I watched last night’s episode—”Bat Crazy,” for those who care—of The A-List Dallas so you don’t have to. Before we get down to all the wonderful, exciting, fabulous things these selfless, young A-Listers accomplished at various bars around town, can I just throw my hat in the ring to the good people at Logo? Listen, I know the main reason for doing a reality television show is that it’s cheap. And fine, don’t spend a lot of money on production. Pay the cast in drinks. But don’t skimp on the story editors. Because without people who can create something out of nothing, you have a bunch of scenes that don’t really go together. Give viewers a story, and people might care a little more if someone gets a black eye or a cold sore or some prayer chain action. I work cheap: a couple of dollars, some Harajuku Mini for Target items (I plan to sew many items together to fit my non-mini body), and a couple of Coors Lights, and I’m on the case. With that unpleasant business taken care of, let’s do this.
You don’t have any money. You don’t have any oil. Phillip and Levi are channeling their inner Clubber Langs in the boxing ring. The crushing blows remind Levi of the dramz that went down between Phillip and James in Austin the week before, and he wants the scoop. (For the blissfully unaware, James and Phillip engaged in a physical altercation at brunch when Phillip made a comment about James’ trust fund.)
The pugilists motion to Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman to call a timeout so that Phillip can give his take on the Brunch Betrayal. “People think that I’m feminine and whatnot,” he says. “Don’t let anyone punk you…James is dead to me.”
Lest Levi think Phillip only stirs stuff up with his fists, he reassures that his always-running mouth is also a force to be reckoned with. “I told Taylor that you and Chase were making out,” he confesses. “It was the truth.”
Levi is fine with this piece of news. He had his own drama in Austin, you may remember, after sort-of BF Taylor found out that he was seeing Chase on the side. Taylor called him out for not having money or oil (!) in a public place, so he’s done with that guy. Phillip suggests that Levi invite Taylor to the next boxing match. That Phillip is such a scamp.
What I saw was madness…Like rabies. Ashley is holding hands with James on the banks of Turtle Creek. Last time they spoke, she was staging a one-man intervention in the streets of Austin. She’s ready to try again. (The lady really needs to talk to the people over at A&E. I think they might suggest moving things indoors.) James is not having any of it. He says he doesn’t understand the concept of going to rehab. “Why would you go to rehab and spend 30 grand?” he asks. “You won’t stop if you don’t want to stop.” He says he’s a “social drinker” who never drinks at home. Once Ashley has successfully beaten the horse dead, he says of their friendship, “It’s like Carrie and Samantha. It’s who we are.” I guess he’s Samantha?
If Chase and Levi are happy, then God love ’em. James manages to escape his interventionalist to meet Taylor for drinks. And food, obviously. Taylor has been working really hard. He even “picked up a new client.” But enough about busy businessman business talk, he wants to get down to the recap of the unpleasant business that went down in Austin. “You gave [Phillip] a mimosa facial!” he says of James’ brutal brunch altercation.
The conversation then moves to the charming cheaters, Chase and Levi. Taylor is trying to be magnanimous about the whole thing, even though Levi came after him and “he’s the last person who should come after me.” But he’s a live-and-let-live kind of guy. He’s a calm, conservative, reasonable man. “I have a showstopper for you!” he all but sings. “I actually met Chase’s best friend. He’s a nice individual.” And there might be a very good reason why he met this guy. Fate? Divine intervention? “I had a thought from God. Maybe I could rebound from Levi and piss off Chase at the same time.”
I’m gonna change hate into love. Ashely is meeting with the CEO of Evoke. He is 12 years old, and when he’s not CEO-ing, he edits a magazine. He is interested in securing the work of world-acclaimed wedding photographer Ashley for some edgy editorial work. She’s got some ideas. “If you’re giving me a blank canvas here, I’m going to run,” she says. “We have no boundaries…”
“No nudity,” Doogie Howser interjects.
“I want to target the straight audience, I mean, right? Duh,” she continues, pretending he hasn’t spoken. She comes from a small town where gay stuff is “shunned upon,” and to harbor hate, well, that just makes her so mad.
“Do you have a Kleenex?” she asks as she tries to cry on cue.
“I don’t,” Doogie answers.
Ashley does what any good photographer does. She improvises. She uses a business card to soak up her tear.
If my aunt was not there for me…I wouldn’t be planning this birthday of mine. Chase is rocking a bright pink sweater and shorts, and the Chard is flowing at a local apartment. This is the only levity I could mine from this scene, which is sad. I imagine it was included because we learn that he and Mohammed are planning a joint birthday party at Candleroom. But the main point of the scene is that Chase doesn’t have a relationship with his parents and that his aunt and uncle are his de facto parents. Sad.
Do you and Chase get along because you’re both not Christians? Class-act Taylor is meeting up with Chase’s best friend Mohammed for a little repast at Maximo’s. He mentions that he’s doing it—in large part—to get under Chase’s “tubby, flabby white skin.” He immediately attacks Chase to his best friend Mohammed, and then he feels compelled to mention that he originally thought that Mohammed was Mexican.
Honest minute: I’m ready for Mohammed to be the star of the show. He looks like J.J. Barea, and he deals with Taylor (whom he calls an “interesting cat”) really well. When Taylor is begging to know how Chase took it when he found out they were going out, Mohammed tells him that Chase doesn’t care. In fact, he says that Chase is probably happy because that means Taylor’s even less of a threat with Levi.
And he’s right. Later when Mohammed tells Chase about the Maximo’s moment, Chase doesn’t care. “Mohammed is one of my best friends,” he says. “If he wants to date Taylor, then that’s fine.”
But this is a show, and Mohammed has to pay rent like everyone else, so he invites Taylor to the showcase showdown at Candleroom.
That is a crazy thing I’ve ever heard. It’s the day of the big photo shoot, and Ashley has asked Phillip to take time out of his boxing and gossip schedule to come to the set so that they can do their Singin’ in the Rain dance before she sets up. (That really happened.) When the model arrives, it’s the perfect time to talk out her vision for the shoot. It was inspired by James. “James needs to define himself,” she explains. This naturally led to her idea: a model that’s”half straight man and half drag queen.” And he will hold a gun to his head on the drag queen side.
While that transformation is going down, Ashley begs Phillip to talk to James about the drinking problem. Intervening is tiring, and she’d like a partner. Phillip is reluctant. “I mean, Ashley, he treats you like sh*t, too,” he says. Then he trashes James for a few more minutes before ending with “I’m not defending him.”
Phillip is a funny stater of the obvious.
The model emerges, and both sides are oddly the same. No one has bothered to cut the wig, so he has long hair on both sides. But the show must go on.”You don’t know who you are,” Ashley coaxes as she shoots. The scene ends with the model putting the gun in his mouth.
Well, we need to get right with Jesus. Ashley and James finally get to meet indoors! And they’re not alone. Minister Jo Hudson is on the scene. Ashley wants James to know that she doesn’t like who he is when he drinks (He gets it! We all do!) and that she thinks his living off his trust fund is not allowing him to live up to his full potential. James allows that he drinks a lot—maybe he doesn’t know his limits. He also says he’s not sure what he’s living for. Maybe his parents? So that’s sad.
It’s gonna be fun, babe. From church, we head to the hallowed ground that is the Candleroom. It’s the night of the big Mo/Chase birthday bash. Chase is lounging on Levi, who may have been pre-partying for a week or two. Everyone trashes James for drinking too much, but Levi likes the party juice, too. Anyway, Chase wants to know how he thinks the whole thing with Taylor will go. “I wouldn’t know. We still haven’t spoke,” Levi replies.
Mo arrives to the (super-small) VIP area. He has sad news. Taylor apparently “does not want drama and has a pounding headache,” so he will be a no-show. As everyone tears their shirts and sobs, Phillip arrives. “Hello, queens!” he yells. But Phillip, too, is troubled. What if James shows up? “He is batsh*t crazy,” Levi slurs about poor James.
Meanwhile, James is in a corner drinking drinks and talking about how everyone talks about him drinking drinks.
Realizing that he’s on a reality television show and that he actually does want drama, Taylor dons a baseball cap and an Izod and books it to the Candleroom. James, who has had enough of the party, approaches Taylor to say goodbye. As the two talk about Austin YET again, Levi approaches and pushes down Taylor’s cap. James continues to talk, but it’s officially the Taylor-Levi show now.
James wisely runs away as Levi unleashes on Taylor. “Because I f*cking hate you,” he says at one point. There are tons of bleeps. He calls Taylor a “f*cking [something] tongued little snake.” Taylor for one is shocked that Levi is so confrontational, but “it is kind of hot and sexy to see him all worked up.”
I definitely want to see more of these. Apparently, the Doogie Howser of editing is not all that keen on technology. This explains why Taylor presents physical photographs to her young boss. No uploading necessary. Forget zip files. He wants to touch the photos and presumably scan them in later. We should all check newsstands for the winter issue to check out the “soft focus” Ashley employed. It should be even softer after getting re-scanned.
Literally, like you hurt me so much in Austin, like I’m not over it. I wish Austin were like Las Vegas, and that what happened there would stay there. But if that were the case, we wouldn’t have this fine episode. Phillip has invited James over to talk about the incident one more time. James can’t stop smiling while he apologizes. Phillip is indignant. They’re drinking, by the way, so any hopes Ashley had of a side intervention are dashed. James attempts to leave, but Phillip calls him back so that he can have more camera time. They eventually forgive each other, finish the wine, and decide to go out in search of more alcoholic beverages.
I shall follow suit. Until next time.