Well, if this isn’t meta, we don’t know what is. Welcome to the very special Queerty recap of the very special recap episode of RuPaul‘s Drag Race, which is just one week from its finale, when there’ll be actual stuff to talk about.
To fill time, the producers have “treated” us to a behind-the-scene’s look at the show that’s more padded than the queens’ bras. It’s not going to be a shock to you that a highlights show manages to be a low point for the series, but even by the standards of your average “let’s kill an hour with some interviews and extra footage” show, this one (to steal from Ru’s repertoire of canned phrases) “fucked it up.”
Coincidentally, Battlestar Galactica was also airing its recap episode last night, and because we’re big nerds, we watched both shows back to back for comparison. After all, both feature lots of slinky dresses and people pretending to be something they really aren’t to advance their dreams of obliterating the human race/nab a spot on the Absolut Pride Tour.
The big takeaway from this moronic TV-watching experiment is that the recap episode’s sole purpose is to please the fans and excite them for the final episode, so let’s judge Drag Race on how well it did those two things—with charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent.
We don’t learn much about the show this episode. We’re still wondering why we don’t get to see the queens interact at whatever fleabag motel Logo’s put them up at, and without the contestants around to liven the show up, it becomes really obvious what the weak suits of the show are.
For one, let’s talk about Santino and that other judge whose name we never bothered to learn and certainly aren’t going to learn now. They’re tasked with a “Top 10 Moments of Drag Race” segment, which they stupidly turn into a fashion discussion, which I guess is why they’re around, but who cares? If we had to come up with a Top 10 moments of Drag Race (which we won’t because Logo’s not paying us to), they would all be scenes of people bitching out Rebecca, who we still hate even though Recap readers keep trying to convince us otherwise. Why don’t we like Rebbecca, you ask? Because she’s boring and bitchy and has an attitude that’s wholly unearned. In fact, we learn this week that Rebecca’s first reaction to drag was disgust but that she came around. Who knows why! The show and/or Rebecca doesn’t elaborate.
But back to Santino and Nameless Judge. What do they name as their top moment of Drag Race? Was it Ongina’s tearful confession of her HIV status? No, it’s Ru in dresses, which gives Ru an opportunity to plug his designer. Oh my gawd! Why are they making us watch this?
Here’s the whole problem with this episode in a nutshell: It’s self-indulgent in all the wrong places. We expect the show to be a “How amazing is our reality show? Huh? Huh?” onanistic orgy, but the producers seem unaware of what makes the show great. 90 percent of the show is focused either on Ru, audition tapes (which should have run in the fist episode, thanks) or on filler. What they left on the floor was the human drama of the show. Had they focused on the final three and used the story of them beating the competition to get to the top as the story arc, this episode could have been fun. It’s the human element these queens bring to the runway each week that makes the show enjoyable. We love the cat fights, the mutual support, Shanelle’s ability to say how amazing she is in any and all contexts, Nina Flowers’ butchering of the English language. Instead, we got a five minute montage you could call, “A Salute to the Catchphrases the Producers Made Ru Say Each Week.”
If anything, we’re less excited about the finale now than we were before watching the recap episode. It reminded us of how short the series has been (six episodes? Really?) and how unfair it is that Ongina and Jade were kicked off just so the show could keep around the villainous Rebecca.
That’s not to say we won’t tune in for the finale next week. Who do you think it’s going to be? And more importantly, who should it be?