Hey everybody. This week’s episode centers around our characters’ varying relationships with food. Also, not to bury the lede, but it ends in a wilderness hotdog fight. Not sure what that means? Well, neither did I. But we live, we learn, and we watch grown men overestimate their survival skills.
I have a quick plug for those of you who have been following along this season. I have created some original #COIT shirts and stickers for you fans, with all proceeds going to the Sex Workers Outreach Project-USA, a national 501(c)3 charity dedicated to advocacy for the rights of those working in the sex trade. They serve as great gifts for this upcoming Bastille Day.
We start out this week with Michael the Butler escorting Patricia through the McDonald’s drive-thru in a Bentley. Apparently since Whitney returned home, he has been forcing a very strict Earth diet on everyone. Michael jokingly says that Whitney has tasked him with cultivating mold for smoothies. I fear we are only a few episodes away from Whitney handing Michael a cookbook titled “To Serve Man.”
And if you’re wondering what Patricia orders at McDonald’s, Michael requests “a cheeseburger with no tomato.” After being informed that no tomatoes come on a typical McDonald’s cheeseburger, Michael retorts that ketchup is made from tomatoes.
Not to argue fast-food semantics, but when ordering it’s usually best not to refer to things by their most basic elements. Like, you wouldn’t ask for a side of potatoes at the drive-thru window. I’m not sure if this is some power exercise for Michael, but let’s please refrain from “Well actually”-ing any fast-food workers.
Soon this scene quickly descends into a full-on farce.
Parking at the McDonald’s, Michael retrieves a bottle of red wine from the trunk (#trunkwine) and proceeds to serve Patricia her ketchup-less cheeseburger. This tops Patricia’s list of guilty pleasures, followed closely by Costco hotdogs and Taco Bell. I’m curious as to where cracking open a warm bottle of trunk wine in a McDonald’s parking lot at noon stands on the list, but who am I to judge?
Moving on, we join Shep and Cameran as they recount the big tiff between Kathryn and Danni that occurred last week. The most interesting part of this scene is that Shep is currently trying to sell his house and wants to build a new home for himself. Cameran warns him that gaining approval for construction is a costly and difficult process, but Shep pays her little mind.
I know very little about the housing market, but if Shep builds a house, it should be the one from that episode of Wings where the architect designs a house for Joe and Helen that’s shaped like a 7. Shep can take the slide down to breakfast every morning. And that, dear readers, is the entirety of my knowledge on architecture.
Speaking of dysfunctional home lives, Kathryn is joined by her new boyfriend, Joe, because Southern Charm requires at least one disgraced former politician at all times. As the couple sits down to an Italian dinner, the conversation quickly turns to Olive Garden. I can honestly say that no food item better represents Southern Charm than the Giant Meatball served at Olive Garden. It is this show on a plate. Just a baby-head sized ball of meat lobbed in the general direction of regional authenticity.
Anyway, Joe is very polite throughout dinner, but he looks like a work-casual version the robot that Krang from the Ninja Turtles cartoon would ride around in.
So the men of Southern Charm (who aren’t facing criminal inquiries) decide to take advantage of their ability to leave the state by planning a road trip to Nashville. In preparation for the trip, Craig, Shep, and Austen go shopping for camping supplies. Austen, apparently planning on doing some prospecting on the trip, asks the salesperson where he can find a headlamp.
Despite being the three men least capable of surviving in the wilderness, Austen, Shep, and Craig are excited about their plans to get in touch with nature. And by this, I mean they are going to get drunk in the woods. The fact that the camping store employees aren’t legally required to contact protective services to prevent these three men from dying in the forest is beyond me. This is going to be a real Grizzly Man meets Ernest Goes to Camp situation.
Adding to the fun is noted outdoorsman Whitney, who seems less than thrilled about the idea of sharing an RV with the boys. Oh, and then Shep arrives with a big knee brace because he injured himself riding a mechanical bull. This isn’t a joke. I didn’t make this up as a joke for you to laugh at. Prepare for an 8 hour car ride with these champions.
Moving on, we join Eliza on her family, ugh, plantation. Danni and Naomie are coming over to engage in some literal horse riding and some figurative fence mending. Eliza keeps retelling the story of how she missed her flight, which later crashed. This means that she will not stop postulating about the true importance of life, but it just comes across like she’s reading from those faux-inspirational “Live. Laugh. Love” decals that people use to decorate their walls. Eliza has officially become the person who returns from studying abroad in Europe and describes themselves as “Not religious, but very spiritual,” but then gets upset when her Lyft driver won’t let them smoke in the car.
Anyway, they talk about how they don’t like Kathryn. The horses mull around and do horse things. It’s pretty uneventful. I spent the entire scene thinking about how it must be a major coup to be the donkey that gets to hang out with the horses.
Donkey politics aside, next we find Cameran vetting a potential nanny for her child. Barbara, our nanny candidate, is slowly walked through every conceivable scenario that Cameran could imagine for her child’s death. It is a grim montage of hypothetical chokings, drownings, and infant maimings that only demonstrates that the human imagination can be a cruel and unrelenting trap. This ends with Barbara promising to get a helmet for Cameran’s child.
Speaking of people who needs helmets, Shep, Austen, Craig, and Whitney finally arrive at their campsite. They are drunk, and it is night. I foresee a fire in the immediate future. But not before our boys have to ask their driver to open the door to the camper for them. It is at this point that I begin collecting what will become these men’s last known photos.
Austen with his headlamp and Craig with a tiny hatchet set out into the woods to gather kindling. This plays out pretty much like the Blair Witch Project if it were just the scenes of them arguing about losing the map. Craig mindlessly hacks away at a tree stump, while Austen roleplays as a modern-day Rudolph, lighting the way.
I don’t officially become concerned about the well-being of these four grown men, until Nate, their driver and caretaker, clocks out and wishes everyone goodbye for the evening. This is bad. Shep immediately begins handling raw meat, sticking his hands directly into an open flame that they are using to cook burgers. Things become heated (wordplay!) when Whitney shouts at Craig for pouring an entire shaker of salt onto the burgers.
Craig becomes upset after Shep and Whitney continue to hurl insults at him. Austen tries to be the voice of reason, but we are in nature now, untethered by the laws of man. Things erupt as Craig and Whitney throw hotdogs at each other.
Whitney says, “You got hotdog juice on my glasses.” Just like in Lord of the Flies, the glasses represent rationality and civility. But now, those grand institutions to which we aspire have become doused in so much hotdog water. All hope is lost. That understandable and lawful world is slipping away.