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Spinoffs & Other Shows

Recaps, opinion pieces and analysis of Bravo TV shows including Don't Be Tardy, Manzo'd With Children, Ladies of London, Tour Group, Shahs of Sunset and Southern Charm.

Southern Charm: A Season 2 Refresher

Glenn Rowley

 Photo Credit: Bravo/L-R: Landon Clements, Shep Rose, Cameran Eubanks, Whitney Sudler-Smith, Craig Conover, Thomas Ravenel, Kathryn Calhoun Dennis

Photo Credit: Bravo/L-R: Landon Clements, Shep Rose, Cameran Eubanks, Whitney Sudler-Smith, Craig Conover, Thomas Ravenel, Kathryn Calhoun Dennis

Bravo is going back to Neverland! Season 3 of Southern Charm premieres Monday, April 4, so it's the perfect time for a crash course on everything that happened last year in Charleston. I have to admit, I didn't pay Southern Charm much attention last year. Starting THG combined with work, school and RHONY, I made the excuse that I just didn't have the time to watch it week-to-week. However, after spending a weekend binging on it last month, I positively fell for this charming little show. Southern Charm follows a group of friends in the exclusive social circle of Charleston, South Carolina, where everything is drenched in sunshine, bourbon and a heavy dose of Southern gentility. 

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The primary storyline of Season 2 followed the tempestuous, volatile relationship between disgraced politician Thomas Ravenel's and 23-year-old Kathryn Calhoun Dennis. The fiery redhead and Thomas' on-again-off-again girlfriend was a recurring cast member during the show's inaugural season, but drove much of the plot when she became pregnant with Thomas' baby and gave birth to Kensington Calhoun Ravenel in April 2014. However, the relationship wasn't all sunshine and roses, and the couple found themselves constantly embroiled in conflict. Certainly not helping matters, Thomas spent the majority of Season 2 mired in an ill-advised Senate campaign in an effort to rehabilitate his reputation. 

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The campaign, however, went from one disaster to another throughout the course of the season. Rather than position himself as a stable family man, Thomas enlisted the help of co-star Whitney Sudler-Smith to create a controversial political ad that poked fun at his scandalous past. He also made a point of specifically not including Kathryn in his campaign efforts - even forgetting at one point to thank her during a fundraising event at their plantation home - and it was hard not to feel bad for the young mother as she took care of Kensington while Thomas was off dancing with girls in Whitney's campaign ad. 

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Thomas' bid for the Senate seemed doomed from the start and every event he put together, from fundraisers and rallies to his election night party, was sparsely attended at best. In the end, he lost to incumbent Lindsey Graham by a humiliating landslide and earned only 3 percent of the vote, putting Thomas' dreams of a political comeback to bed once and for all. Even worse, his relationship with Kathryn crumbled and she moved out, taking baby Kensington with her. 

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Another major storyline of the season was the downward spiral of playboy Craig Conover. As Season 2 began, Craig had recently graduated from law school and, thanks to his classic good looks and rakish charm, seemed to have the world at his fingertips. However, rather than buckle down, take the bar exam and start his career, Craig spent his time developing a reputation as the Prince of King Street, calling girls his "favorite hobby" and going to the club up to five nights a week. As his carefree lifestyle got increasingly out of control, Craig found himself at odds with his buddy Shep Rose and Cameran Eubanks, (the singular voice of reason among the Charmers), who tried giving their friend the reality check he needed. 

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However, Craig's irresponsibility caught up with him when he was fired from his job at a local law firm for his unreliability and lack of work ethic. Then, when he took Shep and Whitney on a weekend trip to his hometown in Delaware, his friends let slip to his oblivious parents that Craig's partying had reached rock-bottom levels. Naturally, this betrayal didn't sit well with Craig, who had specifically asked his friends not to say anything to his parents, and the guys had it out in a tense confrontation on a Delaware golf course. By season's end, Craig had finally realized that he needed to get his priorities straight, and retreated back to Delaware to lick his wounds and come up with a game plan.

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Season 2 also saw the addition of Landon Clements, a recent divorcee and college friend of Shep's, to the gang. The bubbly brunette proved to be an unconventional Southern Belle, living on a houseboat in the marina and bucking tradition by leaving an unhappy marriage. Landon spent much of the season finding her footing both personally and professionally, inviting the Charmers on a weekend getaway to her hometown of Jekyll Island, Georgia and using her interior design background to put together fashion shows and pop-up shops in Charleston. Landon's conservative family wasn't exactly thrilled with her trailblazing ways, and in the season finale, she had a tearful heart-to-heart with her mother about the lack of support she felt.

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Speaking of the trip to Jekyll Island, many of the season's storylines converged when the Charmers descended on the sleepy paradise where Landon grew up. Not only were Shep and Craig at each other's throats the entire weekend, an angry Kathryn confronted Whitney over the embarrassing "Raise the Roof" campaign ad he produced for Thomas and the damage he had done to their relationship from her perspective. The trip was also marred by rumors when Craig and Kathryn spent the night on the beach together following her explosive blow-up. However, all the drama seemed minuscule when news broke that Thomas - who had stayed behind in Charleston - had been accused of assault by Kathryn's friend and hairdresser. Rather than rush back to Thomas' side in South Carolina, Kathryn chose to stay on the trip, which turned out to be the final nail in the coffin for both his Senate campaign and the couple's relationship.

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Of course, a season of Southern Charm wouldn't be complete without the presence of Whitney's mother Patricia Altschul, a witty, glamorous socialite and the center of the Charleston universe. Whether she was hosting dinner parties at her gorgeous, historic estate, instructing her faithful butler on how to craft the perfect gin martini or criticizing "shameless scrumpet" Kathryn's skills as a proper Southern hostess, Patricia held court over Charleston society while keeping viewers endlessly laughing. All hail the queen of South Carolina!

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The Charmers came together in NYC for the Season 2 reunion, which was hosted by Andy Cohen in the WWHL Clubhouse. The reunion found Kathryn and Thomas once again at odds, as the former couple battled it out over accusations of nonexistent child support and whether Kathryn had a baby to stay relevant on the show. Shep and Craig also went tit for tat over the latter's wild behavior, excessive partying and the demise of their flailing friendship while the ever-reliable Cameran tried to mediate. However, I mostly couldn't get over just how good Andy looked in a pair of glasses. (As we prepare for the Season 3 premiere, though, it should be noted that since the reunion aired, Kathryn and Thomas have had another baby, St. Julien. Looks like their roller coaster of a relationship isn't quite over yet...)

All in all, I'm a fan of this charming show and the peek it gives into Charleston's high society. Before Season 3 premieres next week, you can still catch up on last season's episodes on Bravotv.com. As they say in Charleston, "it's easy as the birds and the bees and the 1,2,3's!" Who's ready for more Southern Charm?