This week on A-List: Dallas, we got lots more melodrama: There is a quasi-fight, drinks are consumed and fits of the hissy variety are thrown. His Holy Name is briefly praised. There is also passive-aggressive whining, a party planner who is Over This Shit, and a sexy shirtless DJ.
Once more unto the breach, dear friends!
Most of the drama in last week’s debut episode actually happened offscreen in the blogosphere, thanks to conservative castmate Taylor, a Bible-thumping Southern Baptist and conservative Republican whose primary storyline is centered on crawling back into bed with former flame Levi, a hottie whose laconic arrogance, tight jeans and Stetson hat embody the cowboy stereotype.
Tayor and Levi would likely have already been rolling in clover if not for the fact that shooting this reality show dictates they hang out with James, a trust-fund baby and partyboy whose ego is still bruised by Levi’s shrugging off their long-ago fling. And that wouldn’t be much of a problem if not for the fact that shooting this reality show dictates that James hang out with Phillip, a scenester and shit-stirring meddler who can yank the chain of an insecure proto-alcoholic like James in his sleep. In real life, they’d all simply avoid each other.
But this is reality teevee. So this week we have Phillip throwing a royal fit—storming about, stamping his foot and dramatically yelping, “Mark my muthafuckin’ words: This. Is. Not. Oh-VER!”—thanks to an errant shove from Taylor that sent him and Levi toppling into a pool (more on that shortly).
Caught in the crossfire this week are Ashley, who is acquainted with several of the guys in real life and likely would have become entangled in their melodrama anyway, and Chase, who is catty and cute—and unlike the rest of the cast, exhibits a modicum of self-awareness as well as a behavioral filter.
Poor Ashley is adorably photogenic but in terms of bringing the recap-worthy drama, she can’t hold a candle to Nyasha, the volatile, aggressive, finger-wagging straight girl from Logo’s A-List: New York. In fact, she is shown this episode literally running from a fight. And her junior-league fits of entitlement throughout this episode will not endear her to anyone but the most besotted of lesbian admirers.
The main storyline this episode involves Chase’s annual summer party: He enlists Ashley to help with the planning because they’re BFFs and because otherwise she’d have no reason to be on this show. (When in real life would a gay man ask a woman for help planning a party?)
Asley dreams up a Footloose theme, which isn’t a bad idea for a party. But it is a sly bit of product placement because the production and distribution companies behind the Footloose remake (now in theaters!) are owned by Logo’s parent company, Viacom. Mmm, smell the synergy!
Ashley’s other idea is to stage a flash mob. Chase recklessly assumes she knows what that means. They trundle off to a meet with a party planner named Donnie Brown, who appears bemused by Chase and Ashley’s bickering over whether to allow straight men into the party. Run, Donnie Brown! Run!
In a confessional, Chase cracks wise about the size of his checkbook and observes that Donnie Brown should be honored to add his name to a storied list of clients that includes LeAnn Rimes, Emma Thompson and the Dallas Cowboys. As Chase fires off the quippy one-liners, it’s easy to become distracted by his swoopy follicles (shellacked into place) and hairy man-cleavage (a.k.a “heavage”), which is brazenly exposed by one of those plunging-neckline T-shirts all the kids are wearing these days.
At least Chase keeps himself hairy. Taylor, on the other hand, continues his bid for this season’s Most Despicable title with an appointment for laser-hair removal. He moans, yelps and whines during the process of removing the six hairs on his torso and bum—noting that he “prefers to look more like a twink than a bear,” (another eyeroll moment). Then, perhaps realizing that praising Jebus is part of his shtick, additionally remarks that “vanity might be considered a deadly sin, but I think it’s a sin to look ugly.”
Oh, Taylor, you silly goose—ugly on the inside counts too.
Earlier, an awkward conversation between Ashley and Levi is staged in another half-empty restaurant, where she corners him about his intentions with Taylor. The flustered cowboy, who looks like he just rolled out of bed, mumbles something about breaking up after just two months of dating due to incriminating texts he found on Taylor’s cell. It’s never addressed again. He only brightens when recalling their apparently robust sex life (“I just want to dip him in hot sauce”) and it’s abundantly clear he isn’t all that motivated to pursue a romantic partnership.
During a picnic, Levi allows Taylor to maneuver him into a decision to keep whatever they’re doing on the DL in order to avoid the shit-stirring antics of James and Phillip. Good luck with that. Levi is far more interested in the wine and veggie dip and appears relieved to get the talking finished and the kissing underway. Naturally, it’s interrupted by a commercial break.
Back to Ashley, who accompanies Chase to a menu tasting for his party. Donnie Brown is there with a caterer who gets the seal of approval from Ashley because the woman has a British accent. Ashley launches into an ostentatious prayer of thanks—resulting in a hilarious huff of exasperation from Chase—and then shamelessly proceeds to offend Donnie Brown and the unamused caterer by sniffing at the food and refusing to sample one hors d’oeuvre because it contained lobster (“I don’t eat anything that comes from the ocean”) and another merely because it was described as pork belly. When the adults in the room express befuddlement, she whines and grows defensive.
During the rehearsal for Ashley’s alleged flash mob, the dancers straggle into practice and proceed to ignore their queen’s passive-aggressive directions and increasingly stressed whining. Later, she throws another mild tantrum when Chase and Donnie Brown point out that what she is doing is choreographing a performance, not planning a flash mob. She tries to throw shade at Donnie Brown, who isn’t having any of it.
Chase not only allows Ashley’s spoiled-princess routine to roll off his back, he also engages in a bit of preemptive maintenance by taking James to lunch—in yet another mostly empty restaurant—to advise him to put the brakes on pounding down the hooch at the upcoming party or face getting 86’ed. It’s implied that James has taken offense to this reasonable warning but it’s essentially a red herring.
Before we get to the big showdown at Chase’s party, this episode’s other storyline rears its head: Phillip’s increasing anxiety over fully coming out to his mother. His misgivings are repeated in three separate scenes: when he and Levi go hiking at a gorgeous spot and he pulls beers and ice out of his backpack—probably set up by the producers, but amusing anyway; during a session with his therapist, who sagely observes that his mother may never come around and therefore he ought to just get on with his life; and during a date with swarthy, handsome Leo, a “sexy Mexi” whose background is similar to Phillip’s.
The entire cast and supporting characters converge on a Dallas hotel for Chase’s party, which looks to have drawn about 100 or so attendees. We are treated to many cutaways of the sexy, shirtless, musclebound DJ as he does the straight-guy bob with headphones clamped over his ears. The crowd actually appears to respond well to Ashley and her bedraggled, long-suffering line dancers, but who can truly resist the power of Kenny Loggins?
Chase probably could have saved himself a lot of drama by just popping in the soundtrack and letting the partiers shimmy to their heart’s content.
Levi and Taylor flirt a little bit while James gives them the side-eye. Taylor remarks that he hopes Levi can keep himself contained in Taylor’s presence; the show’s editors hilariously pair this remark with a shot of Levi standing stiffly at the bar with Taylor draped over him like seaweed.
Levi proceeds to openly admire the DJ and chat up other men. So much for sweet romance, eh? Phillip immediately antagonizes Chase and Taylor, who accidentally-on-purpose gives him a shove that sends him and Levi right into the drink. In a confessional, he says it wasn’t his intention to punish Levi. The actual footage suggests otherwise because he demonstrates no apparent concern for his alleged beau.
Phillip fulminates about his Gucci-Prada-whatevers that are now soaked. Levi talks about his embarrassment, but in the actual footage he actually doesn’t seem to mind that he’s running around the party, soaking wet, trailed by a shrieking Ashley and a few other unidentified bio-girls tottering dangerously in high heels. Phillip roughly shoves Taylor as they scream at each other and the partiers around them whoop and cheer.
In the end, some of the boys and assorted groupies are hustled out onto the sidewalk. Phillip loses his shit as steam pours from his ears, James smirks over the edge of his cocktail glass, Ashley yelps and gasps and Donnie Brown tries to deputize a hotel security guard who doesn’t give a flying fuck. Lastly, in the preview for next week’s episode, Levi is shown trampling a shrieking Ashley as he lunges for Taylor’s throat.