I have not viewed an episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars 2, and I have no intention to start. The last season was the last straw for me. It’s not that that season was bad – it was just unbelievably dull as it progresses, a non-stop kumbaya song and dance interspersed by Kim Chi’s constant tears. When someone as toothless as Derrick Barry had to play the villain to liven up the season, that’s when things were in trouble. I think I am just bored of the whole show, so since I have the space and time, let’s see why.
I’m so, so, so bored of this opportunistic cow. She claims to be the token straight momma hen fruit fly in a house full of drag queens, but she is actually one of the driving forces behind the forced and contrived boxing of drag into its current sad state on the show: basically, men playing Barbie dolls, dressing up and putting on pancake make-ups to entertain straight women and emo teen boys. Every time a drag queen dares to stray outside her preconceived notion of pageant-style fishy drag, she insists that the queen do “glamor” to entertain the Queen of Hearts in her. And yet, when she is fed a steady diet of fish, she’d complain that she’s bored, as poor Courtney Act could testify. There is no rhyme and reason to this cow – at the end of the day, she pretends to be a warm and caring den mother when it’s pretty clear that she’s just a suck-up who would roll over and pant if the people behind the show order her to. Why? Just listen to RuPaul’s podcast and see her constantly playing the fawning, slavish devotee to his Buddha-like act. She depends on the show and its various spin-off enterprises – BOTS, DragCon, etc – to make her money. As long as the money flows from that direction, her head is firmly lodged up RuPaul’s rear end, and she’d continue to become this hideous parody of a drag queen on the show, making rude and nasty pronunciations that barely make sense and are even contradictory.
The boxing of drag
Don’t expect counter-culture queens like Christeene to fare well on the show. Back in season four, Sharon Needles had to severely tame her act and even “glam it up” to please that idiot Michelle Visage, and even after that, she faced serious backlash from fans who discovered – shock and horror – that there are drag queens who are not poster girls for good behavior. With that Visage creature and the thankfully departed Santino in the judging panel, every drag queen who doesn’t fit to the walking human costuming doll model of drag would be asked to “glam” it up, only to be booted once they succumbed and did just that (see: Milk). The poster girl for this is Alaska. Once she is a charming, unpolished drag queen called Alaska Thunderfuck 5000. Now, she’s Alaska (having dropped the more inflammatory words in her name for wider appeal), she does glamor, she is an AAA girl for one of the whitest and most unpleasant capitalist companies around (American Apparel), and she is reduced to being a walking meme, resorting to her one-note drawl and lazy humor to carry herself to the finish line. You come on the show as a drag queen, you find yourself playing a race to see which man can dress up in ways that will thrill the straight girls in the audience the most. It’s pretty sad.
The increasing tameness of it all
Once, the show revels in satirizing reality TV shows like America’s Next Top Model. Now, it has become what it once satirized: a gimmicky reality TV show that relies heavily on sob stories, unnecessary twists, manipulative editing, and “shock eliminations” to generate social media conversations and sponsor interests. Along the way, the show needs to cater to an increasingly mainstream audience, hence the increasing portrayal of drag and gay culture in a more and more cartoon-like manner. The lowest is probably the hiring of a straight guy to be part of the traditionally gay male eye candy revue called the Pit Crew – it is too easy to think that this is an indication that the show is pandering more and more to straight girls while forgetting its roots.
Those creatures we call the fans
Good lord, the things that claim to be fans these days, shudder. So many idiots who just ape the way Alyssa Edwards and Laganja Estranja speak, without any hint of irony, and all they care about is who looks the most glamorous and who provides enough catchphrases for them to overuse to death. Oh, and many of them are racists – the drag queens of color who cannot pass for white tend to get the worst of the negativity, unless you are a safe token queen like Latrice Royale whose name these fans would trot out as evidence that they are never racist. You can be a complete bitch like Acid Betty and still have fans loving you and making excuses for you, but lose control of your emotions for one episode and, to this day, Jasmine Masters still get the worst kind of racist slurs and insults on her education level and the way she speaks.
These fans are obsessed. They are the new American Idol fans – once they become fixated on their latest favorite walking meme that reminds them of that doll they violated with Mommy’s lipstick when they were five, every competition to this queen must be torn down. There are factions and feuds, and everything that happens on the show that is not in favor of their chosen one is an evil conspiracy. And yet, when a queen of color who echoes what they write on Reddit – hello, Coco Montrese – these same fans would rip that queen to shreds. Well, you can’t expect them to have any sense of self-awareness, can you?
These fans are tedious and tiresome, and it’s hard to avoid them if one wants a halfway decent discussion of the show. As the show becomes more popular, more idiots will come to watch and say stupid things, and the show will cater to them because they control the numbers. Just like how American Idol eventually becomes a mess of a WGWG show, this one will become a show to find the next biggest parody of Alyssa Edwards or Alaska, so that fans of the show will have more excuses to do tongue-pops, stalk these queens, and make all those stupid knitted toys for those queens.
Seriously, why would anyone want to give a drag queen mittens and knitted doilies anyway? I’d think they would better appreciate something they can use and enjoy – like a carton of cigarettes or a six-pack – but then again, these weird American Idol-ish obsessives tend to also have a preoccupation with making dolls and dressing up like their favorite queens. And, my god, these idiots have such bad taste. They would pay good money to watch Pearl and Kim Chi flail around like mannequins on stage, but send hate mails and death threats to fiery performers like Jasmine Masters and Kennedy Davenport. Okay, some of them. Most of them are too young to be admitted into clubs and have to resort to waiting outside the clubs with their stupid knitted dolls and posters to shove into the queens’ face.
The queens are becoming boring
Thanks to increasing media attention and straight teenage girls flocking to illegally download and watch the show, the queens are now very careful about their behavior on the show. No one wants to be like those poor dears that get death threats and become targets of click-bait articles, as the negative attention can actually kill future bookings and hence their source of income. Hence, we get queens like Bob the Drag Queen who never forgets for a moment that there is a camera on her. Very self-conscious queens make for a boring, even contrived show, and villains injected into such seasons tend to be exaggerated in an even more theatrical manner to drive home the contrast between the designated saints and devils among the cast. The new cast will also know that the Idiot Visage would demand that they glam themselves up, so they will also bring all those pageant-y mermaid dresses and such to impress that twit, and the runways will become even more Miss Universe-like.
Anyway, I’m sure many people will disagree with me, as the show seems to be more popular than ever at the moment. Good for them, they can keep watching the show, but me, I’m tuning out. The show has run its course, as far as I’m concerned.