Our book was quoted in the Los Angeles Times this week. We’re not saying that to brag — haha, just kidding. Of course we’re saying it to brag. It’s two years later and we’re still getting quoted in leading news outlets, bitches!
With that out of the way, there is actually a point here besides bragging. The LA Times piece by Manuel Betancourt offered a wonderful (and as it turns out, extremely timely) primer on what the Snatch Game is and why it’s so damn hard for almost every queen who’s been through it. It is the vast consensus among the show’s alumnae that it’s the hardest challenge by far. The amount of pure train wrecks or cringe-inducing flameouts alone on a Snatch Game set would prove that point handily, but we have the benefit of literally dozens of queens saying over and over again, for well past a decade, “The Snatch Game is fucking hard,” which is why it’s so odd to see a group of queens this unprepared for it. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
The queens were all asked to wrap themselves in quick drag bubble wrap in order to promote the soft drink that has helped with some of the show’s production costs in exchange for… well, this. We have no such obligation to the soft drink in question, so we feel like lingering on the cute semi-naked guy instead. We can only be as the Lord made us, kittens.
Okay, fine. Here:
Our dismissive commentary notwithstanding, we do love ourselves some busted-ass drag. Every one of these utter messes is a beautiful child of God. You’re all winners, girls.
Now. Onward toward further messiness.
As we said earlier, we don’t understand how or why it happened, but this was a shockingly bad Snatch Game with a surprisingly unprepared group of queens.
Lady Camden came up with an utterly bizarre melange of William Shakespeare and Patsy Stone. It was one of those “It’s so crazy, it just might work” concepts that, unfortunately, didn’t quite work. She kept her head above water through most of the challenge, though. In a less shenanigan-filled week, we’d have considered her easily safe.
Someone should have worked harder to talk Jasmine out of this one. The only political figures worth parodying in a Snatch Game have to be people like Margaret Thatcher or Melania Trump; people who have larger than life personalities, mannerisms, or looks. Most people couldn’t even tell you who Betsy DeVos is, let alone what she sounds like or stands for – and it’s not like Jasmine did anything to fill that vacuum. Just an empty performance with nothing to it.
Angeria’s not a natural when it comes to acting or improv challenges. Choosing to do Tammie Brown was an interesting way to go and we think Ru was intrigued by the possibilities. We just can’t figure out what the hell Angeria was doing. Nothing sounded like Tammie Brown and she barely looked like her.
Bless her heart. Ilana Glazer was a fun choice, but you’ve got to do more than dress up like the person you’re portraying in Snatch Game. She had the look down, but she had none of Glazer’s charisma or forceful personality. Jorgeous was never going to do well in this challenge. If you want to be really conspiracy-minded about it, you could explore the idea that the massive twist at the end of this episode was a huge gift to the queen just about everyone could have predicted would be in the bottom for this challenge.
Quite possibly the biggest Snatch Game disappointment we’ve ever seen. If it’s not Number One on the list, it sure ranks up there. Willow has proven herself to be extremely funny, both with preparation and on the fly. Drew Barrymore sounded like a pure winner of a choice for her, but from the second she opened her mouth, it went all wrong. She seemed really thrown when she made the mistake of forgetting that Ru and Drew have worked together before. Drew has such a distinct way of talking and Willow never came close to it. Despite what Carson said about it not being RuPaul’s Impersonation Race, the ability to nail a voice, a look, or a certain mannerism has always been valued by the judges after a Snatch Game.
Deja’s performance was the epitome of “committing to the bit.” We tend to think Ru rewards queens with his laughter in somewhat forced and not entirely sincere ways. We can’t say we laughed at anything Deja did nearly as hard as Ru did, but he was the only queen who had everything you need to compete on Snatch Game: a good character, well rendered both physically and through performance, and a funny line or phrase to fall back on. There was no question Deja won this one.
Unlike the judges, we think Gwyneth Paltrow is a person ripe for parodying. Despite the near-hilarious nonsense Dove Cameron was spewing about how the real Gwyneth has “joy behind her eyes,” the trick to playing her is to nail down the whiny, exhausted disdain she has for everyone else. She doesn’t go around thinking of herself as superior so much as she goes around thinking everyone is just so lame. She is a smirk in human form. Bosco overthought it and settled on a grandiose sort of superiority that doesn’t get close to the real thing. She also didn’t nail the look (Gwynnie doesn’t do eyeliner) and her collar was distractingly filthy.
Daya had the look down, but he offered the broadest possible interpretation of the persona. He wasn’t among the worst, but he didn’t land a single joke.
The category was Holy Couture and these bitches just did whatever the fuck they felt like with it. We think this is something the show might want to address more in the critiques. There was a time when queens were more roundly criticized for not hitting the week’s theme. On the other hand, the judges had so much to critique this week that we suppose some of it had to be edited for time.
Deja’s take on Zendaya’s Met Gala look was a clever idea, but badly rendered. If she didn’t tell you she was Joan of Arc, you’d have trouble seeing it. Jasmine’s horoscope-themed look was cute, but it stretched the boundaries of the category a bit. Angeria’s church lady look was flawless. Willow’s mushroom drag was weirdly gorgeous, but she honestly should have been called out more for pretty much ignoring the category. “It’s my religion” was just a little too cute for us. We thought Daya looked like shit, although she recovered well from a pretty hilarious fall.
Jorgeous looked gorgeous once again, but like Willow’s, a “weed is my religion” take was a little underbaked, pardon the pun. She could have more fully developed the whole “Pope of Pot” think she had half-going on. Lady Camden was called out the most for stretching the idea of the category, but the judges focused more on how cheap her costume looked. We can’t say we disagree, although we don’t think it’s bad drag. Bosco’s look is pretty fierce, but we’ve seen her do versions of it already.
So next week, everyone but Deja has to lip sync for their life. Yet another episode of Drag Race ends with no eliminations. We defended the idea last week, and truth be told, we’re not really all that mad at it now, but as much as we might agree with the show’s producers that reality competitions have to constantly shake things up in order to keep things fresh, this is starting to get annoying. Daya and Camden don’t deserve to be in the bottom. It could be argued that Willow and Bosco don’t necessarily belong there either. Just give us the second Jasmine/Jorgeous showdown and start sending the weak girls home already.
Legendary Children: The First Decade of RuPaul’s Drag Race and the Last Century of Queer Life, a New York Times “New and Notable” pick, praised by The Washington Post “because the world needs authenticity in its stories,” and chosen as one of the Best Books of 2020 by NPR is on sale wherever fine books are sold!
[Photo Credit: VH1 via Tom and Lorenzo]
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