaters on the floor. I own three Ann Taylor sweaters, which I thought were fancy, but I guess I’m not daughter-in-law material.
As it turns out, if you are single, female, and funny, then you are, “like one of the guys.” That’s not a compliment! Great, if Lilly Pulitzer Barbie, Cameron, is one of the guys then I have no chance. If she’s cool, then she must have a penis. And what about poor Kathryn Dennis? Did she have more than two lines? It’s like her role was to not talk and get boned. Then she got coffee.
Also, rich people don’t know how to make punch. Did you see that? Everyone hated it.
After prison, some people find God. T-Rav found polo. God gives people a reason to live and to find meaning. I guess T-Rav found his. I actually did like him, though. He’s not too cartoonish. I like that he said, “I’m not picking a wife like a croissants at a bakery.” He is eating the croissants, though.
I really hope Whitney gets killed off in episode two.