Charleston’s very own reality show, Southern Charm, will make its season debut on Bravo TV this week, commencing with an onscreen flashback of all that was happening before – and during – the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Not only are major cast changes in the offing for the Bravo mainstay, but the network is attempting to keep up with the times by adopting a new tone and semi-“woke” take on the south.
In the seventh season teaser, it’s obvious this will be an attempt at self actualization examining many aspects of growing up entitled in the south. Southern Charm was initially created to put a spotlight on a group of wild and crazy bachelors with familiar and (in some cases) notorious names who celebrated living life by their own terms. Brazenly, at times.
This season, the worm has turned so to speak – and pressure from viewers has forced Bravo to turn a magnifying glass on the lives and origin stories of its prominent families.
Certainly we are in store for a history lesson on the Calhoun branch of Kathryn Dennis’ family tree – which features vice president John C. Calhoun , who 150 years after his death is now best known for being a slave master.
Seven years into the Southern Charm franchise, cast members seemingly are taking a break from using the city as background furniture and beginning to acknowledge Charleston’s past.
In what seems like a short commercial break, in the Bravo thesis, the word plantation is no longer going to be a code word for wealth – but rather a word that should not be spoken, and a word that will not appear on the show (despite the cast shooting scenes at a plantation only months ago, according to Variety).
This season will introduce restauranteur Leva Bonaparte (who has made appearances on previous seasons of Southern Charm) and musician John Pringle to the mix as new members of the cast – while bumping Madison LeCroy up to a full-fledged part of the core group.
“Friends of the cast” include Danni Baird, Patricia Altschul, Madison Simon and Rose’s new girlfriend, Taylor Ann Green. The franchise creator, Whitney Sudler-Smith, will also be dropping in to lockdown with his mom.
While Southern Charm will still feature fancy dresses and dining alfresco on the beach, it will be tempered by the reality of COVID and talk of politics and race – specifically the looming specter of “white privilege.”
And while Ravenel might appear occasionally – more as a mention, and definitely not as a friend – the former politician mixed it up with Rose recently on social media with their divergent views on the looming election. Ravenel kicked things off by tweeting his support for the current president, while Shep shared a rebuke.
“The Presidential choice is clear,” Ravenel tweeted. “One candidate fighting his ass off to save the American dream while the other is hiding, sitting on a lead [sic] and letting the media cover up his corruption so that he can transform our country into the United Socialist Soviet States of America.”
Rose responded with his trademark sarcasm.
“Good to see you using your degree from Trump University!” he fired back. “You know the American Dream he sold to people then had to settle for $25 million for bilking a bunch of people. But at least he has his charity. Wait a second he stole from that as well and had to pay $2 million. #Conman”
While Southern Charm will be facing our country’s new reality, some things will stay the same – like Kroll and LeCroy’s on again, off again relationship, Conover playing amateur therapist, Ravenel impregnating someone, and Altschul’s butler Michael Kelcourse serving up wise words and delicious cocktails.
The seventh season of Southern Charm airs on Thursday, October 29, 2020 at 9:00 p.m. ET on Bravo.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Amy Feinstein is a native of Baltimore, Maryland, and has been writing professionally for 25 years. She has a degree in English literature and a degree in British history. Amy enjoys writing about entertainment, sports, lifestyle, television and movies. When not at the computer, Amy can be found in the garden or at yoga class.
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