You’ve got to figure the show’s exhibiting an insane amount of confidence to throw out a title like “World’s Worst,” especially since this episode was … not the best, shall we say.
Oh, it wasn’t horrible to sit through, just not one of the more entertaining episodes. It could just be that the rest of the season is going to struggle to live up to the promise of that shockingly fun season premiere, but this one was simply dull. There were no real fireworks when the two groups of queens met up, possibly owing the the fact that so far, there are no real bitches in this group, but also possibly due to the idea that latter-season queens are too aware of how badly they can hurt themselves if they show up looking to fight.
We feel … compelled to mention that we wrote a whole-ass book about how Drag Race is the queerest damn show in the history of television, using the slang, lingo, and social history of the LGBTQ community to inform all of its challenges and traditions.
Just saying. While you stare at bulges.
Did we also mention that there’s an entire chapter on the Pit Crew and the history of the gay male beauty aesthetic? “For Every Tuck, There Must Come a Bulge.”
Just thought we’d mention that part as well.
Despite a mini-challenge clearly designed to get these bitches all riled up, none of them really took the bait – again, owing to a clear and well-known show history and a group of queens who may just be uncommonly professional and low-drama.
We are, of course, prepared to eat those words. These are drag queens, after all. This is reality television.
The acting and improv challenges are always the hardest to sit through, mainly because a queen fucking up a song is funny but a queen fucking up a comedy bit is cringey. The point, as always, is to give some queen a chance to shine like a diamond in that pile of poo, but it doesn’t always happen. A lot of the critiques and plaudits that came from the judges felt arbitrary to us, as the people they claimed were hilarious rarely struck us as notably different from the people they claimed were too “in their heads” or whatever. To be fair, Sherry Pie does tend to stand out in everything she does. She’s polished, she’s got looks skills and costumes, and she’s got the one quality every queens fights to perfect: the ability to naturally draw the spotlight to her. Even so, the only queen who actually made us laugh in these bits was Heidi, who continues to be a subtle threat. She’s hilarious, her looks are passably good, and she’s a make-do country queen with a sassy mouth, which is CLEARLY one of Ru’s most favorite things in the world. Dahlia was terrible and Rock M.’s raging insecurity almost got the better of her before she rallied a little.
Category is: BUTTONS AND BOWS! 🧵🎀
— RuPaul’s Drag Race (@RuPaulsDragRace) March 14, 2020
We don’t think the episode was helped by a somewhat goofy runway category. In every Drag Race episode there are four elements: the mini-challenge, the main challenge, the runway and the lip sync. Sometimes you just need one or two of them to be really good in order for an episode to be entertaining. But when all four elements wind up yielding bland results?
Jaida’s was cute and campy, Dahlia’s was odd and kind of ugly – so was Rock M.’s look. Loved the creativity of Jan’s and Heidi’s. Gigi’s was gorgeous and looked expensive, but we wrinkle our nose at queens who have their own costume designers. Jackie’s Pearlie look was cute, don’t know what Widow was trying to pull off, and while we think Crystal’s dress is pretty awful, we thought the judges were out of line going after her makeup just because it’s not typically glam. There are all kinds of drag faces. Nicky’s look was perhaps a bit too conceptual, with the dead mouse hanging off it. Aiden’s was cute, but that girl needs to step her pussy up on the looks. Brita’s was … is there such a thing as “too campy” for a drag queen? We don’t know. It was fine, but a little cliched. Sherry really is head and shoulders above most of them.
We’d argue the ultimate decision was just as arbitrary, since both of those girls gave equally good lip syncs, as far as we could see. We tend to think it came down to the fact that Nicky’s drag simply looked better on that stage, making her lip sync the more favorable one to watch.
Kind of a surprise to see her go, since let’s face it, the prettiest girls tend to get passes early in the competition.
Our book Legendary Children: The First Decade of RuPaul’s Drag Race and the Last Century of Queer Life is on sale now!
The Los Angeles Times called it “a nuanced exploration of the gender-bending figures, insider lingo and significant milestones in queer history to which the show owes its existence.”
The Washington Post said it “arrives at just the right time … because the world needs authenticity in its stories. Fitzgerald and Marquez deliver that, giving readers an insight into the important but overlooked people who made our current moment possible.”
Paper Magazine said to “think of it as the queer education you didn’t get in public school” and The Associated Press said it was “delightful and important” and “a history well told, one that is approachable and enjoyable for all.”
[Stills: VH1 via Tom and Lorenzo]