“RuPaul’s Drag Race” Recap Realness: Your Big, Pink, Furry Boxer

s1e5 08

Everyone in the workroom (and in America, really) thinks Rebecca should have gone home instead of Jade, and Rebecca knows it. Lucky for the producers, she masks her insecurity in the thickest, most predictable layer of nonchalance imaginable. I haven’t heard someone say she doesn’t care with that much all-caps CARE since high school. (And yes, my high school had a huge library, thank you for asking.)

s1e5 03

To prevent the tension from mounting to a bloody crescendo in which the other four contestants disassemble Miss Glasscock’s carcass like jackals, Ru has the girls work it out with some trained lady fighters. The ensuing segment is surprisingly light on “fierce” puns and heavy on actual working out. Sadly, Bec Bec (let’s see how many terrible nicknames we can come up with for her over the course of this recap) has built up a lot of stamina deflecting the many, many pointed glares thrown her way, and she outlasts even Shannel. And Shannel had a break on the couch!

Once the sweat has dissipated into a gentle fog that makes the camera all hazy (no, I won’t stop making soft-focus jokes), Ru reveals the main challenge: to turn the ass-kicking trainers into ass-shaking divas! Since Rebarfa did the most lungey-punchy things, she gets to pair the biological women with their gender-bending mothers. There are vague accusations of shadiness, but people are pretty careful with their words because there’s no way to say that her matches were strategic without implying something nasty about one of the uniformly willing, enthusiastic guest participants. I’m not about to go there.

s1e5 04

Speaking of which, Ongina chimes in that the pairing has taught her not to judge a book by its cover. Really? You’re a gay, Asian-American, HIV-positive drag queen and just now you’re learning about the dangers of stereotypes? Girl, you need to pay attention. At least she’s nice to her partner. Motherhood doesn’t suit Bebe, who heaves the pendulous sighs of a longtime single parent over every last detail of the challenge. Apparently spending an hour teaching an attentive student how to move her hips back and forth earns you martyr status in Cameroon. Miss Plasticdong goes full stage mom on her poor offspring, who has probably endured less aggressive assaults at her day job in the boxing ring.

And no challenge would be complete without an added twist, so after a few more choice moans about how hard this all is, Ru puts a cherry on the sundae: the faux queens will each perform a lip sync to Beyoncé’s “Freakum Dress.” (Ong, again displaying her supernatural lack of insight into the world as we know it, suggests that the ladies might not have heard of that song. I am not exaggerating when I say that every biological life form on this planet has heard of that song.)

s1e5 07

Despite the whining (these heels hurts), the revealing (even butch girls enjoy dressing like girly girls), and the bobbing and weaving (Sweepea fearfully ducking Shannel’s foundation-smeared finger), the pairs eventually make it to the runway looking fabulous, or attempting to. Tiny Nina and her towering hija Mia deliver curly mohawk disco realness that earns them safety. Ru believes they “barely” pulled it off, feeling that the look is too androgynous, but you know if Mia had gone with long hair like Merle suggested, the team would have gotten read for looking too disjointed. You can’t win.

Once again, Shannel delivers a sexy, polished, professional outfit (times two), and once again she comes in second, and once again she feels she should have won. In fact, the only time she hasn’t said that is when she bowed out of the workout yesterday! Distressingly, the top spot goes to Regretta Assmop, who cursed her daughter with cheap plastic hair and a cheap mall dress and somehow convinced the panel that it was a good idea. As she walks toward the back of the stage after her victory, we’re once again reminded that she plods like a man on a muddy road despite sporting modest three-inch pumps. Are you watching, Ru? Amateur hour. Vaseline can’t hide her lack of talent.

s1e5 05

Sadly, that leaves two beautiful queens in the bottom. Bebe’s high-concept, “We Are the World” theme doesn’t take the panelists on a fantastic voyage, while Ongina’s continued toying with masculine and feminine tropes earns her the sidiest of side eyes. Is it me, or is Ru oddly discouraging of creativity this season? Holding strictly to the criterion that the two participants need to look identical leads to… well, it leads to Reblecha winning.

Anyhow, the lip sync to Britney Spears’ “Stronger” is so fabulous and so full of wig snatches (or hat snatches, at least) that Ru almost craps her tights and has to excuse herself to make her decision. I do all my best thinking on the toilet, too. The choice, as it turns out, causes her genuine anguish, and she tells Ongina to “sashay away” with palpable heaviness in her heart. So Becky Bubbleballs lives to slouch another day, and a truly inspired, inspiring contender goes home for no good reason. I’ll tell you what: RuPaul designs a fabulous reality show, but she’s kind of a mediocre judge sometimes. (Don’t get me started on season two.)

Don't forget to share: