And we’re back… with what was a surprisingly mediocre episode. I say surprisingly because this should have been a great episode. Between having one of the most eagerly awaited mini-challenges of the show, and having a long-overdue main challenge (I refuse to call them a maxi-challenge), my expectations were high. But alas, it was a gloriously entertaining mess when it should have been something transcendent.
But before we begin, let’s start with an important announcement by clapping for this hooker…
That’s right henny! Our reigning queen, Miss Bianca Del Rio, is rolling into town This Sunday with her Rolodex of Hate tour at the Pantages Theatre. Tickets are flying fast so get your tickets today! Yes, today, Satan!
By an odd twist of fate, our Miss Del Rio will be gracing our fair city the week of everyone’s favorite mini-challenge; the reading challenge. And “in the great tradition of Paris Is Burning,” I’m going to let the great Dorian Corey and Venus Xtravaganza explain the fine art of (and differences between!) shade and reading (which Ru has mixed up on more than one occasion)…
…and while this season’s reads weren’t as iconic as they were in the past seasons (Jujubee really did spoil us for future seasons when she nailed this challenge back in Season 2), there were some fabulous digs that were funny and accurate:
“Trixie Mattel: Reading you is like reading clown fish in a barrel. Unfortunately that’s as fishy as you’re ever going to be.”
“Violet Chachki: You keep straining those corsets girl. Pretty soon your waist size will be lower than your I.Q.”
“Katya: At this point, you should just make like your hair line and recede.”
“Trixie Mattel: Haute couture? More like haute glue.”
“Ginger Minj: Girl did you ever save Carol Anne from the poltergeist in the tv?”
“Violet: I don’t believe the rumors. I don’t believe you took Sharon Needles’ crown. I don’t believe you’re taking this one either.”
“Katya: Are you confused? The saying is ‘Young, dumb, and full of cum.’”
“RuPaul…” “Bitch!” (Points to Pearl for sheer chutzpah.)
While all of them were pretty good (except for Miss Fame, which was awkward), Trixie won the mini challenge.
But all of this was a fun prelude for them!
In an inspired challenge, the girls were asked to create musical montages inspired by some of the most iconic moments of the films of director John Waters and his legendary muse, Divine. To which I say, “What took you so long, Ru?” After all, if there is any drag queen more seared into the public conscience more than RuPaul, it would easily be Divine. Both she and Mr. Waters are such cinematic and LGBTQ icons that a challenge celebrating their groundbreaking collaborations (which includes Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, Polyester, Hairspray and more) was long overdue. And making it a musical was a cute touch given that both Hairspray and Cry Baby have been adapted into musicals. Unfortunately, most of the girls didn’t pay attention to Ru when she said, “Good Luck, and by all means fuck it up!” If there was ever a challenge to let everything out, this was it, and some queens missed the memo in spectacular ways.
In addition to premiering their musical screen tests for Ru, Michelle, Cason, Mr. Waters, and singer Demi Lovato, the girls had to walk the runway in their ugliest dresses. And I have to give props to Mr. Waters for being incredibly kind and exacting with the girls in his critiques. Let’s see how they did…
CHA CHA HEELS (inspired by Female Trouble)
This was a surprisingly good showing, given that Katya is not a singer, but she and Kennedy worked really well together; and were the only team to succeed as an equal team! Kennedy was okay as Dawn but Katya took the role of Dawn’s mother and turned it into a standout performance (the clapping legs in rhythm was hilarious). As for the runway, most of the girls did not get the memo on giving ugly. Kennedy tried by going the old lady with her dress stuck in her pantyhose, but it wasn’t really ugly. Katya fared a little better on the runway (and I love how she described her look as “if Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio barely survived a meth lab explosion, and then she was cast in a porno musical of Raggedy Ann”) but I have to agree with Mr. Waters in that her dress was just on the borderline of hipster.
EGGS (inspired by Pink Flamingos)
In terms of pairings, this was probably the best of the bunch in terms of raw talent. Both Trixie and Ginger were more than able to deliver on the challenge and had great chemistry to boot. In terms of looks for the challenge, Trixie looked like the long lost love child of Divine and Sarah Jessica Parker. But Ginger was a dead-on, if slightly sexier, ringer for Mr. Waters’ other muse, the great Edith Massey. You could tell that he was touched by Ginger’s surprisingly sweet portrayal, and her energy in the role upstaged Trixie.
As for the runway, Ginger was smart as hell to bust out a modified Tracy Turnblad look. Trixie, on the other hand, has never looked better in her Romy and Michelle Go Back To High School look; and that was the problem. It was so soft and nuanced that it didn’t really read as ugly. Frankly none of the runway looks did, but that’s neither here nor there.
POO (inspired by Pink Flamingos)
Oy. This group all looked cute but they all had problems with this challenge. As it was vaguely referenced to in this week’s Untucked, the tricky thing with John Waters’ material is that in order for the comedy and pathos to land, you have to commit to it without any sense of playing in quotation marks, and without any sort of overanalysis. (For the best example of what I mean, watch Kathleen Turner’s brilliant performance in Serial Mom which balances that tension spectacularly.) Unfortunately, Pearl played everything in timid quotation marks and Miss Fame was once again in her own head; leaving Violet at sea. As for the runways, they all miss the mark: Violet’s look is “throw everything on and sell it,” Pearl is serving harajuku girl as done by Edward Keane realness, and Miss Fame couldn’t be ugly even if she tried.
It came down to Pearl and Miss Fame lip syncing to Demi Lovato’s “Really Don’t Care.” And while I get it, I’m shocked and more than a little outraged that they didn’t have the queens lip sync to a Divine song or even an Edith Massey song. And while both ladies gave lackluster performances, while I was watching Miss Fame, I was reminded of a critique Ru gave to Tammie Brown in Season 1, “She didn’t connect with us, and she didn’t connect with the material.” So in the end, our lovely lady of the chickens Miss Fame is headed back out into the world, and frankly I’ll miss her all of her non sequiturs.
And now we head to…
This week’s breakdown: 1 point for the mini-challenge win, 4 points for the main challenge win, 2 points for the top three, 1 point for being safe, 0 for the the bottom three, -1 for “Shante, you stay,” and -2 for “Sashay Away.”
NEXT TIME: It’s time to change partners, and dance…
Photo & Video Credits: Logo TV / World Of Wonder, Chad Sell