'The A-List: New York' premiere recap: Did you love it or hate it?

a-listImage Credit: Ana Veslic/LogoLast night, gay-focused cable channel Logo premiered its somewhat-anticipated reality series, The A-List: New York, a Real Housewives-esque look at the lives of five apparently important gay men in New York City. (It’s worth noting up front that A-List is produced by True Entertainment, the minds behind The Real Housewives of Atlanta, which celebrated its third-season premiere last night, too.) As you might expect, much of this first hour was spent introducing us to the men who make up the cast. Each got a little vignette where we learned who (and how bitchy) they are, what they do, who they’re dating, and how impressive their six-pack is (or isn’t). Here’s a quick dossier on the “rich and gaymous” men of The A-List: New York:

Reichen Lehmkuhl, aka The One You’ve Probably-Maybe Heard Of
Claim to fame: Winner of The Amazing Race; former boyfriend of ‘N Sync’s Lance Bass.
A-List activities include: Starring in the off-Broadway musical My Big Gay Italian wedding; canoodling with hunky Brazilian boyfriend Rodiney, who’s the surprisingly hilarious breakout of the show because his broken English — which isn’t that bad — propelled Logo to subtitle all of his dialogue (!).
Token A-List quote: “I’m A-List because, for me, A stands for accomplishment.”
Loves: To take himself way too seriously.

Mike Ruiz, aka The Celebrity Photographer
Claim to fame: He’s shot everyone from Adam Lambert and Carmen Electra to Brooke Shields and Kim Kardashian
A-List activities include: Photographing Kelly Rowland; mentoring Reichen’s boyfriend Rodiney.
Token A-List quote: “Am I A-List? Yes. I go to the best parties, and I work with celebrities, and I travel around the world.”
Loves: To wear large, horn-rimmed glasses.

Ryan Nickulas, aka The Queeny Hairstylist
Claim to fame: Owns a downtown hair salon that cuts and styles “Pamela Anderson, Isaac Mizrahi, and even Rachael Ray.”
A-List activities include: Being bitchy with salon manager/assistant/friend T.J., who’s not a full cast member but is funnier than everyone else.
Token A-List quote: “The places I go, the people I know, and the things I do are A-List. Thus, I’m A-List.”
Loves: To put on a deep V-neck or sheer shirts, or a combination of the two.

Austin Armacost, aka The Gold Digger
Claim to fame: Dated Reichen and fashion designer Marc Jacobs; friend of Dustin Lance Black.
A-List activities include: Working out in the park; lunching with modeling agent.
Token A-List quote: “I was on the A-List, but now I’m going to do whatever I can to get back on it.”
Loves: Talking about Marc Jacobs.

Derek Lloyd Saathoff, aka The Spray-Tanning Fashionista
Claim to fame: Works in fashion; friend of Lindsay Lohan, Nicole Richie, and Sean William Scott. (“I’m best friends with Lindsay Lohan,” he says. “She stays at my apartment when she comes to New York.)
A-List activities include: Shopping with Ryan; introducing Austin to his friends.
Token A-List quote: Derek doesn’t actually use the “A-List” in any of his quotage, but he might as well. “I go to all the most amazing restaurants, clubs. Like, anywhere anyone can’t get in, I’m there. I never have to wait behind a velvet rope. My name is on every VIP list in the city.”
Loves: Again, spray tanning!

As the dossiers above indicate, the casting on this show is kind of bizarre—none of these gays are very funny or very self-deprecating, and you’d think that would be a requirement for at least one or two reality-show protagonists, no? (Especially gay ones, come on!) These personality deficiencies mean that none of The A-List quintet is likely to engender much sympathy or inspire much affection from me or you or anyone, really, unless they radically change in the coming episodes. The reason we love The Real Housewives of New York‘s Bethenny is, sure, because she’s batshit crazy—but also because she can laugh at herself. Same goes for Ramona, The Countess, and Jill, for the most part. The most lovable cast members of The A-List: New York are, oddly enough, supporting players T.J. and Rodiney.

And sure, the show is full of stereotypes. We see all of them (except Ryan) shirtless very soon after they’re introduced. They talk constantly about being fabulous and partying. They’re bitchy to each other. At least one (Austin) seems ready to pounce on another one’s boyfriend (Reichen). A couple of them wear Speedos. Yet while I can already hear the vitriol that The A-List premiere will inspire — “They’re all Chelsea boys!” “They’re all bitchy!” “They’re all fashion-obsessed!” “They’re all shallow!” “These portrayals do no good for the LGBT community!” — this gay man living in New York City can’t get too indignant about any of it. After all, do we watch The Real Housewives franchise for accurate depictions of how straight women conduct their lives? Heck no!

So what’s wrong with showing us Reichen and Rodiney getting it on in a Hamptons hot tub? Or Mike shirtless and serving up a smoothie? Or Ryan and T.J. being bitchy about Reichen’s opening night? It’s just for fun, really, and I have to say: I enjoyed it all. Enough that I’ll be back next week for sure for another dip. Will you be, PopWatchers? Sound off in the comments below!

Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky

Comments (138 total) Add your comment
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  • “do we watch The Real Housewives franchise for accurate depictions of how straight women conduct their lives” — but how many shows are there about straight women? the a-list is, i think, the only gay-centric show on television and for it to be so negative, stereotypical, and shrill is a detriment to a community that is reeling right now. it gives anti-gay activists all the ammunition they need to attack gay men and women’s civil liberties. shame on logo.

    • Drew

      Whoa there, Think you are reading too much into it. It’s a reality show, about bitchy queens on LOGO. We in the gay community love to cry foul when tv refuses to put the most intelligent, normal gay people on tv, but the truth is, there is a large chunk of the gay population that behaves like these boys…and thier pretty, so why shouldn’t they get thier own show?

      • Sean

        LOGO was on the air to help advance the gay community not to put it further back. And sorry it is true for minorities, I know many African-Americans are mad that BET is the channel that represents their community and the signals it sends off to others who perceive that since its “black television” that’s how they are. It’s the same thing with this show. It’s our duty to better represent ourselves to educate others about a community not fully recognized yet. And also again I can’t stress how LOGO was supposed to be moving us forward, not into this BS spoiled housewives do. Sad it’s how to get attention and ratings for the network.

      • David

        You need to learn how to spell ‘they’re’ (not ‘their’) if you want to convince anyone that you’re to be taken seriously. The show is ok but the casting is weak. I find the stereotypical Ryan,Derek, and TJ characters to be particularly boring. Constantly criticizing Reichen’s lovelife seems to replace having a life of their own. Acting like a pretentious queen is only funny if you having something new or inteligent to bring to the table.

    • B Stampler

      Hear hear!!!

  • matt

    ugh. i can’t with these people.

  • Soldier

    Loved the episode and am glad to see successful, handsome gay men on tv – complete with kissing – where do we see this elsewhere on tv? Granted there is shallow behavior and stereotypes abound, but out and open gay men are represented on television – amen. And Reichen and Mike are at heart good men, doing good for their community.

    • Joe B.

      Dude, no one on reality TV is good at heart. No one. NO ONE. NO. ONE.

      • Girl P

        SO TRUE! So. True.

  • Fred

    This show would be interesting if, on the first episode they revealed HIV status. As it is, it is DUM! That is all.

  • Buffy Freak

    I’m a gay man and I did not (and will not) watch this show. But based on the previews and ads I’ve seen the only thing I could think about it is “There but for the grace of God go I”. Would I love to have some of the money and access that these guys seem to have? Hell yes. But I know that I could never be shallow enough to use it in such materialistic and narcissistic ways.

  • BuckLikeBronco

    What was Mike Ruiz thinking when he signed up for this? He must be mortified right about now. The worst part about the show and the cast is that it’s all a big yawn. Do yourself a favor, skip the A-List, go to bed early and get yourself to the gym in the morning.

  • Rick

    Mr Ruiz…love you, but you do not belong on this show! The “daddy” of the show, and by far, the most interesting and accomplished…just wish you skipped it

  • Eli

    I hope no one is really taking this series or these people seriously. Its fun entertainment, but these characters are as vapid and vain as they come. I love how they contradict themselves “I dont like to gossip, but he slept with blah blah blah…..”. Does the A in “A list” stand for asinine?

  • johnny

    The only reasoon i watched this show is to see Rodiney,he is supa dupa hot

  • TJinCNJ

    Since when is that Reichen considered A List? This guy is a fame ho parasite loser. I will not watch this, ever!

    • sean1030

      personally, i go through great pains NOT to act stereotypical. This shows has typical gossipy queens…acting in a stereotypical manner. But I will watch and support the show. Reichen and Rodiney are the ONLY two characters I like…as theu act and sound like real men…and not some falsetto little queen. However i WILL NOT watch this show anymore since Nyasha is on there. Its a show about gay.men…and she has ruined it. I dont see why people HAVE to put race in everything. I’m black/latino…so what…they dont have a black character…GET OVER IT! They also dont have a Latino…or a Muslim…or a Chinese character. Black people need to get over it and stop being so supersensitive. Its really sad they put Nyasha on that show…because I REFUSE to watch it now….and will NOT watch it as long as this bitch is on it.

  • dacb

    OMG, lighten up! I watched this show with the same mind set i have for any show of it’s caliber i.e “housewives of…, Jersey Shore, or any of the friggin Kardashians” It’s mindless entertainment, it’s silly, and trust must me, any ragining homophobe can use anything against us, but can you imagine the backlash they’d get when a reality show on LOGO is used against us.

    • Nick

      Cannot expect too much if your actually admitting that you watch the Kardasians were not on Star Trek?

  • nodnarb

    This show is the perfect contrast to Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” campaign. They should call it “It Gets Vapid.”

    • David

      Really, just kill yourself now if this is what you have to look forward to.

  • DC Dude

    I find it hard to believe they could not have found at least ONE black man for this show. I will not watch this.

    • dacb

      I kinda agree- more so on the lack of diversity on the show, but on second look two of the cast members are latino so now I’m fine with it.

      • Houston

        OMG…how shallow are you? Because there is not a black man on the show? STFU…what a baby.

        Bet you watch.

  • Marco

    I watched it and thought it was entertaining…its vapid—yes, it plays to every gay stereotype–yes but its an hour to escape into the land of make believe..i was not tuning in for a life changing experience I tuned in for a laugh and to see catty gay men doing what they do best….its my monday night guilty pleasure.

  • jeffrjohnson

    It’s all good fun. Personally I’m stoked to watch the drama unfold. Seriously, gays are depicted in the media ALL THE TIME. Do we need to be serious all the time? Yawn!

    • RDM

      You’re stoked to “watch the drama unfold”? You mean the FAKE drama, don’t you? This show is pathetic, and the men are so effing stupid.

      • jeffrjohnson

        After seeing the first couple episodes I have to agree – this show’s obvious scripting even makes the Hills seem legit.

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