It was clever editing, I’ll give them that. The shot of a man’s feet coming down the stairs, the extra moment before the top of his body was revealed. But wow was that reveal a bummer. Thomas?! Really?! It bears repeating: why the f**k is Thomas Ravenel showing up on Southern Charm at all?
Early in the Season 7 premiere episode, we learn that Kathryn Dennis and the two adorable young children she shares with ex Thomas, Kensie and Saint, were currently living at his house while she waited on renovations on her own home, a townhouse left to her by her grandfather. “He’s allowed me to use his master bedroom and no, we are not back together,” she clarifies in the episode. Thomas is seen being a doting dad while the cameras were on: fetching water for Kensie, chatting about the kids with Kathryn as she spread peanut butter on a piece of bread. “She likes it when the two of us are together,” Thomas tells Kathryn of their daughter Kensie. The kids are asked what they’re learning about in school, and it would almost be cute if it wasn’t so forced and fake.
“I guess this is the reality of what life would be like if things were normal,” Kathryn muses, before adding, “But they never are.”
“It’s nice, you know, to have you here, but are we misleading them, is it always gonna be this way?” Thomas asks, clearly already getting antsy at the thought of having too much responsibility.
“That’s why I’ve been taking them to my house and saying it’s almost ready for us to be back in it,” Kathryn assures him, but adds, “But I have to admit that I’ve gotten comfortable staying here.”
On a more somber note, Kathryn also explains that her townhouse was the last place she was with her mom, who passed away from breast cancer in 2019, as she tearfully said, “I know she felt a lot of guilt with me because she felt like she didn’t prepare me for the world and stuff like that because of everything with Thomas,” alluding to their brutal court battles. Kathryn also calls her mom “my only advocate during my custody battle.”
The former couple is sure to address the past few tumultuous years in the most delicate way possible, with Thomas saying, “I know we’ve had a rough patch the past couple years but ultimately it takes two to raise kids and I can tell they’re happy. So I feel like, ok, we’re doing a good job.” And did you know, Kensie wants to go to Hawaii!
Luckily, this seems to be the only Thomas appearance we’ll be getting this season, as he told Us Weekly, “I just let them film a little segment with the kids as a favor to Kathryn,” and that he wasn’t paid. It’s wonderful that he and Kathryn have come to a custody agreement and have figured out how to co-parent. That’s great. But I never want to see him again.
If Southern Charm wants to move forward in the ways it’s suggesting it does, it cannot be with Thomas. This man does not deserve our attention (and I can’t believe I even have to write this). Sure, he’s an original cast member but I don’t see the series desperate for updates on Jenna King’s life (remember her?). To borrow a word from Love Island, the series simply looks muggy to include him at all. They essentially “pied” him off (dumped him, and rightfully so) once sexual assault allegations arose in the summer of 2018 and disinvited him to the Season 5 reunion. He’s since sued the network and regularly trashed them on Twitter, so for the show to welcome him back with open arms this way looks…unnecessarily desperate.
But perhaps most importantly, as the show prepares to cover the Black Lives Matter movement as it happened in Charleston earlier this year, this man simply represents the antithesis of all that movement stands for and aims to achieve. I don’t like to assume things about people but I’d say it’s a safe ass bet he wasn’t out there marching in solidarity or cheering for statues of slave owners to come down. If that is the storyline this show wants to tell, then they must take down the proverbial statue this show has erected to this man. He represents the past and this show is only dragging anchor to include him at all. I don’t want to hear anything about him besides the co-parenting with Kathryn is going well. I need no details on his personal life including girlfriends and babies (though this is also an upcoming storyline this season) or even erratic tweets he’s posting.
Southern Charm, more than almost any other show on Bravo, must evolve. The general themes that the show began with are the exact elements many people in this country are now facing head-on and determined to change and correct, namely racist pasts and privileged white dudes getting away with shit they should be held accountable for. There is a way for this show to both reckon with reality and still serve as an escapist program, but in no scenario should Thomas Ravenel be included.
Southern Charm airs Thursday at 9pm ET/PT on Bravo.
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