Three years ago, I quit reality TV cold turkey. I’ve never kept up with the Kardashians but, I certainly had my vices over the years.
I idolized the cast of Laguna Beach, I followed so much America’s Next Top Model I was convinced I could runway walk with the best of them, and I religiously watched The Bachelor/Bachelorette for a truly mortifying fraction of my life. It was all great escapist entertainment but, I’d been watching this stuff since I was a teen and I’m sure it wasn’t great for many parts of my psyche. I anxiously await the day a therapist asks me why I ever considered subscribing to a FabFitFun box with code MOLLY15 for 15% off my first purchase!
So, at the end of a season of The Bachelorette, I decided to stop and I haven’t looked back until now.
To be clear, I have nothing against people that watch or participate in the Bachelor franchise. I just realized I couldn’t and shouldn’t do it anymore. At the end of the day it was making me feel worse about myself and pity or villainize people whose true selves and real stories I’d never know. When I quit the Bachelor franchise, I lost a lot of group texts and any interest in reality TV. Until now.
Well, folks, I am delighted to announce I am off the wagon and aboard the yacht because I am obsessed with Bravo’s Below Deck: The best reality show on television.
Below Deck and it’s spinoff (my personal favorite), Below Deck: Mediterranean, are what reality TV should be. It’s riveting, glamorous, and relatable all at the same time. It offers a glimpse into the “yachtie” lifestyle, one we never knew we needed but most definitely do. It takes some seriously luxurious yachts and their loaded (monetarily and, often, with a lot of alcohol) guests who charter them for an extravagant vacation. If it sounds like Robin Leach is going to arrive with a glass of champagne to invite you into the Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous, you’re at the wrong dock.
Below Deck focuses on following the crew who has to cater to these guests. Led by the Captain, their boss who often has to act as their parent and still has to, ya know, captain a 150+ foot yacht. The crew consists of a Chef, 3 Stews (led by a Chief Stew) and 3 Deckhands (led by the Bosun). They’re all young, attractive people from all over the world with various accents but an equal vigor to “travel the world and find myself”. They all live and work on the yacht together and, as you can imagine, there is no shortage of flirtations, friendships, and confrontations.
The thing that makes Below Deck different than most other reality shows I’ve seen is, it’s relatable. Yes, you’re watching beautiful people in a beautiful place spending time together, but it’s really more about getting along with co-workers in high-demand situations. Anyone who has ever worked in the service industry knows it’s hard. And this is a particularly unique branch of it. They work tirelessly (some more than others, looking at you *Chris*) and try to fulfill some truly ridiculous requests and unrealistic expectations with a smile… and then have to share a bunk with their co-worker and wake up to do it all over again. Then there are also those moments that spike the adrenaline and remind you they’re actually doing a dangerous job, like a very serious man overboard situation and some close-calls with squalls. It’s sometimes stressful to watch, but feels cathartic by the end.
While there is always plenty of drama within the crew, they all come together over a greater purpose: Getting paid. They ultimately need to work together so they can get a good tip.
As I usually do, to make sure I’m not totally shouting into a void, I asked my Instagram followers if anyone watches Below Deck and would be willing to answer a few questions. My inbox was flooded with responses and, let me tell you, reading through people’s thoughts and opinions on Bravo’s little show that could was the most fun research I’ve ever done for an article. And I once wrote a whole article on a Cuban sandwich.
The themes and opinions people responded with were pretty consistent. So many people enjoy watching or discussing this show with a loved one – a remarkable amount of women admitted their male significant other loves it as much, or even more, than they do. Everyone is pleasantly surprised when guests aren’t demanding brats. They love Aesha and Colin, they hated Mila and Leon, they’ve mostly come around on Joao.
Most everyone admitted to watching a handful of other reality shows, but they seemed most passionate about our dearly beloved, Below Deck. So get on board, it’s yachting season.
A new season of Below Deck starts on October 7th on Bravo.
Photos from BravoTV.com