Other people play drinking games with The A List—or just drink to get through it. But when watching the show with friends my personal drug of choice is cake, if for no other reason than the presumption that carb-rich treats are kryptonite to everyone in the cast who isn’t T.J.
The other kryptonite seems to be activity of any sort that doesn’t involve sitting in a vacant bar with sippy-straws and talking about whichever cast member isn’t present. So when this week’s episode opens with Austin and Jake in a fencing studio spazzily tapping at each other with what Austin refers to as “swore-ds,” it suddenly feels like an episode of Wipeout. It’s also the moment where Austin delivers the line of the week, in reference to some sort of fake drama: “What are we, thirteen-year-old girls?”
Please, not when my mouth is full of cake.
Reichen and T.J. jet off to Hawaii so that Reichen can host something called “Paradise,” an event that is never fully—hell, not even partially—explained. But it’s in Hawaii and it gives T.J. a chance to wear a floppy sun hat and sarong while exclaiming “Girl!” in a way that sounds like “Gorrrhl!” The magic of T.J. is that it sounds appropriate and charming coming from him. Don’t ask for an explanation; supernatural events are inherently mysterious.
While in the Aloha State, Reichen keeps it in the Viacom family by flirting with Real World alum Mike Manning, who responds to Reichen’s advances by repeating the word, “Intense.” Then, reacting in confusion to the non-drinkable cupcakes they hold in their hands, the sexual-tension-duo smash the treats into each other’s faces. In T.J.’s estimation, this callous act of frosting waste comes down to Reichen’s ineptitude at talking to men he wants. Reichen, meanwhile, has been single for weeks now and is drowning in The Well Of Loneliness—for him, the cupcake is a symbol for his deepest desires. He wants to put his soul into your mouth, Mike. Can’t you taste his feelings?
Back in New York, Derek has gone into the spray-tan business with two unusual yet fun-loving women named Joy and Sally. The name of the business is Tansexual. The can’s design spells it TANSXL, suggesting that Rodiney might have lent a conceptual hand.
With his other hand, Rodiney is texting ladies and asking them out on dates. Yep, he’s bisexual now. Maybe he always was? Facts can be hard to remember with this crew. But when Rodiney takes out a woman named Lisa and announces his bisexuality to her at their restaurant table, it’s understandable if you sit at home and wonder what she was thinking when she agreed to go on a date with a camera crew in tow, and then what else she thought when the guy assisting the director said, “A-List: New York, take 13,” and clapped that board. Did she assume the show was about restaurants? Subtitled Brazilians? Models who’re also compulsive list-makers? Her wide eyes get wider when Rodiney asks her if she’s ever done it with a woman. And then out comes calamari that neither of them bother to eat.
Across town, Nyasha meets with Derek to discuss Nyasha’s feelings about Derek. This happens hot on the heels of Derek meeting with Rodiney to discuss who-knows-what. The ultimate Derek-goal here is to build alliances with everyone against Austin, Derek’s former- best-pal-turned-super-enemy thanks to something nobody can remember that kinda maybe happened last week. Look, it doesn’t matter. Everybody’s in a big fight with everybody else and when another actual brawl goes down, it’ll make the show marginally more interesting to look at than rewound, slow-motion man-on-man cupcake sploshing.
Ryan’s not a joiner when it comes to Derek’s us-against-fatso schemings and decides to meet Austin on a park bench to talk about how much everybody hates Austin. Tattletale. They keep their sunglasses on for the duration of the chat. You gotta mask the pain somehow.
Finally, Nyasha and Rodiney and Ryan and Mike Ruiz and Mike’s poor boyfriend and Mike’s poor Dad—two people who’re even less involved in this show than Mike—all show up for Derek’s spray-tan launch. This involves Derek performing a dance number with several swimsuit-clad boy-sylphs. I don’t recognize any of these lithe, orange forms as male bodies but there’s an adequate amount of prancing and it all seems appropriate for a party where the guest of honor is a can of whatever it is you spray on yourself to approximate the color of burnt tangerines.
Oh wait, sorry, that wasn’t the actual “finally.” There’s another. Derek and Austin meet up at their favorite fighting spot, The Empty Diet Soda Lounge, to, in Derek’s words, “end all the drama.” Austin apologizes for whatever he did. Derek refuses to forgive him because what he meant by “end all the drama” was that it was time for him to start crying.
Somewhere in the same city, a group of angry 13-year-old girls are training in the art of Krav Maga and will kick these gays’ asses on their own spin-off show, this fall on Spike.