Why I can't wait to watch Southern Charm

Tonight's the Night: #Charmagedon


Southern Charm airs tonight, and, depending on your perspective, this could mean, 1) the end of Charleston as we know it or, 2) the best thing to happen to Thomas Ravenel since getting out of jail. 

For those in the first camp, Southern Charm represents all that is base and vile in the world. Charleston will become the laughingstock of the country — as if South Carolina isn't already a laughingstock for things much worse than man sluts. You know, things like institutionalized racism and homophobia, high rates of illiteracy, poverty, teenage pregnancy, AIDS, etc. When it comes to this corner of the world, a group of partying pretty people sleeping around town is the last thing we should be outraged about. But many people are. To them I say, take a seat on your joggling board, drink a mint julep, and relax already. It's a freakin' TV show, not the race for state superintendent of education (which you really should be paying more attention to). Seriously, get your priorities for outrage in order people. 

Now, for those like me, seeing Thomas Ravenel in his natural habitat is fascinating stuff. This is a guy who truly is from the local elite — a French Huguenot with a family name that dates back centuries. The big bridge is named for his dad Arthur Ravenel for god sakes. And about his dad. I kind of miss old Cousin Arthur, a former politician who served in Congress, ran for governor, and took a seat on the county school board at age 79. He gave the City Paper plenty of fodder for years. We dedicated entire issues to his Cuzway, the bridge's nickname during the project stage. We called him out when he famously referred to the NAACP as the National Association for Retarded People during the Confederate flag flap. 

And because he is the son of Cousin Arthur, we shouldn't be surprised that T-Rav is an attention whore who loves stirring up controversy and saying shit like he did in last week's City Paper. Father and son share a mischievous twinkle in their eyes. They like to challenge and charm people. They like attention, which is why we caught a glimpse of the senior Ravenel in the preview episode. That's right. Cousin Arthur makes an appearance in Southern Charm, and for that, I will watch. I mean, you could put these two guys in a sitcom, they are such characters. 

A few other items gleaned from watching the preview episode and clips on Bravo's website: 

• Cameran will be the breakout star — relatable, self-deprecating, gorgeous. We can see Andy at Bravo spinning this girl off into her own show. As a Real World veteran, she seems the most savvy about the reality TV situation. 

• Thomas. This guy is having a ball, making lots of money, playing polo. I think he comes across as a douche who's in on the joke — which has its charms. It's clear he could not give two shits what anyone thinks about him.

• Shep. Some blog somewhere described him as a golden retriever, and that he is. Big, goofy, and good-looking. He's a man-slut with a girl problem. But boy is he cute. And seemingly rich. A panty-dropping combo. For proof, watch this video of him giving a tour of his apartment (oh, and Shep, it's called a joggling board).

Southern Charm airs tonight at 10 p.m. on Bravo. I'll be on hand at the City Paper viewing party tonight at Mellow Mushroom and will be recapping the show each week.

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