Personal responsibility. Yep, that’s what we’re talking about this week. Buckle up.
So, everyone from my personal life is traveling across Europe, but in exchange, I am writing about reality television show and cat-sitting the previously mentioned Nathan the Cat. I’ll let you determine who got the better end of that deal. I mean, sure, zero human contact would weigh on most people’s minds, but I can assure you that I am completely mentally sound enough to recap this week’s episode of Southern Charm. We’re going to dive right in — not because there is literally a ticking clock in this week’s advanced screener, but because we’re ready, willing, and eager to shake the internal voices that point out our own shortcomings when faced with loneliness.
We start this week’s episode out with Shep doing laundry as he greets a young woman who has chosen to stay the night at his place. As she descends the stairs in a hazy stupor, Shep sings “Here comes Miss America,” because life is more about doing things than making sense. Shep then addresses the camera, saying that he prefers when women are gone before he awakes rather than staying late the next morning. This is why you date people who don’t stick around till dawn — like Batman. If you can get past the parental issues and rubber nipples, Batman is the perfect suitor. He’s wealthy, emotionally closed off, and attracts deranged clowns. It’s everything you could want in a one-night stand.
I meanwhile have been spending all my waking hours with a house cat, which is fine because whereas dogs are uplifting animals of unsurpassed joy, cats function as a black hole capable of absorbing all your negative thoughts and feelings. This is also why they possess the density of a dying star when they inevitably choose to lie on your chest.
Anyway, Shep dispatches of this woman by promising her that they will soon attend “half-off wine night” because there is no series of words that can better entrance the modern heart than “half-off wine night.” At once, it promises a full evening Dionysian indulgence without breaking the bank.
Shep then receives a call from his doctor. As a reminder, a doctor is the person the people once called when they felt ill. That was before it became impossible to afford to talk to a doctor unless you tackled them in a parking lot. Falling back on the theme of personal responsibility, you may remember that Shep visited a medical professional for a check-up. It turns out that he found the one doctor who will call you back without asking to schedule another appointment. According to the doc, Shep’s bad cholesterol is elevated and his liver enzymes are all jacked up.
The doctor recommends that Shep not drink so heavily. Shep says he “Doesn’t want the party that is life to end.” Although I disagree with Shep that life is a party — unless he means that life is a party and you are the clown, a subservient target of mockery toiling away at the delight of others. Then, yes, life is a party. And some of us choose to burn our birthday candles at both ends. Anyway, way to be responsible, Shep.
Later, we find Whitney meeting up with Patricia as the two discuss Thomas’ concerns, namely that he is “getting older and his time is running out.” This is, of course, exactly what is happening and shouldn’t be of surprise to a grown man. Has no one discussed death with Thomas? Does he believe all his goldfish and limping polo horses are living on a farm upstate?
Either way, Whitney says the main concern is finding someone who would be deemed a “proper mate” for Thomas because Whitney is merely studying our species. Meanwhile, the time clock in this episode’s advances screener hangs in the corner of the screen like the sword of Damocles. Patricia decides to resolve the situation by hosting a dinner party and seating Thomas and Landon together in a way that will unite their fates because she grew up in the Cliffs Notes version of a Jane Austen novel.
Patricia says she believes the power of the dinner party has been lessened by online dating, adding that when shopping around for dates online, you could end up with Jack the Ripper. Coincidentally, this is the basis for my new young adult cyber-romance novel, “Swipe Right, Slash Left: My Tinder Date with the Whitechapel Murderer.”
Cutting over to Cameran, who has been waiting outside of a rental home for the better part of the morning, we find that Craig is running late. But don’t worry, he calls ahead with an excuse. Apparently, there are “a million” school buses impeding his progress. Come on, guys. Who put all these school buses here? Craig is wasting valuable time that could be spent embroidering and cooking questionably close to his cat just so your kids can arrive at school safely.
Finally, Craig arrives at the rental property that Cameran has to show him. After initially telling Cameran that the house doesn’t look as big as it actually is, Craig announces that he doesn’t “want this home in his portfolio.” For reference, Craig’s portfolio currently includes a kiddy pool full of hair product, a shoebox full of cease and desist letters from Patrick Bateman, and a hidden portrait of himself that ages.
With Craig refusing to both love it or list it, Cameran turns her attention from real estate to romance and offers Craig some relationship advice. Cameran suggests that Craig consider what his responsibility is in his relationship in terms of making sacrifices to ensure the other person’s happiness. This is sound advice, but Craig can’t hear it over the high-pitched squeal of rage building in the lizard part of his brain. Craig says that Naomie has broken the seal of trust between them with her “gossip,” which is actually just Naomie talking to a friend about her life. Craig meanwhile has begun imagining how to bring about some Handmaid’s Tale scenario, which is ironic because he doesn’t read books written by women because that’s just more gossip. Other things that fall into Craig’s broad definition of gossip include when one woman sneezes and another woman says, “Bless you,” when more than one woman ride an elevator together, and tampon commercials.
Skipping ahead, Cameran goes to meet Shep for lunch — and look, she brought her voodoo doll with her. This reminds me of when I was turned away from lunch for bringing my doll.
“I’ll have a table for two.”
“Sir, we told you never to come back here.”
“It’s because of the doll, isn’t it?”
“No, it is because you’re drunk and this is a post office.”
Anyway, Shep arrives, takes a seat next to the doll, and asks the much-needed question of “What the hell?” Cameran, reasonably, explains herself by saying that the restaurant is haunted by a dog and a woman. As any real Charlestonian has already figured out, Shep and Cameran are having lunch at the city’s most celebrated Mexican restaurant — Perro Muerto Fantasma Dama, famous for their shrimp and grit tacos and blood that runs up the walls.
Shep then tells Cameran about his doctor’s recommendation to abstain from drinking alcohol, and Cameran responds by giving him a doll with a penis. Yep, it’s the love doll Cameran had commissioned for Shep, and, I repeat, it has a penis. Cameran tells Shep that when he meets the woman of his dreams, he should leave the doll on her porch. This is also the best way to get a woman to empty her savings, dye her hair, and leave town forever. This is a Gone Girl doll. In the original cut of ’90s classic Fear, Mark Wahlburg leaves an anatomically correct doll on Reese Witherspoon’s porch rather than decapitate her dog, but test audiences found the scene too disturbing.
Back at Craig and Naomie’s, Naomie returns home to find every stitchable surface monogrammed. A prisoner of her own initials, Naomie finds Craig embroidering cats on their nice pillowcases. Using a digital interface on what is apparently a state-of-the-art sewing machine, Craig is shown pushing the cat-shaped button and the machine runs itself.
Back at sewing machine headquarters, the guy who staked his career on including automatic cat capabilities on the latest model cracks open a bottle of scotch.
Naomie asks her partner what he’s been up to today, an innocuous enough question. Craig responds that he “Potentially bought a house.” Naomie is counter-balanced in the frame with Craig’s sewing apparatus, a clever visual cue to her role in his life.
His spontaneous business decisions in question, Craig says, “Your partner is supposed to be your Ride or Die Chick” because he learned about relationships from DMX.
Landon calls to break the tension, asking if Craig and Naomie will be attending Jennifer’s “Sip and See” tomorrow. Naomie explains that this event is just about getting drunk and holding their friend’s new baby. The fact that this is a thing and has a name is as troubling as a voodoo doll with a penis, which is a new phrase I have coined but please feel free to use it constantly in everyday conversation.
Cameran then arrives at Patricia’s dinner party where Whitney explains that the evening is about matching up Thomas and Landon. Cameran is against the idea because it doesn’t immediately call upon the dark arts. Cameran, a being of pure self awareness, explains that she and Patricia are both trying to make a love connection, but while Patricia throws a dinner party, she uses a magic doll.
Later in the evening, Thomas asks Landon about her boyfriend. Whitney interrupts to say that he heard the guy was dumb, because Whitney is a human e-cig. Landon brilliantly points out the double standard of men dating younger women, whereas she gets mocked for it. Then sobriety, I mean propriety goes out the window.
Cameran tells Thomas and Landon that they should go out. Whitney, who sees a series of ones and zeros when he looks at everyone, asks Thomas if he would insist on a pre-nup if he and Landon got married. Thomas says no. Patricia says everyone should have a pre-nup, especially Thomas. And I look across the room at the cat who’s staying with me. In the piercing voice of a man I’ve never met, but for some reason find frighteningly familiar, the cat says, “There’s a darkness in you.” I shake my head, afraid of the inevitable moment when I choose to heed its call.
We then meet up with Kathryn as she attends yoga class with special guest Shep. Shep arrives and greets the class with all of his clothes in hand like he changed in the lobby. Shep is present as hell. As the class continues, Shep contorts like a crash test dummy thrown off of a cliff, bouncing against the mountainside before crashing upon the bedrock.
Then we find Austen and his parents meeting up for dinner. They speak for some amount of time before his mother asks “can we talk now” like they are hoping to rub out the Corleones. They challenge Austen, saying that he is living hand to mouth. Austen’s mother tells him to put together a business plan before the Chicago families move in on their turf.
Finally, the Sip and See begins — the first of many alcohol-centric life events, followed by the Booze and Bar Mitzvah, Whiskey Sour Sweet Sixteen, and Drunk Easter.
This is all very boring until Naomie arrives and reveals that she left Craig behind because of his tardiness.
Craig’s issues become a topic of party conversation, and after he finally arrives, a woman whose name may be Jennifer approaches Craig and asks why everyone upstairs is arguing about him.
Seeing an opening, Craig decides to begin an arguments with Naomie in front of Jennifer’s mother, who immediately runs away.
Craig says he is “literally” dating a teenage woman — wording — and then tells Naomie “Child, you can speak,” which I didn’t think could be uttered without a church fan in your hand.
The episode ends with these two on the outs and Whitney wearing his sunglasses indoors because no one explained sunglasses to Whitney. Meanwhile, I have to return to my home. There’s a cat who needs me.
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