Friends, it’s time that we gather under the shade tree and console one another as we raise our voices in unison and cry…
But on Snatch Game?!
That’s right children! It’s the return of the most beloved challenge in all of RuPaul’s Drag Race herstory! I’ve spoken in depth about the importance of this parody of Match Game (or Blankety Blank for our British readers) but I’ll repeat myself: The reason the fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race live for Snatch Game is that it’s easily the hardest challenge on the show. Not only do you have to do “celebrity” impersonation (itself one of the cornerstones of drag), not only do you have to be funny and quick on your feet in your answers and your interactions with Ru, the “contestants” and the other panel members, but you have to do it all effortlessly. This is the challenge that the real front runners emerge and we can conclusively tell who is not long for this competition.
As for this year’s edition there was a whole lot of nothing going on, and that saddens me to no end. Oh sure there were a few standouts, but on the whole this year’s edition just lacked the energy that previous editions have had.
That might have been due to this year’s contestants, supermodels Chanel Iman and Gigi Hadid. I’m sure that they are sweet, lovely women, but they were kind of a dud as contestants. It’s not their job to feed jokes per se, but they have to give something to the performers.
All right, let’s break these bitches down…
Thorgy Thor chose to play Michael Jackson, and while it was good (and a damn sight better than some of the others on that panel), it felt like her jokes were going for low hanging fruit. The reason that Kennedy Davenport won last year wasn’t that she played Little Richard; it’s because she took real risks with her performance that paid off.
Kim Chi surprised me with Kimmy Jong Un, a femme take on the North Korean leader. What I found startling was that she took this cartoonish concept for the character and made it work by pushing it to the extreme. It also helped that she had some genuinely witty answers to Ru’s questions.
Acid Betty chose to play Nancy Grace and it was a huge disappointment. Everything about the performance was off, and Betty was unable to channel Grace’s very specific sense of fury. If Carson Kressley can throw down a passable imitation in two sentences, then you’ve failed.
Speaking of failure, Robbie Turner’s take on fashion icon Diana Vreeland was horrid. Yes, the look was way off, but more damagingly she failed to bring any sense of Vreeland’s legendary wit to the game. Even taking a glance at some of her more outrageous quotes or looking at her iconic autobiography D.V. will tell you that she was a personality, and Robbie failed to deliver on that. Additionally, I am so sick of her excuses (this time to a sore throat), and thankfully it appears the judges are too.
Poor Naomi. I felt bad for her because she came prepared to do Whoopi Goldberg as Celie in The Color Purple and she could have pulled it off, had Bob not fucked with her head by busting out her Whoopi in Sister Act. In desperation, she pulled out Tiffani “New York” Pollard and her weak performance landed her in the bottom. One wonders what would have happened had she stuck to her guns and did what she was prepared to do, instead of a last-minute change.
Chi Chi took a risk by playing Eartha Kitt who, after years of playing Catwoman in Batman, has taken to cat-like mannerisms. Just typing it out, it shouldn’t work but by god it does, and it’s a testament to Chi Chi’s strengths as a performer that she’s able to sell this concept hilariously. And I have to give her some credit in that she can paint herself into La Kitt circa 1980. The only thing that blocked her from the top three in my book was that the voice wasn’t completely right.
But I would have happily put Chi Chi in the top three over Derrick, who stuck with what she knows best – Britney Spears. And I. Could. Not. It wasn’t a bad performance; the look was on, the mannerisms were okay. But I would have been intrigued by her first choice; Cooter County’s beloved beautician Shocantelle Brown (created and performed by Broadway diva Laura Bell Bundy, and is considered Ground Zero for “Okurrrr”). That said, as I was watching Derrick, two thoughts came to my mind. And for this, we need visual aids…
1) If you’re going to do someone that you’re best known for, it helps to show that you can do other things with your drag than rehashing the celebrity you’re known for impersonating. When Chad Michaels finally gave us Cher in Season 4’s Snatch Game, it came after she had shown us that she can do so much more with her drag than what she’s best known for. And when she finally did break out her Cher (which was only for Snatch Game), she won not only for the resemblance but for delivering on the character and the humor as well. To this day I know plenty of people (read: me) who still cry out “I spread La Mer on my toast in the morning! I’m Cher, bitch!” Which brings me to my next point…
2) Regardless of whom you are going to play on Snatch Game, you have to make them funny! While I can understand her reticence of not wanting to make fun of Miss Spears (since she is Derrick’s bread and butter), her hesitancy is what tripped her up. And plus, no matter how much she looks like her, Derrick’s Britney fails in comparison to Tatiana’s portrayal of her in the first Snatch Game (which, lest we all forget, she won!). What makes Tatiana’s performance so spellbinding (and so deserving of the win) was that she zeroed in on the essence of Brittany (in this case, a sweet cluelessness) that allowed her to deliver some pretty hilarious responses in character. And that’s what I was missing in Derrick’s performance. It’s the difference of playing the character and being the character.
Pay attention to that video as we will need to refer to it when we talk about…
Bob, who won Snatch Game, and I’m torn about the win to be honest. I’m not denying her talent; she delivered on channeling Uzo Aduba as her character Crazy Eyes in Orange Is The New Black,…
…and then she shocked everyone by switching characters midway in the game to portray Broadway legend Carol Channing. And while it was good, it wasn’t as transcendent as Pandora Boxx’s iconic spin on her. Bob won for talent and audaciousness but it was a case of two good performances instead of one great one.
(Side Note 1: That corn joke is as old as… Well, I’m not going to say as old as Ms. Channing but it’s been around for a long time.)
(Side Note 2: If you have problems with an African American person portraying Ms. Channing, I suggest you look up your history…)
So who won Snatch Game?
CHARO!!!! (The real one, thank you!)
Comes the dawn and everyone gathers on the runway for the theme “Night of 100 Madonnas.”
Which caused Michelle and I to have the same reaction: “What took you so long, Ru?”
Love her or hate her, Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone Penn Richie is the very definition of “iconic.” And a lot of that has to do with her looks. What has made Madonna so powerful (aside from courting the gays to appropriating gay culture wholesale) is that the medium was her message; being surrounded by the arts scene in the early 1980s allowed her to incorporate a performance art sensibility into her music videos.
As such she managed to create some of the most iconic visual moment of the tale end of the 20th Century.
So what did our girls pick?
Wait, I hear the Shade Tree trying to say something…
This has to be one of the most disappointing runways I’ve seen on the show. Of the four (FOUR!) kimonos on stage, I give props to Thorgy and Kim for accuracy with their dead-on looks from “Nothing Really Matters” and “Paradise (But Not For Me)”, but I’m actually surprised at Derrick for not doing Boy Toy era Madge (or even Britney’s famous recreation of the MTV Video Music Awards’ “Like A Virgin” wedding dress). As for the rest, Betty looked gorgeous recreating the scene in “Bedtime Story” when the doves fly out of her dress. Chi Chi was going for Blonde Ambition Tour realness with her take on the famous Jean Paul Gaultier cone bra, but looked more like her backup dancer. Robbie nailed everything in her recreation of the A League of Their Own costume, except for the hair (too big and not the right shape). And Bob looked cute in a slightly sluttier take on Madge’s Boy Scout look at the 2013 GLAAD Media Awards.
So Bob won…
…and while Robbie deserved to be lip syncing for her life, it ended up being Betty and Naomi. And rather than doing the obvious choice that Ru hinted at in the beginning of the episode (“Vogue”) they have to work it out to “Causing A Commotion” from the Who’s That Girl soundtrack. And Betty tries, but her costume is doing her no favors. Unfortunately Naomi will not be denied and gets to stay.
And it’s a sad thing to see Betty leave. Yes, she was a bit of a bitch, but she brought some of the most jaw-dropping looks to the show and she was at least an entertaining bitch (which can’t be said about Robbie or Derrick).
* I loved hearing that Naomi is not only adopted, but that she comes from a big ass family.
* I would pay good money to see Thorgy and her forty-piece Thorestra.
* It’s a damn shame that Brett Sommers, the grande dame of Match Game is no longer with us, because she would be a fun guest on this show and would have kept the girls on their toes.
* That being said, now that his health is back, I wonder if someone could make a trunk call to the U.K. and get Paul O’Grady to do Snatch Game. Better yet, maybe Mr. O’Grady could find that convent and rescue poor Lily Savage. Come back Lily! The World needs you!
* Ru’s outfits this episode are killer this episode. I loved the rainbow Missoni-inspired print, and I gagged over that dress this episode.
* It seems there’s going to be a Bob / Derrick showdown, and I can’t wait! If it means Derrick stops with the Britney lyric quotes, then I’m happy.
* Speaking of Bob, if you want to see her “Crazy” Eyes…
* Can we make the #CritterCouture challenge a thing? Maybe by using old Beanie Babies animals for the pelts?
Finally it’s time for…
You know the drill: 4 points for the win, 3 for second place (which was clearly Thorgy), 2 for third place, 1 for being safe, 0 for bottom three, -1 for “Shante! You Stay!” and -2 for “Sashay Away!”
NEXT TIME: It’s the makeover challenge, with some little complications. And it’s time, once again, to break out your library cards….
Photo & Video Credits: Logo TV / World Of Wonder, Chad Sell