Last night was the premiere of Below Deck season 5 and guess what?! I have thoughts. Oh so many thoughts. And I may still pine for the Season 1 cast. Oh Bravo, where did you, NOT Captain Lee Rosbach, find these people?!
Captain Lee is steering the gorgeous Valor out to St. Martin with a skeleton crew of ne’er do wells, or actually never-had-dones. He blames all the “Hollywood Types and Wall Street pricks” who now own yachts instead of merely chartering them, and therefore there are NO available good crew left and he was stuck with the leftovers. #DoNotBelieve. I blame Bravo casting. Either legit professionals don’t want to appear on a reality show, or Bravo intentionally cast unprepared boneheads for drama.
Luckily, Lee will always have Kate Chastain!
Kate compares yachting to a “fling with an ex” and considering her exes, I’m not sure that bodes well for this season’s wet behind the ears crew! Kate’s not a bitch; she just plays one on TV because she limits her charter season to when the Bravo cameras are rolling apparently. Joining her aboard is the only survivor of last season: Nico Scholly.
Nico has had a terrible year – his 21-year-old brother died falling off a balcony. Nico returned to the Caribbean to distract himself. 🙁 Luckily, he’ll have plenty of distractions training this motley crew, who have literally never tied a knot before. Do they still wear velcro-only shoes? Probably flip-flops.
Lee is actually glad to have Nico back because he’s a hard worker, but hasn’t proven himself Bosun-worthy. Yet. Nico also has no plans of having drama with Kate, as he is now a consummate professional. Or perhaps in light of his family tragedy on-board bickering suddenly doesn’t seem worth it.
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Kate, too, has lots to do. Her new stewardesses contain women who may or may not have flunked out of bartending school (!) and certainly failed toilet paper roll origami. Kate will have lots of micromanaging to do, but for all her complaining, I think she’s in heaven playing the role Principal Trunchbull.
First of the newbies on board is the Nu-Ben, Chef Matt Burns. How many times do you think he’s heard a joke about burning food based on his last name and being a chef? Har-har.
Kate is shocked that Matt is tall, dark, and harmless. It’s cause he’s from the “G-Rated country” of Canada and his mean-streak is about the size of the pencil Captain Lee can’t fit up his butt due to anxiety. Kate rubs her manicured nails together eagerly, anticipating how easily Matt’s elementary school innocence will be manipulated. Matt has a Top Chef-worthy culinary lineage but
couldn’t make the cut on that show prefers the intimacy of cooking in a kitchen the size of a picnic table. Actually I appreciate how much amazing culinary work is accomplished aboard those tiny kitchenettes! Has this been a TC challenge yet?! Top Chef: Charter From Hell.
Matt is a meat and potatoes chef, and Kate is a man eater – now, so I predict a successful union. Kate warns Matt that one gluten-free crew member on board will screw her dreams of grubbing down aboard steaks. “If there’s a yoga mat, you’re probably screwed,” she predicts, and just at that moment in walks Brianna Adekeye. Immediately I am getting a whiff not of spelt granola, but Rocky II, and the universe has guided her right into Kate’s lair.
Brianna, the bartending school drop out, is a free-spirit except for the rigorous over-plucking of her eyebrows. Um, those things are full on McDonald’s arches! Right away Matt gets his chef panties in a bunch over Brianna’s hotness, and Matt doesn’t like to wear pants, so we could be in rough waters. Brianna only does yachting because it fits her “nomadic lifestyle” which includes hiking Central America alone and living in Kauai alone. Alone being the operative word, Matt!
Brianna also happens to know Nico from another charter – they spent a drunken, flirty night in a water taxi together. Good, clean innocent fun there, kids! Not at all like the yellow, unclean stains on Brianna’s pillow. Was that a trick of the light or does someone need Kate to show them how to operate a washing machine?!
Somehow I have a feeling Brianna’s a lurker. By that I mean a sleeper-crazy and we’ll be getting full Walking Dead about mid-way through, right after Kate has just started trusting her with tablescapes alone. I hope I’m wrong though, cause I already KNOW that Jennifer Howell is a few fries short of a Happy Meal.
Jennifer is literally making love to boats – and on them. Her resume reads: “I like big boats and I cannot lie.” Someone watched Titanic one too many times (but hasn’t watched Jaws enough times). She comes aboard waving her Bravo-endorsed Ramona Singer Crazy Eyes Flag gushing that she loves boats so much that one night she rocked the boat too hard and wound up knocked up. Thus her dream of working aboard a big ol’ yacht was forced on hold for eight long years until her dad retired to watch her daughter for the summer.
Jen appears to be as mature as an eight year old, so maybe some sort of Freaky Friday brain swap happened before she came aboard and that’s why she can’t even handle the simplest of instructions. Like a martini is NOT a G&T. Kate immediate stuffs Jen below deck to handle ironing and to practice toilet paper arrangement.
Brianna seems to have an inkling that Jen is trouble, and claiming that she’ll take too long in the bathroom, suggests they each room with one of the guys instead. Jen winds up with Chris Brown, and since they’re both wacko, that seems like a good fit!
Chris Brown is already in pirate-mode with his missing tooth and introduces himself as “like the singer” by demonstrating a one-two punch air punch. Kate’s distaste registered down at the bottom of the sea. Chris Brown was once a conservative Christian and 26-year-old virgin, but he brags that he is presently making up for lost time. No whammies, Bravo, no whammies! Chris has never worked on a boat before; he is greener than sea sickness. At least Chris Brown has prepared for his new job – he YouTubed some knots and practiced on his headphones while drinking a beer. I kid you NOT.
Of the deckhand crew, the most equipped to actually handle the job is Baker Manning, a “ghetto deep sea mermaid,” who is really something special. She grew up a southern debutante but currently describes herself as a debuNOT and lives aboard an RV.
Then there is Bruno Duarte. Oh Bruno. He’s dreamed of working on a yacht his whole life, working on cruise ships until he could move on up, but somehow I think waiting tables with a cute accent is better suited to him than being a deckhand. He and Jennifer both share the same inability to follow directions. Bruno gets confused. Bruno gets confused finding his cabin, Bruno gets confused tying knots – actually Bruno’s brain IS tied in knots, and when he tries to help Nico install the slide or lower the smaller boat, it’s a big ol’ mess! Captain Lee remembers his days of being lost at sea and volunteers to show Bruno “once.”
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I think Jen and Bruno are sharing a brain and maybe they have to take shifts using it. Cause Jen accidentally puts on the wrong uniform, then she serves men first instead of women. Kate was actually drawing her DIAGRAMS of a place setting. Meanwhile Bruno can’t feel his legs and was practically wrapping the ropes in a noose around his neck.
At least Bruno is pretty, pleasant, and very good with the guests. He should probably give Brianna over to Nico, and work as a stew with Kate. I have a feeling Bruno would make excellent ice sculptures! Jen, well, her crazy eyes can scare all the sharks away!
The first charter arrives 24 hours after the Green Crew is on board, and it’s green-on-green because the dude guzzles Mt. Dew like it’s 1999 and he’s at the Warp Tour, owns a trampoline park, and is in denial that he’s middle-aged as he tries to relive his college frat spring break. I was cringing. Dave is an “adrenaline junkie” who wants to do ALL the dangerous stuff. Just being on board with these rookies isn’t dangerous enough?
Since this charter group is completely clueless about luxe living, they notices no foibles at the ineptitude. At least they know a martini from a G&T!
It’s calm waters for them as Bruno dutifully straightens their helmets, and the cushions fly off the back of the boat and go blowing in the wind for Nico to chase down in the little boat. Chris Brown didn’t realize they zipped down even though Chris Brown was told that very thing. The guests also swoon over such delicacies as Caesar Salad (I kid – I LOVE fresh-made Caesar, so chop-on No-Pants Matt!) and are oblivious to the fact that Jen seems like an escapee from the asylum who hasn’t completely let the tranquilizers wear-off. She scares me – those vacant eyes; the salivating over the boat.
While the deck crew struggles to lower the little boat into the water for the beach picnic, the charter guests watch on bemused. Then Kate struggles to get their beach picnic prepared – and Kate is basically taking ALL of the work for the team. Brianna slipping and falling on her ass on the way to the picnic is a perfect euphemism for how things are going so far. Ouch. Luckily, Matt is competent and knows how to read what guests want: burgers, corn on the cob, and Mt. Dew, like Applebees menu – yum! Tragic.
The episode ends with Bruno flopping off the end of the giant slide as he fails in vain to understand any of Nico’s instructions to DETACH the rope, not himself, from the device. Can you imagine if Nico were in outer space.
Lord do I predict rough seas. And Jen being fired.
TELL US – WHO DO YOU THINK IS THE CRAZIEST CREW ON BOARD? WHO IS GONNA HOOK-UP? WHO IS KATE GONNA SKEWER WITH A FIGURATIVE STEAK KNIFE?
[Photo Credits: Bravo]