Below Deck Mediterranean: If 2020 Were a Bravo Show

Peter Benchley’s Jaws quote, “Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water,” is running through my mind at the moment. First it was Lara giving every arrogant Bravoleb a run for their money. Then Pete pops up like his brain is set on a misogynistic timer of condescension. Whirring blades from Copter Sandy arrive next as she hovers over Kiko and shakes his confidence. Not long thereafter we lose Kiko and you think okay, this is as bad as it can get. Then lo and behold, Malia the Murder Hornet rifles through and photographs the contents of Hannah’s purse and you realize that Below Deck Med is the epitome of 2020.

This once shining franchise is now the Titanic headed for an iceberg of self-righteousness and narcissism. Sandy’s chosen ones are showing up on screens everywhere, doubling down on their half-truths and outright lies and ignoring the fact that we all see that none of this is reality. This over-produced drivel is Bravo’s Ishtar. Warren Beatty’s incandescent charm couldn’t save that stinker and trust that no one who’ll be left when the dust settles in Mallorca possesses half that wattage. Whoever is at the helm at 51 minds has lost 50 of them or needs one more. Bravo has lost touch with its audience, as is evidenced by the outrage I see on social media. Very few people remain in the camp of enjoying the targeting of one cast member by a pack of jackals. Barring a few Hannah haters and Sandy stans, the voices on the web are almost miraculously in concert chanting, “This is bullcrap” in three part harmony. Actually they’re saying much worse, but I’m trying to keep it PG-13 like Jess and Rob.

So why is Bravo continuing this pattern despite the fans turning away one by one? If I had the answer to that I’d be a millionaire producer rather than a real life Ohio housewife. My best guess is that it’s because of the culture that’s been created under Andy Cohen’s messy tutelage. True, he’s pulled back from having his hands in everything aside from the Housewives franchises and WWHL, but he set the tone. A tone, I might add, that rings with a peal of hypocrisy as he called Hannah’s CBD pen a “weed pen” on his show last night. His choice of the term “narcotics” when questioning Malia was also a calculated move. O’ ye of edibles mountain, rumored by Kathy Griffin to also have snow at the ready in your office. The tales regaled by you in the past of loving Molly seem extra ironic as you try and shame Hannah for legal and prescription palliatives.

As an anxiety and depression sufferer, I’m disgusted by this storyline and the characterizations Andy, Malia, and even Sandy are trying to place on Hannah. I’m not and never have been ride or die for her, but in this instance they are the demons and she’s Keanu Reeves character in Constantine. Although, sadly, I don’t think crosses and holy water are going to do the trick. They’ve closed coven ranks to tow the company line with no regard for what’s decent or good. They sacrificed Kiko on their altar and Hannah is waiting in the wings for her turn. Ryan Murphy couldn’t have written a better Mallorcan Horror Story.

Many of my friends brought up last night how Captain Lee would’ve handled this scenario. He’s been strangely quiet lately as far as this season of his sister show is concerned. Whether it’s out of professional courtesy or a desire to stay away from the fray is hard to assess. My gut says the former, but I only know him from TV like most everyone else. What I have seen from him in seasons past though makes me think it would be a cold day in you-know-where before he got on the radio to grant a tantrum throwing Malia her way after she came tattling to him. Phrases connoting big girl pants and puppies backsides staying on porches instead of running with the grown pups come to mind. Hearing either right now would give me the biggest chuckle.

The only laugh to be had for me last night came courtesy of Hannah’s remarks to Jess about how much she loved the table decor on Bugsy’s head and neck during their night out. Muchas gracias, Chief. I needed that. And while I’m at it, congratulations on the news of your upcoming bundle of joy being a baby girl. You’ve certainly been presented with several concrete examples of who not to teach her to be like.

As for the show, I’ve got no solutions for how to right this particular ship. As a believer in redemption, I want to think it’s salvageable. I’m also a realist though, and I know you can’t keep doing the same thing while expecting different results. An overhaul is in order and we all know Bravo is loathe to admit when they’re wrong and do what needs to be done. They seem intent on hanging onto a dying formula like wayward pieces of flotsam and jetsam in a roiling sea.

It’s quite possible that I’m screaming in the wind on this one too. Maybe I’m adrift in a fog and thinking I’m surrounded by like-minded people when I’m actually more alone than Tom Hanks in Castaway. Time will tell, as will the ratings. I’ve committed to finishing out the season both in blog and podcast form and will do so. I also promise to get back to recapping the show next week instead of editorializing, but to do so I needed to get this off my chest. Thanks for sticking with me this far if you have. We’ll continue the voyage next week. Maybe with a nice cocktail as a life raft though.

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