Last night was the second season premiere of Logo's drag queen Project Runway/Top Model hybrid, and the first time I ever did watch it. And girl? I am just not sure what the helllll to say about it.
I mean, you can't even make fun of it really, can you? It's just... all out there. I can at least try to get you familiar with the cast, so you know just who the hell I'm talking about.
From Puerto Rico, Jessica's biggest problem is that she can't speak English all that well. But as long as she can lip-sync in English, I suppose that's all that really matters. She didn't do much to distinguish herself in the first episode, though we know that she got on the show via some kind of online contest, so she's sure to be clipped fairly quickly.
One of the stranger things in life is having a Laotian drag queen talk to you in a Boston accent. And that's exactly what Juju did last night. So that was vaguely off-putting, but otherwise Jujubee didn't do much that was terribly interesting. She was another middle of the packer who didn't seize her chance to sparkle.
I do not like this queen. Look, she real pretty. I mean, if you can look past the piranha-esque jaw structure, she cleans up nice and she's super skinny and all that, but lord does she know it. When in civilian wear and watching the others de-drag, the dude was all "I hope some of you are attractive boys LIKE ME...." And it was just so obnoxious. Plus he got plain old naked in the dressing room on his first damn day and it was just gross. You are on a Logo reality show set, son. You have no idea where anything you're coming into contact with has been. Back in drag, she ended up winning for the day, after designing a nice sort of Amazonian warrior costume for herself. Which is frustrating, because now the ego will continue to go boom and we'll have to endure it. Sigh.
Mystique Summers Madison
This is the token "plus size" queen, and by "plus size" they just mean, she big. And she also doesn't really seem to have a need for fake "chicken cutlet" breasts. No, she appears to be au naturale. Mystique was toward the bottom of the pile at the end of the episode, mostly because she made a dress that RuPaul fittingly declared "raggedy." Oh it was so dreadfully, awfully raggedy. But in the end 'Tique was safe because did one of those crazy landing splits things on the runway and, lord if that wasn't a marvel of physics to behold.
Nicole Paige Brooks
Nicole was the first one into the dressing room, so you kinda feel like you know her the most. And I don't like her. She's got those suspiciously thin and sharp features that just scream I Love You, Beth Cooper, only change the B to an M and take away the Cooper. She looks a little strung out, is alls I'm saying, and she doesn't seem terribly nice. Actually most of them sort of seem awful, which is somewhat in keep with the drag queens I've met. Girls are nice when on stage, but the minute they're not? You more than likely will get cut with glass. Or in Nicole's case, with face.
Ugh. In real life Pandora is this bug-eyed dude with birdie features who vaguely reminds me of the Chicken Lady from Kids In the Hall or, more fittingly, Talkatoo Cockatoo. In drag she's like the Funny one, styled after Kathy Griffin and Goldie Hawn, with those big cartoon peepers kind of the center of the joke, I guess. Something about Pandora just rubs the wrong way, but though she made a totally awful and shapeless dress out of burlap for the big show, she still made it through. I bet she and Morgan become fast friends. And I cry, ever more.
Ohhhhh Raven is mean. Or at least she looks mean. That short, stern hair. Those metallic lips. Raven is mean, but also wonderful! Like, as a drag queen. She just *gets* it, and justly won the photo shoot challenge for taking what was really the only viable shot of any of the dragtestants. I picture major rivalry going down between Raven and Morgan. And maybe at some point Raven will do a Nomi Malone and push Morgan down some stairs or something. That would just be so Raven.
Many people have said it before, I and will reiterate: Sheree from Real Housewives of Atlanta has put on a longer wig than usual and entered RuPaul's Drag Race 2. I don't understand her choices, but I do try to respect them.
Shangela Laquifa Wadley
Yes, Laquifa. As in... Well, you get it. Um... Shangela has only been doing drag for about five months? And she is not very good. First, she cannot do her own makeups. While everyone clearly got professionally done-up and given the vaseline-lens treatment for the final runway show, when Miss Thang walked in at the beginning? Muggsy Bogues in an ill-fitting wig. Not much to write home about. But, you know, seems nice or whatever!
Sonique is a singer from about ten years ago who sang this unbearable song and then disappeared for a while. Now she is no longer black, has turned from British to American, and has become a man who dresses up in ladies' clothes. The story of Sonique is the story of so many of us.
Tyra is fun because she wears enormous hair and looks spiffy in makeup. Tyra is strange because, when in civilian gear, he likes to talk about his son. Yes, the 21-year-old drag queen has... a son. We're not entirely sure how all of this happened and I'd really like to get some back story. I mean, was it an accident? And who is this girl, Dina Matos? It's all very perplexing. I hope she sticks around to give us the goods.
Tatianna is, like, stunning. I mean let's be simplistic about it: You really can't tell it's a boy! Like hardly at all! She's very pretty and she seems sweet, but she is also maybe just a little dull? More personality is in order. But, yes. Very pretty.
Basically the episode was everyone shrieking and saying Hi and asserting themselves by lifting their legs and peeing on various dress forms and wig piles. RuPaul came in, still looking as fabulous as the day she drank that potion given to her by Isabella Rossellini, and told them that they were going to do a photo shoot inspired by Gone With the Wind. Because nothing says mixed-race transvestites quite like the Civil War. So they had to do a photo shoot that involved sitting bestride a cannon, flanked by two black musclemen in Union army attire (their shirts had been shot off in battle, apparently). Most of the queens kind of sucked (sucked! That's another thing! RuPaul makes sooo many sexual innuendos that you begin to wonder if that's just how she speaks, always, like even at the bank — "Would you like to make a deposit, sir?" "Oh, absolutely."). The main reason for suckage was a huge fan blowing on everyone's faces that made their fake eyelashes flap comically in the breeze. They could barely keep their eyes open! ("It burns.") Morgan's wig blew off! Ha ha ha, Morgan. I don't like her.
After everyone had had their weird, grimacing, windblown faces photographed, it was time for the big costume/runway challenge! All had to make gowns out of various curtains, which was interesting and vaguely sad because of the curtains were ugly, purchased due to budget constraints in soiled bulk at the Ocean State Job Lot in Fall River. Anyway, some of these ladies can actually sew, while others just lashed cloth around their midsections and called it a day. It's going to be a longggg race if some of these fools really are just not able to sew whatsoever. Santino from Project Runway is one of the judges, so it's good to know that PR works wonders for the career. That he managed to sound even remotely interested while critiquing the arts & crafts projects that these queens were calling dresses is a testament to his skill as a low-budget drag show reality show judge.
Oh yes this thing is low-budget. The grand prize is an old Ford Aerostar full of wigs and a half-eaten sampler platter from Houlihan's. But that is pretty good for someone on the drag queen circuit! Usually they're just given the dregs from patrons' glasses and are allowed to curl up on cardboard boxes out back for the night. So, this is a big deal!
Kathy Griffin was the special guest judge, and she was typically, you know, gay-themed and adult-contenty. This whole show is... really, really gay-themed. Like maybe too gay to function? I mean, what do I know. I haven't had a proper date since the Bush administration. But this just seems... Well, it's fascinating. Fascinating and deeply strange. Not because drag queens are strange! But because I'm just not sure what they hope to get out of the experience. People quit their jobs! Shangela, who went home first, quit her damn job at the Long John's fried station or whatever. To be on this show that I'm pretty sure is filming illegally in some real show's props closet. They probably only had a couple of hours to film the whole damn thing, so look for lots of deliberate costume changes from Ru to signify "time passing." When really they only had until 4pm before the night guard, Hugo, came in and shooed them out.
The show needs a benefactor. Someone to make it as spiffy as its aspirations.