In what is surely an intentional subversion of the tale of the brave, yet hubristic Odysseus, Bravo has provided a new glimpse at the forthcoming Southern Charm spinoff, Relationshep.

Chronicling the epic journey of Charleston’s own Shep Rose, the show finds our weary hero setting out on an epic journey to track down a Penelope of his own. With a new preview of the show released earlier this week by Bravo, Homer’s modern-day equivalent if there ever was one, let’s unpack this one-minute sneak peek at Relationshep.

The clip begins with Shep literally hurling himself from the balcony of an opulent home into the swirling pool waters below. This is clearly an homage to Odysseus’ escape from the island of Ogygia where he was detained by Calypso for several years. Longing to return to his one true love, Penelope, the Greek hero crafts a humble raft and sets out on a harsh and unforgiving sea. Much like Odysseus, Shep has finally escaped the enchantments of Charleston to find a relationship with real meaning.

“He’ll travel all over the country, where his friends will play matchmaker,” says Southern Charm costar Cameran Eubanks as the faces of her fellow castmates flash by, mirroring the meddlesome gods of old.

Then we are treated to a dizzying montage of fresh-faced women as they meet Shep. One rides a horse. Another really likes beer, which is a big plus for Shep. We are then told in voiceover that if Shep makes a meaningful connection with these women, they will be invited back to Charleston. But before reaching his happily-ever-after, Shep must first hear his failures and shortcomings detailed by this cavalcade of female suitors.

“This I’m not doing,” says one woman cryptically as Shep chews on his sunglasses.

What won’t she do? Can we expect Relationshep to challenge the rules of propriety and societal norms? Probably not. She most likely just wants Shep to not turn every surface of her home into an ashtray or fall asleep while making mac ‘n cheese at 3 a.m.

[image-2]As we hear Shep say he’s so scared of making the wrong decision, we see two young women dressed in swimsuits. One is crying as she says this isn’t a game to her. This scene appears to be filmed by a camera peering creepily around a half-opened bedroom door. This is not a good look, Bravo.

As the brief preview of Relationshep comes to a close, we hear Shep say, “Behind every great man is a greater woman.”

This is a new spin on the old expression that means a woman in a relationship will get to do all the hard work and forgiving, while the man gets all the credit. But it’s packaged in a way that makes it sound like a compliment. To look at this expression another way, standing in the way of every great woman is a man who accidentally gave himself food poisoning when she left home for the weekend to visit her friends from college. See, that doesn’t sound as whimsical.

In the end, we are offered the promise of a “new Shep.” What that means, we’ll have to wait and see. Relationshep is expected to premiere on Bravo later this fall.

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