Yes, it’s Tuesday again, which means it’s time for a recap of the best show about wrapping your penis around your taint you’ll ever see, RuPaul’s Drag Race! This week, the girls must make over teddy bears and DILFs in their own image. Let’s take a look at the shit that worked and the shit that got kicked back out again after all of half an hour.
Yes, the queens are back in the workroom for another week, the initial field of 13 now whittled down to a meagre four: the shock-frocker Sharon Needles; the polished character queen Chad Michaels; the sassy and elegant Latrice Royale; and That Bitch Phi Phi, the bitch. Except not quite: last week, it was revealed that Michelle Visage would be given the chance to bring back a queen who she felt sashayed too soon. The final four rally together with a protest of “Top 4! Add no mo!” but their grammatically incorrect pleas fall on deaf ears. After a SheMail filled to the brim with pregnancy jokes, boy Ru steps in along with . . . (pause for dramatic effect) . . . Kenya Michaels!
Woo, I guess. But it’s to be expected. Kenya was somewhat unfairly ousted since her tenuous grasp of the English language hindered her acting and humour. Other than Willam, Kenya is really the only one whose dismissal felt premature, so it only makes sense she would come back. Moreover, the “bring a queen back” gambit is an effective way to quash the margin of error; by placing the best eliminated queen with the final four, it ensures that people deserving to win weren’t unfairly ousted, while ensuring that the remaining queens didn’t simply coast their way to the final four (Season 2’s Tatianna, I’m looking at you).
But enough with the needlessly wordy and complex dissection of reality TV, because we have a mini-challenge to attend to! The pit crew carries out an armful of teddy bears, and the girls have to make over the stuffed animals in their own image. It’s a bit of a callback to the Season 2 challenge of making over a RuPaul doll, but who cares?! Teddy bears! EEEEEEEE! Chad creates Malibu Bearbie, a purple California Gurls–style thing that Ru likens to Jiggly Caliente. Sharon creates Scare Bear, naturally. Latrice presents us with Portia the Pooh, whose face is bedazzled just like her creator’s. That Bitch Phi Phi comes up with Princess Bitch Bear, which is just . . . too easy. But it’s the newly returned Kenya’s La Transbear — pronounced LAH TRAN-ZZZZZZZZZZZZ-PEAR — that wins the challenge.
And now for the main event: it’s time for the annual makeover challenge, and the girls have to drag up some daddies into their mamas. And this year, they have to perform a striptease and rock some maternity wear! Is it just me, or are the makeover models getting progressively more difficult? It’s gone from tomboys to older gay men, to college jocks and now to hairy daddies. I get the feeling that Ru seems to be doing this for the sake of watching the girls trip over themselves to complete the impossible, but it does make for some great viewing. Kenya gets to hand out the daddies, but That Bitch Phi Phi decides to sabotage the others (again) by directing Kenya with her eyes.
Oh, and before I go any further, here’s a massive red flag for you: Kenya basically disappears into the background this entire episode. There were moments I literally forgot she was even back, and her sudden reappearance inspired confused “wait, wha — oh, yeah, that’s right” moments. So yeah, guess who’s not staying around for much longer?
Anyway, after being manipulated by That Bitch Phi Phi, Kenya ends up with the cute but severely morose-looking daddy, whose facial expression for the entire episode never changes beyond “I would rather swallow broken glass than be here doing this.” I’m not sure why he’s on the show, and I’m not sure he knows either, but clearly he shouldn’t be. Chad’s daddy is a lovable oaf who looks like he fell off the turnip truck, but he’s pleasantly open to learning whatever he can, which makes him a wonderful foil for the normally perfected Chad. Latrice’s daddy is, despite being built like brick shithouse, somehow smaller than Latrice, which is going to make the whole “drag mama” thing hard. That Bitch Phi Phi’s daddy is the one most likely to look best in drag, and his empathy makes him a good shoulder for That Bitch Phi Phi to cry on regarding her father.
As for Sharon’s daddy . . . oh lord, what can we say about him? The guy was actually super hunky and massive — until he started opening his mouth, at which point he turned into a raving, attention-grabbing lunatic. From what I heard, the guy is something of a reality-TV pariah, having appeared on Millionaire Matchmakers. The fact that he was able to stay in the same room as Patti Stranger without bursting into flames should probably tell you everything about him that you need to know. He walks around wearing a breastplate he repeatedly fondles, runs off his mouth to the camera and just generally acts like a grade-A tool. At one point, he even gets into it with Chad, and she has no choice but to shut him down. When Sharon’s daddy calls for backup, Sharon steps in and tells him to shut up before he gets shut down.
On to the main stage! RuPaul is rocking a red ribbony gown that looks like it was made out of Fruit Roll-Ups, and the judges this week are Michelle Visage, Santino Rice, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson. Yeah, there are a lot of third names tonight. Go figure. Thanks to the editing, the stripteases are basically steamrolled through, so not much is known about what went down other than the fact that it was probably total shit. That’s a pretty safe assessment. So let’s just move on to the looks, which is the only thing anyone cares about anyway.
Chad Michaels is first up with Lady Samantha Michaels; their showgirl-chic looks are great, but the proportions from their baby bumps make them look like sausages. Sharon Needles and Robin Mansions are a little more defined when it comes to their figures, and their eye patches are super cute, but Sharon’s daddy is really just too manly to be a convincing drag queen. That Bitch Phi Phi nails it; she and Gi Gi not only look amazing, but Gi Gi fully commits to the act, almost out-dragging That Bitch Phi Phi. Latrice and Sharelle Latrice are up next, and despite looking glamorous as hell, Sharelle doesn’t really look much like Latrice at all. And finally, out come Kenya and Lil Mama Michaels; their Walmart maternity wear looks, coupled with the pre-partum-depression facial expressions, win over no one.
That Bitch Phi Phi wins, and for once, I actually think she deserved it. I mean yes, she stacked the deck in her favour, but fact of the matter is that between her spot-on makeover and her vulnerability on the main stage, she really did wonders to humanize herself. Chad places second just because everyone else did so poorly. Sharon barely avoids a bottom-two placement based on her sense of humour, as well as the fact that her daddy was an impossible project. Which leaves Latrice and Kenya to lip-sync for their lives to Aretha Franklin’s “You Make Me Feel (Like a Natural Woman).” Yes, the song is basically tailor-made for Latrice’s brand of lip-synching, but the one-sided duel does give us perhaps two of the greatest performances I’ve ever seen on television:
- Latrice’s lip-sync is killer. Absolutely killer. You know you’re good when you can literally stand unmoving in one place and hold the attention of the entire room. Her act is emotional and spine-tingling, and the fact that she’s singing to her baby bump adds another layer of emotional resonance to an already powerful performance. Actually, Latrice basically could have just taken one step in front of Kenya, and the judges never would have found the poor bitch.
- Kenya . . . oh, Kenya. I know she has no mastery over the English language, but her complete misunderstanding of the song is priceless. The moment the song starts up, she launches into pirouettes, prompting the greatest stank-face ever from RuPaul. She then kicks off her heels and throws her wig off the stage, and the judges’ faces are priceless. In drag parlance, the reaction from the panel can only be summed up as FACE FACE FACE, THEY GIVE FACE, PITY FACE. Michelle is livid, Jesse is laughing his ass off, Jennifer looks like she wants to put Kenya down like a dying pet and Santino is just shaking his head the entire time. If this were all intentional, it would perhaps be one of the single greatest acts of Dadaist-performance comedy I have ever seen. But in reality, it’s just a woodland elf twirling uselessly while five unmoved people try to shame her to death.