Many Below Deck alums disappear into post-reality TV obscurity. Ashton Pienaar could have been remembered as the deckhand who entertained his castmates with outrageous Smashton moments and narrowly escaped death when his foot got tangled in a tow line and he was dragged overboard.
Unfortunately, Ashton returned for season 7 as a newly appointed bosun. His zeal for the job was quickly dampened by lack of management skills and being triggered by Chief Stew Kate Chastain. Smashton became downright scary and threatening towards Kate and deck hand Rhylee Gerber. He had quite a bit of damage control to do at the reunion, and revealed that he had started counseling to deal with issues he identified after watching himself on screen.
Watching Izzy Wouters blossom on the deck team has been like viewing the formation of a diamond. Since moving out of interior service on Below Deck, Izzy has stood out on her team. She is very competent and professional, looks out for her colleagues, and has a hilarious personality too.
If it seemed like Izzy and chief stew Francesca Rubi were about to but heads, bosun Eddie Lucas is encouraging and appreciative of her. If only “sunshine” crew member Shane Coopersmith could evoke the same feelings. And while Izzy’s transformation could be the simple result of better skill placement, it is important to have good management.
We are excited to announce a collaboration with S’More, which recently started a weekly show called S’More Live Happy Hour, which includes interviews with celebs and reality stars dishing on dating stories, playing hilarious games, and spilling some tea.
Ashton Pienaar gave Below Deck viewers two seasons of incredibly charged behavior and infamous moments. As a deckhand, Ashton nearly lost his life after a mishap with tow lines. Last season Ashton was the misogynistic bosun who couldn’t apologize enough to Kate Chastain, Rhylee Gerber, and Captain Lee Rosbach.
Ashton did have some tender moments as well. He often talked about “planting seeds,” which more times than not were fruitless attempts. But Ashton did manage to hook up with Laura Betancourt in season 6 and the two remained friends after filming ended.
One of the most important crew relationships on any Below Deck show is the dynamic between the captain and the chief stew. Everything that occurs on the boat, from charter guest parties to personnel issues flows from the camaraderie between the two positions.
Of all the Below Deck shows, the closest captain-chief stew relationship has been between Captain Lee Rosbach and Chief Stew Kate Chastain. Through six seasons of sailing the Caribbean and South Pacific together, the two have had each other’s backs through stormy seas, out-of-control guests and unhappy crew members. When Kate announced she was leaving the show, many people were surprised. Count Captain Lee among them.
I love Below Deck, but I’m so happy we can put Season 7 behind us. I’m sure Andy Cohen feels the same way since he’s received a ton of backlash after hosting the two reunion episodes.
Andy even interacted with his critics directly this week while filming his radio show Andy Cohen Live.
Andy Cohen has been on a bit of an apology tour this week. Public opinion was not kind to Andy following his appearance hosting theBelow Deck reunion episodes and he’s been using his radio show as a platform to backpedal, explain, and of course, apologize.
After a particularly bitter and vicious season, fans were curious as to how the cast would react to each other at the reunion. Certainly Andy, as host, was responsible for setting the tone and remaining neutral throughout. But general public opinion found Andy tone-deaf to the deeper issue of misogyny within the crew. Also, that he let Ashton Pienaar off way too easy.
The crew of Below Deck Season 7 was a disharmonious bunch by the end of it all. The bickering within the deck crew caused strife on every single night out. Seriously, have we ever seen a season where the cast splits down gender lines to the point where boat-mances fizzle out and no one is trying to hook up? Everyone except Tanner Sterbeck, of course. He’s just so oblivious to the mood on board, he’ll keep approaching Chief Stew Kate Chastain for a sex date.
Miraculously, the toxic environment did not affect the quality of work on board too much. Though Kate was often at odds with Chef Kevin Dobson, and Bosun Ashton Pienaar, they maintained their professionalism and their departments rather well considering. Valor was not completely void of people who couldn’t push the drama aside during charter.