I'm not going to recap the season nine reunion this week. A reunion is a recap, so it seems redundant to recap a recap. To be upfront, a recap is a boring concept anyhow. Its name suggests it will somehow recount everything that happened in an episode. My thought is that most people who read recaps watch the show, so who needs a plot summary? RPDR may have misguided opinions and shade rattles, but it's
usually not a complicated medieval historical drama. We don't need to know exactly how many times Cynthia Lee Fontaine said 'cucu' in an episode. We don't even need to agree on the correct spelling of 'cu-cu.' RPDR is a show that celebrates a diversity of opinions cattiness, so why not focus on the cattiness? Every good moment on RPDR spawns hundreds of shady videos from fans. So this week, I'm celebrating some of the show's best moments and the smarmy fan art they inspired.
Disclaimer: This is not a comprehensive list. Things are missing. I know. I'm trying to be nice here and not crash your browser with 1,000 GIFs.
The above video of Jaymes Mansfield kills me every time I watch it.
"Now, real quick, go on this thought journey with me… It’s 2018. You’re taking a quiz on BuzzFeed and it’s titled something like “Which RuPaul Queen Best Personifies Your Inner Fiercosity, MawMawwww?” You take the quiz and you get — not JuJuBee. Not Naomi Smalls. You get… Jaymes Mansfield.
WTF does that say about you? Does it mean you're funny? Misunderstood? A genius masquerading as a sham? No, really, I’m asking you: what does it mean to be Jaymes Mansfield? Because I have no idea. An alternative title for this recap could be:How Do You Describe The Siren Call Behind Jaymes Mansfield's Eyes?
Like, is Jaymes Mansfield a Pisces? Because understanding her is like trying to read something written at the bottom of a deep well. It's fitting that this episode, Mansfield's shining moment of failure, is the episode Valerie Cherish makes an appearance. Both characters are sincerely batty and include RuPaul among their small group of admirers.
I have no idea what makes Jaymes Mansfield worthy of being on this season of RPDR, but isn't that always the case of the queens who go home first? If you watch Mansfield's performance at the season 9 premiere party, you can see that she's got something going for her... but I'm just not sure what it is. Maybe, just like Cherish, Mansfield will get another season with a little time."
Nina Bo'Nina Brown crafts fantasies out of construction paper and hundreds of pounds of makeup. But her truest form is as this construction paper "I Shoulda Been Blac Chyna" bust.
"For the runway, the girls are asked to serve 'Faux Fur Fabulous.' Trinity Taylor delivers straight up swamp rat. Nina Bo’nina Brown gives 'Mary J Blige in the ‘90s goin’ to get milk in the middle of winter in Chicago' (as described by Carson Kressley). Eureka hobbles down the runway in crutches as RuPaul yells, 'There’s a whore in Whoville!' (Eureka, by the way, doesn’t look like a who, but mayhaps a whore.) And Mama Ru reminds us that she’s the motherfuckin’ queen of a judging panel when she asks Nina (who complains she was sabotaged by not being assigned the role of Blac Chyna), 'What we just heard, [Nina], was a conspiracy theory that sounded more like paranoia. Is this an ongoing theme throughout your life?' Nina gives a single, eyeliner-filled tear, which I assume means, 'Duh, Mama. Of course I’m paranoid. My outfits are something a high person makes after reading too much Art Spiegelman."
Also, for funsies, this fake video of Michael Kors narrating that runway challenge:
Untucked is an essential companion series to RuPaul's Drag Race, and one of the most important moments of the season happened backstage between Aja and Valentina. Aja, ranting on Valentina's perfection, delivers the iconic, "You're perfect, you're beautiful, you look like Linda Evangalista." The internet exploded. It started with this dance track:
And then the dance track spawned hundreds of videos and performances. Go spelunking through the internet with "You're Perfect, You're Beautiful, You Look Like Linda Evangelista" and you'll get a clickhole of sass.
Speaking of Miss Evangelista, we can't review the greatest moments of season 9 without mentioning #MaskGate.
"Valentina exists because of RuPaul's Drag Race. Like many of the performers on recent seasons, including last year's winner, her character was originally crafted with RPDR as an ultimate goal. But the creation of Valentina goes a step further than previous contestants. Unlike anyone else in the herstory of the show, Valentina isn't connected to a local scene. She even lacks a drag family. While she says Our Lady of Guadalupe is her drag mother, it's RPDR that taught her how to be a queen. To people outside of drag scenes, this might seem like an advantage or a winning characteristic. It's not.
RuPaul's Drag Race has received a lot of flack from its queer fans this season, who see the show's transition to VH1 as straightwashing. But Valentina's elimination is an indication that the show's still true to its roots. Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent are multifaceted characteristics, and drag takes more than a commitment to YouTube makeup tutorials and stoning gowns alone at home. The lip sync is Ru's guillotine, where drag careers are made and destroyed. Valentina, a gorgeous queen with little-to-no live performance experience, immediately crumbled under the pressure of a lip sync challenge. And isn't it beautiful that a beast, with more resemblance to a heavy metal cover band than a traditional drag queen, can change the fate of the show's Queen Bee in a matter of minutes? That, squirrel friends, is why this show is still one of the queerest things on TV."
Shortly after I called RPDR "one of the queerest things on TV," I was quickly slapped in the face by one of the stupidest things the show's ever done: Native American couture ON WYPIPO.
"Here's the thing: They could have done the Village People without doing a Native American look. There are six Village People (sometimes seven, depending on the year). Instead of pulling the Native look, the show could have chosen the freaking G.I.! But part of me thinks the Native American look was chosen on purpose because the editors and producers seem to be aware of how the choice is culturally inappropriate. Before a commercial break, the show teases Alexis Michelle wearing a dreamcatcher as an earring, and then cuts to Peppermint and RuPaul cringing. (During the actual scene, Ru laughs at the dreamcatcher-cum-earring bit.) But while post-production is aware of this issue, the show does nothing to address it.
Admittedly, the Native American couture is a small part of the episode, but it's a big issue. Yeah, there are other looks. The queens do a rhythmic gymnastics number, a 'Rainbow-She-Betta-Do' look, and a 'Sexy Unicorn' look. (Things that are also, apparently, a part of RuPaul's version of queer history.) But during a time when the DAPL system is leaking hundreds of gallons of oil and the Walker Art Center is under fire for commissioning a white artist to construct genocidal gallows that were used to murder Dakota men (the gallows are now being publicly burned), the production of this episode comes off as completely tone-deaf. 'Gayest Ball Ever' is the first episode to happen during Pride month and we have white queens running around as Native Americans and sexy policemen. It's not like, you know, large portions of the queer community are dealing with police brutality and racism. Ugh, this episode!"
Charlie Hides and the Case of the Missing Will to Slay was one of the most talked about moments of the season until #MaskGate. Charlie's mysterious hand syncing is best captured in this fairly long (but excellent) video by Lee Dawson. Jump to 13:05 for the lip sync edit:
Watch all of Lee Dawson's ru-caps. They're dense, filled with inside jokes, and perfect.
Okay, y'all. That's enough smarmy garbage for now. (I'd also like to point out that after ranting about recaps being pointless, I recapped my recaps. Go ahead. Skewer me.) Now scamper along and watch the reunion and gag on the tea or eleganza or whatever we're gagging on in 2017.