RPDR S4,E1: RuPocalypse Now!-Top and Bottom

The Queen’s good friend (whom for the purposes of our discussions, I shall refer to by his former Drag Name, Bianca) and I did something we haven’t done in decades: talked on the telephone until the wee hours of the morning. We kee kee’d about RuPaul’s Drag Race till we ran out of biting, bitchy things to say. It was wonderful.

Throughout our four-hour-plus conversation (I will get NO WORK done today), a running theme emerged. To use Bianca’s own words:

“I can create from nothing. That is what a good Drag(Queen)does. Create your world and make that fierce–and by doing so, inspire others to create from nothing. How powerful the world would be if more people created than tried to steal or cheat…”

She’s such a fierce, cerebral bitch.

Or, as he broke it down later, a Drag Queen’s job is to: Be somebody. Be about something. Then Prance. So that’s how I’m evaluating the show in general, and the contestants in particular. Who emerges as a “somebody” who was about “something”, and who knows how to prance?

Before we get started, I have to say something about Shangela Laquifa Wadley.

Either D.J. has some serious dirt on RuPaul Charles, or boyfriend gives the best fellatio in Hollywood. That bitch was featured in almost as many segments as the Supermodel himself–INCLUDING the Absolut commercial! Don’t get me wrong, Ms. Wadley is talented. But I think the producers highly over-estimate the child’s audience appeal. She doesn’t have the love/hate factor of a Raven; or the America’s Sweetheart quotient of a Manila. But honey, if she can continue to capitalize on this fifteen minutes and strengthen her Brand, then–say it with me–HALLEIGH-LOO!

Okay. Now.

The Queen loves that even in Season 4, the show is staying true to it’s over the top, campy aesthetic. The production values and choice of challenges and segments remains true to their Drag core. I thought the schtick with Shangela was cute, and the Romero-esque style in which they shot the main challenge free-for-all was pretty inspired. I just hope they don’t go crazy with that stuff. Like Project Runway, I think RPDR works better if you stick close to the original game purpose and objectives. Give us the kinds of challenges dolls in Drag would actually face and let us watch the creativity and sparks that fly. But I had fun with it.

I’ll get into my take on all these divas in later posts this week, but first let’s say ConDragulations to Sharon Needles for her Runway Win. No surprise to me here. She has introduced herself as a somebody, who has something to say and knows how to Prance. Not only was she clearly getting the winner’s edit; but I feel she absolutely deserved it. She pulled off a most delicious hybrid of macabre and couture–and she managed to make the most of every second of her screen time. Her patter during the zombie challenge was inspired. Bianca–who was not a fan–was blown away by the attention to detail in her runway drag. She wants to see if Ms. Needles can do standard drag as brilliantly. If she can, she may just be the first of the “specialty queens” to take the win.

And it’s “Sashay Away” to Miss Alisa Summers. Sweet girl, but she apparently graduated from the Carmen Carrera School of Drag. I really don’t get these queens who think that becoming an entertainer on the level of RuPaul is simply about body and looking good. I have to believe that during the LSFYL, she honestly thought that playing with her fake titties and slowly strutting around the stage would give her the win. I’d rather see a little chunky queen working it for all it’s worth, than simply a pretty man in makeup ANY day.

So what do y’all think? Who peaked your curiosity? Who are you already tired of? Will you continue to watch this season? What about “Untucked”? Inquiring Queens want to know.

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9 thoughts on “RPDR S4,E1: RuPocalypse Now!-Top and Bottom

  1. When Sharon Needles walked out, a little “yesss!” slipped out of my mouth. She looked amazing and was the overtly obvious winner…no one else came close.

    Shangela popping out of that box made me cringe. I don’t think I could take another season of her shtick. I was relieved when they hauled her off again. Funny, she was just on an episode of “Toddlers and Tiaras” (coaching her friend’s kid). Girl gets around, that’s for sure.

    Off to check out “Untucked”…

    • I did think Lashauwn Beyond’s outfit was pretty fierce, but he’s a young doll still trying to find himself. I’m not sure what game he’s playing yet. The shy young thing on the runway disappeared rather quickly when he got into the Interior Illusions Lounge. We’ll talk after you’ve watched “Untucked,”

      i don’t get the phenomenon of Shangela. In some ways I’m reminded of Madonna: a moderately talented entertainer, who is a genius when it comes to marketing. D.J. has been able to turn a simple catchphrase into bookings. I’m very respectful of that. I just hope we’re through with seeing him on Drag Race.

      • I found his behavior in the lounge to be really off-putting. Same with Phi Phi. I know they’re expected to create drama in there, but there’s a way to do it tactfully so it’s entertaining…then there’s the annoying shrieking and carrying on with no purpose.

        Is this how it came off to you, Scotty?

        I do kinda love Latrice Royal, after this episode (her pic should have won the first challenge). I also like Chad Michael’s personality, and his willingness to help the others…although the level of facial plastic surgery he’s likely endured just makes me sad.

      • One thing I’m always aware of–especially when watching Untucked–is that they are plugging these guys with alcohol. You take a 21 year old drag princess, and ply him with unlimited cocktails–you’re bound to get some pretty questionable behavior. I think Lashauwn is a smart kid who made some great points in a really dysfunctional way. Unfortunately, Untucked reminds me of the behavior I witnessed while hanging out with Bianca at the Drag Balls in the eighties. Didn’t like it then, don’t like it now.

        The older queens are making me proud so far. I was pleasantly surprised–and I dare say, charmed–by Chad Michaels. Latrice reminds me of so many of the Grande Dames that I grew up with in DC. I’m loving her. And I agree: his was by FAR the best photo, imho.

  2. I agree with Bianca (and one of the judges, I think) who said it will be interesting to see if and how Sharon does more standard “girl” drag. Not that I want to see anything standard from her, mind you, but at some point it can become more about playing monsters, and the female part becomes incidental and maybe something different than drag. But I love her and, yes, she was far and away the winner of this challenge, the only one who really embraced it completely. And she’s a FABULOUS prancer and gives great face, and she’s got me waiting to see what line she’ll come up with next: “Oh, I stopped going to the free clinic. It just got so expensive!” Give her an opening like Ru did, and clearly she’ll run with it.

    For a challenge that started with zombie ex-drag race queens and Elvira as a judge, it was surprising how many contestants held back on really putting the macabre in their costumes. Like the phoenix or that sailor suit! Was it Ruiz who said who said, “Oh, I could see it. It reminds me of ‘Water World.'” Well, yeah, KNOWING that the challenge was about the post-apocalypse might help you make that connection, if you really, really want to make it, but that sure isn’t asking much of the costume!

    • Needles is the real deal. She’s a performer with impeccable comic timing and the ability to stay in the moment and work improvisationally. I think it will ultimately come down to whether she wants to stay true to her aesthetic, or win. Because at some point in the competition she is definitely going to have to face that choice.

      So many of the other queens are more interested in staying pretty than getting creative. Bianca and I laughed all night about Kenya Michaels. I posited that the language barrier may have prevented her from fully understanding the concept of an apocalypse. Bianca said, “Kenya understood the challenge perfectly. She just decided: ‘I got body, I got face…FUCK APOCALYPSE!'” LOL

      As far as The Princess and Water World? The movie bombed and so did the outfit.

  3. First, I LOVE Sharon Needles!! I really hope she has the goods to go far because I would love to see someone other than a “glamour” girl win again. Maybe it’s just me but I saw a lot of “boys in dresses” vs. drag queens last night. And who am I sick of (other than Shangela)? Phi Phi. Girl if you’re gonna run your mouth like that you’d best bring it!!!

    • “And who am I sick of (other than Shangela)? Phi Phi.

      I can take all the attitude and shade in the world if you have the goods to back it up (Raven, for example). But when you whine, bitch and then send a “Beyond Thunderdome” knock-off down the runway and think you’re special? I’m through with you.

      Oooh, my claws are coming out already aren’t they?

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