Cut, chew, and swallow! Its a live TV challenge!
Good morning, bitches! It's a live TV challenge!

Watch out Katie Couric, the queens are coming for your gig. Following this season's theme of strange challenges we haven't quite seen before, RuPaul makes the girls serve Today Show realness by hosting fake talk shows and interviewing the soulful lesbian cheerleader from Glee. "Good Morning Bitches" is a catty, chatty mess, with some earnest screw-ups (Hi, Charlie), and some overstated rivalries. Now that all the girls' characters have been established, the producers lay the drama on thick (because apparently a season of RPDR can only handle one Vegas queen, one young ingenue, and one pageant queen). But hey, we all know this isn't RuPaul's Best Friend Race. As Ross Matthews says this week, you better "cut, chew, and swallow," because this is live, ladies!

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Shes following the rules and shes got something to say.
She's following the rules and she's got something to say.

"Good Morning Bitches" really strives to set up two competing rivalries: Trinity and Eureka, the two pageant queens, and Valentina and Aja, the two ingenues. (Conveniently, both rival pairs are placed in groups together. Hm...) Trinity and Eureka's feud is largely comical (Eureka won't stop talking over people, so Trinity makes Eureka raise her hand if she wants to speak), but Aja and Valentina's feud gets at the heart of many queens' issue with Valentina. The conundrum is aptly summarized by this D-list gay porn performer on Twitter:

Now, I'm a Valentina stan. I think she's perfect for the show. Hell, she exists because of the show. But while it serves the show's interest to make Valentina-haters the villains, queens have some legit problems with Valentina. However, these problems are more about what she represents (see above) and less about her as an individual. All that being said, I kinda want Valentina to win. (I also wanna know what "disorders" she suffers from. She starts talking about them while getting ready for the runway and then is unfortunately cut off by Eureka. Place your bets in the comments.)


Oh shes serving us Orlando Anchor Lady Blazer realness.
Oh, she's serving us Orlando Anchor Lady Blazer realness.

For the challenge, the real focus is on the tire fire that is Team Trinity (Eureka, Nina, Trinity, Peppermint, Charlie, and Cynthia). Besides Eureka and Nina, who were gifted a weird food bit (Nina slipping cold ham into a cut up mannequin is def someone's fetish), Team Trinity is a WRECK. As Cynthia says, Charlie's stressful performance is "as cold as a dead body," and Trinity and Peppermint can barely get a word out without falling apart.

Michelle Visage also criticizes Trinity for being too "uptight and mean" for AM television, but that just shows Visage has clearly never seen Floridian TV anchors (Trinity's from Orlando). After all, Florida is a place that televises TV anchors quoting the Bible while teen boys jump into a lagoon to retrieve a golden cross. There are no rules in the land of Mar-a-Lago. In fact, Trinity is serving an almost exact replica of an outfit worn by Orlando anchor Amy Kaufeldt. So, it's not a complete failure for Team Trinity, but the team does end up on the chopping block.

Its the buzzy new catchphrase, Okurrr.
It's the buzzy new catchphrase, okurrr!?

But hold up. Did you feel that? My catchphrase senses just tingled. It was a fleeting moment, but something happened on that judging panel. After reading the losing team, Ru asks the girls who they would send home. Eureka predictably throws her pageant nemesis, Trinity, under the bus ("I felt like she was focused on herself and not really so much on everyone else"), and Trinity interrupts as if it's a fucking courtroom drama with: "I CALL SHADE!" Suddenly, it's all Judge Judy realness and shade rattles.

Judge-Judy.gif

These queens have been watching too much How to Get Away with Murder, but I'm here for it. (Eureka even follows up with, "Well, I was asked my honest opinion and that's my honest opinion and I stand beside it.") Pass by a gay bar in a few hours and you'll hear some twink yelling, "I call shade!" I guarantee it. Someone get screen printed merch for Eureka and Trinity stat!

charlie.
Wait, vloggers have to lip sync, too?

But the real quagmire of the episode is Miss Charlie Hides. After delivering a tense, lifeless performance during the main challenge, Charlie essentially gives up during her lip sync. Someone (I think it's Shea) actually shouts from the back of the stage for Charlie to try harder. Twice! To be fair, Charlie was either going to lip sync against Peppermint or Trinity, and her pairing with Trinity (who shouldn't have been in the bottom two) all but ensures her departure. But what's really striking is how much Charlie is reminiscent of another semi-British queen, Max from season 7. Both queens delivered a strange departure where they used their preference for live singing as an excuse to barely lip sync. I'm not sure what really went on here, but this week's Untucked will definitely be something to tune into.

(You watch Untucked, right? Because if you don't, the companion behind-the-scenes show is essential to the overall RPDR narrative.)

WINNER WINNER: Shea and Sasha for their charmingly insane use of food props. (Do I sense some foreshadowing with these two? I think it's safe to bet they're both going to be in the top four, if not the top three.)

BYE BYE: Charlie Hides.

And the local queen says...

Wanna watch RPDR with a gaggle of real live gays? Local queen Americano hosts a weekly live viewing at Little Maria's Pizza. While she's out of town this week, other local weirdo Arson Nicki (recently featured as a Stranger Person of Interest) is guest hosting in Americano's place. I caught up with Arson and she gave me tips on how to spot who's going home on an episode of RPDR.

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10 Signs A RPDR Contestant Is In Trouble
(in no particular order)

from Arson Nicki

1. Gets lots of screen time in the first 15 minutes. Usually expresses confidence in winning the challenge because it's their area of expertise.

2. A judge makes an out-of-place comment about them right before they lip sync.

3. This moment happens: "In the challenge you competed as teams, but tonight you will be judged as individuals."

4. They get a *shady clacking sound*.

5: They say, "I wanted to stay true to myself."

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6: This moment happens: "Who do you think deserves to go home, and why?"

7. The judges give them some variation of a ridiculous non-critique about their "vulnerability." (E.g. "I feel like I haven't seen you." "You're hiding behind a character.")

8. *lip syncs for the third or fourth time*

9. When speaking to them in the workroom, Ru nods, says, "Uh huh," and does nothing else.

10. They say, "I'm having second thoughts about my Snatch Game character."

Charlie checked off at least four of those. Welp, now she can go back to YouTube, the medium of choice for people who struggle with narcissism and letting go.

For more Arson, see her here or here or here.

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