Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Below Deck: All the Work You Never See

Bravo's new show, Below Deck, follows a luxury yacht as it wines, dines, entertains and transports high end clients for high end dollars.  This almost 200 foot yacht, The Honor, consists of a crew with: three girls who act as the maid service, the hostesses and the waitresses, a personal chef, three male deck hands, the illustrious captain and his right hand man who all work around the clock on private charters.  Yes, it's a bit like Gilligan's Island and there is no shortage of crazy on Below Deck.

Adrienne is the head stewardess, followed by 2nd and 3rd stewardesses Kat and Samantha.  While Adrienne is accused of being the uptight boss, if anything goes wrong it falls on her.  Kat plays out as the younger Kim Richards (RHOBH), a ditsy, fun-loving, slightly alcoholic, quirky blonde who always gets her job done while Samantha is a pain.  Constantly second guessing orders and talking back to her boss, she is a spoiled self-righteous child who thinks that growing up on a yacht means she understands the needs below deck.  I think that because she has a degree in engineering she holds herself higher than the others and took the job thinking it would be an easy break from the monotonous day-to-day.  In the show's first two episodes we find her napping, complaining she hasn't had a break for a shower or dinner and just not comprehending that during a charter they get paid ridiculous amounts of money to work 24 hours a day, then between clients have the freedom to do as they please.  Work hard - play hard, she just doesn't seem to understand the former.  I would never speak to my boss the way Samantha speaks to Adrienne, and while Adrienne may be a perfectionist and have high standards, so does her boss Captain Lee who won't hesitate to come down on her if the job isn't done right.  A great example of this was in the latest episode when Adrienne went to pick up more vegetables as their hypnotist clients had upwards of 15 "green" smoothies a day.  She said she doesn't trust anyone else to get the job done right and while she is gone Sam and Kat can't even figure out how to work the espresso machine, leaving the guests without their morning coffee.  I mean how can you blame her?  She takes her eyes off them for a second and all goes to hell.  While Adrienne might need to let loose the reins a bit, Samantha needs to understand that she is new to this and should be learning from Adrienne's expertise rather than challenging it.

The deck hands are comprised of Eddie, David and C.J and they are responsible for the care of the boat.  While there are fewer issues on the boys' side, C.J. also encounters some problems with following the rules.  He is perfect for Samantha as neither one seems to understand authority.  Although everyone on the boat tells him working without a shirt is unprofessional, including Captain Lee, he continues to defy them claiming he looks good without a shirt and the more they tell him the more he is going to work topless.  I just can't stand the lack of respect, it might be a fun job but it's a job nonetheless.  Ben is the laid back personal chef who is constantly concocting new dishes that always please the clients.  He is lucky as he has no real boss or staff to care for. Finally Lucas is the co-captain and, while a captain himself, he understands his place in the boat's hierarchy and is happy to please Captain Lee.  Maybe Samantha should take a page from Lucas's book as even though he has experience, which Samantha does not, he still follows the boss's orders and we haven't found him challenging his superior once.

Below Deck is an interesting new show and I haven't quite decided whether it will become a regular for me.  I like the aspect of having new charters with new clients in each episode, but I am less interested in their life off the boat.  The drama living and working in close quarters is no stranger to me and tensions can run high, which gives Below Deck a lot of potential.  I will just hang on for the ride and see where Bravo takes us in this new type of reality drama we haven't seen before.  As always Bravo managed to find a profession and a crazy group of people working it, that takes us into places we've never seen before, heck never even thought of before, with Below Deck.

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