How Do Charleston Residents Really Feel About ‘Southern Charm?’

Cameran Eubanks Instagram

Southern Charm invaded the sleepy, historic streets of Charleston, South Carolina in 2014. The show became an instant hit as the country got to peek behind the landmark doors and down the cobblestone streets.

Prominent Charleston families are also featured in the show. Original cast member, Thomas Ravenel’s father served in the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, according to Bravo’s The Daily Dish. Also, Kathryn Dennis, another original cast member, is a descendant of seventh U.S. Vice President John C. Calhoun.

With families who have direct ties to the city’s rich history, how do other residents feel about the show being shot in their backyard?

Residents braced for the worst

The Charlestowne Neighborhood Association banned the production crew from filming into the wee hours, The Post and Courier report. Established residents were concerned the show would transform their dignified city into a Jersey Shore type destination.

Although the show featured the misadventures of some of Charleston’s aristocracy, rumors swirled that some families forbid their children to take part in the series. Longtime Charleston resident Ben Moise offered his opinion to The Post and Courier. He thought the show would be “self-serving, embarrassing, lowest-common-denominator entertainments.” 

He added, “It has nothing to do with the South, and nothing to do with reality.” 

Most residents are definitely not fans

Almost immediately, Southern Charm had a good number of residents who hated it, according to Charleston Scene. If you live in Charleston, chances are you hate it. “The people of Charleston are the haters,” cast member Austen Kroll said. “It’s the cool thing here, to hate it.”

While he didn’t declare all-out hate, talk show host and Charleston native, Stephen Colbert made a quip about the show on Watch What Happens Live. “I try to not be aware of anything associated with Thomas Ravenel,” Colbert told host Andy Cohen. “We don’t want this beautiful little town to just be dissected as an abattoir of morals.” 

“My family goes back a couple generations in Charleston, and I think I kind of subconsciously made a pact with myself to never watch the show,” local comedian Joseph Coker remarks. Coker brawled with a Southern Charm cast member. “It just made me realize it’s not all pretend,” he adds.

This is one big reason why residents hate the show

Original cast member Cameran Eubanks told Charleston Scene why she thinks locals aren’t fans of the show. “Are there a few people in Charleston that loathe the show? Sure,” she says. “But that is to be expected. Here we are bringing even more attention to an already overcrowded city. Plus, the subject matter on Bravo isn’t exactly an ETV special. It’s not mind-enriching programming. You have to take it at face value: It’s mindless entertainment.”

Plus some aspects of the show are off base when it comes to the city itself. “It portrays a certain subset of Charlestonians that don’t necessarily reflect Charleston as a whole but certainly accurately portrays the cast members,” Jonathan Walker Trull, a local musician told Charleston Scene. “I think people who love reality TV love ‘Southern Charm’ because most of the cast are interesting people. People who don’t respect reality TV as an art form of course are not going to enjoy it, because they obviously don’t have hangovers and DVR.”

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