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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Yaffe

Crossed wires

“Lindsay declared her love for Jane Austen on the set of ‘Winter House,’ ” my daily Google alert for Our Jane informed me the other week.

Naturally, I was intrigued. Especially since the headline, on the entertainment website Brinkwire, continued, “. . . but are they still together?”

Let’s back up, just in case you, like me, were unaware of the existence of a new Bravo reality TV show called “Winter House,” which – as I learned from the invaluable Wikipedia – is a mashup between the Bravo reality show “Southern Charm” and the Bravo reality show “Summer House,” which was a spinoff of the Bravo reality show “Vanderpump Rules,” which was a spinoff of the Bravo reality show “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”

If you’re keeping score at home, that’s four different reality TV franchises all rolled into a fifth. A whole lot of reality. If that’s the word.

But I digress.

“Summer House” concerns the lives and loves of a group of friends, frenemies, and friends-with-benefits sharing a weekend house in the Hamptons. “Southern Charm,” by contrast, concerns the lives and loves of a group of friends, frenemies, and friends-with-benefits sharing the life of privileged socialites in Charleston, South Carolina. And “Winter House,” which launched last month, sends cast members from both shows to Vermont for a two-week ski vacation, during which, it seems safe to assume, hookups, breakups, and bad behavior will ensue.

Among the regulars on all five seasons (and counting) of “Summer House” is PR exec Lindsay Hubbard, noted for her blonde beauty and dramatic love affairs.

And also for her excellent taste in nineteenth-century literature? Alas, no.

Because among the regulars on the most recent five of the eight seasons (so far) of “Southern Charm” is a craft beer entrepreneur named Austen Kroll, known for his bro-y charm and dramatic love affairs. Over the past few years, it turns out, he and Our Lindsay had a friendship-cum-occasional-fling – which, bizarrely enough, occurred entirely off-camera. As a result, this romantic history came as a big surprise when its existence was revealed during the second episode of “Winter House,” with Lindsay declaring her love for Austen and Austen firmly consigning Lindsay to the friend zone. (“Linds: I love you – like a sister.” Ouch!)

Despite Kroll's apparent channeling of Edmund Bertram, the other Austen – Jane – didn’t come into the conversation. Somewhere along the line, it would seem, Brinkwire's headline-writing fell victim to the website equivalent of autocorrect.

Apparently, when the website’s algorithm sees “Austen,” it thinks “classic novelist,” not “reality TV bro.” At least someone around here has good taste.

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