I’m an avid “Below Deck” fan, and I’ve blogged this BravoTV show forever. But sometimes, I’m pretty horrified by the sort of antics they portray as acceptable in anything that purports to be a work environment.
Today’s blog is going to start with a rant. #FairWarning
This Tuesday’s new episode of “Below Deck” crossed some lines. And I’m going to quote it verbatim so that you can make up your own mind.
Let me set the stage, for any of you not completely familiar with the current cast of characters.
Kelley is the bosun, and he’s in charge of the deck hands. He’s their direct supervisor. The stewardesses work for Chief Stew Kate, who is his counterpart on the inside of the boat, and who recently got arrested for assaulting her girlfriend Roe who is also featured in this episode. But we’ll come back to that.
In this scene, Kelley is scrubbing the boat with Kyle, the new deck hand who has been aboard for approximately 24 hours. So he’s teaching him the ropes, and setting an example, right?
“Fly to the Caribbean they said. It will be fun they said. You get to see the islands. I get to see a f**king waterline,” Kyle jokes to his boss as they scrub.
“So, Sierra,” Kelley brings up a stewardess’s name. “You just started rubbing harder!”
They both start laughing like teenage boys who saw a booby. Then Kelley gets gross.
“Oh Sierra, oohhhhh,” he moans as he sexually assaults the hull of the boat without its prior consent.
“Do you think she wants it though?” Kyle asks his boss.
“She wants something,” Kelley says.
“I have no clue how long it will take Kyle to figure out she is nuts,” Kelley says in interview. And then they show an extremely unflattering clip of Sierra. “We’ll see how quick he learns.”
“I’m going for the kill by next charter. I’m going in… with no wellingtons,” Kyle announces.
“What the f**k is a wellington?” Kelley asks.
“A condom,” Kyle replies. Kelley burst out laughing.
“Oh no, no. You’re going in with a Wellington,” Kelley says.
Sooo… in light of the recent dialog in the media about what kind of language is appropriate – and what’s not – I have to wonder if BravoTV is encouraging “locker room” talk by showing this sort of thing and doing nothing about it.
Don’t get me wrong – I realize they’re real people, and not everybody has the same standards of what is, and what is NOT, the appropriate way to talk about somebody they work with in front of cameras. But seriously? SERIOUSLY???
I’ve thought it was bad when they greased up a deck hand as man-candy for groups of female charter guests. And I’ve been pretty horrified by the way some of the guests have harassed the stewardesses. But this is just icky. And Sierra’s not that bright. #LockYourDoor
Pretty sure I’ve made my point, so let’s get back to the show.
It starts out with the guests going tubing. It’s super windy and rough, and First Officer Barry (one of those guys we never see), driving the speedboat, pulls them too close to the reef, just as they tip over.
The girls are right over the reef, and then suddenly a few waves come in. It’s a scary situation for a few minutes.
Nico dives in and pulls both girls out of the foam, to safety.
“You guys almost died?” one guest asks.
“It was a near-death experience,’ one of the girls replies.
“I need a drink immediately,” says the girl who got hurt.
The only injury was a scrape from the reef, but those can get infected quickly. And the Captain is concerned.
Nobody answers the radio from the stew crew when the captain calls them. By name. One at a time.
“I get really pissed off when people don’t answer their radio. I’m not calling you for my health. There’s a reason that I’m calling you,” Captain Lee mutters as he goes to find somebody to make drinks for the guests.
Surprise, surprise! Sierra was on duty, and she didn’t have her radio on. She’s such a moron.
He tells her to make Painkillers for everybody.
“I mean we’re in the home of the Painkiller, it’s pretty much a staple here in the islands. I’m trying to bring some levity to the situation,” he says.
Unfortunately, Sierra doesn’t know they want drinks, she thinks they want aspirin. She’s just not that bright.
The captain is kind about it, but you know he’s wondering how many points above the idiot line this girl is on the IQ charts.
Captain Lee has to jump in and help make the drinks because Sierra hasn’t got a clue.
Who hired this one? I’m telling you, I’m fairly certain production picked her just because of her stripper name, Sierra Storm. Who does that to their child? Still, that doesn’t give her male crewmates license to treat her like meat.
Next, Kelley isn’t answering his radio when the captain needs him, because he’s on the toilet, so he gets yelled at, too.
“Did something happen while I was on break?” Kate asks, clueless.
“A couple of the guests almost died. Nothing serious,” Ben replies, deadpan. I’m not sure Kate believed him.
“You guys look like Moe, Larry and Curly up there right now,” Captain Lee says of his deck crew.
“My deck team isn’t performing up to the standards that I expect,” he says.
Kelley’s mentally checked out, trying to figure out how to get into Emily’s pants.
“There’s definitely some sexual tension between me and Emily. I can tell by her body language,” Kelley says.
Um, yeah… that’s what HE thinks. I think they’re not speaking the same body language.
“Kelley embraces the opportunity to be topless. It’s not something that excites me, to be honest,” Emily says.
Sierra tells Kelley, gently, that Emily isn’t interested, when he grills her. Kelley doesn’t take the hint and requests additional intel. That’s yet another turn-off for Emily, who isn’t impressed when Sierra tries to put a good word in for him. #Backfire
When they have a day off at a resort together after the charter, Kelley’s climbing all over Emily flirting, and she thinks it’s too touchy-feely. It’s a little much. She’s not responding.
Kelley’s interviews are hard to watch. He thinks he has game, but he doesn’t. I’d feel sorry for him if he wasn’t being so pushy.
Next week is Valentine’s Day aboard the Valor, providing a stunning opportunity for Kelley to make things even more awkward and uncomfortable in Emily’s work environment. Nice.
But at least the guests on this charter are having fun.
“They’re drinking at a rate that impresses and scares me,” Kate tells Ben. And she warns him that dinner will probably be at 9.
When the guests finally wake up, Ben starts a yelling match with Kate about the new 9 pm dinner time. Which isn’t new. She told him that three hours earlier.
He is such a pompous ass. I truly wonder what goes through is head when he sees the episodes air. Does he even realize what a douchebag he looks like?
Kate decides to give their WHITE party a “white rabbit” theme. She’s puts the stewardesses in rabbit ears and tails. Um… the Valor Playboy Bunnies? Interesting.
Fortunately, it’s a family with a bunch of daughters, and drunk as they are, they’re well mannered. So the costumes are just “cute,” not sexy, to these guests. Nobody requested a lap dance, for a change.
As usual, Ben does nothing but complain. And the girls goofing around in their rabbit costumes annoys him.
“You kinda rushed me, and freaked me out,” Ben grumps. Of course, it’s always somebody else’s fault.
He’s annoyed that Kate’s girlfriend keeps texting her in HIS kitchen. Dude is super-jealous, and he can’t keep it to himself. It really bothers him that Kate would rather have a girlfriend than be with him.
“I’m seeing a lot of texting back and forth with this Roe character,” Ben complains that Kate need to be working, and not f**king off.
“I’m excited for Roe to meet Ben,” Kate says. “Everyone loves Roe.” Sure.
“Is she really six feet tall?” Ben asks.
Meanwhile, the guests are totally wasted, but still being nice. Kate’s ready for bed.
“I mean they have to pass out at some point. Right?” Kate asks, sounding desperate.
“Do not give them more caffeine,” Kate tells Sierra, instructing her to serve them decaf coffee.
The next morning, the deck crew is moving slowly, again, and the captain is unhappy.
“Wow, look how salty everything is,” Captain Lee says, looking at the windows. Lauren’s sitting on her bum doing nothing. He calls Kelley up to the bridge to take him to task, and Kelley pushes back. He blames the windows on the inside crew.
Greatly displeased by Kelley’s attitude, the captain takes him downstairs to inspect more dirty windows, making his point. Kelley is on thin ice, but his distraction with Emily has him totally unfocused.
Instead, he’s acting like an ass.
“He won’t pick on Kate, he won’t mess with the stews. He’s terrified of Kate,” Kelley whines about how his life is so difficult. But it’s true that the deck crew does spend a lot of on-duty time doing nothing. Good thing there’s a real crew of people running the boat, even if we never really see them.
The captain has started paying more attention to his deck crew. And Lauren is asked to handle bringing up the anchor. She bombs.
“I was just completely thrown under the bus,” Lauren says she was set up because she’d never done the anchor on her own. And she has a fit at Kelley.
Kelley tells Lauren that he has her back, but he got yelled at about her slacking that morning. Kelley’s team is a mess, and it’s pretty much his fault.
Seems like he wasn’t ready for the responsibility of being the bosun. We just didn’t notice it at first because Trevor was a distractingly bad deckhand. Now that he’s gone, Kelley has no camouflage.
The charter ends, the tips are good, and the captain gives them a lecture.
“Radios still are a pet peeve of mine… that just really rankles my ass to no end,” Captain Lee tells them.
He tells them to stay on the boat that night, and surprisingly, nobody gets up to shenanigans. They get the next day off to play at a resort. And Kate’s girlfriend shows up for a visit.
“Oh my God, Ben is like hating his life right now,” Sierra says.
Roe is dressed head to toe in black. It looks pretty weird in the Caribbean.
“Looks like she just crawled out of a fall-out shelter in Moscow,” Ben says. Exactly.
Yes, this is the very same girlfriend who is a six-foot professional soccer player, and whom Kate was arrested for assaulting (including biting) shortly after the show was filmed. #Classy
“I’m not usually a person who does a lot of PDA, but I just can’t help it,” Kate says. She and Roe are kissing all over the place. The rest of the crew is making uncomfortable jokes.
It’s overkill. Seems a bit like it’s been orchestrated for the cameras.
Kate and Roe have noisy sex in a bathroom, with the cameras rolling outside the door.
Ben’s pretty much freaking out about having Roe there. And then Ben and Roe have an awkward get-to-know-you conversation. Roe has a super annoying “heh heh heh” kinda laugh. Totally grates on my nerves. Still, that’s no excuse to bite her.
But seriously, I’m not sure what to think of BravoTV promoting this relationship on their show when we know that it ended up with assault charges and Kate in jail. Coupled with the “locker room” talk between Kelley and Kyle, and the other juvenile farting scene I’m not even going to describe, this show has taken on a new dimension of tasteless.
As promised, Kyle starts to make his move on Sierra. But at least he’s getting a true preview of what she’s really like, as they have a conversation and she attempts to quote the Bible.
According to Sierra, Jesus was a fisherman (Fact Check: Jesus was a carpenter) and taught everybody how to fish so they could feed themselves (Fact Check: Do I really have to go there?).
Kyle tries to explain loaves and fishes, but she argues that she’s Catholic.
So is he. So he declares them perfect to get married.
“She’s out there. Absolute loopy. Fruit loop. A bit mental,” Kyle says in interview. “I understand that I could end up with a knife in my chest.”
“You’re stunning. Absolutely beautiful,” Kyle tells Sierra. And they have a flirty conversation.
Kelley’s finding the whole thing hysterical because, of course, it’s in his best interest to have high drama and romance between the crew while they’re at sea. NOT!
“Sierra’s a lunatic. Like she’ll take your dick off with a butter knife in the middle of the night crazy,” Kelley says.
Fabulous, she’s crazy, but Kyle wants to have unprotected sex with her. Why do I even know that?
I also didn’t need to know that Kelley’s farts smell like “Red Bull and Chinese food,” according to Lauren.
Next week, Captain Lee tells Kelley to get his s**t in gear, as we see him botch something up with what I can only guess is the new slide they just added the yacht’s stash of water toys.
Kyle’s going to ask Sierra out. It remains to be seen whether she’ll whip out a butter knife.
In the meantime, boys and girls, remember this is television, not reality, regardless of the label. It’s NOT okay to be recorded talking about your co-workers like they’re meat, or raunchily discussing your prophylactic preferences (or lack thereof), with your boss. This sort of stuff gets you fired in REAL life. #LockerRoomTalk