Reality TV

Binge watched Below Deck’s 6th and 7th seasons…

Bill is now back from his business in Stuttgart, and I am now caught up on reality shows. After downloading the truly revolting show, My Feet Are Killing Me, I decided to catch up on Bravo’s Below Deck. I was really into the first five seasons of that show and I think I even watched one season of the Mediterranean edition. For some reason, I decided not to watch season 6. I think I got tired of it because it’s the same formula every season.

Basically, young, hot, TV ready people work on a luxury yacht with Captain Lee Rosbach and his head stew, Kate Chastain. There is always a temperamental chef, a hotheaded deckhand, an emotional stewardess, and lots of sexual tension mixing with annoying guests who can afford to drop six figures to charter a yacht for three days in an exotic location. Until yesterday, I wondered what would compel someone to charter a yacht so Bravo can put them on TV and the staff can badmouth them. Basically, it amounts to a fat reduction in the fare, although guests are still expected to tip on what the original cost would have been. You know these folks are loaded if they can afford to tip $15k to $20K on a three day cruise. I’m kind of surprised there aren’t people in the luxury yacht charter industry who aren’t screaming about this show and the way it depicts people who work on the vessels being unprofessional and rude about the guests.

At least one guest was pissed off because of the way they were portrayed on the show. However, because they also signed a lot of waivers, they were powerless to sue for defamation. Another woman was shaded because she refused to share a room with another guest, causing the captain to have to give up his room and sleep in the Sky Lounge.

Anyway, though I had obviously gotten bored after the fifth season, it was kind of fun catching up on the series again. There’s something about it that appeals to me. It’s like a combination of nostalgia for my two summers working at a church camp mixed with my three SeaDream cruises. The exotic locations and beautiful ships remind me of our luxury cruises, while the extreme, non-stop work for six weeks reminds me of camp. Of course, at camp, we got paid a pittance. But there was a lot of sexual tension and bonding, too, and we worked constantly in a very beautiful location. Camp Paddy Run is in beautiful Shenandoah County, Virginia, just a few miles from the West Virginia border. It’s absolutely magical there.

I’m glad to be done watching, though, because once again, I ended up getting kind of bored with the concept. The show has annoying background music along with constant bleeps because people swear so much. But they really only bleep out the words “fuck” and “shit”. Everything else is fair game. As I’ve said before, I don’t mind curse words, but sometimes it does get tiresome to hear them over and over again, particularly when they’re bleeped. I wish American TV would get with the program and let people swear.

I had a surprising reaction to one of the deckhands, too… Rhylee, the redhead from Alaska who had worked as a fisherman. When she did one of her confessionals, she explained that her mother and stepfather moved her and her sister to Florida and opened a bed and breakfast. The sisters were forced to be silent, since her mom and stepdad didn’t want them bothering the guests. So now, she has a bit of a psychological sunburn when it comes to certain treatment. I relate to that myself. I don’t tolerate abuse very well anymore, either. But she was really profane and, at times, kind of unreasonable. It was sort of painful to watch (and hear).

Ashton, who was a deckhand in Season 6 and the bosun in Season 7, was an interesting character to me, and not just because he had a gorgeous body. I enjoyed listening to his South African accent, especially since it sounded like he said “dickhead” when he was really saying “deckhand”. He seemed like a guy with a big heart, except when he got drunk. I didn’t like the drunk version of Ashton… but the rest of the time, he seemed like someone I would enjoy knowing.

I actually have a lot of empathy for people who work on boats. It’s very hard work and the crew must live in tight quarters, sometimes with people they can’t stand. Yes, the people who work on charters make insane tip money, but they work their asses off to get it, and the work can be dangerous. Ashton, who came back in season 7 to be a bosun, got his leg tangled in a rope and was pulled off the ship. He could have easily died. And if you get sick or hurt while you’re working, good luck getting time to recuperate. But if you can hack the long hours and dealing with different personalities, and you’re young and healthy, you can make serious bank.

I will also say that watching that show has made me want to book another trip somewhere nice. We have a long weekend next week, but it’s also the weekend of the wine expo in Strasbourg, France. We haven’t yet been to the wine expo and, who knows? This could be our last chance to go. But I am also kind of tired of France and would like to go somewhere else…

Well… we’ll see what happens. We have a lot of stuff to do that doesn’t involve having fun. But I must admit that I started looking for trip ideas as I watched that show.