Awww, reality television, how you enrich my life! Recently the final episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 3 aired, so I guess it’s time to do some little recap-action and spill my thoughts, just like I did after watching season 2 (the post is HERE).
As per usual Drag Race Season 3 was all about a bunch of drag queens coming together and competing for the title of America’s Next Drag Superstar in what is a mash-up of ANTM minus Tyra and Project Runway minus Heidi flavored with some RuPaul, arguably one of the most famous Drag Queens of our day and age.
Let’s just start with the obvious and talk about Season 3’s winner: Raja. Now, I’m fine with it, Raja’s drag is good drag and interesting. The whole “oh, genderfuck is so unconventional” thing seems a little contrived after we already had the amazingness of Ongina and all her Ladyboy-ness in Season 1. Having said that many of Raja’s looks were really good examples of thinking outside the box, while I have to admit there were lots and lots of moments that I wasn’t too thrilled with what she brought, cause I thought it looked uninspired (the Dollar dress for example).
Now I wouldn’t be me if I weren’t complaining because my favorite didn’t win the thing. And I also wouldn’t be me, or at least not stick to my pattern of picking the Asian contestant as my favorite. It’s weird but it’s true: After Ongina and Jujubee this season I was rooting for Manila Luzon, cause I thought her whole conception of the drag persona she was bringing was awesomely thought-out and delivered. I liked him_her as a character within the show, but I also liked what Manila Luzon portrayed on the stage and I was totally smitten with the honest reaction of not winning the title. The look of disappointment with the comment of “I gave it my all and fuck, it wasn’t enough…?” is endearing, cause it’s not the usual kind of “this was an awesome experience blahblah yadda yadda”. I’m sure it is, but hey, being the runner-up is always a kinda sucky position to occupy. So close, yet not quite there.
Once more the most surprising thing about watching the show is witnessing the level of bitchiness. On the one hand those people connect and maybe even become friends, yet they are all quick to judge and do so loud and mean and the irritating thing about it is, that they apparently think that is what being a drag performer – or even a gay man – is all about. And I think it’s kind of sad, especially when I get the impression that the ones who sincerely apologize for some of the things they said and did are few and never given any real credit for it.
The epitome of this whole bitchy-business this season was the whole Heathers vs. Boogers thing, where Raja, Manila, Delta and Carmen called themselves Heathers and the other contestants Boogers, cause they thought they were better, even though they tried to justify this crap in the Reunited episode and claimed it was all good fun and certainly not intended to mean that they were better, when clearly it was. Bullshiz to that I say. Granted, the four of them are amazing drag performers, each in her own unique way, very polished and also very surprising at times (Raja with insane outfits and Carmen with her insane looks) while some of the others still need a little more experience. And yes, we’re looking in the general direction of Miss Shangela (hello, again, after Season 2, Hallelou!) and Stacy Layne Matthews from Backswamp, North Carolina. But then again those two proved time and again how compassionate they were and how they understood that being supportive and mature is probably way more desirable than to be a Heather.
You’re probably asking now: hey, it’s a show about drag queens, what do you expect? And what would it be without the drama? Argh, I say, I don’t know, I’m all for drama in my reality TV, but could it be less of the we-all-gotta-be-bitches-nature and more of the we-really-have-an-issue-here kind? Wishful thinking, I guess.
What we saw this season was the first time of multiple big girls in the run for the title, and the general bitchiness towards their weight was fortunately rather minimal. It is interesting to see the bigger drag queens, because quite frankly, when I think of drag queens the standard image to pop up in my head is a big queen, probably because of images of famous queens like Divine, I guess. And my impression from rather limited contacts with drag queens in real life is that many of them are bigger girls. So I was very happy to see three contestants, is what I’m saying. I could bitch and moan about how none of them won the race, but then again it was Mimi Imfurst who seemed to be a really annoying person (making up one’s lack of smart with being shrill never sits particularly well with me), Delta Work (who was good, but not outstanding) and Stacy Layne Matthews, who I would have loved to see more of, but admittedly her drag needs to get to the next level to be able to compete with some of the others. It makes me wonder: Is it really that difficult to find original and unconventional big drag queens? Maybe season 4 can give an answer to that.
What I really enjoyed about this season was the glimpses we got on drag culture in general. Drag Race’s educational corner, so to speak. I don’t know a lot about drag culture, but it is interesting to not only hear about techniques and trends here and there, but to also learn about regional differences and stuff like drag pageants and “the ballroom scene.” I’d love it if they presented more of that and offered some explanation as to what the differences are. From what I’ve gathered, you have to be the pretty princess drag queen to compete in pageants and ice-cold to survive in the ballroom scene (whatever the heck that is), while being a club-scene-queen makes you more experienced all around, supposedly. So I’m basically saying that I just picked up terms and expressions and don’t really have a clue.
I kinda wish the LOGO-channel wouldn’t be so asshole-y and let me watch their show from Germany, but since they don’t I had to rely on other sources and was not able to see the untucked episodes, which I would have loved to see. Are they worth it? I feel they add more depth and background to the contestants, but I really don’t know. Hmmm.
Ah, and yes, RuPaul was also there, haha. Of course. S_he really seems to be a fun person to spend your time with. Can’t wait for next season!