I understand why some people don't watch RuPaul's Drag Race. For some, they (sadly) do not get Logo. For others, they aren't comfortable with the idea of a drag reality show. And for a small group, it's a hard-line anti-Reality TV policy. That's all fair. It is a very campy show, but better than most other reality shows if you can tolerate the camp. For the first group, watch the show on the official website. You can see all the seasons, the Untucked's, and the Jon and John's recaps. Then head over to the VH1 Blog and relive the experience with Rich Juzwiak's awesome .gif recaps.
To attempt to recap RuPaul's Drag Race would be a disservice to the show. You need to live the experience. I will be testing a new approach to writing about television with the third season of my favorite reality show still airing on TV (Murder in Small Town X and The Mole, Robert misses you very much). I will be going through the highlights of each episode. Consider it the greatest hits of RuPaul's Drag Race.
On the casting special, RuPaul went through montages of application videos broken up by theme: make-up, costume closets, and special talents, among others. Frankly, the whole episode was gold for Ru's unflinching decorum even when the videos were downright awful. Most notable were the catchphrases RuPaul said about the contestants. For example, Manila Luzon's audition was followed by "this Manila is a thrilla." Just watch the hour long casting special and have some fun.
The first competitive episode saw twelve girls show up to compete in their finest meet and greet drag ensembles. There's a past contestant's boyfriend (Manila Luzon), a kicked to the curb make-up artist from America's Next Top Model (Raja, who hates fat girls), and not one, not two, but three plus-sized queens competing for the crown: Delta Work (the greatest drag name ever, a veteran comedic performer from California), Stacy Layne Matthews (of Black Swamp, NC), and Mimi Imfurst (NYC camp mainstay).
RuPaul greets the contestants with a holiday-themed challenge. And what better way to celebrate Christmas than with a present? Too bad the other contestants can't return it, because out pops the 13th competitor: Shangela Laquifa Wadley. Shangela went home first in Season 2 but reapplied after getting a lot more experience and winning some pageants. She's a welcome addition because she brings the drama in a big way (starting in the second episode).
The girls start the contest with a trampoline-based photo shoot. I'll let Stacy demonstrate how well that went.
On the runway, the girls get to show off their best holiday couture made from thrift store finds and clearance holiday decorations. I thought Mimi Imfurst had the best look, but the judges went with glamour over sacrilegious camp.
A bad contestant went home to spare poor Shangela, who cared more about dressing a prop than dressing herself. Episode 2 brought us the annual acting challenge. This time, the girls were challenged to cast, costume, and star in a pair of drag-themed, pun-filled science fiction film trailers. Of particular note were Manila Luzon as a monkey creature and a visual reference to The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T.
The runway gave us a show of the girls' best futuristic couture. Most contestants looked like some kind of Judy Jetson hooker nightmare, but two stood out. Mimi Imfurst became a monster with mouths for eyes and eye-balls all over her face like an acne-riddled teen. However, Manila Luzon's Grace Jones as May Day in the 2079 remake of A View to Kill was the best look on the runway. Too bad she was on the losing team and was not eligible to win top honors for the week.
There's another boring Lip Sync For Your Life elimination challenge this episode. For those who do not know, the bottom two contestants battle it out in a lip sync performance at the end of the show. The loser goes home, but not before RuPaul gives them some inspiring words to leave by. In the first episode, violence between the queens made me hope Ru would eliminate both girls from the contest. This week, Delta Work mopped the floor with a passive aggressive queen with a really bad attitude.
I will endeavor, in future weeks, to provide you with some gifs of the action. As it stands, I was already behind by two episodes (courtesy of the casting episode) and wanted to get something up before I held out too long to possibly catch up. Look forward to future RuPaul's Drag Race recaps on Tuesday evenings for the rest of the season.