Below Deck Med is one of few shows that can simultaneously make you feel better and worse about yourself. Whenever I tune in and see that gorgeous Mediterranean scenery, I feel very envious of the guests, who get to relax and eat Chef Ben Robinson's amazing culinary creations (although, to be fair, they pay a fortune for the experience). But I also feel superior in the same way I feel when I watch Teen Mom 2. My life may not be perfect, but at least I'm not as big a disaster as the cast members seem to be.
My feelings of superiority went out the window tonight, when Mark Howard shared some words of wisdom that made the entire crew (even the annoying Bryan Kattenburg, Bobby Giancola, and Danny Zureikat) look competent, even talented.
During an end-of-season beach party, the captain spoke at length about the struggles the crew members faced this season. They were separated from their loved ones for six weeks, and thrown together with several strangers. They had to work closely with these people while dealing with some of the most horrendous guests imaginable. And on top of all that, they hardly slept at all. I can barely function on just a few hours a night, so I can't imagine what it's like to deal with the pressures of yacht life while horrendously sleep deprived and stuck in cramped quarters that would make my college dorm seem super spacious.
Following the captain's remarks, I felt really guilty about how judgmental I've been all season. I've trashed the crew for their constant bickering, their drunken antics, and their seeming lack of professionalism. But I've done it all from the comfort of my living room, without truly knowing what they go through in an average charter.
I stand by a few of my critiques. I believe that Danny Zureikat was shockingly unprofessional at times, and I am still concerned about Bryan Kattenburg's treatment of the female crew members. But I also recognize the role editing can play in a show like this. At the end of the day, the show's cast members are real people — and I'd be willing to bet that most of them are pretty cool in real life.
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