How many terrible groups of charter guests does it take to make not one, but two crew members cry? This week on Below Deck, the answer is just one. You guys! I cannot reiterate enough what monsters these guests are. And it’s only the first charter of the season! We’ve barely left the dock and chaos has completely taken over My Seanna. And I blame it almost entirely on Charley Walters and his band of vile friends. Well, if you can even call them “friends.” But let’s not ahead of ourselves.
Need I remind you, this is also the third time Bravo has let Charley onto this show. Two seasons ago, he and his gaggle of mean girl gays were the ones who forced Josiah Carter into a gold speedo. And reminded him of the gay bullies who terrorized him after he came out. Which, let me tell you, is sadly all too real in the hateful world of gay-on-gay social circles. (They also got chewed out by Captain Lee Rosbach that season for dangerously operating the jet skis without a kill switch, and putting their lives in danger.)
And yet, this season is easily Charley and the gang’s worst showing yet. It honestly makes me wonder. Do they think they’re coming across well? Likable? Like anything other than superficial, bratty demanding, demogorgons who deserve to be tossed overboard and committed back to the deep? It’s just gross behavior. And at this point, in 2020, being a pack of pretentious snobs whose behavior sends anyone in the service industry into tears is just…not a good look. Like, at all. Read the room, Charley.
Already one man down, the crew is responsible for pulling out an around-the-world themed dinner. The guests want different international cuisines for each course. They want a unique, exotic cocktail paired with each. Oh, and they also want their luggage unpacked at the same time. Which naturally sends the entire interior into complete disarray. Francesca Rubi is immediately pulled in opposite directions, serving dinner, overseeing cabin turn-downs and pushing Izzy Wouters to work faster than a literal snail’s pace.
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Meanwhile, it’s the first day and Izzy is already over being a stewardess. Apparently, the third stew has worked both interior and exterior before, and would much rather be lugging ropes as a deckhand. Seeing an opportunity, she goes right over Francesca‘s head and straight to Captain Lee to pitch herself as a potential deckhand. That way, he would just have to find a new stew and she’d bring more experience to Eddie Lucas‘ deck team than, say, sweet Shane Coopersmith.
With Francesca and her geisha kimono running a million different directions, dinner service goes…not smoothly. In fact, it goes terribly. Like, I’ve maybe never seen a worse dinner service in the history of Below Deck. And it’s certainly not Rachel Hargrove‘s fault. Nor is it Elizabeth Frankini‘s, who’s whipping up perfect cocktail after cocktail with Shane‘s help.
But with the chief stew down in the cabins, it’s taking forever for each course to be served. Eddie has to request service over the radio multiple times. The food is coming out cold. The terrible guests are getting cranky. And Francesca is finally pushed to her limit when Charley and his pal start bringing their own plates to the galley.
By the end of the night, the guests are patronizingly dissatisfied and Francesca gets called to the bridge for a little chat with Captain Lee. And trust me, you never want to get called to the bridge on the first night. Still in her kimono, the chief stew promptly breaks down in tears, sobbing uncontrollably. Captain Lee is understandably baffled by this brazen display of emotion. As he says, “There’s no crying in yachting!” But like the ever-wise leader he is, the captain kindly talks Francesca down from the ledge. He supports her. He’s kind. He urges her to get some sleep and try again in the morning. These are the moments that remind me that Captain Lee is the leader I would always want on my team.
The next day is a chance at a new start, and everyone is feeling better with some sleep. Well, everyone beside Captain Lee, whose ribs are still killing him. However, day two just means it’s someone else’s turn to cry. And this time it’s Rachel. After literally the most complicated breakfast order known to mankind, the chef realizes she doesn’t have the kitchen space she needs to make the 20,000 different kinds of omelettes the guests have requested.
Service is once again slow, this time on the galley end, and the guests are quick to express their dissatisfaction. As omelettes start getting sent back with mistakes, Rachel begins hyperventilating — the next crew member to be pushed to the brink by this god-awful group.
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It’s now up to the deck crew to turn the day around. And the best solution for everyone? Get these guests off the boat. Eddie quickly organizes a beach day, and even plays into the guests’ collective infatuation with James Hough by using the deckhand as a personal jet ski chauffeur. At the beach, Izzy also seizes the moment to pitch Eddie on switching to the deck department. She even gets an impromptu interview when the tender starts floating away and she leaps into action to anchor it ashore. Eddie’s so impressed that he promises to put in a good word with Captain Lee. At the very least, he thinks, the stew has more sense of urgency than Sunshine Shane.
Oh sweet, sweet Shane. Speaking of Shane, the junior deckhand sees everyone else heading to the beach as the perfect opportunity to relax and go for a swim. Naturally, he changes into board shorts, discards his shirt and hops into the water like the California dreamboat he is. However, what he doesn’t realize is that Captain Lee is keeping a watchful eye on the bridge.
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And the captain is not impressed, especially when Shane isn’t answering Eddie‘s radio calls from shore. The green deckhand is swiftly reprimanded, and he’ll probably think twice the next time he wants to remove his My Seanna rash guard.
For dinner, the guests have requested a Neon Carnival-themed party to celebrate one of their birthdays. (Honestly, I can’t keep track of which girl’s birthday it is, and does it even really matter?) Their one request — on top of the dozens of others — is that James serve as eye candy for dessert, dressed in a sparkly speedo. Oh, and they also want to do body shots off him. Because that’s not crossing a line at all. But the handsome Brit is all for it, especially if it helps the crew get a better tip.
So without much fuss, James dons the disco ball-inspired budgie snuggler and paints a giant 35 on his chest. But before Rachel can bring the cake and surprise in a speedo out, the guests start a massive argument. Over what else? Their respective crushes on James.
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One of the guests is furious at the birthday girl for getting attention from the deckhand earlier in the day via jet ski. She’s especially mad because she claims she basically called dibs on him the moment they stepped on the boat. And suddenly, the guests are all leaving the table, screaming at each other and stomping off in a huff. It takes major wrangling from Francesca to get them to all sit back down. Because, she promises, the birthday surprise will be worth it.
James finally appears and most of the guests melt at the sight of the thirst trap in a sparkling speedo. The lights go out. The neon carnival begins. Body shots are done, off of James, in the darkness. Everyone seems happy except for the guest who had the first crush on James. She sees the deckhand in a speedo as further evidence of the injustice done against her by the birthday girl. Because if the deck crew are there for anything at all, it’s to be boy toys for thirsty, entitled charter guests, right??
TELL US – WHICH BREAKDOWN SURPRISED YOU MORE: FRANCESCA OR RACHEL? WILL IZZY SUCCEED MORE AS A DECKHAND THAN A STEW? IS JAMES IN A SPEEDO WORTH FIGHTING OVER? WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THIS BELOW DECK CAST?
[Photo Credit: Bravo]