Get your “dressing drinks” ready because “Southern Charm,” Bravo’s look into what Charleston socialites do with their spare time, is back in the spotlight for its third season. The drama is still there. The animosity is still there. The booze is still there. So things are looking ripe for another series of misadventures, misinterpretations and manipulations.
Monday night’s premier begins with a dinner party at the downtown home of Thomas Ravenel, aka T-Rav, and he decides to impart “a few wonderful words of wisdom” — it was a disaster the last time he did it, and this time proves no different.
After a nicey-nicey preamble, with some Captain Kirk-like pauses and hand gestures, Thomas spews forth some major hate speech, reminiscent of a Donald Trump rally.
He first attacks Shep, focusing on his extra-curricular interests in the “dating” arena.
He accuses Cameran of being self-righteous, judgmental and sanctimonious.
Landon is charged with being catty and disrespectful, in reference to her behavior towards Kathryn, the mother of T-Rav’s child, er, children. Yes, she’s pregnant again. No, they are not together.
The eyeballs in the room widen like some new filter on Snapchat and JD breaks the fourth wall with one of the most classic “What the ... ?” expressions to the camera.
Dinner is most certainly over.
Thomas follows them out to the street, hurling insults as he goes. I snorted when he pulls the gate instead of pushes it. You lose your effectiveness in that situation. When I was a hostess, I slipped on some water by the bar during the dinner rush. I just went down on the knee and right back up, but the coolness was gone forever. It can’t be unseen.
The screen goes black and says, “Three months earlier ...”
In Delaware, Craig is comfortable enough in the idea that he’s got it all together, so he packs it up and heads back to the Lowcountry. He comes home to Naomie, his girlfriend of eight months, admitting that this is the first time he’s ever been in love. She’s originally from France and her parents seemingly do very well for themselves.
They decide to throw a “welcome home” party for Craig, so he can prove to everyone that he’s changed. Shep is the real issue here. The bromance between Craig and Shep took some major hits before Craig’s departure back to the non-Southern state of Delaware.
Craig and Naomie have pulled in Lawson Roberts, the show’s event producer, to put everything together.
“Have no fear, the fairy godfather is here,” Lawson says.
Truer words have never been spoken. It looked amazing. Although Naomie, bless her heart, bought pre-made spinach-artichoke dip. Not enough time for Craig to make it from scratch, she defended. That’s fine, yes, all Southern women do it in a pickle, but we won’t admit it on television. Ever.
A valet parks everyone’s cars, to some surprise, and T-Rav shows up with his swole-up eyeball. (He was head-butted in the VIP section at Republic Garden and Lounge after he asked the bodyguards to remove a young man that was harassing him and a lady friend.)
When Craig sees Shep for the first time, he gives an awkward wave and smile, kind of like when you see your crush across the gym at the 8th grade dance. Shep pulls Craig aside for a man-to-man talk, with two glasses of scotch, neat.
Craig: “Shots?” Shep: “No. Sip. Sophisticated.”
Old Craig would have taken it as a shot. Mean Shep would have belittled him about it. They talk it all out, defend their previous attitudes and nice Shep ends with a quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald that probably made every literature-loving lady swoon in her living room. The bromance is back on.
Thomas’ first attempt at talking to Kathryn is an epic fail. He hollers at her across the lawn and she mutters under her breath and ignores him. He later sits with her and you can just see everyone suck in their breath as they stare.
Kathryn’s entire demeanor and body language change instantly. Her eyes glaze over. Thomas is really trying, but it’s just not working. She begins to suck her teeth, which we’ve all learned by now is the calm before the storm. And then it just gets weird:
“May I?,” he says. “May you what?,” she retorts. “Touch,” he says slowly. I had an instant flash of Lennie from “Of Mice and Men.” She’s not too keen on it but he does it anyway, and exhales slowly — twice. Awkward.
Thomas is restoring a house, his “downtown compound.” He asks the contractor, “Is marbleizing the foyer too pretentious? ... I want it to say ‘T-RAV’ when you walk in!”
Well, considering he has that gargantuan multi-colored shiner under his eyeball, it may be fair to say that “marbleizing” is indeed a characteristic of T-Rav.
It’s here that we are first introduced to periwinkle. The most used word of the episode. Thomas says it eight times in talking about the color of Kensie’s room in his new house — seven times in less than five minutes. At the party, Kathryn says it three times.
“Why the (expletive) are we talking about periwinkle? Are we sitting here talking about periwinkle? You haven’t talked to me in months and I’m pregnant,” Kathryn says. She looks over and sees that Landon is wearing a periwinkle dress.
I think that word may have broken the Internet. Periwinkle is my new favorite word.
A tanned Whitney is back from Los Angeles and his business partner tells him that they are six months behind and $1.5 million over budget on his restaurant.
Patricia’s butler is on vacation, so she’s had to forego martinis and get her own shoes. But she’s got “more caftans than Lawrence of Arabia,” Chanel eyeliner and diamond ear bobbles, so I’m thinking she’s still having a pretty good day.
Cooper Ray visits Kathryn at her parents’ 800-acre homestead in Moncks Corner, as they are now buddies. She was hesitant to trust him initially since he’s so close with Patricia.
Kathryn and Patricia are mortal enemies. Kathryn’s imitation of Patricia is like a cross between Cruella De Vil and the evil queen from “Snow White,” plus she gives her an English accent. Patricia thinks that Kathryn has a “morbid obsession” with her and Whitney.
Cooper Ray explains it this way to Kathryn: “We have a certain little world downtown and you kind of swept into it. Like a hurricane.”
The preview at the end was more for the season as opposed to next week specifically, but it looks like there’s going to be plenty of booze and backstabbing to go around. And polo. There’s always polo.
SO GOOD, I CAN’T EVEN THINK OF A SUPERLATIVE: “As long as it’s a good performance. I want, like, a Meryl Streep performance.” — Shep to Cameran, when she suggests that some of his conquests have been “faking the hell out of it.”
WHY I LIKE NAOMIE: “Only people from the North ask that.” — Naomie’s response to Craig when he asks if there are alligators in the marsh off the back of the home they share.
WHAT YOU DON’T WANT TO HEAR WHEN YOU ARE TRYING TO DEFEND YOURSELF: “Stop yelling. You sound like a (expletive) dolphin.” — Kathryn to Landon.
BEST JAB ABOUT SOMEONE BREAKING THE GIRL CODE: “I thought the five-second rule was only for food.” — Kathryn to Jennifer, when told that Landon and T-Rav have become good friends recently.