Kittens, we are all kinds of drag discombobulated! Dragcombobulated, if you will! Friday morning we got up and recorded a podcast about the Drag Race UK finale. Then we spent all day Friday and Saturday recording our audiobook about the history of drag (among other things) in relation to RuPaul’s Drag Race, which was fun, exhausting and time-consuming, causing a backlog on our posting roster. Which means NOW, on Sunday morning, we’re recapping the episode BEFORE the finale (which we podcasted about on Friday morning, you’ll recall), which aired Friday NIGHT, because the BBC and Logo hate each other or something. Oh! And ALSO, we recapped this episode on last week’s podcast, which makes this the second go-round for us. Good lord, we’re a couple of redundant bitches sometimes.
One of the things we noted in the podcast – and which bears repeating here – is what a joy it is to see a group of queens who really do appear to enjoy each other’s company. We don’t mind when drag queens fight or throw shade. It’s literally part of the culture. But the U.S. Drag Race has been a success for many years, which means quite a few of the queens who showed up in later seasons were well aware that being a shady bitch secured a queen more camera time.
Which isn’t to say these ladies don’t get shady when the show or a situation calls for it. But British humor starts from the assumption that taking the piss is good clean fun and getting bent out of shape about it is just silly.
In other words, thick skins and sharp tongues are at the center of British humor, which means these bitches can dish it out and take it without seeming to get as fussed about it as their American cousins tend to now and then.
Anyway, this episode was the once-a-season perennial Family Drag Makeover challenge. We have to admit, we miss the days when this one was about finding straight guys or lady wrestlers or senior citizens and teaching them about the world of drag. In recent years, it’s been much more about actual biological family members showing up. That is, of course, a very welcome development, reflecting how common it is for younger queens to have decent relationships with their family.
Although clearly, not all of them do. This was a bit painful to watch. Baga filled in the details on his relationship with his mother in the next episode, so without spoiling it, we’ll just say the added context made their very tense scenes together a little easier to take. Anyway, when we say we miss the old days when it was about making unrelated people look like family, it’s because the results of the challenge tended to be a little more interesting.
Pussy: Stepped Up.
Category Is: Drag Family Realness! 👭🎀
— RuPaul’s Drag Race (@RuPaulsDragRace) November 23, 2019
We’ll let the results speak for themselves, but it’s a bit less impressive to see two identical drag queens side-by-side …
… When each pair is related and most of them share a strong resemblance.
We have to work to figure out which one here is Cheryl and which one’s her sister. We wish we could say that was impressive drag artistry on display, but they just look a lot alike, as plenty of siblings do.
Divina is good at the art of drag, but we have to admit, we don’t often like her aesthetic. Every once in a while, she’ll really nail a look and offer up something interesting or sickening, but this? This is not one of those times. Her drag often borders on clownish. Which is fine! There’s room for that sort of drag. But again: we just don’t love these looks.
Granted, there’s something to be said about how the challenge uses drag as a metaphor for family ties. In cases like Baga and her mother, the tension of their relationship winds up being reflected in the harsh, scary, dark-looking Halloween drag they wound up serving.
It could be argued that The Vivienne should’ve won it by default, just because the other looks were so uninteresting. The Viv couldn’t be dull if you asked her to.
We realize that there are hard decisions to be made when you’re turning the final four into the Final Three, but we’ve had some time to turn this over in our heads, and it’s really kind of bullshitty.
In a world that made sense to us and did things according to our wishes and preferences, that lip sync would’ve been down to Baga and Divina. Cheryl’s looks were bland and she definitely had the easiest job out of all of them, given how much she and her sister look alike, but it’s crazy to us that she wound up going home this week.
We’d even go so far as to suggest that the final call on this lip sync could’ve gone either way. But let’s face it: We all knew who the final three were going to be and if we’re being honest, they’re exactly who we would’ve picked. But if you think Baga, Divina and The Viv absolutely should be the finalists, then you kind of have to shrug it off when the show bends over backward to make that happen.
In other words, Cheryl probably didn’t deserve this elimination, but it really does make better sense for the competition to have the three most talented queens battle it out. Such is the harsh reality of reality TV competitions, darlings.
If you want to hear more thoughts about this episode, spoken in our cartoon voices, you can listen to the second half of last week’s podcast:
[Stills: World of Wonder via Tom and Lorenzo]