The “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Recap: Turn the Other Chica

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Are you sad about Ivy being sent home? Well, not as sad as Jinkx is. Hell, Ivy isn’t as sad about it as Jinkx is. Not that anyone cares about Maudlin Monsoon and her Genuine Human Emotion™. They’d all prefer another rousing round of mindless yowling. Today’s trigger: Alyssa’s assertion that she will lip sync her way to the top if she has to. Rather than question the likelihood of such an outcome (which is zero), people try to label this as “bad attitude” and “lack of sportsmanship.” Who even cares? If she wins, it worked; if she doesn’t, it didn’t. End of story. Can we for once put our lashes away without things becoming a zoo? Like, how long before the lipstick message on the mirror is rendered unreadable by all the flung feces?

Luckily, the object of this week’s mini-challenge is to shout argumentative nonsense at the pit crew loudly enough to draw blood.

dragrace e09 01April Fools! The real contest is to see who can eject a different inside liquid. (Tears, ya perv.) This seems like the kind of thing that Jinkx would nail, what with her acting background and all. Instead, she accidentally validates the running critique that she can only do one thing by using the crying challenge to showcase her comedic abilities. Maybe she was all dried out after that backstage interview about Ivy? Then again, it’s possible I wasn’t clear on the instructions, because Alaska and Roxxxy follow suit, delivering over-the-top caricatures that are sad, but not in the way that makes one weep.

Alyssa, on the other hand, comes out of nowhere with full-on waterworks. And just when I’m trying to wrap my head around a world in which Overbite McNonsense is capable of that kind of success, Detox dives in while choking back sobs to relate the desperate tale of finding her boyfriend’s corpse in her home. What’s that smell in the air? It’s Genuine Human Emotion™, by Jinkx Monsoon.

The two clear winners wipe the mascara from their cheeks and go about the task of choosing teams. Their main challenge will be to act out a telenovela-style script while deploying as many stereotypes about the Latino community as possible. I could write a thesis on this episode’s problematic relationship with race, but there isn’t room for that here. All I’ll say is I’m shocked I didn’t see one of the queens give birth to an anchor baby or predict Armageddon on a stone calendar.

Anyhow, the team selection process is optimized for drama: Rolaskatox is reunited, while warring parties Jinkx, Coco, and Alyssa (Jilyssco?) are forced to call an uneasy cease-fire. Surprisingly, it’s Alaska who feels the worst about the arrangement. After emancipating herself from the clique at the advice of the judges, she’s basically like a child being adopted back into a broken home. I hope she doesn’t act out in school or start writing lamentable poetry!

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Both groups run into a critical snag before filming begins. Over on the Cojinkssa side, Alyssa’s decision to wear Jinkx’s dress saps the team of much-needed energy. It takes a lot of work to shove too much lady into not enough garment while rolling your eyes at maximum strength! Alyssa is nonetheless determined to have a giggling good time. Her ability to amuse herself has gone from cute to alarming, though: I have it on good authority that inappropriate laughter is a telltale symptom of schizophrenia. Meanwhile, Detox questions the logic behind getting rid of the garish mask she had intended to wear. I’ve never understood the girls who don’t immediately take Ru’s advice. You know that Ru decides who goes home, right? When she says she doesn’t like something, maybe take that to heart. Don’t be the idiot laughing during a crying challenge.

Team Alycocnkx (I’m beginning to understand why they didn’t get a cute name) struggles to meet even the low standards set by daily soaps. Despite her uncanny knack for overwrought facial expressions, Alyssa opts for subtlety in portraying her death-by-involuntary-orgasm. Is it opposite day up in here? If Michelle shows up with small boobs and tasteful beige slacks, I’m finding a bunker and hiding until the horsemen are gone. Coco can’t remember her lines because Wilmer Valderrama is so sexy, but even when she knows what to say, she says it blandly. Thank heavens for Jinkx, who singlehandedly carries the day by hissing, hollering, and humping the armchair until it’s pregnant with twins. (Word to the wise, though: don’t talk about serving Sofia Vergara when you’re really dishing out Amy Winehouse. Or Amy Casa de Vino, in this episode.)

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Rolaskatox has an easier time of it: Alaska’s legitimately funny, and Roxxxy and Detox at least know how to make a scene. Their main obstacle is that each of them wants to be the center of attention for as long as possible, and since there are a finite number of words to deliver, they end up inserting constant dramatic pauses. Ru has to jump in and save things before their segment becomes a silent film.

The next day, the ladies do a little routine verbal sparring as they prep for the runway. At this point, throwing shade is as natural to them as tossing a ball back and forth, and twice as predictable. Everyone accuses everyone else of doing the same thing each week. You’re all special snowflakes, ladies. Now shut up. Once things have calmed down a little, Roxxxy gets Detox to open up more about her earlier revelation. While we don’t learn how specifically her boyfriend died, we do learn that he was actually her EX-boyfriend who had been stalking her for weeks, implying a grisly obsession-fueled revenge-suicide. I’m not making a joke about that. That’s horrible. I really thought getting abandoned at a bus stop was going to be this season’s low, and now I kind of wish it had been.

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The catwalk theme this week is “the first thing that pops into your Republican aunt’s head when you mention Mexicans.” Sombreros! Maracas! Clothes the color of Fanta!

Luckily, Jinkx’s aunt was smart enough to say Dia de los Muertos, carrying her to a sensationally spooky win. Even scarier than a sugar skull, however, is the prospect of watching Alyssa and Coco lip sync against each other, and that’s exactly what’s about to happen.

I honestly feared the two of them might run directly at each other, perhaps while extracting concealed razor blades from their wigs. Instead, they basically become a video game fight sequence: Alyssa does a spinning jump into a split while Coco whirls her mango jumpsuit sleeves into a terrifying whirlwind. Someone’s gonna throw a fireball any second!

In the end, Ms. Montrese lands a fatality by audaciously pointing to her mouth while stone cold nailing the rapid-fire lyrics. The feud over the Miss Gay America crown may not be over in their hearts, but at least I don’t have to hear about it anymore.

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I’m always sad to see a queen sashay away, but the end of that tired drama makes me so giddy I could issue a few Award Awards!

The first prize goes to Santino Rice, who gets a Boxed Set of RuPaul’s Drag Race DVDs to go home and review. You finally speak up at the judging panel, and it’s to say that Alyssa’s dress is the ugliest one you’ve seen in the history of this show? Let’s look back. Jiggly’s baked potato getup? Mystique’s mall realness? Serena Cha-Cha only left a couple weeks ago, dude.

If I hadn’t seen your entire bald head recently, I’d worry that you’d suffered a concussion.

Next, I offer guest judge María Conchita Alonso a Big Bucket of Appreciation and Apologies. Seriously, thank you for mercifully avoiding statements like, “Hey, this is some minstrel bullshit. I’m slapping the next white lady who rolls her Rs.” You would have been completely justified, but the whole ordeal was uncomfortable enough already.

And lastly, I give the Penny Tration Memorial “Nice Try” Blending Brush to Jamie-Lynn Sigler. Her repeated admission that she was less talented than the contestants she was critiquing got kind of depressing. Maybe an award would cheer us both up.

ON UNTUCKED: Was there a gas leak in the Gold Bar? Were those champagne flutes filled with sparkling vodka? Did I have a stroke? No one backstage made a lick of sense. By the time Alyssa uttered the non-word “squirping,” I had accepted the television as a portal into a parallel universe with different social norms and physical laws.