03
Mar
09

Dress You Up

This week the girls get to play with some real live dolls. These fierce fairy queens have to drag five tomboy bruisers out of the fight and into the light — and down the runway. How hard can it be? Women wear drag all the time: Dolly … Cher … Edina and Patsy.

After last week, Rebecca is clearly public enemy Number One. Shannel, for one, can’t wait to see her go. It sets up another nice rivalry. Shannel wimps out at first, when the lady fighters lead the queens in a boxing ring workout. But then she rallies and comes back swinging, ultimately putting up the best fight against Rebecca.

But Rebecca pulls out ahead. Her reward for winning the mini-challenge is decide which boy gets paired with which girl. But all of those women look like a challenge to me. How much can she really stack the deck?

Since episode two, when Rebecca said she’d eliminate Shannel, she has shown herself to be a fiercely smart competitor. Of course, the assumption is that Rebecca is sabotaging the others. But behind the curtain, and “under the hood,” she says she tried to split them up fairly.

It’s touching to see the boys coaching the women. You get the impression that they’re giving the lady fighters real life advice, not just runway pep talk. And to their credit, the fighters are game for this challenge. They do their best, but it’s not like they’d normally be seeking this kind of “help.” It’s as much work for them as the workout was for the queens. These women are not gonna go back home and put these new skills to use.

This episode plays with the meaning of drag. In the runway show, the real women look no different from men in drag. Is this show about men teaching women how to act like women? Or is it about men teaching women how to act like men acting like women? How many layers are there?

What’s real? It’s almost as if the women have to exaggerate more than the queens do to “act like women.”

What’s natural? RuPaul says Mia has a “natural beauty” — but only after Mia has been all dolled up by Nina.

The results are impressive, and this is a tough one to judge. Clearly it’s getting hard on RuPaul. He has said many times in the press that he was surprised by how close he got to the competitors. He excuses himself before he can give his verdict this week. I just want to know where he goes. To meditate? Is there a chapel in some corner of the studio where he prays? Does he call in a life line? Does he consult the Psychic Friends Network?

The lip-synch showdown was a disappointment with Bebe practically tearing herself to pieces. Is everyone going to flip their wigs from now on? Is this what it takes to win?

What made Shannel’s performance remarkable was how she ran with an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction and turned it around. I don’t think ripping off your hair shows passion; I think it’s just kind of ugly. But someone has to go. Au revoir, Ongina.

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