Southern Charm Recap: Kiss and Yell

Southern Charm

Auldbrass Glitters Is Not Gold

Season 8

Episode 9

Editor’s Rating

3 stars

Southern Charm

Auldbrass Glitters Is Not Gold

Season 8

Episode 9

Editor’s Rating

3 stars

Photo: Bravo

Against all odds, after last week’s dog wedding, we luckily aren’t spending this week’s episode at a dog honeymoon. Instead, we do Charleston’s next-morning-brunch equivalent: everyone debriefing the previous night, hungover in their respective homes.

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Craig and Paige go over the Naomie situation, providing a little more context to why Craig sprints away full speed like Kyle Richards in Amsterdam everytime Naomie looks his way. Paige trusts Craig but doesn’t trust Naomie — and finds the idea of her continuing to pull Craig aside to chat inappropriate. Good thing they’re both going on the imminent cast trip together without Paige!

Speaking of Naomie, she and Leva get a call from Austen, who reveals what we already know: He hooked up with Ciara the previous night to spite Olivia for bringing a date. Despite this, he says he still likes Olivia — okay, whatever, boring. The really good gossip comes from Naomie, who must have been slipped some kind of truth serum to willingly reveal it. Unprompted and of her own free will, she tells Leva and Austen (of all people) that she hooked up with Whitney (of all people) last night. Leva inhales every ounce of oxygen in Naomie’s living room with a gasp that lasts five whole uninterrupted seconds.

Hundreds of questions emerge, like, for example, “Why?” Surely it wasn’t the way he played what we were told was the wedding march on his electric guitar. The most logical explanation seems to be the sheer shock factor, and boy, oh boy, does it deliver on that front. Leva is hardly able to compose herself, rattling off questions on everyone’s mind, and finally says, “I just got excited about the group trip.” Same, Leva.

If I’ve learned one thing for sure, it’s that Bravo as a company is fully sustained by party buses and sprinter vans. Without them, their entire business model crumbles, and this episode is no exception because Whitney is sending everyone on this trip via an hour-and-15-minute bus ride. Said trip is to a property belonging to one of Whitney’s friends, which was built by Frank Lloyd Wright, who they keep referring to as America’s most famous architect. This is a lie because the most famous architect in America is Sam Baldwin, a.k.a. Tom Hanks’s character in Sleepless in Seattle.

As they’re waiting there on the bus for Kathryn and Chleb to arrive, we cut to them at home packing — or pretend packing — in a truly perplexing scene. They say it’s weird for them to be going on a group trip since their relationship is in a rocky place, and then they break up. First, déjà vu, because they did this and undid it just a few episodes ago. And second, clearly they broke up off camera and had to put on this little skit for story reasons. Either way, Kathryn is not going on the group trip, and after her absence at the dog wedding, it feels as if the show is testing the waters for a Kathryn-less season.

The bus ride gives Austen a chance to be a crybaby about Olivia bringing a date and, even though she’s not there, cry some more about having to share the altar with Madison, whom he then naturally goes on a tear about — so much so that he snaps at Venita that she better not be texting Madison every single thing they’re saying. Poor innocent Venita simply had her phone in her hands to entertain herself so she didn’t have to listen to these idiots anymore, probably just playing a little Candy Crush or texting Madison every single thing that they say (which is her prerogative!). Plus, lest we forget, the conversation will eventually be televised, so there are no secrets.

When they get to the property, Whitney doles out the rooms in what Austen correctly describes as a ’70s porno house. Leva is forced to try to keep a straight face while Whitney just so happens to give Naomie the best room, with a king bed and all. What are the odds? Naturally, this secret won’t last long (Austen already told Shep and Taylor), but I wish it would just so I could keep seeing Leva’s lack of poker face.

Just as entertaining is the fact that there’s a whole-ass lizard in Shep, Taylor, and Olivia’s room — and Taylor (a.k.a. “Lizard Patrol”) is selected as the tribute who has to trap it. This is because Shep claims he’s “not good at serpents,” which, based on him calling a lizard a “serpent,” appears to be true. Now, when they first showed the lizard without anything near it for scale, I was convinced it was the size of a human arm — but when Taylor started her hunt, it was clear it would fit in a cup. Her catching it in one is still a wildly impressive feat because that thing was running like Craig when Naomie walks in the room.

The group splits up into two activities: horseback riding and ATV riding, and I just know if Marcie weren’t pregnant she’d be out there ripping it on those ATVs, doing jumps over mud pits and popping wheelies while shotgunning a Miller Lite. Alas, she’s sidelined to just walk around the pond while the group revs all around and Olivia tries to ride what appears to be a legally blind horse.

While giving the horses a break (union rules), Taylor, Olivia, and Naomie catch up, and Taylor tries to artfully lead the conversation to Whitney by subtly asking if there are any new love interests in her life. But right when Naomie is about to spill her guts, Olivia jumps in and changes the subject, allowing Naomie to get away scot-free. If I were Taylor, I’d be throwing sugar cubes for Olivia’s horse to bolt after.

Instead, Naomie drops the bomb that Austen hooked up with Ciara after the dog wedding, which rocks Olivia, who can’t believe he’s so upset about her going on a date when he went and did that. Naomie then tries to explain the concept of retaliation to her.

As they get ready for dinner, word starts to spread about Whitney and Naomie like a grimy version of “The Telephone Hour” from Bye Bye Birdie. People are shocked, people are recoiling, people are concerned — particularly about Craig’s reaction, but luckily we don’t have to wait long to see it in action.

Austen sets up the reveal perfectly, asking Craig, “You don’t give a shit about who she’s hooking up with or what she’s doing?” Craig responds with an unequivocal absolutely not, never, no way no how, couldn’t be me. So Austen tells him she made out with Whitney, and you’ll never believe this but Craig immediately gives a shit. In fact, he’s begging for more information, demanding to know where Austen heard it, and then, like something out of a psychological thriller, in saunters Whitney himself, dressed as if he’s playing a teenager on the CW, who reveals he’d been listening at the door.

Craig is having what Leva referred to as his “big feelings,” which are all over the map. He swears he doesn’t care what Naomie does but thinks it’s shady of Whitney, who is disappointing Craig by breaking the bro code — and spends predinner drinks taking a page from Austen’s sulking book.

Shep checks in with Craig on how life’s going, asking if he’s happy. And despite the current circumstance, Craig says yes, but he adds that he had to take a step away from everything familiar to get there. Suddenly, Shep transforms from Charleston good ol’ boy who’s afraid of lizards and commitment to the world’s most astute therapist — suggesting to Craig that maybe he really just liked being around people who didn’t know who he was at his lowest.

This spirals into Craig saying that Shep was horrible to him and that he had to get away from him, while Shep brushes it off as playful razzing. It’s a tale as old as time, or at least as old as 2014, which is when this show premiered.

Normally, when a show rehashes old drama, it can be tiring. But for some strange reason, finally hearing Craig and Shep and Whitney going at it again about them hooking up with the same girl, and about Shep giving Craig too hard of a time, felt like coming home. This is exactly what the good old days of Southern Charm was all about, back when Kathryn was bolting down a dock screaming “Thomas” in a fur coat and we got to hear the iconic full theme song every week (BRING BACK ‘BA BA DOO’).

All that’s missing is Cameran Eubanks: Southern Charm’s Lauren Conrad, tragically run off the show by Kathryn, who apparently no longer appears anyway. Her absence leaves a void on my television screen, which longs for her return. She was even announced to be a guest co-host on The View last season, but it never came to be, and no answers were ever given as to why we were teased like that. Maybe she’ll get to do one of those Real World Homecoming shows? We can only imagine what she’s up to, probably sitting in her house with her unseen husband, Jason, channel surfing while she waits for her DoorDash delivery of a full rack of ribs to arrive. She hears the nostalgic sounds of Craig and Shep fighting coming from her television; maybe her finger lingers over the remote for a moment. She watches for a minute, just until she sees Shep fall out of his chair at the suggestion of being jealous of Craig. “Those boys,” she mutters fondly as she changes the channel.

Southern Charm Recap: Kiss and Yell

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Photo Credit: Pixabay

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