Oh Lord. So basically Southern Charm Savannah is like Saved by the Bell: The New Class. Mr. Belding is the only common staple while the new kids are just caricatures of the original cast we’ve grown to love. In the case of these shows, a beautiful Southern backdrop is the common element while the new kids are a mish mash of our Charleston darlings. Nelson Lewis, with his European girlfriend and over-the-top elitism is basically Whitney-Sudler Smith with Cooper Ray’s one-liners. Ashley is Jenna from season one, back from the big city with a bit of an edge, while possessing the dinner party hosting skills of Thomas Ravenel. Lyle Mackenzie, Daniel Eicholz, and Louis Oswald are equal parts Shep Rose and Craig Conover, and Catherine Cooper wants to be Cameran Eubanks but she’s falling incredibly short.
Two years ago, a Savannah-raised law clerk at our firm spent lots of time name dropping Landon Clements and partying with Shep at Republic. He said Landon had enlisted him to help scout folks for a Savannah based spin-off that she was pitching to Bravo. Obviously, I didn’t believe him then and now I’m eating crow. That said, I’m hooked.
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Stealing a page from the OGSC, the episode starts in the future with an over the top dinner party where the guests do more screaming than eating. Sound familiar? We then backtrack to see the new crew starting their days on the quaint streets of Savannah. You have to hand it to Bravo…when something works, the network is going to run it into the ground!
Nelson Lewis greets Ashley Borders at his giant home. They are besties because they enjoy early happy hours and talking about their private school days. Nelson comes from a long list of storied politicians and feels ego maniacal calling himself a blue blood but it’s totally true. Catherine Cooper joins the crew. She’s intrigued by Ashley. They didn’t know each other well at Savannah Country Day, and Ashley recently resurfaced in town as this cultured, striking mystery who risks an oyster bed disaster by jumping off the top of the dock into the intercoastal waterway.
Hannah Pearson dates Louis Oswald, but she and Daniel are cooking dinner to celebrate Louis quitting his job. Forget stocks, he’s designing socks. How Rob Kardashian of him! She feels like the dorm mom at a frat house. Hannah did not go to Savannah Day because she grew up in Atlanta, but she’s pretty sure her prep school was its sister school. I mean, if it wasn’t, I’m not sure these folks are allowed to be her friend, right?
Meanwhile, we learn Ashley bucked her parents wishes of continuing the MD train by becoming a fashion designer. She has lived all over the world, from Europe to Dubai, and it was a fateful Ray Charles moment that had Georgia on her mind. She promptly packed her bags and moved back home. It is hard for her to be a designer in a small Southern town, but she wants her son to have the same Savannah experiences growing up that she did.
Catherine Cooper is the granddaughter of a Colonial Dame, and she knows that there were thirteen colonies at some point. She recognizes that she probably should have spent more time at the library and less time at the bars. Catherine has enlisted her father to assist with party preparations. She’s hosting a welcome home fete for her prom date at Savannah Day (duh). Lyle Mackenzie is returning after four years in Atlanta, and he’s ready to get hitched to his long time love. He’s celebrating his first night back in town with Louis and Daniel, his best friends from Savannah Day, of course. We learn that Louis has a penchant for Hangover-esque behavior which they call “going full Lou.” Passed out in a hotel lobby without your shoes? That’s full Lou! And perhaps from whence the sock inspiration came.
After her parents moved out to her grandmother’s plantation (she hates that word, for the record), Catherine has taken up residence at her childhood home…although she never really left. She does have a crash pad downtown so she can be close to bars when she wants to go out, but she thinks her parents’ abode will be the perfect place for Lyle to move in and settle down. It’s also the setting for Lyle’s homecoming, and he’s familiar with every inch of the property thanks to high school hook-ups.
That afternoon, Ashley arrives with her husband Dennis followed by
Whitney Nelson and his European girlfriend Kat. P.S. Nelson is not gay. He and Ashley are very quick to point out that heterosexual blue bloods have a certain flair. He has worked for several prominent Republicans and Fox News. There is a scandal there, but I haven’t googled it yet. The status of Catherine and Lyle’s relationship is a mystery to their friends. Lyle is smitten, but Catherine refuses to put a label on it. Regardless, she’s excited about her pig-pickin’, as is Ashley who calls dibs on their dinner’s skull. Ashley admits she was a bit of an outsider at Savannah Day. She didn’t do cotillion.
Sidebar, there is a girl at the party who sounds just like Landon if you close your eyes. Her name is Happy McCullough. Ashley is going to be the girl who always wants to go swimming. If she had a housewives tag line, that would be it.
Remember that story I was going to google about Nelson? Catherine’s party planner Brendan beats me to the punch. Nelson pretended to be a Congressman, mouthed off to a cop, and ended up being splashed across the tabloids. Some may call it crazy, but he cites it as performance art.
Ashley is having a hard time convincing anyone to join her in the river, and she still feels like an outsider with this crew. Catherine is going to make sure that continues, I’m sure. Ashley hopes to get on her good side by offering up the pig skull as a wedding present when Lyle pops the question. It seems Lyle was ready yesterday to make things official, but Catherine coyly evades him.
Daniel is the hot one with access to his dad’s credit card since practically birth and a plucky housekeeper. He grew up with a platinum spoon in his mouth with had aspirations to move to Florida post-college. However, his dad’s embezzlement charge and prison time derailed him. Daniel moved home to run the family’s law firm and put food on his table. It taught him the value of hard work, and now he’s wealthy in his own right.
Later that evening, the girls are gathering over cocktails when Ashley gets a call from her son that her house is on fire. Her friends decide the mature thing to do is to leave the bar and go check on Ashley’s home. But first, to-go cups! Firetrucks galore are on the scene, and Ashley’s husband and son are being taken to the hospital to get checked for smoke inhalation as a precaution. Clearly, the folks of Savannah are coming in hot!
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[Photo Credit: Virginia Sherwood/Bravo]