Do my eyes deceive me? What of my ears?! Is it possible that Below Deck is filled with competent individuals who actually know what they’re doing in? Ahoy new maties, but I know y’all are not just professional yachties but professional drama-starters too.
After the devastation in the Caribbean Captain Lee Rosbach is anxious to explore the uncharted territory of Tahiti. Captain Lee fancies himself a regular-old Ponce de Leonce, explorer of a vast new world. Joining him to conquer the alcoholics of the high seas, is his intrepid first mate Kate “Champagne Is My Personal Jesus” Chastain.
After last season, Kate had reservations about coming back but the pay and the opportunity to be on TV… This season’s yacht, Seanna, features 120 feet of tacky, looking like the inside of Blanche Deveraux’s fantasy suite. Think mauve colored satin! Think fringe! Think dark paneling and overstuffed chairs! What you should not think is luxury – unless you’ve time-warped to 1985 and have never heard of Pinterest! I’m literally shocked there’s no velvet settee, or maybe I just missed that portion of the tour? At least Kate can do a proper tablescape, unlike some chief stews we all love to hate!
And because sometimes the insides don’t match the outsides, the crew living quarters are pint-sized, despite the boat being huge. Kate compares it to hooking up with Shaq only to discover he has a small penis. Thanks for that image I never wanted.
Can we also talk about the new uniforms? Frat boy swim trunks from the 90’s? Powder blue floral. Doesn’t that clash with all the maroon and dusty rose decor crammed into every corner? What is going on here?! You do not need to use every crayon in the 64 colors box. But temperance and yachting, do not seemingly go hand in hand, or hand in nipple as evidenced by opening charter guest Steve! We’ve seen him before. And sadly we had to see him again.
But first, let’s break down these new cast members. Nico Scholly is out as bosun, replaced by Chandler Brooks, who has a lot to prove to his yacht captain daddy, but little reality TV experience to do so. Chandler did not get the memo that running a producer-manipulated crew of cast members bears little resemblance (although lots of butts) to running an actual crew full of working non-famewhore professionals. Two seconds into meeting Ashton Pienaar and Rhylee Gerber you know what I’m talking about. Oh MAN are we gonna have our hands full (and balled into fists) with these two! LORDY do I predict the end of times and a Rocky explosion of a Tahitian reef at the backs of these two exhibitionist, attention-seeking, megalomaniacs.
Rhylee likes to burp and fart, and in her real life is a fishing boat captain from Alaska, which means she’s used to being in charge of her own boat where she wrangles giant, slippery monsters who do not want to comply with her killing them. Chandler is not up to this task, I can already tell, and Rhylee will destroy him.
Ashton looks like a Ken doll after you pushed his rubber face in so all his features have squeezed together into a little puckered hole. This South African needs subtitles, affirmations of hotness, and a lot of time to work on his buff physique. Obviously he’s sexually attracted to Rocky 2.0, aka Rhylee, and obviously, this means the producers force him to wear what amounts to Depends in the very first episode. More on that, and Steve, later.
The last member of the deck crew is Ross Inia. Ross is normal. Too normal. Which makes me suspicious. Ross was a bosun on his previous boats, but he took this professional step down because the money is good. For now, he is supporting Chandler whole-heartedly. I predict that 3 episodes in he’ll be tattling to Captain Lee and angling for his job. I do love a coup! It’s so pirate life!
And now onto the interior. In another first, Kate will be working with male stew Josiah Carter. With his nasal British accent, fine-tuned by years of watching Downton Abbey, Josiah flounces around like the King Of England. He is not, although he did attend a butler training academy. Kate is impressed, and she also likes him enough to bunk with him, but something about Josiah – maybe the subtle ways he puts down third stew Caroline Bedol – makes me not trust him. Caroline is used to being a solo stew on smaller boats, but is looking to move up in the world of luxury yachting. So far she takes direction well and is eager to make fetch happen if you get my drift. Maybe it’s because she resembles a red-haired Gretchen Wieners, maybe it’s because she seems so excited to just be near Kate, and noticed by Kate, and to just get it all right so Kate will appreciate her… Has she not learned that Kate does not make friends, nor like them? Unless thy friend is wine.
And finally, most excitingly we have inspired, innovative chef Adrian Martin. Adrian is all of 14 and an intern from the local junior chef program but he likes doing super fun things like letting yoga inspire how he uses pineapple and putting the Disney World Electric Light parade inside a cupcake. He also looks malnourished, which Kate doesn’t think bodes well for success at feeding people, but it becomes clear that Adrian puts his everything – his own flesh and blood! – into his food and is a genius. I am so excited about this guy! After last season’s Matt Burns, and Below Deck Med’s Adam Glick quarter-life crisis of finding himself again, I am so ready for a chef who takes chances and puts out gorgeous food. Did you see that pineapple and fish salad he made for lunch?! He compares the dish to “a delicate woman” – clearly not Steve’s type. For all Adrian knows about food, his French player act is worthy of a Pete Davidson SNL skit.
As mentioned above the opening charter guest is Steve Bradley. Steve is the Peter Pan of his own imagination. A man in his sixties now dating a 32-year-old who hopes they get married before he kills himself on a jet ski, leaving her without an inheritance. Steve is fondly recalled as the foam party flop guy, and here he is again with an even more outrageous request. He wants a Cupid-themed birthday party for the woman who finally convinced him to renounce his bachelor ways, which includes filling the master suite with over 500 balloons. It is possible to fly with that many balloons and not be suspected of drug smuggling? The things you learn on reality TV… He also wants a heart-shaped birthday cake and a beach picnic.
Of course, the weather is bad which means they’re stuck at the dock. Kate grumbles, “I do all the work and the guests still aren’t happy.” Luckily for her, Steve will be too drunk to even remember going to Tahiti, so she’ll be fine!
Steve’s entire vibe is Weekend At Bernie’s, and he starts by slamming rum & diet and doesn’t stop. Ever. By dinner he’s so drunk he appears wearing a Party City ‘tuxedo t-shirt and makes Kate observe as he rubs his nipples to show how hard they’re gonna party. Actually, that was his way of commenting on the AC being down too low! Kate’s grimace – I have second-hand embarrassment. For Kate. Steve is a lost cause to decency.
Captain Lee is forced to join Steve’s dinner party wearing a heinous costume, but that’s nothing compared to Ashton dressed in a loincloth rolled into a diaper wrapped in Christmas tree tinsel to deliver a cake that looked like it had contracted bacterial mold from fruit flies. (I don’t care if this is a real thing or not – don’t educate me). Rhylee, obviously, volunteered to tuck Ashton’s nuts and makes sure that under his pants it wasn’t the plastic nub of the Ken Doll. She gives it two thumbs up. I give it more second-hand embarrassment. FOR ME. I AM CRINGING WAY TOO MUCH FOR THIS TO BE ONLY EPISODE 1.
Then Josiah and Caroline have their first fight over winning Kate’s love. Caroline is eager to get Kate’s attention about something – maybe she didn’t know how to open a Diet Coke – while Kate is talking to Adrian so Josiah shushes her. Caroline makes it clear that she does not like to be shushed. Unless it’s by Kate presumably. She warns Josiah with an icy death stare that makes the AC seem positively balmy! She’s right though – Josiah was being rude!
The next morning, with no comment on the 55,000 balloons in his bedroom which will turn into toxic waste dumped in the ocean, Steve appears wearing a purple zebra-print jacket and is still drunk from the night before. Obviously, the perfect time to get on the jet skis at 70 mph without a life jacket. Because he wouldn’t want anything to cover up that stunning blazer he’s wearing, of course!
When Captain Lee gets wind of Steve’s reckless behavior he demands the fool get off the jet ski and he blames Chandler for dropping the ball. Except nobody makes Steve wear a lifejacket. He is his own man! Performing his own death-defying circus acts in a clown costume. Yay?
TELL US – WHO DO YOU THINK WILL BE THE MOST ANNOYING THIS SEASON?
[Photo Credits: Bravo]