Southern Charm. What We Learned. Round Table Discussion 8.

Hunter Gardner

I’m sitting in the back living room of my house. It is a room that is surprisingly well insulated, but that is its only redeeming quality. The carpet is made of putting green-green carpet with mystery stains, and the furniture includes my roommate’s futon from college that I’m guessing has sentimental value (maybe because the futon also has mystery stains?). There’s a stationary bike, two bar stools and a plastic crate filled with old X-Box games. I’m watching here, because in the front living room my roommate and his girlfriend are watching Southern Charm (completely un-ironically) and I cannot let any other outside opinion influence this article. Not this time. No, it’s just me. No comedian friends to banter with. No hope to tie up any loose ends next week in my search for resolve. This is it. This is the finale. This is what I learned. 


We open with Whitney inviting Thomas to have a “mano y mano” (I’m going to speculate he meant “mono y mono” because “mano y mano” means “hand and hand” and this scene has no homo-erotic payoff). He breaks the news that he slept with Kathryn Dennis. Did he hook up with Kathryn in a moment of weakness? Yes. Was this moment completely contrived to create drama for a reality television show? We’re about to find out. Whitney admits that this act made him feel dark and sleazy. A psychologist would call this self-actualization. 


Meanwhile, the rest of the cast, which is a collection of late 20-somethings who could all be cast on The Real World as “white person who may get into racial heated debate with not-white-person” (except Cameran who already was, and Jenna who would be cast as “girl who is kicked out of the house because of secret addiction”) are sitting in a tailgate of an SUV playing a game of “What If You Could Know Your Future?” which is actually kind of sweet and humanizing. Except that everyone seems terrified to know what his or her future would be, probably because they are seeing exactly what it could be via the two men who are not holding hands in the backyard. 


Kathryn seeks Thomas out for bedtime. They go in, but Thomas follows the old adage of not going to bed angry, so he asks Kathryn if there’s anything she wants to tell him. Thomas eventually has to ask her straight away if she had sex with Whitney. Instead of answering with a straight answer, Kathryn uses some kind of voodoo girl magic to convince Thomas that the problem is not whether she did or didn’t, but rather if he thinks she did or didn’t. This is a lose-lose. Finally, Kathryn confesses, and in this moment we see that her aggression was just a coping mechanism for how regretful she is about the whole thing. I’m not saying that the way she spoke to Thomas wasn’t manipulative or that her continued bluffing and passive aggressiveness was called for, but it is how 21-year-olds act (and people much older, for that matter). Thomas forgives her for this, as should we, really. 


The next morning the girls come into the guys’ cabin to wake them up in mock military fashion, but also with adorable girl flare like when Danni shakes Shep and says, “Wakey, wakey.” Don’t let this adorableness fool you. These are women who have no regard for sleep. They are evil and must be stopped. I love sleep almost more than food, and that’s a close call. Sorry, this is a personal issue for me, but I feel like Shep and co. probably feel the same way. Wait, am I starting to relate to these people, even on a very minor level? So be it. Sleep is king. 


Shep and Danni stay at the cabin to clean up. He admits that they have been slipping back into hooking up and naturally gravitate towards each other. “Does that mean I should get married?” he speculates. Whoa, that’s a quantum leap. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I hold hands with a girl and start picturing family portraits with white button downs on the beach, but that’s more of my own personal problem, and Shep does not seem like the guy who thinks about these things (though he does seem like a guy who will some day have a family portrait involving white button ups on the beach). Still, this is foreshadowing, for sure. 


Whitney and Shep have some business to discuss, and Whitney tells Shep that he thinks his heart just isn’t in the restaurant business. This hurts Shep’s feelings, but Shep is cool with it—after calling Whitney an asshole, of course, which is warranted. This was pretty much the entire B Story of the series and it ended much like it began—completely flat. 


Craig goes on a date. I like Craig. He’s likable. Maybe that’s why he hasn’t been getting much face time on this show. His date is Karen, who asks him where he thinks he’ll be in five years. This is terrible date conversation. Then Craig talks about himself a lot. Forget everything I just said. 


Whitney moves into his new place. I won’t spend long here, but it’s hilarious to watch the super rich do manual labor. 


Whitney decides to have a loft warming/Fourth of July party. Shep has invited every girl he has been “talking to.” This creates friction, mostly because Danni is also there and Shep is drunk on arrival. Shep and Danni have a confrontation. Danni gives Shep a talking to about his potential. Shep admits that he acts like a child. His ability to spout bullshit is incredible. He and Kathryn really should have been the main couple on this show.


Back inside, Craig and Kathryn squash their drama by finding the mutual ground of being pretty and liking to party. Drama squashed. This world is less (more?) funny to me, only because I’ve spent my fair share of time at upper-middle-class-white-people-parties and witnessed almost identical conversations. 


Fireworks start and everyone goes upstairs. There are sparklers. White people love sparklers. 


Thomas and Whitney have one last conversation about Kathryn and his political future. Thomas says he is going to go for it (the politics, anyway, though because we’re living in the future we know that he has gone for both). 


Whitney plays guitar loudly on the roof of his new place. This is a second beat on his playing guitar in the first episode when he played guitar loudly at his mom’s house. This really brings his character full circle. 


Thomas calls Kathryn. They need to have a face-to-face. A mano y mano, if you will. Thomas breaks up with her. Kathryn articulates more dramatic, passive aggressive, unfair garbage. It’s hard to watch because we don’t know what’s real. What we do know is that they went through a lot in a short time. We know that they dated for about a month before Thomas ended it. And now we know that they have a baby. Speculate as you will.