Amy Feinstein’s Southern Charm Recap: Lowcountry Broil

Salt in the wound … and they eyes.

We are back for another week of Bravo TVSouthern Charm: The COVID Year. When we last saw the cast, two were in quarantine after contracting the Corona virus (not the one where you drink too much cheap beer from Mexico, but rather the global pandemic that Craig Conover thought would skip Charleston, S.C.).

Almost everyone on the show was just plain pissy – as I was during last week’s recap.

Bringing us back up to speed, Madison LeCroy dumped boyfriend Austen Kroll for a whole host of reasons – among them his regression back to his teenage years during the COVID-19 lockdown. This includes drinking and carousing with other boys, which admittedly, for too many days in a row, isn’t sexy.

Taylor Ann Green is stilled rankled by Shep Rose because he sent her packing to Camp Craig for COVID sufferers after she tested positive. Erstwhile “ride-or-die” Danni Baird and Kathryn Calhoun Dennis got into it over a lack of accountability – with the former finally drawing the line in the sand.

Which brings us to the current episode …

The camera does a quick tour around town, landing at Austen’s abode, where the newly cootie-free Craig is dropping by to catch up. The host finishes his fruit snacks (the kind in the pouch, gummy, in the shape of fruit) and throws Craig a can of Trop Hop, his beer (finally available in cans).

(Click to view)

(Via: Bravo TV)

Austen explains to viewers that he’s been working on getting his beer into cans since the virus hit – and is shocked that it took a few months to do (during a pandemic). Young man, you are nothing if not consistently exhausting. He’s also still complaining that Madison refuses to see how he’s crushing this “adult” thing.

At Shep’s house he’s zooming with Taylor, who at this time has not moved back in with him. Taylor’s still annoyed Shep chose not to roll around in the virus with her. This time I am in agreement with Mr. Rose. He’s got at least a decade on Taylor, and actually did the mature thing by not deciding to infect himself like it was the 1970s and you were sent over to play with the neighbor kids who all had Chicken Pox. My former mother-in-law did this, encouraging all of the children to share one set of plastic Dracula teeth.

Good times … and amazing any of us are still alive.

Over at Patricia Altschul’s, Madison has dropped by to have a tête-à-tête on the patio – complete with some champagne and potato chips. Granted, they are covered in crème fraîche and caviar. They cover the breakup with Austen, and soon Leva Bonaparte drops by – at which point they discuss Kathryn and the emoji situation again.

The sooner this group admits this is far more about the Cameran Eubanks / Jason Wimberly rumor (and trouble in the marriage), the more respect I will have for the situation. Patricia and Leva want to send Kathryn to Siberia over the whole thing, but Madison isn’t buying in at this time. I don’t think anyone was arguing that you had to be living under a rock to know Kathryn’s monkey emoji was offensive, but Leva has a point … read a book.

Back at Patricia’s (on yet another patio), Whitney Sudler-Smith – with a fresh cut and color (or perhaps some blonde frosted tips) – is accusing his mother of living in Grey Gardens. Perhaps I’m just noticing, but Mr. Sudler-Smith has a sleeve of tattoos on his left arm. Has this been there a while and I haven’t noticed? Or is it a COVID whim for a confirmed bachelor in his fifties?

Patricia had originally planned a formal dinner for the boys, but instead, she is now going to throw them a pool party whilst keeping her distance – now that Craig and Austen have shiny new negative tests for the 2019 Corona virus. As an aside, I wonder why someone hasn’t written a topical song to the tune of “My Sharona” or a political song about sedition to the Fiddler on the Roof tune, “Tradition.”

There is fertile ground here for the musically inclined among us …

Mrs. Altschul instead has opted for a Lowcountry boil, and Whitney wrinkles his nose and likens blue crabs to cockroaches – insulting my home state’s favorite crustacean. Mama reminds him that lobsters fall into that same category, which shuts him up. Perhaps he’s never tried some lump crab meat with clarified butter and lemon?

At John Pringle’s house, his two boys are getting a bit rambunctious and he tells them to get it together as their mom will be arriving soon from California. It seems mom is the disciplinarian, and things have not been terribly regimented at camp dad – with Pringle likening his offspring to crackheads. Heidi, Pringle’s ex arrives, and makes lunch.

Over at Shep’s, he’s cuddling with Little Craig when Taylor arrives. Shep decides to apologize first for the disagreement they had while Taylor was ill. He says that he should have used more tact and sensitivity. Perhaps the first bright spot of this season is that Shep is capable of evolving.

Back at Patricia’s, Michael Kelcourse is getting the crab mallets, nut crackers and more ready for the onslaught of Peter Pans for the crab feast – which is not the newspaper-on-the-picnic-table event of my youth. Instead, there is crystal, silver, and crushed ice in a giant decorative oyster shell. For a Maryland touch, Patricia and Michael do spread some old copies of the New York Times over the tablecloth on top of a glass table … so it’s almost the same thing. Almost. Michael asks Patricia what section of the paper she would like at her spot at the table, and she requests the financial section.


(Click to view)

(Via: Bravo TV)

This gathering will be the first time Austen and Pringle have seen each other since, as Austen says, Pringle was “inappropriate” with Madison on the eve of the mechanical bull riding. Craig suggests that he can pick Madison up on his golf cart for their day drinking fest – calling them the “boys of summer,” though he admits he’s not sure what that means. I’m guessing he’s thinking of the Don Henley song, and not the book by Roger Kahn about baseball (which is where Henley got the phrase). I hear Leva in my head “read a book!” This should be a tagline for this season.

Maybe Patricia should put the book review section of the Times in front of Craig …

Shep and Pringle arrive, and the latter has brought along a hostess gift – making me think he’s not an entirely lost cause. Shep and Whitney exchange some grammatical humor, and the guys get outfitted with some Red Stripes. Pringle comments that the “bartender is smoke.” It’s not that she isn’t, but it seems as though it might have been awhile since Mr. Pringle has been allowed to run off the leash, so to speak … as he’s finding it difficult to keep his tongue in his mouth.

Craig picks up Austen in his golf cart, and obviously doesn’t think drunk driving counts if you are in a vehicle with no sides. I guess we are playing by Carolina rules here?

And what is the obsession with white jeans? Ugh.

On the low-speed drive to casa Patricia, Austen doesn’t hold back on his thoughts about his hostess. Poor form, dude.

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(Via: Bravo TV)

“She’s in her old age and she doesn’t have much to do.”

Good luck, Austen. For the record, I don’t think she dislikes Austen, I think she dislikes him for Madison. While I’m sure that doesn’t sit well, her arguments are valid – and you have accepted an invitation to her house, to eat her food and drink her liquor, so STFU, thank you very much. If you don’t like it, stay home and play with your joystick.

Patricia serves some subtle shade, opting to drink a Red Stripe instead of a Trop Hop. The hostess offers the boys a lesson in crab picking, like a true DelMarVa lady.

Austen decides to school Pringle on “guy code,” but any fan of a crab feast will notice that while delivering the lecture, Austen rubs his eyes – which is the one thing you don’t do while eating crabs. Old Bay and rock salt in your eyes will burn for hours. It’s akin to cutting up peppers and rubbing your eyes (or using the toilet if you are a guy).

At the table, in front of Miss Patricia and others, Austen draws the line, saying that if they are going to be buddies, Madison is off limits to John. Umm, it’s not eighth grade, and I think this is Madison’s call, but Pringle agrees for the moment (at age 43) while rolling his eyes in his confessional.

Ironically, Austen accuses Shep of rubbing salt in the wound – after rubbing Old Bay in his eyes repeatedly. Austen literally says he doesn’t want to have a conversation about Madison … after bringing up Madison. The boys decide to drink and get in the pool. It’s worth mentioning that Shep – now that he’s forty and a bit more dad bod than hard bod – has decided to skip the Speedo for some sensible board shorts.

(Click to view)

(Via: Bravo TV)

This next part is short, but if you caught it, very interesting. Austen sits with his hostess to chat about his relationship with Madison. What I think he doesn’t understand is that Miss Patricia isn’t saying he’s not good enough for Madison – she’s saying he’s still not mature enough. If he were, he could hear what she’s saying, absorb it … and take it or leave it. Instead, in his confessional he calls her a professional gold digger, albeit in more polite words. If Austen were mature enough, he would have figured out that bashing Patricia is not the way to get back with Madison.

Again, you come to Patricia’s house, eat her food, drink her liquor, and swim in her pool … so behave, or don’t go. Check this one with your mom, and I’m pretty sure she’ll agree. Or with your sister, who seems to have inherited the common sense gene.

Maybe women (not necessarily Kathryn, who can somehow see the good in the likes of Thomas Ravenel) are just more practical, pragmatic, and see the dumpster fire down the road … but Austen wants his cake, with a side of ice cream, and wants to eat it too.

Craig, who now thinks for some reason that he is the oracle of the Lowcountry, gets an Uber to meet with Madison for a chat by the water. So Craig’s house is under repairs … is his car in the same state? Hmmm.

Guess it was too far for the golf cart. Anyway, Craig tells Madison that Austen doesn’t know he’s there, giving her advice, and he’s never going to tell him. Craig, there is a camera, filming you, and in a few months, this will be played back on Bravo. I’m sure production suggested that you do this, but be honest with viewers of Southern Charm, and stop with the make believe.

It’s funny when a boy finds himself in a functional relationship and suddenly believes he’s Dr. Phil.

Craig exclaims that this is his last resort. Perhaps try minding your own damn business, but what fun would that be for your average Bravoleb?

In the scenes from the next episode, we seem to be once again going back to lecture time, where less is never more …and gilding the lily is a favorite pastime. Well, at least I almost had one week not to be annoyed.


Amy Feinstein is a native of Baltimore, Maryland, and has been writing professionally for more than 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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