On Tuesday when I was headed to work, I noticed ads for a new Bravo series, Southern Charm, being posted on the subway station walls. My immediate reaction was, "Oh jeez. Another reality show?" and went about my business after briefly thinking about what state they would be in. The large white wraparound porch on which the cast was sipping mint juleps looked far more southern than my native Virginia. I would probably not have given this show a second thought — at least not until I inevitably ended up watching it at two in the morning — but then I noticed the posters again on my way home. The ads were already vandalized, but rather than the normal cartoon dicks in mouths, there was commentary specifically about the show being southern. I began to wonder what the hell Southern Charm was actually about and just how hard the show would push the southerness? The answer is really effing hard.
The posters I saw featured the cast posed in front of a large house looking equal parts welcoming and reality show conniving. The tagline about them read, "See how the southern half lives." Bravo loves a good pun (see: Blood, Sweat, and Heels), but they left themselves wide open to criticism with that one. Underneath one vandal wrote, "ignorantly" while another person added, "plantation-style." That last one was pretty funny and I continued walking until about four posters down there was another one, also vandalised. This one showed a speech bubble next to one of the cast members with, "Why don't we all live in New York?" written inside. Because they want to live in the south! Suddenly I was silently defending these randos in my mind, but I still didn't know what the show was about other than probably snobby people enjoying themselves in what was probably South Carolina.
I was right about the South Carolina part. This ad was far too southern to be Virginia and far too classy to be [insert your own state you find to be un-classy here, I'm not calling anyone out!]. According to Bravo's website, "Southern Charm takes viewers inside the world of Charleston, South Carolina's most aristocratic families to reveal a world of exclusivity, money and scandal that goes back generations." It's real life southern Gossip Girl! I just might be down with this.
The cast is really all over the place. There's a former South Carolina State Tresurer, an independent filmmaker who directed a Halston documentary, a woman who is designing a line of gloves, and a lawyer who comes from "an impressive bloodline of athletes." There's also a guy named Shep, because of course there is, and he looks like a Golden Retriever personified.
One of Southern Charm's stars, Cameran Eubanks, might look familiar to some Real World fans. She appeared on the San Diego season in 2004 and was liked for not being as crazy pants as most Real World cast members.
A preview for the show doesn't make it look too promising. It's hard to tell if these people have any connection to one another. Would a 48-year-old politician/businessman really be friends with a 28-year-old budding fashion designer? It's not like the Real Housewives were friends first, but it was plausible.
At the very least, Southern Charm might be entertaining simply for how extremely southern it tries to be. People are constantly saying, "Chaaaaalston" and things like, "That's not how we act down here!" To go back to those posters, I don't think living "ignorantly" will come into play on this show as it doesn't look very controversial, but if you like Lily Pulitzer dresses and polo shirts there should be no shortage of those.