‘The A-List’ Recap: Reality TV Editing 101

As the search for what it truly means to be A-list continues, we see this week a brief glimpse of Austin and Brit boyfriend Jake doing what most people would unequivocally consider elite: horseback riding in The Hamptons. Sure, it’s a step up from last season’s off-site excursion to Reichen’s family cottage in some place in Maine that definitely isn’t anywhere near where the Kennedys vacation. But the establishing shots of Tiffany & Co. on Main Street in East Hampton quickly reminded me that quite a bit can be accomplished through clever editing. In fact, it’s reminiscent of last week’s location of Therapy roughly forty blocks south at its far trendier (and fictitious) home in the Meatpacking District. All of this, I suppose, goes hand-in-hand with awkwardly placed commentaries by Rodiney and Nyasha (without which they’d have been completely absent from the entire episode) and producer-contrived conflicts that are frankly the basis for this entire show, and for that matter, reality series in general.


Ryan gets serious about suiting up

Ryan’s off-camera chocolate sugar daddy has a lot of serious corporate events that require a lot of serious corporate clothes. So, Ryan tries on some red satin pants and a shirt that looks like a straight jacket at some uber-exclusive designer who we’re led to believe has a shop or a showroom or a Mr. Softee ice cream truck near Louis Vuitton’s flagship store. After all, thanks to that clever editing job, it doesn’t really matter what this place is as long as we perceive it to be on Fifth Avenue when, in all likelihood, it’s probably crammed above one of those un-air-conditioned Turkish carpet stores in the Garment District.


Austin calls for a cocktail party

It’s Botox time for Austin, Jake, and Derek. And I was glad to see that their visit to a real doctor is at least marginally more A-list than last season’s trip to a dentist who performs outpatient cosmetic procedures on the side. Twenty-two year-old Austin goes for sensible schvitz-stopping injections to his armpits, while Derek and Jake, who are both in their more age-advanced late 20s, select the more common wrinkle reduction around the eye.

Perhaps staying dry on set is just part of Austin’s prep for his official Playgirl photo shoot. Then again, he’s on the fence about going through with that whole thing. So, he visits friend/celebrity stylist/reality show whore/crack addict look-alike Phillip Bloch. Surprisingly, even creepy-faced Phillip thinks the spread is a bad idea, despite Austin’s claim that he’ll somehow be using Playgirl as a vehicle to campaign for the immigration rights of bi-national, same-sex couples. But all of this takes a backseat for now, because Austin is planning to host a cocktail party. And he’ll be inviting a very special (old) guest.

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