So if 90 Day Fiancé is the second best show on TV, what’s the best? That honor goes to Below Deck, the best show on TV right now. Forget about Game of Thrones, it’s solid, definitely a top 10, but Below Deck is far better. Allow me to explain.
Below Deck is what I call a quasi-reality show. The people are real, not actors, and while parts are likely scripted — the situations are amazing. What you get is a look at the behind the scenes workings of a luxury lifestyle not many people will ever be able to afford to take part in. Groups of people renting 150’+ Yachts with a private crew, chef, and all-inclusive-vacation in tropical locales. These cruises are hundreds of thousands of dollars to charter, but word is those who agree to be on the show get 50% off. While the crew themselves work at a slavish pace to earn big tips.
What’s not to love? It sounds bad in text, certainly not as ‘fun’ as 90 Day Fiancé, but believe me when I say it is so very good. Let’s dive into the segments that make it must watch TV.
A ship has a very strict chain of command, and this means that unlike in most workplaces you really get to see who can manage people and who will fail miserable. Amazingly, this is probably better management advice and learning than you will get from most bachelors level business courses.
Because you get to see how horrible scenarios play out in real life. What happens if you are start sleeping with someone who works for you? What happens if you break up with them? If they break up with you? What happens if you don’t listen to your team? What happens if you don’t do any work while demanding they work harder? Pure gold.
Want to see good management under pressure: look no further than Capt. Lee, and Chief Steward Kate — like any manager they are not perfect, but they are very good.
New Rich 101
The guests are almost as interesting as the crew. There’s essentially three classes of groups: business ‘meeting’, old wealth, new rich. The business meeting groups are douches. The old wealth are calm and there to chill — easy going people. The new rich is really fun to watch though. They are on a super yacht in the middle of paradise, staring at their iPhones while they instagram everything.
Chefs Have the Worst Job
So there’s essentially three main groups of people they show: deck, interior, and chef. The deck teams are between 3-5 people, and they keep the entire outside of the ship clean, working, and water activities going. The interior team is usually 2-3 people and they keep all the drinks flowing, as well as serve dinner and clean the inside. The chef is one singular person, who is in charge of all meals for the crew and the guests.
Think about that for a second. All meals, for several groups of people, basically during all waking hours. That’s insane. But then there’s the preference sheet where guests list what they do and do not eat — which just complicates the job for the chef. Why anyone wants this job, I remain unsure of. Wow, impressive people.
Here’s how the general formula of the show works:
- New guests come on board, and the crew is either loathing them or excited about them. Kate has already pegged exactly how they will be.
- There’s lingering drama from the night before, where the cast was out drinking and partying.
- The guests are insufferable because they demand a lot. The crew barely sleeps, they are tired and spiral downhill very quickly.
- The guests finally depart. Relationships are frayed, and Lee is either pissed or apathetic.
- The crew goes out to blow of steam by getting black out drunk. Some crew members will hook up, others will fight (usually verbally). Someone will do something really stupid.
- At some point someone will likely be fired.
- new crew member
- rinse, repeat.
Some Favorite Moments
- The moment a crew member puts on a sombrero, fake mustache, and poncho — heads into the laundry room to hook up with another crew member.
- The time Laura starts yelling at Kate to ‘check yourself’ without seeming to understand what that actually means.
- Every time the crew gathers around the camera monitors to watch other crew members trying to discretely get it on somewhere on the boat.
- That time a guest went to hand a tip to the Captain, only to let him know that he failed at some things, so he removed some money from the stack.
- All the times the stewards make a disgusting looking drink, market it, and make it the guests favorite thing in the world.
And that’s just what was on the top of my head.
Not the Only One
There’s two Below Decks though. First there’s standard Below Deck, and then there’s Below Deck Mediterranean — which just takes place in the Med. The latter is solid, but much more drama and much less doing boat stuff. Standard Below Deck is at least twice as good, because Capt. Lee is a baller.
Go watch it, see for yourself. Best show on TV.
Side Note: the first season is a little rough — but they hit their stride quickly after that.