Is the fix in on Phi Phi?
In addition to the usual fabulousness in the Comments section, there is talk about Miss O’Hara’s depiction in this episode, and what it could mean for the overall arc of the story. Also, whether or not this kind of challenge should include an elimination since a part of the performance is out of the lady boys’ control. Let’s discuss those things in a moment.
But first let’s join the Contestants and their DILF’s in the Lounge.
Dude Looks Like A Lady
As far as the Queen is concerned, the producers could honestly chuck the Race part of this episode and cut right to Untucked. I am inexorably jaded about spontaneity when it comes to Reality TV. However there’s something about these episodes which seems absolutely off-the-cuff. Watching the Dads lumber into the the room-with their heels in hand and plopping spread-legged into the chairs is just so damn real!
Granted, there is consensus in the Comments section around the fact that these dudes have all been hand-picked. So the producers have found men that are mature and aware on some level. And the Queen has enough male friends that identify as straight to recognize that very few are actually Troglodytes. It still doesn’t make it any less surprising when you hear guys who aren’t used to the lifestyle expound so progressively on issues that involve cross-dressing. Leland’s new found respect for his wife’s process of getting ready to go out, Chris’ revelation about the wonders of Pantyhose. And how both of them very naturally (and respectfully) referred to the queens in the feminine.
Man In The Mirror
One thing in this section that the Queen wants to bring up regarding Mike and Chad’s confrontation in the workroom. Sharon’s reaction was: “And you know what? It’s no different between me and the other girls…but when we do it we read each other’s looks and we read each other’s attitudes. We don’t ever bring like a sense of violence to it, I guess, and when I hear that it just freaks me out…”. With all due respect to the lovely Ms. Needles–that’s a justification. She, of all people, knows that violence extends far beyond the physical. There is an all too familiar viciousness and almost sadistic behavior in the gay culture that I’ve experienced. We may label it as “joking”, but there is a level of self-hate–and even misogyny that is quite violent in its underlying nature. After all, we may be prissy at times, but we are still men with testosterone…no matter how much rouge is put on. Anyone looking at the sometime vicious outbursts between Sharon and Phi Phi would probably not see it as “good clean fun among friends.” Mike was mirroring the way he saw the queens deal with each other. It’s like a person of another ethnicity who calls a black person a nigger because he hears one of his black friends say it. All he is doing is imitating what he sees. I do understand what Sharon is saying: there was a palpable sense of physical danger in the air. Sharon defended her sister Chad, then made a beeline away from Mike! Still, we gotta do a Michael Jackson around stuff like that and first look at the Man In The Mirror. We have to be the change we want to see.
Teach Your Children Well
As the Queen said in the first post about this episode (and as some of the Miss Things agree), trying to do too much dissection of straight vs gay relationships will become muddy and self-serving. I know the intentions are good and many of the one-on-one moments between the dolls and the DILF’s were really touching. However I think the messages and morals are much clearer and cleaner when left to Untucked. The candid discussion between the DILF’s was poignant and beautiful. Again, there’s no way all of this can happen for most men by dressing up as Drag Queens, but MAN does it renew my hope for, as James said: “…partying together.”
I’ve Never Been To Me
So what’s up with this?
As much as I rag on the producing/directing–I have to say this was a stroke of genius. I mean we’ve seen it before with Raven in the Golden Gals challenge. It’s an old premise: “Bitch turns out to have a Heart of Gold.” But I never believed it could work with Phi Phi O’Hara. But the conflict, and the way she handled it was almost heartwarming…and strange. As Jon Mallow says in his weekly recap: “She didn’t even tell anyone to go home, or call anyone talentless. I want my money back!” it seemed suspiciously like a calculated way of gradually turning Miss Hyde back into Miss Jekyll. Forget the insult it would be to Sharon Needles to have Phi Phi win–could you actually forget about her antics over the season and stand by her becoming The Next Drag Superstar?
Now, back to the Comments section. nomadoflove made a very interesting suggestion about judging this particular type of episode: “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 Queen thinks that is a really,really interesting idea. However I think I look at the episode a little differently. I’m not sure how the judges score the dolls–and I’m sure it is much more subjectively than I’d like. However I DO think that there are relatively objective criteria for the win that really show off a contestant’s Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent. I think that you have to have a very defined skill set in order to translate it to someone else. In other words, you have to really have a command of your own process of applying make-up and creating a character and routine. Sharon thought her routine with Mike was simple, yet he was having a problem with it. Can you, as the director, self-adjust to make it easier and more effective for your partner? These are things that I think the challenge really brings into play, and are important for any entertainer to have.
Well, the Queen can’t think of any more songs to use as section headers, so I’ll throw it to you Miss Things. Thoughts and more fabulous comments?