Mirror, mirror, on the wall: who’s the least coherent of all?
“Cheers to my fish, fabulous, and fierce sisters,” stumbles Coco as she read’s Jade’s farewell message. The expression on her face is either regret that her friend is gone or confusion about what that little haiku might mean. With Jade’s afflicted by synesthesia, everything is a pink-semi-sentence made of lipstick and glitter.
The scientific name for her condition is Betsey Johnson Disorder.
Of course no one in the room is thinking much about their fallen compatriot: it’s every woman for herself at this point. Alaska, in particular, is experiencing a Diana Ross moment (Google it, Lineysha) and wants to break free from Detox and Roxxxy. It’s time for her to stop being part of a trio and start being last season’s winner’s boyfriend.
To announce this change, she skips the “Rolaskatox!” war cry during her workroom entrance, eliciting so many ooohs from her colleagues that I thought an ambulance was approaching. The editors do their best to make this a drama worthy of sirens, but everyone insists on reacting calmly, which honestly strikes me as a little ungrateful. Ru didn’t cast you for your ability to behave like an adult—you betta pitch a fit for the camera and earn that free vodka.
After She-Mail, Ru appears wearing a flower so loud and overdone that I immediately named it Michelle Corsage. Though we can barely see his face from behind the lurid lavender petals, he manages to announce the long-anticipated reading mini-challenge. Because it’s what? Sickening, bitch!
Or the other thing, I dunno.
Everyone gets in a couple of decent barbs, though many of the reaction shots amused me more than the comments themselves. Alyssa delivers wild, unpredictable convulsions that are essentially the full-body equivalent of her make-up faces, while Jinkx doesn’t laugh so much as hinge her mouth agape like a Pez dispenser.
Special kudos go to Alaska, however, whose possessed-by-the-sunglasses concept is backed by some of the sharpest wit in the competition.
After reciting a convincingly chipper Absolut ad (some of us are willing to work for our booze), Ru announces the main challenge: the girls will be roasting her. Alaska, as the best reader, will choose the show’s running order.
I suppose this had the potential to be a shady and conniving prize, but again, the queens defy the odds and talk it out calmly like humans instead of their usual fabulous-apes-flinging-glittery-feces spectacle. They’re awfully composed when the drinks aren’t laced with Rolaskatox, which I suspect is a frenzy-inducing hallucinogen.
Here’s the thing: it’s a little silly to try to build tension over who will succeed, because we’ve been watching for weeks now—we know who’s funny. The next 30 minutes could pretty much write itself. Nonetheless, we sit through dreary montages of ladies staring intently at their notebooks. You don’t need to be psychic to know that Jinkx’s page is full and Roxxxy’s is blank.
You know the situation is dire when I’m actually thankful that Alyssa is there: the overconfident gasps and chortles at her own bon mots are sad and transparent—but at least they break up the monotony.
For some assistance, Ru introduces the queens to comedians Deven Green, Nadya Ginsburg and Bruce Vilanch. It’s unclear whether this panel is giving or receiving help, seeing as their advice is haphazardly inconsistent and their collective fame couldn’t fill a box on The Hollywood Squares. (And if you didn’t catch that reference, I’ve made my point.)
There’s a lot of floundering all around, but Alyssa gets the darkest foreshadowing for not knowing the difference between telling a joke and just saying something mean. Anyway, the show quickly jettisons and forgets its guest commentators, as will its audience.
Before the ladies take the stage to lightly nibble the hand that feeds them, Roxxxy leads the charge in openly questioning Jinkx’s self-doubting ways. That expressing insecurity and admitting your flaws are foreign concepts to this group should surprise no one.
The Roast of RuPaul runs pretty much how you’d expect: Alaska goes first and is a-mahzing, Jinkx goes in the middle and kills, and Detox goes last and is pretty good, too. On the other end of the spectrum, Alyssa and Roxxxy’s roasts are so depressing I almost thought they were delivering eulogies. (Their own.)
Ivy lives up to her namesake and is something of a wallflower, while Coco delivers the night’s only surprise with a clever character, a fictional old friend of Ru’s from the Brewster Projects.
Her performance turns out to be a twofold shock when she beats perpetual underdog Alaska and newly glamorous Jinkx for the win. Maybe her best material didn’t make it to air, but it sure seemed like the other two were funnier.
Alyssa and Roxxxy have been in the bottom since the episode started, so Ru announcing that they’re up for elimination is almost repetitive.
They lip-sync to Willow Smith’s “I Whip My Hair Back and Forth” with great gusto, though their grasp of the lyrics is oddly shaky for a song that mostly repeats the same seven words ad nauseum. What they lack in basic verbal capacity, they make up for in gale-force back-to-front hair-flipping. Roxxxy in particular pulls early focus for calling in a pinch hitter when her first wig just can’t whip hard enough. Pretty soon they’re both having seizures like a gay Exorcist sequel that I now desperately wish would get made.
Choosing who to send home is made even tougher when Roxxxy suddenly explodes into sobs. With some prompting from Ru, she explains how being in the bottom two makes her think about the time that her mother abandoned her at a bus stop when she was a toddler.
At this point Alyssa is probably furious that she wasted her estranged dad story last week.
In the end, a roasted Ru is a merciful Ru, and she allows both of her girls to stay. The episode ends in a group hug. Unfortunately, this tender moment is filmed from above, so it doesn’t look like a display of affection so much as a pile of discarded weaves.
I don’t have a cute segue into the AWARD AWARDS, but just follow me anyway.
* To Jinkx Monsoon’s contoured breast, I pin the Sequined Purple Heart. In her neighborhood in Seattle, the crickets have shotguns, so she deserves a straight-up combat medal.
* Santino Rice gets his Janky Old Hat and Bandana back. I thought he looked bad before, but seeing his entire head made me never want to see his entire head again.
* To Alaska, I offer an Honorary Awesome Prize of Awesomeness, mostly because I feel like if she hasn’t won on the main stage after two comedy challenges, then she’s probably missed her chance.
ON UNTUCKED: Jinkx earns my eternal gratitude for making Alyssa and Coco promise never to bring up their old feud again—ever. Usually I’d have further catty commentary, but since the rest of the episode is about how Jinkx and Roxxxy had twisted, broken childhoods, I’m going to leave it alone.