“Why,” tweets Playgirl model and former star of Bravo’s trashy reality show Make Me a Supermodel, “during the most crucial stages of the Equality Movement, are garbage shows like A-List NYC being made? EPIC FAIL.” Great question, Ronnie!
1) Because they can. Programming that The Gays actually want to watch has long been absent from LOGO. A-List: New York, which premieres Monday, is the cash-strapped network’s answer to the void that, five years after launch, the channel still hasn’t filled.
2) Because these shows are proven hits. It’s no secret A-List is a gay reincarnation of Bravo’s successful Housewives series. The series that people love to hate is among cable’s most-watched.
3) Because even the critics will tune in. And that includes you, Ronnie. You will watch this show. Or at least you won’t be able to escape it, not with all the YouTube clipping that’s about to occur.
And meanwhile, let’s not pretend Make Me a Supermodel, or your Playgirl spread, was changing minds or hearts. The struggle for equality is no more important than it was in 2008, when you shot to (reality) fame. And shouldn’t Reichen Lehmkuhl have the chance to ride that wave … again? (Part of me thinks Kroell is a little bit sour grapes over not being asked to take part in the show, but what do I know.)
Kroell has already responded to one critic on Twitter, saying his Playgirl gig (photos here!) was an “artistic spread as a model with a political message that took time, talent, energy, and forethought; one of many.” If you found the political message, well, email me. Moreover, tweets Kroell, “I have nothing to justify with regard to my actions and please do not say you love me or call me buddy when you do not know me.” The blog After Elton also responded to Kroell’s remarks.
There’s a fine line between exploiting gays for pop culture consumption and mainstreaming gay culture in a positive way, so much so that even GLAAD — whose red carpets Kroell walks down — hasn’t figured out that gray area very well. Will A-List, which straddles that line, help gay visibility? Hurt what people think of our community? Make Americans think all gay men act like this handful of homos the same way we’ve all been trained to think skinny botched dye-jobbed blonde women with overextended credit limits are all the same catty monsters?
It will do all of those things. And yet, somehow, I imagine the fight for equality will go on. At the very same time.