‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Recap: This Show Is The Only Way I Feel The Passing Of Time
Let it go, Brita.
Looking Goode, feeling Thorgeous: if this week’s edit is anything to go for, Drag Race S12 is steering hard and fast towards a Gigi Goode win. With Sherry Pie’s runway look almost completely taken out of the episode, it’s almost like they cut out a double Snatch Game win — or, at the least, a highly commended first alternate.
At the moment, Gigi’s biggest competitors (minding Sherry’s disqualification) are the two other challenge winners, Jaida and Widow, though Snatch Game is seen as the great decider of the show’s strongest competitors,
Even though Drag Race S11 really threw that out the window when Yvie and Brooke Lynn both bombed, it’s still worth noting Jackie and Jan had a great episode, could break out into the top rung of the competition soon. Either way, let’s just be glad the show will break out of its own Aiden vs. Brita rut next week, now the former’s gone and they’ve got a (fairly anti-climactic) lipsync battle out of the feud.
We had to endure a bit of it at the beginning of the episode, but mostly moved on after Aiden said she wanted to prove she wasn’t “carried” by Brita or Sherry in previous acting challenges, choosing to portray Rocky Horror actress Patricia Quinn, having even had lunch with her once upon.
She wasn’t carried, to be clear, but she also didn’t prove much this episode, and was sent home. Quinn gave her own assessment on Facebook, saying she was “disgusted beyond belief liar I do not know this utterly untalented person shite”. Way harsh, Patricia.
There’s been plenty worse Snatch Game impersonations before (S4’s ‘rompery’ says hello, as does Gia Gunn, but with a racist accent), and while Aiden’s “drug-dementia” portrayal wasn’t very funny, it was fairly inoffensive — especially when Sherry Pie’s Katharine Hepburn is right there.
Sherry only ran with the actress’s essential tremor, throwing away every other part of her character. Look, I laughed a lot, and drag isn’t one to play polite, but the joke here was purely her disability. There’s a way to poke fun at Hepburn’s handwriting, and this, watching a second time, wasn’t it. It felt accidentally cruel, not hyper-exaggerated enough to create that distance.
And maybe that was just the edit. Ten Snatch Game contestants are a lot, so cutting each talking head down to their best joke strand is inevitable. Meanwhile, Aiden’s impersonation was too vague to really take much offense. It’s clear she froze up there. After forgetting an accent, she resorted to a ‘confused old lady’ bit and was backed into a corner, much like Brita and Crystal, who were both stuck repeating themselves to no joke.
I can’t blame them, as Snatch Game is probably one of the show’s most confidence-shaking challenges as the queens see each other succeed and fail in real-time. Overall, this one was pretty solid: as I’ve been saying since E2, S12’s contestants are incredibly talented. Hopefully we don’t get another manufactured storyline now Aiden’s gone, and they just let the queens queen on.
The One Where RuPaul Suggests The Girls Impersonate People They Don’t Know
Snatch Game swallows the show whole (also showing hole right now? Charli XCX.), and we skip a mini-challenge about the fake news regarding 5G spreading COVID-19 to get straight to business.
RuPaul whizzes through the werqroom with Vanjie, who visits to tell the girls what not to do, having just scraped through S11’s Snatch Game. It makes no sense for her to be there, but she’s such a light that it doesn’t matter.
RuPaul might need to retake her own MasterClass, because the advice she offers to these queens is far from self-actualising. She tells Heidi to play a character she’s never heard of, tells Crystal to play DeBarge, Jan to do Kris Jenner, and Gigi to not do Sophia The Robot (who, just quietly, is absolutely not ‘real’ and is just people pressing buttons on an elaborate puppet).
All hold their own ground, but top props go to Gigi for looking Ru straight in the eyes and saying “I understand your concern, but I don’t share your concern” — as this tweet says, she essentially told Ru to fuck off then won. That’s talent.
Of the group, Crystal probably should’ve listened and shied away from Poppy, who is a hard figure to make funny — her whole schtick is a dark Ashley O nightmare, but without the name recognition.
When she pulled out the blonde wig and pink jacket, I thought she was playing Paris Hilton: it’s a bit of a lazy one, but much like Jaida’s perfectly fine, easy-to-do Cardi B, she probably would’ve been safe.
Maybe not, actually, as Crystal’s werqroom cry shows she’s really struggling in the competition at the moment, forcing RuPaul to bring out his finest AJ & The Queen acting face:
Crystal is easily one of my favourites, and I’m glad she’s still there. Her runway saved her from the bottom two this week, and I hope we get to see a little bit more of her. Depending on Brita’s performance next week, we could get a few more eps with Miss Methyd.
Disney Gays Have Done Fracked Up Drag
After Snatch Game, the girls get ready for a promotional tie-in runway for Frozen the musical, which absolutely is not showing on Broadway right now. They reflect on their performances, and ever the producer-prodded conversation starter, Sherry asks if the queens chose their celebrities for any personal reason.
Widow, who double-timed as Tina and Ike Turner, reveals she did the duo as she has had a lot of experience with domestic violence herself. The dots don’t quite connect there (Ike can be left to rot, and his appearance felt unnecessary at best), but they don’t really need to. She’s sharing a lot of herself on Drag Race, and seems stable enough to do so, unlike Rock — as a result, it’s much more comfortable to watch.
Gigi also shares, ‘for the first time ever’, that she’s genderfluid. Earlier in recaps, I joked about her lacking any trauma, but her sheer talent and comfort in herself at 21 really does speak to the way she was led to queer culture by a gay uncle at a young age.
While of course we aren’t privy to other difficulties of her life, it’s almost hard, as a queer man, to watch Gigi and not feel a little resentful. So far, she seems like the model of what we can be when our sissy creativity isn’t stamped out at a young age.
But if there’s one thing to fault Gigi for, this week she fell victim to the “runway voiceover” clichés while describing her own look.
This season has been pretty bad in terms of “I’m X serving you Y and I’m living, girl” (thankfully not Shuga Cain levels, honey!), but Gigi describing her look as “I’m just that fun-loving ice-cream woman” is peak drag talk nonsense.
Some, meanwhile, don’t care for the fun-loving ice-cream woman, and do their own thing. Crystal’s Mr. Freeze-inspired look is the rare cross-blend of cosplay and business-appropriate: she has no time for a lick of sherbert.
Aiden, meanwhile, just wanted to pay tribute to Gothy Kendoll.
Before we move onto the lipsync, it’d be a shame to let Jonathan Bennett’s stunning Valerie Cherish impersonation go without mention. If you haven’t seen The Comeback, you’re missing Lisa Kudrow’s best work as an out-of-work sitcom actress filming a reality show. Just watch it, you have time! So much time.
All-in-all runways are cute, but I also resent the Disneyfication of drag — unless, of course, it’s a patented Shannel character illusion. Disney gays would’ve voted for Pete Buttigieg and have never had a sex dream about their own dad. In other words, grow up! Mostly though, the ‘Let It Go’ lipsync is just quite dull from both Aiden and Brita, but the latter stays for connecting a bit more to the song, I guess.
Next week, the queens are singing their way through ‘Madonna: The Unauthorised Rusical’. We’re hoping for a last minute re-edit that includes a homage to Madonna’s own “come on, fried fish!”. And who better to sing it than Drag Race‘s tilapia queen, Gia Gunn?
RuPaul’s Drag Race streams on Stan, with new episodes dropping Saturdays at 1pm AEST.
Jared Richards is Junkee’s Night Editor, and a freelance writer living in Berlin. He hopes Madonna found some pasta.