Logo, according to the headline of a press release I received last week, “Greenlights More Drama with a Second Season of Hit Docu-Reality Series The A-List: New York.”
My powers of articulation are good, but I’m bereft of words to describe how much I detest quite a number of these cruel, loathsome, ultra-narcissistic boy-children who comprise the so-called “cast” of this so-called “show.”
If you haven’t yet been exposed to this TV virus, it’s meant as a kind of Real Housewives, maybe Homotopia, for the under-30 gay set. They’re rich and gaymous, as one piece I read put it.
They’re also some of the most hot-mess queens on earth.
One exception: Rodiney Santiago. In addition to being easy on the eyes, he seems like a decent person and I don’t get the sense, watching him, that he French kisses himself in the mirror each morning, and he’s the one guy on the show good looking enough to justify it. Would that his boyfriend, Reichen Lehmkuhl, who won the fourth season of The Amazing Race with an ex-boyfriend, who dated Lance Bass for 10 minutes and whose name makes me identify with the plight of Anne Frank, could disentangle himself from his vanity long enough to treat Rodiney like a human being.
The rest? Proof that some species evolve backward. They range from simpering, whimpering, catty, batty and awful to simpering, whimpering, catty, batty and awful — not to mention shallow, superficial and self-adoring to a point of total vomit from viewers with any stake at all in wanting to ensure positive role models for gay men. (Yes, Virginia, this is one of those posts.) For I don’t believe these guys represent much in the way of positive role models for anyone in the LGBT community. Sheboyan or Dubuque or Pacoima see them and all their stereotypes about the gays, even in 2011 — maybe because we’re in 2011 — are inflated up yet again like hot pink air balloons, as if these guys represent reality. As opposed to, say, reality TV.
“Oh, you don’t really know them!,” you’re silently (or not-so-silently) protesting. “That could all be in the editing room! You don’t know what they’re really like! Nah-uh, they’re sweeties! I bet they’re really sweet guys!”
You know what? I don’t know them. And maybe it is all in the editing room. Maybe I don’t know what they’re like for realzzz. Maybe they’re sugar and sweet and appie pie and cotton candy and ready for beatification. But I suspect not.
Derek? To quote Mary McCarthy about Lillian Hellman, whenever he talks, I think every word he says is a lie, including “and” and “the.” Model-turned-modeling-agent this, punk. Your mirror needs a break.
And his friend Ryan, the hairstylist? Well, I think he’s somewhat genuine and certainly not as inherently unpleasant as Derek, but no question he’s besotted with his own glamor-puss-ness — I’d like to talk to him one day when he’s not in a conversation about something gossipy. Mary J., hello? Girl, we need you. No more drama. Sure, I’m glad Ryan has got himself a husband and is going to run a lifestyle empire. I have a husband, too (well, not legally). And Ryan’s husband is no better than mine. I could explain why mine is better, but that would be too materialistic. I cede that ground.
And international model Austin Armacost, who caused so much — well, drama — and trouble with the other guys, and who has a boyfriend over here or over there that we may or may not know about, and who dated Marc Jacobs (who is no relation), and…? He’s as much of a perforated ulcer as Derek and Ryan. But at least he seems to fathom how fatuous The A-List really is. He causes trouble because that’s his role — no doubt The A-List directors and editors tell him to do all kinds of things because someone has to be the bad boy and he likes to be a very, very bad boy.
And Mike Ruiz, celebrity photographer? OK, he’s an exception, much like Rodiney. Seriously easy on the eyes. And, by his own admission, older and far wiser than the rest of the crew. He doesn’t really mesh too much, or too often, with the other megalomaniacs. He seems to know what life is really about. He’s gunning for a spin-off. He’ll probably get one.
Is it all about being rich, bitchy and gaymous? Is that, like, a career goal? Is that our definition of being out-and-proud gay? Constantly cutting each other down like Auntie Mame and Vera Charles but without the bangles, the bugles and the beads? We battle for acceptance; we struggle to be normal even as we don’t know what normal is; we look at sitcoms like Modern Family which, while far from perfect, at least shows two men in a loving relationship without swishing and swooping and skipping and stooping across the hills and dales of Pansyland. Every time I see The A-List, every time I see these guys, I wish they could know what I know. Or ask themselves whether they’re a credit to their demographic. Are we prettying up the gayborhood or are we retreating back to the ghetto?
Lemkuhl’s Twitter feed says “Don’t hate.” Oh, beautiful for specious guys. For amber waves of irony.