Gather ‘round all ye hoogers, fish, and painted ladyboys! It’s time for me to discuss the RuPaul’s Drag Race season 3 reunion…for my life. After 15 prior episodes that left me cackling at puns dirty enough to make Samantha Jones blush, bristling at the quasi-bullying that never got proper coverage, and living for the throwaway pop culture references, we’re left with 13 queens and 42 minutes to fill. You do the math.
While the reunion felt very short (I would have loved a 90 minute soiree myself), we learned some pretty interesting things about the season 3 queens. Not only do India and Mariah actually have personalities (and pretty funny ones, actually, as Mariah invoking the almighty Bebe Zahara Benet to explain her lack of lip syncing skills had me rolling), but Carmen opened up a little bit about being a stepdad to a little girl, Alexis brought up her family’s gradual acceptance of her ‘acting’career, and Stacy Layne Matthews looked the best I’ve ever seen her after some time away from the show. I told you that the pride of Back Swamp could turn it out if given the opportunity to grow. Manila got a chance to defend accusations of leaning on offensive humor on the show (I didn’t buy it whatsoever because racial jokes can be offensive to all races, not just the ones being joked about), Yara won Miss Congeniality, and the disdain that Ru showed Mimi Imfurst was awkward television at its finest.
Heck, even Michelle Visage, Santino, and Billy B joined in on the fun, with Visage’s Q&A session providing some serious belly laughs. Idea for next season: instead of having the girls read one another, let them read Ru and the judges. Just a thought.
But the main issue that was brought up was the Heathers vs. Boogers ‘feud’that really got going about a quarter of the way through the show. For those of you not in the know, the so-called ‘pretty, polished queens'(Raja, Manila, Carmen, and Delta) sullied the name of the genius 1989 Winona Ryder black comedy by turning this show into a clique-y, high school-ish battle of the nice girls vs. the mean girls. Yes, it’s as petty and stupid as it sounds, but wait…there’s more.
The four friends showed up with matching gold Heather necklaces and proceeded to defend their disgusting displays. I know that ‘reading’is a common thing in drag circles and it’s been a challenge on the show before, but there’s a difference in someone being in on the joke and deliberately putting down other people to try and ease the pain you have inside. There’s a difference between being a whipsmart lady in charge who tells it like it is and in being a callous individual who dishes out the same type of verbal abuse that they themselves faced when they were younger. I know it’s very apples and oranges, but we’re not that far removed from a rash of LGBT suicides that started the It Gets Better movement focusing on the removal of bullying from school systems. It was mentioned during the season that all four Heathers had been bullied in school (Raja even used his status as a former outsider as a ‘platform’to win), so it’s even more disgusting that not only did they say the things they said, but they refused to own up to a single word of it when confronted by Ru.
The ‘we were only kidding/we thought you were in on the joke’excuses were extremely tired to listen to, but Raja’s phony gesture of giving his Heather necklace to Stacy made me roll my eyes something fierce. Couple that with Carmen’s doe-eyed proclamations of never trying to sabotage anybody (the cake challenge begs to differ), Delta’s bitter, childish rantings (read her exit interview on Logo and then watch the reunion show), and Manila’s disappointingly two-faced take on things, and you have a serious mess on your hands.
I walk out of season three of RuPaul’s Drag Race mostly hopeful for next season. The format is genius, the product placement never ceases to tickle me (RuPaul has a new album called Glamazon on iTunes, in case the countless musical spots and the two plugs tonight didn’t inform you), and Ru is probably my favorite reality show host today. The show can be a warm self-aware shot of charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent cobbled together with sequins, Indian hair, and the shade from queens long ago. I just hope that season four focuses on the good that can come out of this show and leaves the catty drama in the dust.
What were your highlights of the reunion show? Lowlights? Who looked busted? Who looked awesome? Breast plate or no breast plate?
Other Thoughts and Observations:
I may be hard on Manila, but when she mentioned her mom raving about how pretty Carmen was and not saying anything about her, I couldn’t help but laugh. Stuff like that and the Raja age jokes keep me one foot in her corner.
Next season, can we please have a make-up class/challenge? Some of these girls this season killed me with how lost they were with make-up.
I would repost some of Ru’s lines, but they were especially dirty tonight. My personal favorite related to Venus and her natural eye color. Goodness.
Best dressed of the night: Stacy (surprisingly easily). Runner-up: Mariah.
Who do you think will be the most successful queen from this season? My money’s on Shangela, only because I could see her going so many different avenues, but I think each of the 13 queens has their own lane that they could conquer and be a viable part of an ever-expanding drag community.