RPDR S4,E3: Glamzons vs. Champions-Untucking with the Lady Boys

Let’s join the gang in the Interior Illusions Lounge…

So the girls toast each other for being safe. Don’t they know that being in the middle group on a reality show competition is tantamount to being in a red uniform on the Away Team in a Star Trek episode? You are the FIRST to get picked off.

Not a Clue

First of all, I have to say it again: it is uncanny to me how much Phi Phi looks like Phyllis Hyman. Too bad she doesn’t have the late diva’s style and grace. I have to give her props because she did have one of the best characters in the bunch. It was fully realized and fun. However she cannot edit herself. And the fact that she’s too self absorbed to see or learn anything from Sharon Needle’s artistry, makes her downright stupid in my book. Willam, as usual, is spot on in his analysis. There were times when his accent made it difficult for PhiPhi’s character to be understood. If she could get over her hyper-sensitivity and super ego (which sometimes results in shockingly cruel behavior), she could do well in the competition. If not, the bitch’s hubris is going to take her down faster than you can say Oedipus Rex.

Cutting off Willie to spite your Balls

I don’t know if the producers told Milan to step up the drama, or if it’s a part of her strategy. Whichever it was, it didn’t work for me. The Queen is pretty good at knowing when he is being manipulated by a contestant edit. I’m sure we missed pieces of what happened during Ru’s workroom visit to Team Glamazon, but it also seemed pretty obvious that Milan was a huge voice in the preparation of the challenge. The “language barrier” thing was a poor justification for dominating the creative process. And her performance in the Illusions Lounge felt staged and out of left field.

Willam has painted himself into a corner as far as positive regard from the queens is concerned. But those other divas need to learn to listen to that beeotch. There’s a reason he gets a lion’s share of the confessionals and “play-by-play” analysis. He’s articulate, gets the soundbite, and is often right on target. And Milan sweetie, Willam is GOING to get the last line. “Is the carpet comfortable?” I was on the floor myself with THAT little epigram!

Muchachas malas: the Two Faces of Kenya

And who knew the little Latin lady boy was a Mean Girl? In the confessional Kenya was very clear about the reason she didn’t choose Madame LaQueer: she doesn’t like her. Bianca thinks it’s because Madame doesn’t fit into her standards of beauty. That’s cool. But don’t backtrack in front of everyone else. All that bull crap about English comprehension was a cowardly way of the Puerto Rican perra distancing herself from someone she doesn’t think will help her win this race.

Everybody Cry Now

A moving segment. But I gotta tell you: I just realized that Jiggly was 30 years old…30 YEARS OLD. All this time I had it in my mind that we were dealing with a kid in his early twenties. There is a sort of arrested development in play here–an immaturity and a naivete that all of the fraternal and maternal wisdom of Latrice Royale won’t be able to counteract. And while I’m at it: What was all this shit from Phi Phi O’Hara about “I’m gonna show people that, you know what? I’m beautiful. You’re beautiful. Everybody’s beautiful, and they just have to accept it.” Maybe she’ll think about that the next time she is trashing a contestant and whining about how she should’ve won a challenge.

How about y’all? How are you all liking Untucked this season? Who is standing out for you? How do you feel about the way the producers/directors are “telling the story?”


RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 4: FBQ Countdown

When the Queen was a young monarch-in-training, navigating through post-college life, he got his first real taste of Drag through the eyes of one of his most beloved friends. Suddenly swept up into the world of Paris Is Burning; “Houses” “Balls” and “Realness” became common words in our new lexicon. The two of us worked by day on Wall Street(unbeknownst to us at the time, actually embodying a personae that most of our contemporaries only dreamed of), and I watched my very good friend transform at night into “Bianca.” It was an out-of-body experience watching him “walk” a ball his First Time in Drag. Viewing from the sidelines, the New York Balls and the people they attracted were reminiscent of everything from High School with it’s cliques and cultures to the manufactured glitz and glam of Hollywood. I experienced everything from the High Art of celebrating the Feminine Mystique, to the low and often misogynistic objectification of women.

Why the hell am I telling you all of this?

Because I often experience a similar feeling/reaction while watching Rupaul’s Drag Race. I am both fascinated and appalled, charmed and horrified–kind of like looking at my face first thing in the morning. I want to give the show and contestants the dignity and respect I would want, and at the same time rip into each one of those bitches with the ferociousness of a hungry panther.

So, in blogging about RPDRS4, I will work hard to walk that line between a Black Man respecting the work of his brothers, and a Fierce Black Queen accepting no less than Diva Realness from men in dresses.

That said, let’s look at a couple of them bitches.

Jiggly Caliente

Maybe I’m just an Old Queen. But when I saw young Miss Thing’s video bio, the first thing I thought was “Stop playing with your hair. It’s not sexy, it’s tacky.” He (My pronouns will be person specific: if the contestant elicits an auto-response from me, I’ll go with it. This one seems like a boy in a dress.) seems sweet and smart enough, but there’s nothing that stands out about him. Except that he’s already contradicted himself. On on hand he says that being a big girl is one of the things that makes him special. On the other, he’s worried about the camera adding ten pounds to his frame. Pick a side of the street girlfriend, and stay on it. Otherwise the only thing jiggly about you may be your tenure on the show.

Phi Phi O’Hara

“…I’m a force NOT to be reckoned with.

Well, darling. That lovely silk Freudian Slip you stepped into in your video intro, just about says it all.

Pretty enough (reminds me a little of a young Phyllis Hyman), and personable in that Pageant Queen sort of way. I just don’t think that these lady-boys get that being an entertainment personality is more than just desire. While I abhor Ru’s acronym for what he’s looking for in a Drag Race winner, it nevertheless is absolutely spot on. Charisma Uniqueness Nerve and Talent really DO need to be evident from the jump. As lovely a person as she seems to be, there is just nothing that I see that is very unique. I think what the show needs is an on set Charisma Uniqueness Nerve and Talent Coach to help these girls find that one thing that sets them apart from the others. Give these bitches a dose of Media Reality, and whip them into shape.

And RuPaul? If you’re reading, I’d be more than happy to take the job.

Latrice Royale

That is a WHOLE LOT of Drag Queen.

Ooooh Girl. Would not be my choice of styling. But Drag is over the top. And there is something about her patter and bravado that makes me sit up and take notice. It really will be interesting to see if these big queens can be versatile enough to encompass a range of looks. I think zaftig divas get pigeonholed much quicker than smaller contestants, and need to showcase their diversity right out of the gate. I have a feeling Miss Royale will be better able to do that OUT of drag, than in. Good luck diamond lips.

Well, three down. I’ll get to all of the divas before the January 30th premiere. I’m just starting with the FBQ. And honestly, there are a couple queens of other ethnicities that I’m much more excited about. I’ve also asked my fabulous aforementioned friend to weigh in from time to time. Even though he’s put his Bianca togs aside, he is still one of the fiercest black queens I know and MUCH better able to objectively assess these Mascara Men than I.

Until then, I leave you with a true FBQ…