RPDR S4, E7: Dragazines-Top & Bottom

Not to toot the Queen’s own horn (okay, specifically to toot the Queen’s own horn), but I realized something after watching this week’s episodes: except for the Drag part, I would tear up Drag Race. Unlike most of the dolls, I understand EXACTLY what is required in each of the challenges. If Bianca was still doing Drag, he would kill it. He and I talked into the wee hours of the morning about whether the show has peaked, or if it just started out on such a high, that it would be almost impossible to keep up the same expectations from week to week. Your thoughts?

Nevertheless it was an enjoyable episode with enough laughs and tears for even the most jaded viewers.

It started out with many people’s favorite mini-challenge: throwing shade. This is an art form that I have a really big problem with. It’s very much like the phenomenon in the black community called “Playing the Dozens.” Putting down someone in a clever way is still putting someone down. Bianca, however, insists that there are positive aspects to the ritual. He believes that for the giver, it promotes quick thinking and observational skills; for the receiver, it fosters a thicker skin and ability to bounce back from negative comments.

The Queen has to admit that he laughed out loud at a few of the jibes. But still maintains that we are, in some ways, glorifying abuse. And if we are going to do that, AT LEAST have the decency to give the win to Sharon Needles. She was MUCH funnier than Latrice.

So Latrice wins, and we are introduced to the Main Challenge: create your own magazine. The queens had a tough time with this one. The reasons why are debated by myself and Bianca and we part company on our hypothesis. Bianca thinks that the contestants, knowing that certain challenges are basically inevitable, should have prepared in advance for Snatch Game, some kind of video production and a “literary” challenge. I tend to believe that most of the lady boys DO try to prepare. The problem is that most of them don’t have a clue as to how to do it. Such was the case with this episode. Not knowing layout or design–and most especially how to be witty or tongue-in-cheek, most of the magazines fell flat. The prime example being Jiggly.Here’s one of the places where this self appointed Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent Coach could help. A good coach or director is good at posing questions that lead a person to discover information for themselves. As much as Ru tried to help, all he really said was “be funny.” But Jiggly doesn’t SEE himself as funny, so the suggestion was pretty much meaningless to him. It wasn’t until he hit the Main Stage and had his moment with RuPaul that he was able equate his natural sense of humor to the challenge. I think a lot of the dolls were like that. They just don’t get the concepts of Parody and/or Satire when it comes to these types of contests. Of course Jiggly wasn’t helped by being sabotaged by someone she trusted. I swear, I think she’s the worst of any queen, any season. Agree? Disagree?
More of the individual issues (get it…issues…magazines…GET IT?!) when we trash discuss the dolls in the next post. But for now…

It’s Condragulations to Phi Phi O’Hara

But before we get to her (and to give me a moment to suppress my own bile), the Queen thought that Pam Tillis and Regina King were SUPERB judges! Both their insight and their humor was such a welcome addition to the panel. One of my favorite lines of the night (which I think all of these queens should have tattooed on their chests) was Pam’s astute comment, “I never equate fabulous Drag Queens and ‘cute.’ I wanna be devastated.”

What pains me most about Miss O’Hara’s win, is that I can’t disagree with it. She looked great last night. And overall–in the light of the rest of the mediocre fare–had one of the better magazines. She needs to buy Kenya Michaels a BIG bouquet of roses for the makeup tips. I think that the only other person the win possibly could have gone to was Sharon. However that would give an extreme advantage to Ms. Needles which I think the Producers want to avoid. Unfortunately it’s going to make Phi Phi ubearable–which, of course, makes for good trash TV.

And it’s Sashay Away to Miss Jiggly Caliente.

The Queen agrees with Bianca that it was time for her to go. However we also agree that there is a lot of talent there. With a few more years of maturation and coaching, she will really be a force with which to be reckoned. In the end, she actually went out as a dignified thirty year-old. I wish her the absolute best.

As always, what do you Miss Things think?

The Queen will be watching Fashion Star this evening. Let’s muse about it tomorrow.

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13 thoughts on “RPDR S4, E7: Dragazines-Top & Bottom

  1. Well, they usually give a win to the girl going home next week, let’s hope that’s Phi Phi. Sharon’s magazine was much better, and she played Little Edie! Phi Phi still looked like a Miami hooker who married well and thinks she’s classy now.

    I have never disliked a queen so much. Shady bitch really did send Jiggly home, but then HOW DUMB was Jiggly not to make the connection when they were talking about it later? Phi better thank Willam for not busting her right then and there. Hopefully Ms. O’Hara has enough rope to hang herself with now.

    I expected a higher level of shade. Phi Phi was just mean. I’m OK with Latrice’s win, it’s not like anyone’s going to top Jujubee’s “was your BBQ cancelled? because your grill is fucked up.”

    Why is Santino still a judge? The man looks like he sleeps in a refrigerator box under an overpass, and he’s going to tell Latrice she looks like a sofa? Bitch, please.

    Willam’s LSFYL was underwhelming. We learned some thing though–always wear panties, because you never know.

    • hellkell said…
      “We learned some thing though–always wear panties, because you never know.”

      ROTFLMFBQAO!!!

      You would think that her Drag Mother would have told her that, wouldn’t you? 😀

    • “looked like a Miami hooker who married well and thinks she’s classy now.”

      Nailed. it.

      I ‘know’ a few women who were fairly mainstream American college students once, and fell back into the clutches of their Mamas and Tias and iron-hand-in-the-velvet-glove Abuelas, married the sons of someone in their parents’ social circles and now, in their 40s, have that look – but just for evening wear. It boggles my mind how that happens.

    • I hate to say it, but I think Santino was right. Latrice’s dress *did* look like a sofa and the fabric was too heavy for her size to be flattering — that material would only look good on someone really thin to give her the “curves” she lacked. I love Latrice for who she is as a person, but her look tonight wasn’t up to par, IMO.

  2. FBQ Magazine is way better than anything we saw last night! I have no doubt that you could tear up most of these challenges.

    Much to discuss here:

    You asked if the show has peaked, and I really hope it hasn’t. Could it be that this season has a particularly weak field of contestants (with the exception of the top 3 or 4 queens, who are quite strong)? Is Ru trying to give inexperienced queens a chance? I think he’s always done that, so that can’t be it. Still, though some things have gone badly overall (last night’s challenges, Snatch Game) I think it has been a pretty great season so far. The top few queens really make it all worth it. And Dida has tons of potential, so I’ve enjoyed seeing her. Hell, even Jiggly, bless her heart, if she could spend a couple of years under a great coach/drag mother, as you suggest, could become a fierce queen. It was Jiggly’s time to go, but Phi Phi is really the only one that I can’t stomach.

    As for why they don’t seem to prepare better for the challenges they know are coming, the only possible answer is the one you gave. Most of them just don’t know how to prepare. Still, the “readings” this time were particularly weak and only a couple of them made me laugh (Sharon & Latrice). They knew this was coming and they’ve had plenty of time to get to know each other and come up with biting, bitchy, funny lines about each other.

    I understand your discomfort with reading/playing the dozens. I hate most of what passes for comedy these days (especially stand up) , as so much of it is based on insults or tearing someone down. Paradoxically, I often like reading/playing the dozens. When it’s done right, and under the right circumstances, it’s somehow different from mere insult humor. When done amongst a bunch of people who know and care about each other, it can indeed be hilarious without being hurtful. The key is reading someone for the filth they and everybody else present already knows is true about themselves, doing it in a witty, biting but not hurtful way, and knowing how far is too far. Case in point: The nastiest bitch in the bunch, Phi Phi, couldn’t read worth shit. What he said wasn’t funny, and a big part of the reason was because everybody knew he really wished he could tear the other queens down. On the other hand, the queens who were best at reading the others are actually warmer, more caring people.

    As Ru says, charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent are necessary to be a great drag queen. So are wit, intelligence and a keen cultural awareness. The queens who don’t make it far in this competition seem to lack one or more of these qualities. You’re right, Scotty, some of them just don’t seem to understand parody or satire. What’s a bit mystifying is that Ru has said that “This isn’t RuPaul’s School for Girls,” yet many of the queens selected for the show seem to be in need of an awful lot of schooling, coaching and mentoring.

  3. So I actually stayed up for logo to post this week’s episode online. Although, I kind of agree that the show is leveling out and becoming a little less exciting, I still look forward to it. This episode I was really surprised Ru mentioned “Paris is Burning” since you talked about it in your last post. Since then, I had watched the movie on Netflix and I got to see where all those drag terms the girls used come from. (Octavia Saint Laurent was so beautiful. I wonder if Ru ever met her.)

    Back to the show. What I noticed this episode was that Willam totally got clowned. By the girls and the judges… haha. I didn’t like Willam at first but then came to really enjoy him but he fell a little flat this ep. It was really funny when they called his facial expressions “robotic” and with the editing, I lol’d. The thing about his 5’o’clock shadow was funny too. In the untucked episode, I think Sharon told her to stop using that $70 make-up for women, which does nothing for her, and start using the drag-pancake-paint that everyone else uses. Miss brandname needs to pull it together. Even Phi-Phi tries to “help” Willam but I think she is not one to give make-up tips. I really dislike Phi Phi’s dark lipstick liner I see EVERY time. Also, on Phi, she looked a MESS during the photoshoot. Her hair looked soooooo Party City. She should be glad they tweaked those photos (I think in the untucked, Jiggly says her photos are mad air-brushed haha).

    Overall, I like this season but I still wish there was a pretty one that is a contender. I want someone like Manilla, Raja, or even Raven. I guess Kenya was the fishy one this season but she wasn’t really a contender. But I must say that Ru looks glowing in this ep. I loved her hair and eye make-up. I always wonder if she still does her own paint or if she has a team of artists and doesn’t lift a finger. Either way, that hair, that dress, that paint…fierce!

  4. I said this over at TLo’s pad, but I honestly don’t remember any of the previous seasons being that MUCH funnier in terms of reading than this one. In fact, this has been my favorite version so far. More of the queens seemed to get in one or two moderately funny lines and everyone but PhiPhi seemed to have fun with it. I mean, I remember Jujubee being terrific, of course, but I remember being disappointed with everyone else in S2 and disappointed with the whole crew in S3 because they just made it so mean.

    I think that at its best the ritual is teasing with love, which I can get behind.

    But yes, Phi Phi finally looking as sickening on the outside as she is busted on the inside. Congratulations, bitch. I can’t wait for next week’s episode–guess your recaps will have to tide me over until then!

  5. Last nights episode was lack lustre, but mainly because the challenge was poor.
    In the outstakes, where the dolls had to answer a readers letter in front of the camera should have factored into the judging as it separated the talent – and made the challenge so much more interesting. Chad and Sharon knocked it out of the park while Latrice just did her head roll, and Jiggly was a mess. If they had Sharon would have another win – easily.

    In untucked I am so surprised no one called out Phi Phi on her sabatoge on Jiggly. Are they afraid of her? It would have been good for them all to point out what a bitch she is to their face – perhaps they are all too classy for that.

    • Did anyone besides Willam know what Phi did? I think if Latrice had known, she would have been all over Phi for that bullshit. I can’t imagine Latrice or Sharon being afraid of her. Chad might be too classy to bring it up though.

      At the same time, I can’t believe Jiggly would listen to Phi-Phi, of all people. Did she forget how Phi tore into her in the first episode? Does she not know the difference between sincerity and nastiness? Because every other queen in that room was behind Jiggly.

      I do hope Jiggly gets some help, through counseling and by finding a drag family. She’s high maintenance, and I think I’d have been as irritated by her as Dida so visibly was. But I never stopped liking her. (Loved her in the beginning) I think she has a big old heart. She just has some issues she has to work out. I truly wish her the best.

  6. This episode made me EXTREMELY uncomfortable. Jiggly is still in the process of recovering from an eating disorder, and as desperate as she was, the other queens/ Rupaul are not actually her therapists, and weren’t able to offer her any substantial help in dealing with that. Instead, we get some commentary about scrutinizing her eating habits. (WTF was up with that, RPDR? Crass. Totally crass.) I’m not surprised she looked so worn out at the end of the show- there was a full blown WAR raging inside her head! (Speaking from experience: There are 8 voices inside her head at this moment. One of them is saying “You need to be confident! Fierce! Fuck the haters! Werk it!” and the other seven are yelling “I HATE YOU.”)

    I really wish that Jiggly could have turned this magazine into a witty, subversive, love-your-body, Health at Every Size platform, but she’s simply not in the place to do that.

    I feel as sorry for Jiggly as I can possibly feel for a 30-year-old who hasn’t begun to process any of the trauma she’s faced. In the Untucked, Dida was right on- Jiggly needs to march herself to a counselor’s office, these tapes in hand, and start talking through this shit RIGHT NOW. She’s emotionally stunted, and nobody’s going to wait for her to catch up.

  7. Okay….Phi Phi’s been the Shade Queen of the season. Trusting Phi Phi for good advice is like trusting a little yappy poodle to guard the hen house against bears instead of oh…A guy with a shotgun?

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