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.
Paget Berry and Ciara Duggan were the first Below Deck couple that we got to see live and work together. Most often, a coupled crew member had someone on land that they either stay faithful to or pulled the “open relationship card” like Rob Westergaard.
But Paget and Ciara were together on Below Deck Sailing Yacht. All. The. Time. They gave off an old married couple vibe with tons of bickering and squabbling, but they were also really in tune with each other and had tender moments as well. Ciara was so confident in Paget’s feelings for her that she endured an entire season of Georgia Grobler flirting with her man without batting an eyelash, confident that Paget would never stray.
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.
Below Deck cast member Rhylee Gerber always presented a tough exterior. Whether it was a simple exchange between coworkers or answering to the lineup of bosuns that tried to manage her, Rhylee’s reactionary attitude seemed to escalate situations. Of course, the toxic masculinity onboard this past season was beyond acceptable, but dealing with male coworkers often put Rhylee on the defensive. Recall the season with the perfectly respectful Ross Inia as her bosun.
But that is just in the professional realm. Rhylee does have a positive male relationship in her life. That person is her stepfather. This weekend, Rhylee shared some touching photos of her with her stepfather.
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.
We have finally docked on this toxic season of Below Deck, and they could fill an ocean with champagne and it still wouldn’t be enough to celebrate coming to the end of this mess.
There’s really not much left to say about the stupidity, except that the guys have learned nothing. As Courtney Skippon so eloquently explained (how on earth did casting miss that she was smart and go on to hire her?) about misogyny it’s not simply hating women, it’s putting women down for behaving in ways you think are reserved for men. This manifested in Brian de Saint Pern deciding Courtney had no right to share her opinions and should stay out of ‘mens bidnezz.’ Or Ashton Pienaar deciding he could shove his tongue down Kate Chastain‘s throat, because all she’s worth is an item to satisfy him, not his equal rank in running an entity of a super yacht.
Last night’s Below Deck Season 7 reunion was heated, to say the least. There was also one very awkward exchange with Rhylee Gerber and Tanner Sterback about his mom, who appeared on the show many times via speakerphone.
During the reunion episode, a Facebook post from Tanner’s mom was mentioned. Something tells me that she’s written several Facebook posts about this show, defending Tanner, of course. She even went in on Captain Lee Rosbach. Oh, girl, you are in over your head. Did she not watch the show? Tanner made more than few mistakes.