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Has anyone watched "Below Deck"?

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by Blue Ghost, Dec 5, 2016.

  1. Blue Ghost

    Blue Ghost Member

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    I just saw this show available for streaming on Amazon, but have only seen a few seconds of it. Is it any good?
  2. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    We're guilty of watching it. Actually another member here got us started. It's interesting. Like most television "reality" it's quite exaggerated in terms of all that happens on one cruise, but all the things it has happening do occur in real life on such a boat. There's also more crew not shown on the show, including an engineer. The chief stew is difficult, as are many on the show, but she was arrested for domestic violence after beating her girlfriend up.

    Everything we see that we can't believe occurs with crews, can't believe it's tolerated, we're told by those who have actually been there (members of our crew) that they've seen it and much worse.

    Is it any good? That's really a difficult word to apply to a television show. Let's just leave it that some of us find it entertaining.
  3. PSW

    PSW Member

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    I stumbled across the show last year and after a few episodes I was setting the DVR for the season recording. At this point my significant other also enjoys watching with me. It has the typical reality tv drama. Being a yacht show with a Intrepid tender and Novurania on deck it makes it much more appealing to me than most the garbage on TV. Overall it is entertaining.
  4. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    Watched it once early on and couldn't make it thru one episode. Like all reality tv .. one word: stoopid!
  5. jsschieff

    jsschieff Member

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    I was more surprised by the antics of some of the charterers than the crew. Some of the people who are paying six figures to charter the boat for a week seem like people who would have trouble scraping up funds to treat friends at Ruby Tuesday.

    It gets tiresome after watching a couple of episodes. I've never chartered a boat this size or worked on one -- is this the way they operate generally?
  6. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Yes, and no. None have so much chaos in such a short period. However, there are many variations of all you see. Some boats are better managed than others but conflict among crew members isn't unusual. As to guests, they run the gamut. When we chartered, we didn't drink and didn't want five star dining or all the special treatment, but we were quite unusual. The larger yachts run into all sorts of things, from guests hitting on stews to drunkenness, to just abusive behavior and talk, to complainers, to drugs. I've been told the worst guests are often the girlfriend of the charterer who thinks she's the queen of the world.

    You see crew with alcohol or drug problems and one thing not shown on Below Deck but common is captains with alcohol issue as well as captains hitting on crew. In fact, some captains end up with stews as girlfriends or even wives and that complicates things tremendously. Finding white residue on tables and counters when cleaning isn't uncommon.

    There are charterers who think they can do anything they want. There are crew members who thought yacht crew was like a paid vacation. During the charter, the crew is generally too busy for major issues, but during time between charters, in foreign ports, some get pretty wild and out of control. The problem is that everything that happens during that time carries over and into relationships back on the boat.

    Some of the guests are the nicest people you could meet. Others are obnoxious. Pretty much same with the crew.
  7. YachtForums

    YachtForums Publisher/Admin

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    LOL! Monsters created by man?

    I'm sure some of OB's observations are accurate, but I don't think it's as prevalent as some imagine.
  8. Blue Ghost

    Blue Ghost Member

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    A reality show, huh? Well, scratch another one off my list.

    Thanks for the heads up.
  9. Captain Zemo

    Captain Zemo Member

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    Never heard of it. Will check it out. Although I am usually in front of the computer screen on my leisure time.
  10. Blue Ghost

    Blue Ghost Member

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    Set the wayback machine for 1992 at a nameless State college, and I'm taking a graduate TV writing class. The subject of a "reality" show dating from the mid 1970s that aired on PBS comes up. It was about a family in the Pacific Northwest; Seattle or Portland (I can't remember which), and the instructor poses the question to the class (there were 12 of us) as to why we didn't see more shows like this.

    I answered because you can only have so many fights or falling outs between real family members. I was "given a star" for that answer, so to speak. I forget the name of the show, but it was the first of its kind, a PBS production, and I don't think it lasted more than half a season or so.

    Then Sweden airs their version of a reality series a year or two later. And a year or two after that, "Survivor" airs as a partial solution to the then "writer's strike"; cheap to shoot (allegedly); no writers (mostly), and no professional talent needed (again, mostly).

    So, when I saw "Below Deck" listed on Amazon I thought someone had ran with a concept I developed back in 2005. A traditional show based around a large sailing yacht. But, nope, now that I've seen the trailer I can safely say that my concept has not been pirated, and instead it's another so-called "reality" show.

    Oh well.

    I wish I hadn't quit being part of racing crews all those years ago as a teen. Then I might have had a real TV series to offer.
  11. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    I didn't mean to imply prevalent, just that it does happen, and if you're in the business long enough as a Captain, Chief Stew or Chief Engineer you will run across a lot of different things. Now, some are once in a lifetime, some are very rare, then other things somewhat common. From what I've been told by those who would know better than I, nearly everything that happens on Below Deck has happened at some time on some boat. Some frequently, some rare.

    So, would you take it, a free cruise and only caveats being you must do some interesting, even outrageous things, and be filmed the entire cruise. So, share the boat with the crew and with a television crew as well? Oh, and you have to listen to crew fights periodically.
  12. germanyachting

    germanyachting Senior Member

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    Unfortunately, I don't think it's free. I was at a boat show a year ago and the brokers there were passing around an email from the casting department to get people to buy the charter. I think they wanted like $75k for a three day charter on the 50m Trinity they had.
  13. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Yes, I found numbers stating they're paying about half or slightly less than half price. On the other hand it's all done through the show so if they present a very strong case for being on the show, that may be different. What they pay does include airfare.
  14. Dave Stranks

    Dave Stranks Member

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    Below deck sort of a funny show and I agree a lot of stuff does happen .
    At one time that worked with many a cruise lines that I flipped around for weeks at a time .
    I spent a lot of time with the officers and some of the weird stuff that happened "really blew me away"
    When you get that many people in such tight spaces its bound to happen.
    The amount of booze consumed was unbelievable sort of a normal thing on all big ships
    Never did see much drugs
  15. rocdiver

    rocdiver Senior Member

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    This show absolutely disgusts me. Anyone who thinks this is business as usual is delusional. I am a free-lance Captain so have been on way more charters, with different crews, than most. I can assure you the behavior on this show is not tolerated in any way. Make no mistake about it, this **** doesn't happen on my watch.

    I can only imagine what yacht owners and potential charter guests must think while watching this scripted drama.

    And yes, guests on this show are offered a substantial discount to allow them to be a part of this nonsense. It would not surprise me if they are offered a free ride or maybe even paid for their involvement.

    Sorry for the rant but this show does not paint our industry in any way positive.

    Regards,
    ROCK
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2016
  16. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    No television portrays things realistically. However, from what I hear from others, nearly every single thing happening on below deck has happened at one time or another on some charter. Obviously it's not reflective at all of what happens on a single charter. Typical of most television that in a one hour show they'll put many different events that would take a lifetime for one person to experience. The charters I've been on were very professionally crewed and had I run into a charter with many of the things on the show, I would not have tolerated it. Reality television takes a week (or more) to tape a single show and then the director edits it down to 40 minutes of the most outrageous things. It takes years to see all the things in Below Deck and they've collapsed into 40 minutes.

    There is no profession portrayed realistically on television. Not even in the shows we love. Hospitals don't have all handsome doctors and hot nurses, all having sex with each other. Every disease you saw on House doesn't happen under any single doctor, but all the conditions are real. There is no Detective unit and DA as good and successful as those on Law and Order and no Forensics group as good all the time as CSI. But the things seen on those shows do take place. Going back decades, Mount Airy, NC isn't all perfect like portrayed as Mayberry in Andy Griffith. Bill Cosby isn't as he was portrayed on his show. All house flips don't work out like those on television. No businessman ever behaves like the guy who was on Apprentice (Ok, maybe one does). Fishing trips aren't always as successful as fishing shows and what they show in 30 minutes might have been a week's catch. The general public would have no interest in watching all the boring aspects of being a stewardess of a deck hand, nor the guests all just sitting around enjoying the cruise quietly. Apparently, they did decide either engineers are boring or not suitable for tv. Actually, I think they decided that they best let them just do their jobs for safety reasons. Love Boat wasn't very realistic of cruise ships. The crew is made of of persons picked to act and the action is scripted much of the time. Some things though are more outrageous than they've shown. They didn't show Kate beating up her girlfriend. They don't show a cruise with everyone on board getting seasick. They don't show the couple cruising getting into a huge fight, breaking up. They don't even show topless or nude guests or film sex on the deck.

    Trying to think of what I've seen portrayed on BD and whether it ever happens.

    Sexual Relations between crew members-Yes
    Alcohol abuse by crew, especially between charters-Yes
    Captain having problems with crew-Yes
    Conflicts between chef and other crew-Yes
    Conflicts between deck and interior-Yes
    Difficult to please guests-Yes
    Overdrinking by guests-Yes
    Outrageous guests-Yes (They don't show the boring family of four).
    Trouble with toys and tenders-Yes
    Stupid crew-Yes
    Good tips-Yes (They haven't shown any guests who stiffed the crew)

    I can't imagine why anyone who wants to charter a yacht would ever agree to be on the show, not even for free. Most would not. They didn't just take a random crew and random guests, they interviewed for outrageous. Look at those selected to play on game shows, must be willing to scream and jump up and down and say stupid things.

    It's all entertainment and not reflective of those in any profession. Anyone who thinks any television or any reality tv is usual is delusional.

    The question is have you seen anything on the show that never has happened on a charter?
  17. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Over the years, I'd say that 2 out of 10 charter yachts or even large yachts operate this way. I have known 1 Captain for a long time. The stuff that goes on with him and on the yacht he's full time on with the crew would probably give below deck better ratings. One time he hired a stewardess from a crew agency, flew her down for the Caribbean season, within a week like 10 guys (crew from all different boats in the marina) were looking for her at his boat, turns out she was prostituting to them......he fired her, she stole the mates phone, the yachts interior picture book, and a guests bottles of wine before jumping on that plane.......that's one story of many!!!!!!!!
  18. Blue Ghost

    Blue Ghost Member

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    Rest assured a lot of what you see may be scripted. Mark Cronin is credited as creator, but also as the writer for the show. So, odds are he's done research on what is not tolerated, and dumped it into his shooting script. But that's just my opinion.

    Every "behind the scenes" doc I've seen on reality shows has the "cast" telling about how they were directed to act one way and then another, which kind of defeats the whole purpose of so-called "reality TV". The idea being that you're seeing unscripted moments, and perhaps by the strict definition of not giving people lines, you are, but the cast or participants are told what to do.

    And if you're a director telling people what to do, then you're not making "reality" TV.

    Personally I hate the whole genre. I don't know or see why people keep watching this crap. It's BS from frame one, yet (and not to sound too sexist) mostly females watch this junk, and force their male sig-others to watch it with them.

    I grew up in the 70s and 80s when excellent TV had been pushed aside for pretty good to OK TV, with PBS being a cultural exception. I think smart intelligent sitcoms or documentaries are now probably cheaper to shoot, have more entertainment value, and on the whole are just better for you than watching cat-fight of the week on some channel.

    Ergo the reason I don't have a TV anymore.

    Ergo the reason I buy DVDs and blurays of good films I've seen.

    Ergo the reason I play a lot of computer games.

    To each his own.
  19. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Those shows you call excellent are largely available on cable. We've gotten into watching Johnny Carson a lot recently.

    We've loved some of the vocal shows, American Idol creating an incredible opportunity for young singers. As to reality shows, most are interesting to watch the first season but then it's largely the same. Each season of Below Deck has many of the similar concepts of the previous. Always one deck hand is a problem. Always some romantic interests. Always conflict between Chef and Chief Stew.

    I loved and still like 30 minute shows with humor. From Andy Griffith to Two Broke Girls. Huge difference due to different times but the situational comedy still isn't the real world. It's escape. Escape to the perfect town of Mayberry. Deal with petty crimes like Barney Miller. Most of us when we're still working do not want to watch anything that is like our day was. We had enough of the day.

    As to mostly females watching reality shows. I'll argue that males did long before. Fishing and Hunting shows. Remember when they would venture into the wild, no one around, well no one other than the crew of 40. Wild Kingdom wasn't as wild as shown. Then there's the ultimate unscripted reality of sports. Otherwise no reality show that is without any scripting or encouraging from producers. Shark Tank is reality, as is The Profit, but both just show a small selected part of what took place. Now, Hotel Impossible, Bar Rescue, etc. are extremely scripted and faked and their success rate horrible.

    We vote with our remote. Below Deck has been successful. People lovedd The Love Boat and yet no one thought it was realistic either.
  20. SeaLion

    SeaLion Member

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    I do recall a "House Hunters" or maybe "Beachfront Bargain Hunt" on HGTV where the couple was buying a boat. We especially enjoyed when the couple said "this one looks nice and it doesn't need any work".

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