Girrrrrrrrrl. Episode two of RuPaul's beautiful gift from the thin slip of heaven that still remains has come and gone, and we still don't know just what the hell we're watching. But it's OK. We'll watch it anyway.
No offense meant to the Logo network or anything, but is this the lowest-budget television show in the history of television shows? I think Robin Byrd has more to spend each week than this program does. There is a lady on public access in Newton, MA who literally puts kittens on an electric lazy Susan and talks about them as they spin around and around, and I'm pretty sure her budget is slightly higher than the few tarnished shekels that Ru is given every week to put her little carnival together.
But maybe that's kind of intentional? I mean, part of the extremely odd charm of the show — which is equal parts charm and strange sexual menace — is that it looks like it was filmed in some drag queen's basement. Mostly because it was. And you just have like a heap of wigs in the corner and an old Sanyo boombox tinnily playing some old '90s standards (En Vogue! Crystal Waters! Late/Mid-Career Annie Lennox!) and then RuPaul's mom comes down with some laundry and is like "Oh, don't mind me boys. Do you need anything? Ya hungry?" And all the drag queens say, in unison "No thank you, Mrs. Paul." And then a few people smoke some meth and that's the episode. It's all pretty cute. Pretty strange, but pretty cute.
Anyway! This episode was all about hooking. Hooking and stripping. Really! These drag queens adore the working girl, be she diva or disheveled. So in came RuPaul on one of those mechanized stair-chairs (I wish) and she told all them queens that it was time to do a makeover... on a Barbie doll! Well, OK, I don't think it was actually a Mattel product, but it was some sort Barbie-esque figure modeled after RuPaul. There was a sad little pile of fabric and, in teams of two, the girls were to construct a ho outfit for this doll that was created for a very specific subset of adult males. There was a mad scramble of claws and fists and elbows as everyone lunged for the cloth, and then a feverish bout of very serious designing. With hot glue guns and glitter and I think some elbow macaroni and not but a few popsicle sticks.
Seriously guys. One of the challenges on a reality show on television was to just do a doll makeover. A makeover, on a doll. My sister and I used to do that when we were eight and six years old. Chop off the doll's hair and then regret it terribly, because it will never grow back. One time we had one of the black Barbies, Christy I think her name was, and my sister cut her hair sooo well. It looked like Oprah's hair. We were very happy with that. But usually? It comes out gross and sad, and those mangled short-haired dolls become the scorned rejects in whatever story you're imagining for them that day. (But none so scorned as the one we just called Legless, who had, in addition to a terrible haircut, one leg missing. A few years later, her hand was chewed off by the dog and a couple hours later, my mother tells me, there was a lone, grotesque doll hand poking up out of his poop, like someone trying to escape their grave.) Anyway. The point is: This was on a television show last night. Doll makeovers. It's wonderful! But it's also sort of terrible.
In the end only one team could emerge victorious and that was Pandora Boxx and Sahara Davenport (I think?) Though many of the dolls were bashed up, missing teeth and the like, theirs was the worst. They broke that poor plastic bitch's heels and everything. I guess RuPaul appreciates a bashed-up ho. So, good for them.
They then got to be team captains for the next big challenge, which involved stripper poles and burlesque and selling cherry pie coupons on the street. Yes, selling coupons like those kids who'd sign up for those ads in the back of Archie comics or something similar about how to sell oven mitts and steak knives door-to-door in order to win cash or points toward a new Huffy or Nintendo home entertainment system. Except these girls were just selling coupons for cherry pies at some random cafe down the corner. The girls were straight up yelling at people walking down the sidewalk, wrapping themselves unsexily around lampposts, and doing awkward splits. I don't think they sold much cherry pie.
While one team was hoofing it in full drag gear down on the strip, the other ladies were performing an afternoon "burlesque" show at a club. Earlier they'd learned how to do the stripper pole from two "burlesque" performers. Oh and the best part about the stripper poles? They had a sponsor. Ru was like "two poles, courtesy of Paul's Pole Palace" or some shit. Logo, girl, you need to reassess your portfolio if you need a sponsor to pay for two raggedy stripper poles. But anyway. Everyone was pretty into this challenge, because it's fun to pretend to be a hooker or stripper if you're not actually a hooker or stripper, except for one person. Tyra is one of the prettiest queens, but, lady, she is also so nasty. Not like gross nasty. Plain old mean nasty. And lazy. She just stood there while things were sewn for her, choreographed for her, and, uh, poled for her. She wouldn't even take a single lesson from the nice stripper, excuse me burlesque, ladies!
Tyra was also snippy to all the other contestants. I mean, all the contestants are terribly snippy to each other, but Tyra is the worst by far. She know she pretty, she know she young, and that's all that matters I suppose. But I do not like her attitude. She probably won't get voted off any time soon, even though she's mean and lazy (Ru caught her napping!), because she's pretty and, I suppose, provides necessary entertainment value. But if I ever meet her in a dark alley... Well, I'll probably run scared in the other direction.
So after the girls had done their pole routines — writhing and jiggling and stretching and, I'll admit, looking surprisingly competent for the most part — it was time for judgment. I do so love the judging parts because I'm pretty sure the girls are getting made up by professionals, or at least they have better lighting, so they all look wayyy better than they do in the challenges. Plus we get to hear Ru's gonzo color commentary as the girls come strutting down the runway. I can't remember any specifics, but her puns just get weirder and weirder, with stranger and more delightfully strained references. She's like "Oohhh girl! Pandora Boxx is bringin' tulips to Amsterdam tonight, honey!" Or, "Ohhh lawwwd no! Tatianna just signed the Treaty of Versigh with that number!" "The dingo sure didn't eat Raven's baby today, chile!" It's just so weird and terrific. RuPaul should be the voice for so very many things. "Oh heavens girl, put in your damn pin number!" "Your balance is a raggedy three hundred dollars!" "Baby, I think this is 8th Street/NYU, but lady I don't know for sure. Next stop is Prince Street. Heyyyyyyy. Watch them doors, girl!"
My two favorites this week were: 1. Raven. Even though she is a straight up mean old crab, she looks so striking with her eagle-eye makeup and stern, chopped wigcuts. 2. Sonique! I was so surprised by Sonique this... wique. Last episode she didn't stand out at all, but this go around she looked pretty and terrific. All cool beauty and pursed lips. Plus she's definitely the best looking out of drag, so that doesn't hurt.
Alas because she had the second-lowest tips, Raven was forced to Lip-Sync for Her Life, alongside the kind of painfully sad Nicole Paige Brooks. Something about Nicole tells me that she was maybe something of a big, old fish in a small, also old pond? But out in the bigger world, matched up against some 21-year-old thang in a big bubble wig, her skinny minimalism just doesn't do the trick. Plus she barely even seemed to try during the lip-sync. Raven was busting around with funny little bits and moves, while Nicole just sorta stood there and... lip-synced. Snoozer. Understandably, she went home. Which is good. She seemed nice, but her presence was just increasingly awkward. She seemed a little desperate in an unpleasant way. Who knows. At least now she can go back to her son. Yes, son. Again with another son on this show. Curiousssss!
Girl, I think that's it? Huh? What's that Ru?
"Fool, if you wanna make a call, please hang UP the damn phone and try that shit again. And don't fuck it up!"