The A-List has finally come to an end. For real this time. And though it was only nine episodes long, I can confidently say it was enough. It was enough time to allow fake relationships to be forged (since these people would never have known each other if it weren’t for central casting), producer-contrived plot lines to play out (that, as it turned out, were kind of lame), and viewers to make snap judgments (which was basically my job for the last two months). I am guessing it was also enough time to assume that this show won’t be winning any awards. So, in the spirit of the season, I’m going to take this opportunity to bestow superlatives upon the first – and, depending on ratings, possibly the only – members of The A-List.
Best Dressed: Derek
I was reminded how awesome Derek’s wardrobe is in this final installment. Sure, Ryan has a personal designer. But any guy who can go on a gaycation in a mint green Snuggie deserves special recognition. And despite Derek’s radioactive, spray-tanned skin, I almost didn’t mistake him this week for a pumpkin or traffic cone. Going shirtless with overalls was also a bold move for a lakeside lunch with the boys, yet it was surprisingly occasion-appropriate and a safer substitute for overdosing on Dexatrim. Seeing Derek’s emaciated frame in OshKosh B’gosh would have certainly kept me clear of Rodiney’s vile-looking coleslaw concoction and TJ’s Paula Deen-inspired half-and-half, six-sticks-of-butter mashed potatoes.
Best Couple: Reichen & Rodiney
Reichen and Rodiney show us that gay love is deeper than admiring your washboard abs every morning while eating a bowl of corn flakes and wearing 2(x)ist briefs. A true relationship includes co-dependency, lots of crying, and multiple breakups – the equivalent, as Derek astutely states, of regurgitating your own vomit over and over and over and over again. But I think the special spice that makes this couple tick is Reichen’s love of singing. Determined to overcome tone deafness, profuse sweating, and even a missing pick during a live performance at Hudson Terrace, Reichen finds a way to serenade a Berlitz-deprived Rodiney (along with a couple hundred unsuspecting partygoers) through the international language of music. And all while simultaneously promoting himself and his new song “You Know I Love You Up to The Sky.” Bravo, Reichen.
Best Hair: Ryan
It only makes sense for the hair stylist/salon owner to have the best hair. So, naturally, Ryan’s unnatural, bottle-blonde fauxhawk circa 2005 is the uncontested winner in this category. Perhaps all those chemicals are what soothe his spirit into a Zen-like state where he is able to dole out sound advice on relationships. Or maybe it’s his constant use of the term ‘husband’ to refer to a man who could be his father that qualifies him as an expert in love. Still, it could also be that he is an expecting dad himself with a baby by surrogate on the way and a tear-ridden TJ in tow who will assume the role of aunt/guncle. In any case, we are treated to one last session with Dr. Ryan where he helps Reichen realize that his love for Rodiney has “grown to the sky.” Say, isn’t that a song?
Most Popular: Mike
True to form, Mike never made it to Maine. After all, aren’t the cool kids always too preoccupied for status quo crap? We are, however, lucky enough to catch a glimpse of Mike playing with Vanessa Williams at a charity event for the Trevor Project – a nationwide, 24/7 helpline for at-risk LGBT youth. So, that’s pretty cool. Miracle Mike also clears a small slot in his red carpet-crammed, photo shoot-filled schedule to attend Reichen’s performance and declare everyone (whom, according to my calculations, he spent a total of about 20 minutes with all season) the best of friends.
Most Likely To Succeed: Austin
I can’t help but think that Austin, despite his inexperienced age and backwoods upbringing, figured out how mind-numbingly boring this show would be without manufactured drama. No doubt he was prodded by producers, but managing to start a fight over Rodiney’s lettuce-less salad is one for the reality TV record books. Ending it just hours later with nearly believable tears might be worthy of an actual award. As if that weren’t prize enough, this social-climbing kid’s storyline is the only one that truly comes full circle. He abandons his hopeless pursuit of modeling for carbs, shepherd’s pie, and his London love Jake. He also becomes besties with his once mortal enemy Derek, tells Reichen one last time that Rodiney is an idiot, and concludes the season (or possibly the series) with a final shot of his infamous ass. Fortunately, my initial assessment of Austin wasn’t completely off. I was able to find some sense of comfort in him thinking that Reichen attempting to belt out a tune a cappella meant singing with “electricity.”
If nothing else, this show has given me the answer to that seemingly unsolvable math problem with two trains traveling toward each other: they collide on the set of The Wendy Williams Show where a special reunion wrap-up is due to air next week.