After all the drama of this season’s Below Deck I expected the reunion to be somewhere on the crazy-level of your average Real Housewives reunion, but it was clear that everyone came with a plan to redeem themselves by being on their best behavior. Sure, there were disagreements, but polite and quiet ones. Even Kevin Dobson apologized and managed to find nice things to say about Kate Chastain. Not that we forgive him.
Andy Cohen was pretty direct this reunion. Possibly even skewing towards combative. He directly questioned Kate and Captain Lee, and even argued against some of Captain Lee’s points. Basically, Andy seems tired of Captain Lee blindly defending Kate at all costs possible. To err is human and last I checked Kate is a human, not the saint of the sea.
It comes as no surprise that Kate feels no remorse for any of the drama with Simone Mashile, and in truth most of it was ridiculous. I still fail to see what Simone is so upset about? That she didn’t get to shadow Kate through dinner service like this was Take Your Daughter To Work Day? Essentially Simone (mistakenly) assumed Kate would have time to train her while simultaneously running a boat and filming a reality show. Maybe, like Simone said, this is commonly done on other boats? But do other boats also have Bravo cameras on them?
Kate offered plenty of (legit) compliments about how organized and efficient Simone was, which made her a natural fit to manage the industrial laundry situation aboard a super yacht. Plus, there was that whole Simone exclaiming about how much she loved laundry! It ain’t Kate’s fault Simone irons like an Olympic medal was at stake!
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Meanwhile, Courtney Skippon, who grew up sitting in the laundry basket while the nannies and housekeepers folded around her, has absolutely no clue how to work a dryer yet has an air of pleasant detachment which made her a natural when dealing with self-righteous guests.
Simone also takes issue with Captain Lee implying that she lied about her experience on her CV. Simone never claimed to know how to open a bottle of wine. OMG! I will say, I appreciated how assertive and direct Simone was in explaining herself at the reunion. It was in direct opposition to how immature and tongue-tied she came across all season. Reunion Simone did not let anyone give her grief – not even Captain Lee. She was right to call him out for claiming sexual harassment from charter guests comes with the territory. Um, not in the #MeToo era it doesn’t, Sea Stud!
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Simone also insisted she was far less in love with Tanner Sterback than it appeared. For instance, when she learned he wanted to hook up with other women, she told him (more than once apparently) that they should keep things platonic, yet Tanner kept insisting he wanted more. That is called wanting to have your penis cake and eat it too.
Let’s talk about the personality 180 Tanner did on this reunion. Gone was the drunk, brash asshat, expecting women’s panties to drop every time he said “Jimminey Cricket.” A verbal effect that stops being cute the day a person’s age enters the double-digits. Also every time he said it, I thought “That’s what she said…” imagining that to be women’s reactions.
Anyway, Reunion Tanner is dressed like a Miami Vice character and is contrite, overly apologetic, and insistent that he’s not a misogynist. He just plays one on TV! Reunion Tanner apologized profusely to Simone because he never meant to take advantage of her (or lie about using her until Kate’s hook-up calendar opened up). Maybe Tanner was just under the negative influence of Ashton Pienaar while aboard Valor?
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A viewer asked how Tanner’s mom reacted to his treatment of Simone, and Tanner claims it’s never come up. What has come up is his mom’s hatred of Captain Lee. Tanner’s mom is apparently very active in a private (and this is a big distinction) Facebook group where she has disparaged Captain Lee for insulting Tanner in his blogs. Mama Tannz insinuated that Captain Lee changed his tune from when the season was airing. I need to get in this group because Rhylee Gerber called Mama Tannz out and they got in an argument about how she is failing Tanner as a mother. Good thing that wasn’t Ashton’s mother or we know how he’d react (by punching his computer screen).
Speaking of Ashton – no rest of the wicked there! Ashton mainly kept his comments to himself at the reunion but the one instance where he did rear his own ugly head is when it came to how Kate treats her staff. Kate thinks she is far more fair and kind than bosuns often are, and although she is snarky and spares no constructive criticism, she doesn’t berate her stews or curse at them. Now I disagree with this assessment, as the footage of Caroline Bedol reminded us last season. YES, Caroline was hopeless, hapless, and hell on water to deal with, but Kate was anything but professional in how she handled this.
Of course, Ashton brought this up because he’s playing a game of tit-for-tat (for one which Kate is not reciprocating) in which every perceived criticism lobbed at him can be smacked back to ‘Kate did something equally bad.’ This is NOT how one takes responsibility for their actions. This is NOT how one displays remorse for their actions.
There is also this bizarre argument between Ashton, Kate, and Captain Lee where Ashton tries to imply they don’t work in the industry unless the cameras are rolling and challenges them both about their experience in relation to his own. Like questioning if Captain Lee actually has the captain chops he claims to, and arguing that Ashton who has been working steadily on a boat has equal the amount of experience managing people. Que?
Kate fires back that Ashton is technically not working in the yachting industry, except in some capacity for a boat owned by his girlfriend’s best friend’s brother’s uncle’s talking chimpanzee who owns a traveling circus called Mara-KATCH. Ergo Ashton wouldn’t even have a fake job if it weren’t for nepotism.
Obviously, Kate has effed-up when it comes to her managerial relationships on board, but Ashton is a hot mess express that jumped the tracks.
Abbi Murphy returned from Greece, and she is living a great life: married and running a private sailing charter with her Greek husband. Below Deck was the best thing she ever did in terms of giving her life direction, but leaving the show was definitely the right decision. In regards to working with Ashton Abbi has nothing but nice things to say about her experiences, and seems shocked by how his behavior unraveled as the season progressed. Abbi got an untested Ashton full of self-confidence in his own abilities. Rhylee managed to erode all that the second she stepped on board, nipples blazing.
Well, it was nice to see Abbi, who looked beautiful and appeared completely bored. I also see that she cut her hair, and it does not appear that it was severed off after being caught in a sail.
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In a surprising twist, Kevin and Kate seem to have put their differences behind them. In fact, there is no venom left in their arguments, no sand left to kick in each other’s faces… This is all so hilarious because not 2 weeks ago Kevin was on WWHL where he said he’d never want his daughter to grow up like Kate. What, successful and on television? Kevin insists he was just trying to be provocative with that comment and that he sees the positives in both Rhylee and Kate. Sometimes.
Kevin, unlike the other guys, does seem contrite in his Kevin way and admits to coming on on way too strong, thus derailing their working relationship before it even had a chance to begin. Kevin is so obviously insecure that when Kate was asked if he’s a talented chef, he literally braced himself and was on the edge of his seat trying to prepare for how to intuit a negative comment without reacting, but instead Kate gave him plenty of compliments. Including that the food he prepared for the crew was amazing and that he’s the hardest-working chef she’s ever worked with.
The penis cake debacle still confounds me. Apparently, primary charter guest Jemele had never told her friends about requesting this on her presence sheet, which explains why the other guests were so wholly thrown off guard by its appearance. In the middle of their serious conversation about charity. Kate maintains that her only offense was not warning Kevin that Jemelle had gone to bed, and that she didn’t introduce the cake as part of the preference sheet request. Something she usually does.
However, the cake was delicious! It’s an accomplishment Kevin is now proud of! I imagine he can make big money in certain industries with his skill at fabricating edible arrangements as realistic looking penises. I mean get off yachts Kevin and get on those dicks!
Lastly, there is Courtney and Brian de Saint Pern. Oh, Brian … we had such high hopes. Oh, ha, no we didn’t. Since the season wrapped Courtney actually had to block Brian after he sent her aggressive texts because he doesn’t like her discussing him on Twitter. Um, Brian -a lady has a right to her own mind, and her own twitter feed. Also her own predilections for how she uses both. Thankfully Courtney used her mind when she decided Brian was not worth her time, and honestly, Courtney is far too articulate and insightful for this show. All the women are. Listening to all of them speak vs. the garbledly-goop boys was highly eye-opening.
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Brian insists that he only sent Courtney the infamous ‘break-up?’ text because he didn’t want to make her uncomfortable by discussing it on camera. Also that he wasn’t trying to break up with her, but reassure her that they weren’t breaking up. Honestly, a Dilbert cartoon from 1997 makes more sense than Brian’s explanations. The bottom line is that Brian expected Courtney to be seen and not heard, like a child from a Victorian novel, and anytime she displayed emotion of any sort he was annoyed. Brian also cannot wrap his head around the fact that talking to Ashton about his situations with Courtney was THE. EXACT. SAME. THING as Courtney talking to Kate.
Despite this guy having the emotional intelligence of a squid and the social-relationship perspectives of a 1950’s TV dad, Captain Lee still blamed the Courtney and Brian’s argument on Kevin gossiping to Brian that he heard Courtney crying to Kate. Um, Captain Lee, I’m not sure how that’s relevant? Also, who doesn’t gossip on a superyacht?
The best thing that came out of Courtney’s relationship with Brian is that he’s cuter and less repugnant than Ashton, Tanner, and Kevin, so Courtney being with him spared her from being hit on by any of them. Truly a blessing in a crisis! Also, Brian probably bought her plenty of drinks. However, just like Simone needs to spend some time in Fort Lauderdale in Stew Academy, Brian needs to spend some time at FSU in a women’s studies 101 class. Although based on the FSU alum guests who were on board this season it’s probably more likely that they offer Sexual Harassment 101.
TELL US – DID ANY OF THE BELOW DECK GUYS REDEEM THEMSELVES?
[Photo Credits: Bravo]