In the densest layers of the muck-and-scum-filled reality television ecosystem, a few Bravolebrities have risen like deranged phoenixes to the tippy top. They bob there proudly upon the fungus-ridden slimy surface and take comfort in the asinine belief that the only thing that matters is that strangers know their name. The creatures currently crowding that swamp include:
Big Little Lies was remarkable television. Did you watch it? That series felt to me like a fucking Super Bowl that gloriously spanned seven blissful weeks. It had everything I long for in my entertainment – everything. Phenomenally layered performances by actresses at the tippy tops of their game? Check. Sweeping pans of treacherous bluffs that simultaneously read as luxurious and bitingly haunting? Check. Wardrobe that captured each character’s essence, from the floral fit and flare dresses on Madeline to the power suit dug from the depths of her closet and her soul on Celeste to the diaphanous dress probably made out of hemp that still couldn’t hide the sculpted and sinewy yoga body on Bonnie? Check. A soundtrack that had me whipping out my phone every ten minutes like someone had set an egg timer so I could Pandora the hell out of the show and add every single tune to my playlist causing me to later belt out the words you bloody motherfucking asshole as I planked on my living room floor and then hum the absolutely perfect and totally melodic theme song when I applied conditioner to my hair in the shower? Check. A mystery I couldn’t hold out on so I bought the book and read it in less than a day and knew who the killer was and still applauded when the actual crime finally went down that Sunday evening on HBO? Fucking check.
Having to remove Big Little Lies from my DVR almost caused me to bawl my eyes out, but at the same time I’m into the limited series trend that’s happening right now. Some of the finest writing is being done for television and many of our most gifted actors will appear on shows that are guaranteed to last for only a season so they can delve deep into a character, get nominated for an Emmy, and then move on to doing something else they’re passionate about. This is not to say that I don’t harbor hopes that the rumors about a second season of Big Little Lies are true. Had a forest been in the vicinity of my home, there’s a slight chance I would have been compelled to walk there and light a candle during one warm twilight in an effort to sway the powers that be to greenlight season two immediately. Then again, all those Smokey the Bear commercials that used to air on Saturday mornings when I was little and up watching The Smurfs have sunk in deep so no matter how badly I want to hear Madeline tell someone to go fuck himself on the head one more time, the truth is I’d never strike a match while standing in the depths of the wilderness.
And so I moved on from Big Little Lies. Notice, my friends, how I didn’t say I moved up from the show because down to the depths of hellish TV did I slide to get myself a new fix and that slide took me as far away from compelling twisty storylines set on the gorgeous Monterey coast as is humanly possible and instead to the boozy streets of Charleston where I landed with a thud in the land of Southern Charm. I’ve written about Southern Charm once before. During a brief bout with a miserable cold, I stayed in bed for a few days and watched every single episode from every single season and I got hooked and wrote about my reactions in a piece entitled Prince Charming is a Fucking Pig. (Speaking of which, heeeeey, T-Rav!) Anyhoo, my newest descent into the world of these monsters is not about being even more critical of a man who looks alarmingly like a deflated Shar Pei and longs for the days already gone by when a particular pair of magic khakis managed to get him instantly laid. No, this particular piece is about the ladies of Southern Charm who, in my eyes, will only fully redeem themselves when they band together and break into Thomas’ house in the dead of the blackest night to steal those khakis and then torch them under a full moon while Cameran twirls in gleeful circles around the fire because she’s finally fulfilled her destiny to be the whitest witch of all time.
I broke. And it’s embarrassing to admit just how fully I succumbed after repeating over and over that I would never go down that road of tarnished televised cobblestones. My only excuse is a virus took over my body for a couple of days and I became housebound and I needed entertainment that wouldn’t require me to expend even a smidgen of energy. I’d been planning on rewatching all of Twin Peaks, but I was terrified of the effect a dancing dwarf speaking backwards in a blood-red room could have on my already fragile being. So with my health in mind, I turned away from the Log Lady and investigators craving damn fine cups of coffee and instead scrolled through the On Demand menu and eventually settled on the very first ever episode of – wait for it – Southern Charm.
To give you some background, I’m not averse to reality television, something my faithful readers already know. For a few years now, I’ve covered several incarnations of The Real Housewives. I’ve swum through the murky water I’m certain Jax has peed in to write about Vanderpump Rules. I laughed my ass off as I chronicled the ridiculousness of twenty very young adults stranded on an island while searching for their production-approved soulmates on Are You the One? I was paid nicely to recap that and I almost blew the entire thing even before it started by writing in the first draft of my first recap that the premise of the show was “preposterous.” Turns out producers don’t much care for such a term, but since writers don’t much care for being critiqued, I used a synonym, got my point across, and cashed my check. I’d post to Facebook or Twitter that one of my new pieces was up and I kept receiving messages back that the show I really should be covering was the one about people cavorting through the streets and on the plantations of Charleston. I got this feedback so often that I finally publicly announced I would not be watching or recapping Southern Charm because I feared doing so would literally destroy whatever was left of my already blackened soul. But reader? I caved. Hard.