Another Tuesday, another Drag Race RuCap . . . After last week’s near impossible ballet challenge, this week sees a softball being lobbed in the form of the annual Snatch Game! Naturally, it wouldn’t be RuPaul’s Drag Race if a good chunk of them didn’t fuck up horribly, so let’s look at the shit that worked and the shit that snatched.
Season 5 has been lauded by some as “The Season of the Fish,” probably because of the number of purely look queens as opposed to those who can actually create a cogent character or write a decent joke. To wit, there are maybe four queens in the entire group who can actually entertain, while the others are capable of little more than occupying space and being pretty. On the other hand, considering how often the entertaining queens have come out on top, while the “look” queens have consistently fallen flat, the aquatic revolution may dry up faster than some of these queens might think.
Jinkx Monsoon, in particular, is an easy lightning rod for the fishier queens, who seem particularly fond of ganging up on her for not serving girly-girl realness. When the queens enter the work room after the double elimination of Vivienne Pinay and Honey Mahogany (oh look, two fish! How about that?) they’re given the mini-challenge of restyling “cuddlers,” aka Snuggies, into prêt-à-porter fashion. The queens for the most part do decently well, with the major kudos going to Detox’s neon repurposing of zebra print, Roxxxy’s pairing of a cheetah print with a corset, and Alyssa’s . . . wearing of a caftan. All in all, it’s a conceptually neat challenge, but considering no one wins an edge in the main challenge, it’s really only good for a fleeting shot of the Pit Crew wearing nothing but Snuggies and their best “Please kill me” faces.
But who cares about that when we can focus on what really matters: THE SNATCH GAME! Yes, everyone’s favourite mid-season challenge is back for another round. Now, considering that The Snatch Game has been a staple of Drag Race for four seasons, and considering that the format has not changed one bit since its inception, you would figure the queens would have their game planned down to the very last joke. And yet almost half of the queens are clawing for straws, and the overall amount of skill here is lacking severely. As RuPaul once said, don’t be a victim of what you don’t know. Unfortunately, most of the queens are utterly dicktimized by their own stupidity, and it becomes quickly apparent who will and will not be going much further.
The biggest fuss is made over Jinkx Monsoon, who decides to be Little Edie from Grey Gardens. Despite the fact that it’s a must-see for any gay out there, most of the queens are wholly unaware of who Little Edie is, which should be considered a drag sin. I mean really, that’s like admitting you’ve never watched Victor/Victoria. How very dare they! Roxxxy Andrews, in particular, questions Jinkx’s decision to go with an obscure character, before announcing that she’ll be portraying Toni Braxton’s sister. I’m not sure in which universe Braxton Family Values is more well known than Grey Gardens, but I never want to go there.
The biggest red flags of the night, however, go to Alyssa Edwards and Lineysha Sparx. Considering Alyssa is immune this week, there’s never any worry about her place in the competition so much as it’s an opportunity to flounder tremendously. Alyssa bounces around from one personality-devoid D-list starlet to another before settling on Katy Perry. Specifically, the version of Katy Perry from about three years ago. Lineysha decides to be slightly more topical, with a Michelle Obama, until Ru points out that Lineysha doesn’t have any idea how to do a good FLOTUS. Lineysha, now dejected, decides to go with Celia Cruz, if Celia Cruz was a shapeless blob of blue fabric and an ill-fitting white wig.
After many frantic, last-minute decisions, the queens finally gather together for The Snatch Game, with celebrity(ish) guests Downtown Julie Brown and . . . um, another Julie Brown. That won’t get annoying fast. Anyway, it very quickly becomes obvious who the winners are and who the losers are. Despite the general confusion of the other queens, Jinkx’s Little Edie is fully realized, as she manages to plum the minute idiosyncrasies and turn them into a well-formed larger picture. Jinkx demands attention based on her talent, and where other queens drop the ball, she easily intercepts it to score points.
While Jinkx is the clear winner, Alaska pulls into an easy second, thanks to a surprisingly spot-on impression of Lady Bunny. The voice is slightly off, but Alaska knows how to create characters with strong, clear points of view. In third place is, surprisingly enough, Roxxxy, who despite picking the least recognizable personality out of everyone involved, manages to use the blank slate to pull off a believable diva character. In the clearly marked safe category are Jade Jolie’s Taylor Swift, who’s passably funny, and Coco Montrese’s Janet Jackson. According to Coco, she performs as Janet “six times a week!” Which just goes to show that just because you do something a lot doesn’t necessarily mean you do it well. Coco’s look is on-point, but the humour is non-existent.
Still, nothing compares to how badly the remaining queens do. Detox, despite being clever and hysterically funny, can’t pull off a Kesha impression, even though the two are actually friends. Detox tries to liven things up by peeing on the floor, but it does nothing to salvage a boring character. Ivy Winters, the most generic queen there, dials in an utterly generic Marilyn Monroe. But Alyssa and Lineysha are the very worst of the bunch. Alyssa’s Katy Perry can’t land a punch line, even when Ru practically spoon-feeds one to her. Lineysha, on the other hand, fails in every conceivable direction with her Celia Cruz. Her wardrobe and makeup look like a bad Halloween costume at a frat party, and her lack of English comprehension means that her character is dead on arrival.
As some of you might remember, last year’s Snatch Game ended with the more mature queens taking the crazier ones to task for being immature and reckless during their performance. This year, we trip through the mirror of insanity where all the boring, fishy queens gang up on poor little Jinkx because she apparently can’t do glamour. Eye roll. Sorry, but the fishy queens this season are just toxic to the art form. Drag queens are entertainers. Ergo, they’re supposed to be entertaining. But the fishy queens this season are stuck on pure aesthetic, and their complete disregard for entertainment value just enrages me to no end.
Continuing onward with this episode’s heavy fish-based narrative, the runway category this week is “The Deadliest Snatch.” Literally. Some queens take this quite literally, with Ivy coming out in a goldfish gown, Detox wearing a puffy jellyfish-inspired dress, and Alaska walking the runway carrying a trout. A literal trout. Others go a little more aquatic-inspired, with Jinkx donning an aquamarine poncho and Alyssa going with a mermaid gown. Others barely bother with the whole “fish” thing: Roxxxy serves a modern-day Liza, Jade and Alyssa both go with black lace looks, and Coco, for some reason, decides to do a pink giraffe-print catsuit. To be honest, Coco’s look is one part Chad Michaels’ zebra suit, one part Nicki Minaj, and 50 parts cheap, bargain-bin trash.
Coco and Jade are both designated safe for their passable-at-best impressions, and Alyssa is also given a safe pass, but with the addendum from Ru that she actually has to apologize to Katy Perry on Twitter. You know you fucked up when Ru forces you to say sorry for how bad you sucked. To the surprise of no one, Jinkx, Alaska and Roxxxy all score in the top three, although Michelle Visage, for some reason, decides to try to read Jinkx for a “pedestrian” look. I like Michelle, I really do, but a) that’s horseshit and b) if you’re going to come for someone’s “pedestrian” look, maybe you shouldn’t be wearing a cardigan like you just finished your shift at Forever 21. Regardless, RuPaul appreciates Jinkx’s impression, and she takes the win.
In the bottom, Ivy’s Marilyn is read for being blander than a mayonnaise sandwich on white bread, but thankfully, the judges adore her goldfish dress enough to let her off the hook. Detox’s Kesha, while weak, wouldn’t have been bottom two if it weren’t for the fact that the judges loved Ivy’s dress and hated hers. And since Alyssa is immune, she ends up on the bottom with Lineysha. Despite a strong start in the first couple of episodes, Lineysha’s been floundering in the latest batch of challenges, probably because they involved wit and coherent speech.
In light of last week’s double elimination, Detox and Lineysha both take on Cher’s “Take Me Home” with their absolute best. Lineysha’s a marvellous dancer, but Detox’s style of lip-synching is . . . unique. Maybe it’s from all the plastic surgery in her face, but Detox’s lips and lower jaw wiggle and jiggle like they’re made of jello, and the effect is mesmerizing. Detox lures in the judges with her mandible-gymnastics and then seals her win with a twirl that practically sends Lineysha flying back home. The good news is that one of the all-look, no-comedy queens has been sent home. Hopefully, the judges will keep looking at talent over look, or maybe Alyssa, Coco and Ivy will be kept around until the very end. Blurg.