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Shane Coopersmith

Below Deck Season 8 Reunion

It’s reunion time, yachties! And the Below Deck crew has gathered from (literally) the four corners of the globe for a virtual sit-down with Andy Cohen. Did this season of Below Deck really need a reunion? The answer is debatable depending on how much you think a phrase like “Eat my cooter” needs to be discussed ad nauseam. Though I suppose there were a number of strings left loose in a season cut short by the coronavirus pandemic. So here we are. Anchors aweigh!

Personally, I love how Andy always insists on going fully in on the nautical wardrobe when he hosts these Below Deck reunions. Captain Lee Rosbach always dresses up in his finest. But the rest of the crew’s looks are…wildly disparate. Francesca Rubi and her feathered shoulders are coming all the way from Sydney. James Hough decided to put on a basic green shirt at home in the U.K. Elizabeth Frankini, meanwhile, is wearing a full rainbow gown in Florida. Sadly, though, we can only see maybe two colors of the rainbow since she’s stuck in a tiny box on Zoom.

Below Deck Francesca Rubi

What’s the most dire way to kick off a charter? Oh, I’d say without a deckhand. Or better yet, without a chef! And that’s exactly the predicament the Below Deck gang finds themselves in following Shane Coopersmith‘s firing and Rachel Hargrove walking off the boat. One of those exits was entirely expected. The other was absolutely not. But either way, they both leave Captain Lee Rosbach down two crew members and scrambling just hours before the season’s fourth charter.

For obvious reasons, this is a terrible position to be stuck in. Because, sure, you may be able to get through a single charter with one less deckhand. But there’s no way any yacht survives without a chef. Who’s going to make the food? Unlike other seasons in the Below Deck universe, there’s no stew-turned-secret chef to miraculously step up and save the day. And the morning of the charter, Lee can’t even seem to get the yacht staffing agency on the line for help.

Below Deck Chef Rachel Hargrove

Finally! I’ve been waiting all season for something to finally happen on Below Deck. And we finally got an episode filled with drama, nearly from start to finish. We had upheaval in the crew. The coronavirus pandemic started creeping its way into the Caribbean. World War II-era warfare erupted thanks to toxic fumes! And a rogue preference sheet sent one crew member over the edge. Needless to say, it was a lot. And most of all it was great.

Last week’s Below Deck ended on a cliffhanger with Shane Coopersmith getting called into a meeting with Captain Lee Rosbach and Eddie Lucas. And this week, the hapless deckhand lasts about five seconds into the episode. That’s right; the sun has gone down on Sunshine. And strangely, Shane seems utterly blindsided by being fired. Like, he didn’t see this coming at all, you guys. Which is bizarre, considering all the napping. And waking up late. And leaving the laz door open all night. And…et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Shall I go on?

Below Deck Sushi

Sometimes the drama on Below Deck happens on the upper decks.  Of course, we get emotionally invested in sunshine Shane Coopersmith longevity on the job, or whether Elizabeth Frankini will ever impress her chief stew Francesca Rubi.  But charter guests can stand on their own in terms of bad decision making and infamous reality TV moments.

Recall the group of twenty-somethings who were treated to a yacht vacation by the parents.  They behaved exactly as one would expect with lots of drinking, demands, and demands for drinks.  Not a memorable group, but one questionable decision is bringing them back from obscurity to answer for it.

Below Deck Shane Coopersmith

How do you solve a problem like Shane Coopersmith? Unfortunately for Eddie Lucas, Below Deck is not The Sound of Music. A super yacht is not an Austrian nunnery. And you can’t just ship off the crew’s problem child to nanny for some Caribbean version of the Von Trapp family whose seven children are desperately in need of a new governess. (Though in this analogy, Captain Lee Rosbach would be the crew’s indomitable Mother Abbess. And what any Bravoholic wouldn’t give to hear the Stud of the Sea belt out “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” from aboard the bridge. To push the limits of the analogy even further, what song would our sweet, bright-eyed Sunshine sing as he leaves My Seanna? Why, “I Have Confidence,” of course.)

But like I said, this isn’t The Sound of Music, no matter how many striking similarities in disposition Shane may have to Maria Von Trapp. Which, now that I’m thinking of it, are many. But while Maria eventually grew to inspire countless generations of regional theaters across the world, I don’t think anyone will be writing a Below Deck musical anytime soon. At least not one with the flailing junior deckhand as the hero. Week after week, Shane’s mistakes have been piling up. And it looks like his time aboard My Seanna may finally be coming to a close.

Izzy Wouters Below Deck Charley

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.

Below Deck Captain Lee Rosbach

Is anyone out there starting to feel like this season of Below Deck is perpetually stuck in first gear? For the first couple episodes, I chalked it up to a new crew. After all, we didn’t have Kate Chastain as our fearless leader to get things going. Plus, Captain Lee Rosbach spent almost the entire first episode in the hospital. For the first time, our real fearless leader arrived on My Seanna hobbling and, well, fragile. As a result, everything felt hesitant and uncertain. But at a certain point, you expect everyone to get their sea legs under them and get the show moving. Right?

However, that hasn’t really happened yet. As a result, we’re five episodes deep into the season, and everyone’s insecurities are running rampant on this boat. Captain Lee may be recovering, but the only crew member who really jumped in and dealt with her insecurity was Izzy Wouters. And look at her now! All it took was a change from interior to deck crew and she’s thriving on board. Most of the others? Not so much…

Below Deck Francesca Rubi Ashling Lorger

Is there anything more obnoxious than a bunch of drunk, entitled college kids? Oh wait, I can think of one thing. A bunch of drunk, entitled college kids…on a yacht. In the Caribbean. Unsupervised. I honestly can’t decide what I’d rather put up with for a charter: these spoiled children or the first group of equally terrible adults. Seriously, whoever’s casting the charter guests for this season is really putting the Below Deck crew through it.

And is it me, or is the season just not…gelling yet? We’re already on the fourth episode, second charter, and something just hasn’t come together yet. We’re also on the fourth episode, second charter and nearly half the crew has broken down in tears already. I mean, is the spirit of Kate Chastain haunting My Seanna? Was the looming threat of the coronavirus ruining the vibes in the Caribbean long before the pandemic shut down production on Bravo shows across the board? I simply can’t put my finger on what’s happening with the vibe of this post-Kate season.