Below Deck fans appear to be getting fatigue from the Bravo reality TV show and its spinoffs in the past couple of years. Perhaps the four spinoffs and endless new seasons coming out all year round is part of the problem. But the show has also changed a lot since Below Deck season 1 aired back in 2013. However, Below Deck Med season 8 is the worst season yet in franchise history in the minds of lots of viewers.
Not even anemic seasons like Below Deck Adventure season 1 and Below Deck Sailing Yacht season 1 dragged as much anchor as this latest season. Without further ado, here’s all the reasons fans couldn’t stand Below Deck Med season 8.
Why Below Deck Med Season 8 Is The Worst: Kyle Viljoen’s Nasty, Lazy Attitude
The most resounding disdain for a Below Deck crew member from fans hasn’t occurred since BDSY season 3‘s Ashley Marti starred on the show. Somehow after Kyle broke yachtie code by hanging out with charter guests on Below Deck Med season 7, he got rehired. The previous season on superyacht Home, Kyle also claimed to have sprained and ankle and had a toothache, missing several days of work. Finally, he enabled the worst behavior in Chief Stewardess Natasha Webb. The two would slack off and leave hard-working stewardess Natalya Scudder cleaning up after their negligence. To top it off, Kyle gaslit Natalya, claiming him and Natasha were working just as hard as her.
Despite all his previous transgressions, Bravo casted him as part of the crew in season 8. Throughout Below Deck Med season 8, Kyle harassed stewardess Jessika Asai and Natalya. Natalya couldn’t take it anymore, and joined the ranks of Below Deck crew who quit the show. Things got so bad, Captain Sandy Yawn threatened to add Kyle to the long list of fired Below Deck cast members. If that wasn’t worse enough, Kyle again had supposed health issues, including a panic attack and migraine headache, missing work again. He then continued to play victim and tried to turn crew members against innocent and affable Chef Jack Luby.
In the end, fans couldn’t stand Kyle and never want to see him on the show again. Thankfully, Below Deck Med season 9 doesn’t appear to include him on the crew.
“Watching Kyle bitch, moan, and play victim all season got old real fast,” said on fan on Below Deck Reddit’s thread on how season 8 sucked.
Why Below Deck Med Season 8 Is The Worst: Luka’s Player Ways
Bosun Luka Brunton rode a wave of popularity coming into season 8 because of his late entrance on Below Deck Down Under season 2. However, his shameless pride in being a player didn’t endear him to fans for long. He already tried to steal deckhand Culver Bradbury’s then-girlfriend Jaime Neale. Despite saying he didn’t have a girlfriend, Luka’s Instagram shows he was in a relationship with Latina model Lorena Peach before starring on the show and after filming the two seasons back in 2022.
Besides encouraging Natalya to answer a phone call with her then-boyfriend AJ while she was fooling around with Luka, he led on Jess throughout the season with their boatmance. He would cuddle and kiss her throughout the show, even while charter guests were aboard. However, things got really ugly when Luka started flirting incessantly on his phone with both Natalya and Below Deck Med season 6 Chief Stewardess Katie Flood. But the real, absolute low, was when Luka then continued to lead on Jess by asking her to come with Cannes, France, after filming. Meanwhile, he was planning to meet up with Katie and Natalya after the charter season ended.
On the last crew night out, Luka ditched Jess for Natalya, making out with her right in front of Jess. Even though he was sleeping with Jess throughout the charter season. Despite Jess drinking away her feelings and making out with a random at the club to try and exact revenge, Luka then proceeded to talk her into sleeping with him one more time that same night, completely humiliating her. Fans found his behavior completely ghoulish.
Why Below Deck Med Season 8 Is The Worst: Crew Casting, Late Starts, & Illnesses
Fans found Chief Stewardess Tumi Mhlongo’s lack of leadership appalling and couldn’t believe she didn’t get in any trouble with Captain Sandy despite her shortcomings. First off, she allowed the drama with Kyle and Natalya to boil over. Furthermore, she fed the drama and didn’t inform the captain. On top of that, she forgot to inform Luka’s deck crew about needing a boat to pick up a mentalist. Then there was the fact she didn’t provide any support for new stewardess Lily Davison.
In the end, many fans didn’t understand why Bravo casted five previous Below Deck crew members: Tumi, Luka, Natalya, Sandy, and Kyle. Lots of viewers have argued they need fresh faces on the show, not lots of the same old people. Furthermore, fans are tired of the show casting incompetent “plants” like fired bosuns Raygan Tyler and Ruan Irving. Ruan’s forged license just caused unnecessary drama at the start of season 8’s charter season.
To top it off, somehow Kyle and Tumi needed to start late due to their visas being delayed, which again, seems set up by production because how could they not plan in advance to have them there in time. Now, Captain Sandy injuring her arm and both Lara Du Preez and Haleigh Gorman getting the flu were all out of production’s control, but it did add to the general disjointedness and lack of rhythm of season 8. Also, temp stew Brooke Boney leaving the crew after a couple episodes also caused the season’s narrative arc to be confused.
Overall, the season had way too many cast changes and too many old faces (especially from crew who didn’t deserve another season).
Why Below Deck Med Season 8 Is The Worst: Boring Charter Guests
Below Deck Med season 8’s charter guests didn’t bring the drama. Although charter guests get a discount on the cost of chartering a superyacht on the show, they’re generally expected to bring some entertainment to the show typically. Bravo productions casts the charter guests each season. Recent seasons of the show haven’t had a lot of memorable charter guests. Fans want to see more Erica Rose types and a lot less forgettable charter guests.
However, perhaps some charter guests were more entertaining than fans realize. And fans will have to concede the dentist drunkenly barging into the crew’s cabins and the last charter guests who were a bickering couple were mildly entertaining this season. But the editors of the show aren’t giving charter guests much screentime theses days. Instead, the internal crew drama appears to be stealing the show. Viewers keep repeating a desire to see the show return to the actual job of serving demanding clients, instead of petty drama between the crew members. Kyle and Natalya returning made sure that wasn’t going to happen in season 8.
In conclusion, the drama between crew members, Luka’s jerkish behavior, Kyle’s drama queen antics, the many casting changes throughout the season, and the boring charter guests all added to the perfect storm of a disastrous installment in the Below Deck franchise.
Bravo has a lot riding on Below Deck season 11 returning the yachtie reality TV show back to good form.