RPDR S4,E4: Queens behind Bars-Untucking In Tuckahoe

So once again the Safe Girls find themselves in a place with an unlimited supply of liquor, hot lights, and nothing to do but gossip about each other. Sounds like my living room on a Friday night.

Let’s trash them discuss what happened.

Jailhouse Blues

So all the queens congratulate Ms. Latrice, and the first person to point out how much the judges and the other contestants appreciated her work was Willam. I wish all of the Willam haters would take a moment to see exchanges like that (“You was Bernie Mack in a dress–you was just fine”). He is often one of the first with an encouraging word for the other queens…at least the ones who deserve it.
And Latrice feels slightly vindicated after the 18 months she spent in prison. The Queen used to work with inmates at the now defunct Lorton Reformatory in Lorton, Virginia. Once a month I would spend 8 hours with the residents in the Medium Security section of the facility. The men were phenomenal. Being in jail was hell. It was hard enough for me to be locked up for one day. I can’t imagine what kind of strength it took to survive for a year and a half. The lady boys also talk about the difference between Latrice’s drag and Madame LaQueer’s–something Bianca has mentioned as well. Bianca pointed out to me that even though Latrice is a big girl, she still pads and cinches to give herself a more feminine shape.. That seems to go along with a mindset that Latrice has mentioned a few times. She is quite aware that they are all really men dressing up as women. Unlike, say, Carmen Carrera or Phi Phi who seem to conveniently forget that they have a penis. I don’t care how much you tuck or serve “realness”. the Wankie is still there. I love that Latrice sees Drag as an Art, and not as a way of working through (or NOT working through) whatever issues you have with being a male.

Sitcom Realness

So Jiggly is relieved that the team won. She was extremely worried that her performance put her at risk. Actually, she has a natural talent for comedy, and an ease with the camera that was quite engaging and appropriate. This brings up a point that bothered me about the taping of the sitcom in general, and Max Mutchnick in particular. I don’t know if RuPaul asked him to play the role of Bad Director, or if that particular job is not a strong suit of his. A good director, however, doesn’t tell you how to read a line–as he did with a few of the queens. A good director knows what to say to help an actor find the interpretation and the inflections that he would like them to have. While I was extremely disappointed with the way Willam and Sharon Needles responded to Mutchnick on the set (which I’ll get to in my next post), I was also put off by the way he managed the shoot. Kenya Michaels was an unintentional hoot–with Bianca pointing out that she wore more makeup to play a butch woman, than she does on the runway as a femme queen. Her inability to take the director’s notes further illuminates two things: she is in her own world, and the language barrier is the Big, Gay Spanish Pink Elephant in the room. There is only so much nodding and pretending you understand that you can do before it bites you in your pretty little girly ass.

Shameless Outlet Store Plug

So the Phi Phi/Sharon feud comes to a head, and a new catch-phrase is born. The Queen thinks there is enough blame to go around for this particular interaction. However, the thing about Phi Phi that eludes me is her inability to either see and/or accept that Sharon is much more than a one-dimensional performer (“Go back and do your only one look that you got!”) who is running circles around her. IMHO, that description fits Phi Phi MUCH more completely than Ms. Needles. Is it jealousy or stupidity? Sharon’s runway look: “Don’t come for me when you’re going to wear a glittered plastic Elvis wig onstage!” Did I miss something? DID THE BITCH NOT WIN THE CHALLENGE WITH THAT GLITTERED PLASTIC WIG??!! Granted, Phi Phi didn’t know that at the time, but I doubt seriously that it would have made a difference.
I swear that Latrice and I both said “You don’t play bitch–you just are one.” at the same time. The Queen loved Ms. Royale’s definition. And in most cases, when it comes to actual women, I think it is absolutely appropriate. This country still doesn’t know what to do with strong, independent women(see government panel on Contraception). However in terms of Ms. O’Hara, I think I have a better acronym:

What a jam-packed 21 minutes! From catch-phrases, to coming-out stories, to tucking. Honestly, this after-show is becoming as much fun as the race itself.

What about y’all? What did you think about the episode?

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2 thoughts on “RPDR S4,E4: Queens behind Bars-Untucking In Tuckahoe

  1. LMAO!!! Your acronym for Phi Phi was just so appropriate. I believe she has a raging case of the jealousies with regard to Sharon and her multiple talents. So ready for Phi Phi and Jiggly to go home!!

  2. PERFECT bitch acronym for Phi-Phi! I agree that there was more than enough blame to go around in the Phi-Phi/Sharon blowup. I think Sharon felt genuinely bad and wanted to patch things up, but made the classic bad and clumsy apology that quickly became more about justification than acknowledging wounded feelings. Sharon is like a lot of young people who think all disputes can be solved by just everybody being totally honest and putting it all out there, undervaluing a bit of diplomacy. Like Viola said in that clip from your previous post, her self esteem often took hits from good-intentioned people “merely” trying to “keep it real.” Of course, Phi-Phi being Phi-Phi, she overreacted epically, and so it was off to the races. But unlike Sharon, you don’t get the sense that Phi-Phi has basically decent impulses, or that she cares a bit about hurting anyone, and just parrots the oh-so-mature “You come after me, I’m coming after you.”

    And Sharon was a surprisingly unprofessional pill during the sitcom taping (and Mutchnik was just an ass). But I was impressed with her comments on the runway. You could tell that she had been processing how it had gone. She knew that her scrappy brand of DIY-ness had gotten her far (and I think she said that she had dropped out of school, so it’s probably been a long time since she’s had to listen to anybody), but if she was going to move forward, she’d have to be willing to take direction. It was a nice little insightful bit of self-assessment there, and I always get a little thrill when I see a young person engaging in it, because God knows, many people never manage it (*cough* the ex *cough*). Certainly not the Phi-type bitches! (Hey, we can use the Greek alphabet and come up with a compendium of bitch acronyms: the alpha-type bitch, beta-type bitch…If the Icelanders have over 100 words for snow, we ought to be able to do better with the word bitch!).

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