RPDR S4,E10-DILF’s Top & Bottom

Okay.

Where do they find these dudes?

Do they cruise Target, and follow guys with kids in tow who surreptitiously steal glances down the Maybelline aisle, and stare longingly at the Jason Wu Women’s Collection?

So we learned two things:

1. Even the most screwed up person can benefit from positive interactions with a caring human being.
2. The Queen is right about everything that is RuPaul’s Drag Race.

The Queen and Bianca are of separate minds about the “straight guys meet gay guys” type of episode. While we both find the concept innovative on some level, we disagree about the best way to deliver it.

So we start with the queens protesting the idea of one of the sashayed dolls returning to the Race–a convention that has yet to pay off in any way other than to provide filler for an extra episode. Most of the eliminated lady boys absolutely deserved to go. What has changed about them in the interim that makes them any more viable for the win? And no surprise in who Michelle brings back:

Miss Kenya Michaels–complete with her head wiggles and a Spanish to English Dictionary in her purse. The Queen smelled Carmen Carrera immediately. and knew where this was headed.

What an ADORABLE bear! The stuffed animals are cute too.

Other than the fact that the creations would be auctioned off for the Matthew Shepard Foundation, I found no redeeming social value in in the Build a Gay Bear mini challenge. Again, the Queen figured out two things: 1. That Kenya Michaels would win–no matter what the other toys looked like–so that Little Miss M would get something; and therefore: 2. Girlfriend was going straight back to the sequestered hotel–do not pass Go.



So then we meet the Daddies.

Here’s where Bianca and I part company: the premise of this type of episode seems to be straight guys who don’t necessarily “get” some aspect of drag and/or homosexuality discovering the commonalities which bind us, and the queens have similar revelations. Bianca thought that this group of guys was able to go deeper and provide a much more complex portrait of a straight male. The Queen agrees, however I feel that it’s a lot to take on in 40 minutes. I mean, these guys know what they’re in for. It’s not like the producers pulled some Fundamentalist Christian Truck Drivers off of the street–they have to be progressive in SOME way to agree to be a part of a show like this. So it makes sense that there wouldn’t be an out and out revulsion for the lady boys and their lifestyle. In that sense, the fathers provided nuance and complexity to a topic which deserves it. But I also think that it provides too many opportunities for the audience to get lost in the discussion. There’s something effective about a group of frat boys in which the main conflict becomes how to walk in heels; stop playing with their fake boobs and act more feminine. ESPECIALLY when you see them in Untucked all dragged out, yet acting like they are in t-shirts and sweats cheering for their drag partner as if they’re watching a Steelers game. That is always an endearing sight.

All that said: the fathers were stupendous. For me the best part of the episode was watching them bond. And it gave Phi Phi that much needed boost of humanity. If the Queen had only tuned in for this episode, and not seen Miss O’Hara’s previous antics, I would really like her. Unfortunately, that’s not the case and her vulnerability last night could not completely erase the taste of bitch from my mouth. That said, she turned it OUT. From the makeup, to the routine they performed she Turned. It. Out.

So it’s Condragulations to Phi Phi and Gi Gi O’Hara.

Bianca and I had to keep reminding ourselves which Dad Phi Phi had. The resemblance was uncanny. Between the drag and the chemistry that they had together, it was clear which team would come out on top. I wanted to roll my eyes at Phi Phi’s moment on the runway, but I couldn’t. It was poignant and palpable. It explained a lot of her attitude. It doesn’t forgive it, but it really does help you understand where all the bitterness comes from. Like every one else, Phi Phi just wants to be loved by her dad. I’m very glad that she got a little of that from Chris.

And it’s Sashay Away (again) to Kenya Michaels

And once again, the Queen was right. This show in it’s current version is really Americanized. You just HAVE to have a working understanding of U.S. Pop Culture. Girlfriend had no CLUE what the song she was Dance Syncing to was all about. Plus Latrice’s rendition was inspired. She brought it. We’ll talk more about that in the next post. Kenya definitely has Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent. Now she’s just gotta learn to translate it from Spanish to English.

It’s exhausting to always be right. You Miss Things be right for a while. What did ya’ think?

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16 thoughts on “RPDR S4,E10-DILF’s Top & Bottom

  1. Dunno if I can add much to what you said, because you are absolutely right about the entire episode. I will say, though, that I much preferred last season’s straight-guy makeover; this one was just too gimmicky. Was it really necessary to make them look pregnant on top of putting them in drag? It didn’t seem to make things any more interesting.

    The part that always makes it a giggle for me is the one thing you didn’t mention–straight guys dealing with the concept of “tucking”. The idea that Wee Willie Winkie needs to be hidden somehow for the illusion to be complete never seems to occur to these boys–and is always the one area where they will put up the most resistance. They’ll throw on makeup and glue on heels with barely a peep, but play “hide the sausage”? Oh hell to the no.
    Best line of the night was when Kenya’s DILF called it “leading the elephant to the watering hole”. I about died.

    Like you, I thought that this episode showed Phi Phi in a more sympathetic light, but she’s still been too obnoxious for me to give her a complete pass. Also, I thought Kenya’s interpretation of the lipsync number was WAY off the mark, although the choice of music really made me wonder exactly when the song to be lipsynced is chosen. I know it’s given to the ladies ahead of time, but how far ahead of time? Seems like both times Latrice has been in the bottom two, the music is always something completely geared to her. (Not that I’m complaining, mind you–I love her dearly and would rather see her around a while longer.) Coincidence?

    • “The part that always makes it a giggle for me is the one thing you didn’t mention–straight guys dealing with the concept of “tucking”.

      I tend to stay away from that…ehem…particular subject. 😉 However I did think it was interesting and telling that Chris had actually both thought about it AND practiced with his wife! For this gay man, the concept still gives me nightmares.

      “…although the choice of music really made me wonder exactly when the song to be lipsynced is chosen. I know it’s given to the ladies ahead of time, but how far ahead of time? Seems like both times Latrice has been in the bottom two, the music is always something completely geared to her.”

      Get out of Bianca’s head. He brought up that very point while we were discussing the episode early this morning (which always makes my Tuesday workday a trip!). The answer to that question would take her performance from really, really good to Phenomenal. If she had time to prepare a lip sync based on the challenge, then that’s just a fierce Old School Diva doing her work. If she was able to incorporate the padding on the spot–then that puts her closer to Sharon’s level of Art.

  2. Everyone wants to be loved and accepted by their parents and it’s a tragedy when they aren’t, for whatever reason. It leaves life long scars, dysfunction, addiction and a trail of bitterness that some people never recover from. Of course we have only heard Phi Phi side of the story so while I am certainly sympathetic I must remind myself that there is always at least 3 sides to every story. Your side, my side, and what actually happened. Then there are all the ways the events can be interpreted so you have to be careful when you might have an unreliable narrator.

    I love when they do these “when two worlds collide” type episodes but Scotty hit on an excellent point. These guys would have never have agreed to come on the show if the weren’t at least comfortable around gay men even if they weren’t fluent in gay culture. It would take a lot longer than 40 minutes for Mel Gibson and Rick Santorum to have found common ground with these guys.

  3. Is it just me, or do you think Kenya being sent back home was producer manipulation? Her DILF was so emotionally dead, he could have made Carmen Carrera look like an emotional queen. I know I’m sometimes overly-skeptical, but I just wonder if the producers told him to act like he didn’t want to be there just to get Kenya sent back home.

    And as a big Sharon fan, I was disappointed this week. I get what she was trying to do with her DILF. she thought, ‘He’s just so masculine that there’s no way he came be feminine,’ so she played up the ‘very-butch-man-in-a-dress’ character for him. However, that was the complete opposite of what RuPaul was looking for. This challenge was about the transformation. And Sharon, being given one of the more butch men, was given potential gold, because the bigger the transformation, the more likely you’re going to win the challenge. Sharon usually gets the concepts of the challenges, but this week it didn’t even seem like she was trying to win.

    I also have a little bias for Chad, whom I thought should have won, but Phi Phi gave the waterworks which pushed her just past Chad. So we now know why Phi Phi’s a bitch: a combination of bullying and daddy issues. But the sob story doesn’t make me sympathize with her; it just makes me think that she needs even more therapy.

    • “So we now know why Phi Phi’s a bitch: a combination of bullying and daddy issues. But the sob story doesn’t make me sympathize with her; it just makes me think that she needs even more therapy.”

      Okay?
      Thank you. This is exactly what I felt, she just really needs therapy and to focus less on telling others where they are “wrong” and more on where PhiPhi can be alright with herself.

      Not everyone finds that place, but girl has some work. Last night’s episode made me happy that there was a hug, and PhiPhi’s dude seemed like a genuinely nice man who’s dad love came out, but PhiPhi has a long road to walk and has a lot to learn.

      Further evidence to this affect was Sharon’s compassion in Untucked. First, Sharon says “maybe when you get back home you can try to make a connection” to PhiPhi about her family, but when PhiPhi said no way (vehemently), Sharon immediately went to “sometimes the cord just needs to be cut”. I was struck, once again, by someone who uses and works with their pain and has learned compassion in their lives and empathy – and a sense of humor. Sharon is a class act and no matter what we’ve seen PhiPhi say or do, she really could learn from her if she’d open up.

      I have to say it’s probably been pretty shocking to PhiPhi because the blogs and tumblrs and facebook comments are lit UP with anti-PhiPhi sentiment. As in vehement, that person is terrible, response to her behavior. Girl needs to listen up and tune in and seek some help.

    • “So we now know why Phi Phi’s a bitch: a combination of bullying and daddy issues. But the sob story doesn’t make me sympathize with her; it just makes me think that she needs even more therapy.”

      Yes! Funny how, rather than making us like Phi Phi more, or become more sympathetic to her, it just makes her look even more un-self-aware. I just never get the feeling she realizes that many other people have suffered similar(ly awful) things in their lives, or that there’s a better way to deal with what she’s experienced than turning her pain around onto others.

  4. Just a quick check-in here before getting back to work. Being an ex-Washingtonian, all I could think of seeing the DILFs in the lounge was the Hogettes! But they were game and endearing (though Sharon’s was pretty off-putting). And I have to say that was one horrendous makeup job that Latrice did on her DILF. But it was really sweet when he got goosebumps over her Aretha (didn’t we all?).

    Oh, and Sharon just linked to you again!

  5. Okay, so just one more thing. THEN I’ll get back to work. Anybody else think that possibly the show is angling to set up a reconciliation scene between Phi-Phi and his father for the finale, and that last week’s scene of Dida and her mom was something of a precursor for that? From a purely selfish perspective, I hope not, because I would see Phi-Phi winning the competition in THAT scenario. But who knows, maybe like Dida’s family, Phi-Phi has underestimated his father a great deal and he’s not really such a monster. Just maybe even Phi-Phi’s own propensity to majorly overreact and get into conflicts has something to do with the rift. (And now I’m getting this image in my head of a 12-year old Phi-Phi: “Dad, you’re embarrassing me in front of my friends. YOU SHOULD NOT BE HERE!!”)

  6. Meifein1, your tone seems very pointed right now. 😉

    God, i hope they’re not setting Phi Phi up for the win. Yeah, I get the daddy issues, but she still needs to deal with it a way other than turning the tears on for gain.

    I really think that Sharon was so thrown by her dad’s behavior that she just said, “fuck it.” I thought this was going to be a another Pandora Boxx situation, as the straight makeover challenge is where she went home. Her dad WAS obnoxious. For him to get up in a Queen’s grill was stupidity at it’s finest, Chad would have swiffered the floor with him.

    Did you all catch the “Oh no!” with eyeroll from Santino when Lil’ Creepy Michaels took her wig off during LFYL? I LOLed so hard I scared a cat.

  7. My cisgender male partner, who lives in his Carhartt’s and worked in a blue collar job for 31 years (and who loves to watch this show with me) said of these men “Ok. We get it. Learning experience. Gay people are wow, actual people. Can we move on to the drag queens and their talent now please? I’m not interested in giving humanitarian awards to a handful of dudes who wanted to be on the drag show who are able to act with basic human compassion”

    It was funny because I was having a total “yay straight guys are discovering gay people & drag queens are deserving of respect kumbayah” moment and my “straight guy” kind of took the wind out of those sails and I have to agree. He expanded on the idea that it’s great to offer a feel good moment to the audience and potentially very important for the queer audience that watches the show but that it’s not deserving of a great deal of applause. He posts that it’s simply humane and appropriate for human beings to try to see each other as acceptable and equal at all times rather than have a camera obsessively focus as the “straight guys” articulate their surprise at the new discovery. What he found interesting was that while there were some feel good moments, for the most part the queens were ready for these guys to go away.

    Latrice of course was a champ and really gracious in the Untucked segment by thanking her “DILF” the way she did and wrapping up the connection. Class act.

    At the end of the day I convinced my dude who would look terrible in a dress himself (but would work his ass off for his queen) that it is probably very good for the main Drag Race audience to be reminded that even very straight seeming dudes want to understand and accept and even embrace those who seem to be on the other end of the scale from them in terms of sexuality and experience.

    But aside from all my “when we were watching” chat –

    I have a suggestion to Ru and producers of the show. I may even send it in! I just don’t think it’s appropriate to send someone home for the “put an anomalous type male in drag” challenge. Rather, this should be something the final four are expected to do (as they have every season) where they compete for an excellent prize but not to avoid being sent home. The challenge is a good way to show the world that drag is an art, a talent, something that takes work and time to craft – but it relies too much on the look and personality of the randomly chosen person they’re putting in a dress.

    Perhaps they should compete for a leg up in the next challenge so they have something on the line that matters – but going home because this or that fellow can’t transform well seems to be the reason they’re bringing back those who’ve sashayed away. Let’s just not bring them back at all but keep the challenge and have them compete for social awareness and connection and an advantage going into the final four elimination challenges.

  8. I am o.k. with the self-selected nature of the straight guys in these challenges. I *really* don’t want to watch somebody having a truly gut-wrenchingly difficult time (whether it’s the drag queen or the dad-from-Target) in 3 highly edited minutes with something that is a serious issue.

    And if the challenge reduces to a Disney-fied feel good manufactured moment at times, well, there are tons of very obviously manufactured moments in reality t.v. Bottom line: does it tell us anything about the contestants, and is it entertaining?

    That said I like Mefein1’s idea that this shouldn’t be an elimination challenge. Doesn’t matter how you screen, you can’t get an even playing field.

    Oh yeah – to me the pregnancy gimmick looked like a way to take the experience *away* from the boobs & high heels paradigm and maybe help the dads think past the “I have a penis but I’m in a dress” moment. Because pregnancy is a whole other thing – though definitely a girl thing – and if anyone could find something funny in a pregnant lady it’s got to be someone who’s had a few kids.

    • Credit where it’s due, it was nomadaflove’s idea. But I agree, so what the hell, go ahead and slap my name on it! It would have been awfullly unfair to eliminate whoever got stuck with the stiffest, most uncoordinated brick of a man, especially with such limited time. To paraphrase (was it Lashauwn Beyond?), this is not Ru Paul’s Best Miracle Worker Race! I thought Sharon took the best and only reasonable approach: dress the big old lump like her and use him as contrast to make her look good. And she was working her moves and her face like nobody’s business. I wish they had showed more of the striptease. In the few seconds we saw, she was hysterical.

      • Woops, sorry nomadoflove. Didn’t mean to credit the wrong person with that excellent idea!

  9. I love the “make over someone else to be your Drag $family_member” challenge, but I definitely like it more when it’s mostly learning how to hang out with someone from a different community, with less emphasis on the Important Learning Experiences. Heck, it might be interesting to get a version of this challenge with straight crossdressers/transvestites–it’s an entirely different community, with an overlapping but not congruent skillset! That would be hilarious.

    And someone over on TLo’s said that a lot of these guys have prior reality TV show experience? I guess that’s LA for you!

  10. I thought the most culturally interesting part of this episode was Latrice lip synching “you make me feel like a natural woman” all while flaunting her “pregnancy”. Majorly more rich than the straight/gay conversation.

    Was that not a great image? Latrice, a pregnant natural woman…fantastic. A drag landmark in my opinion.

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