RuPaul's All Stars Drag Race

Is Drag Race the Best Reality Show on TV?
Talking television.
Oct. 23 2012 12:40 PM

RuPaul's All Stars Drag Race

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Responses to the premiere from across the Web.

Episode 1 of Rupaul's Drag Race.
Rupaul's Drag Race

LogoTV.

Well, if you didn’t believe it already, the lack of comments on our TV Club page so far today proves that drag queens are nocturnal creatures—I expect we’ll see an influx of shade when, like Carly Rae Jepsen, they all wake up at twilight. But those of us who get paid for our words rather than our looks have already begun to weigh in around the Internet, and the general consensus seems to be that with this slightly adjusted version of Drag Race, RuPaul has werqued it out again.

Every recap I’ve seen so far has shown love for the “synergy” required (and drama produced) by the new team format, and Tanner Stransky over at EW’s PopWatch is waiting along with Jeff and me for that new “she-mergency” lip-synch tag-out button to get pushed. Hopefully next week! Another favorite moment of Stransky’s was the odd gender-bend of seeing Raven completely nude though still technically in drag. Untucked, indeed.

Vulture’s Julie Gerstein picked up on a great detail I failed to mention in last night’s chat, the super shady moment when it was revealed that Mimi Imfurst may have stolen a gig from Alexis Mateo at a gay bar down in Florida. I used to go to Mimi’s show at a bar here in NYC, and I found her cute then (especially when she started handing out free drinks from a cosmo fountain). But the more we see of her, the less sympathetic I get. But I reckon that’s neither here nor there given her being the “furst” to exit.

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Now that I think about it, maybe the dearth of comments means something else improbably more important than Drag Race was on last night? No doubt most responsible citizens were watching the final presidential debate, but as Brian Moylan pointed out in an insightful essay over at Hollywood.com, many gays probably choose Ru over Romney because Drag Race is “the greatest contest in gay culture.” Moylan’s take on why DR is the best reality show on television (I’ve long shared this opinion) is worth reading in its entirety, but I particularly like his point about its crucial lack of self-seriousness:

It's not afraid to be what it really is deep down on the inside, a cheap entertainment made on the cheap. It knows how important it is, which is about as important as the continued existence of Hershey Kisses and Bratz dolls. The Amazing Race and American Idol are always selling themselves in these serious tones like this is the best adventure you'll ever have or the only shot you might ever have at a singing career. RuPaul does not play that game. It knows that the queens will go back to performing in gay bars just like they were before. Sure, they might get to go to bigger and better gay bars, but there are no crossover stars. The stakes are low, but that only means there's nothing left to lose.

Truth. He’s also right to note that Ru’s extremely gay “little show” is really the only thing of note the Logo network has going, which makes you wonder about the wisdom of their decision to abandon a strictly LGBT programming identity for their new “no labels” tagline. But I digress—which is exactly what I’m looking forward to watching the delightfully incoherent Tammie Brown do on next week’s celebrity impressions-themed episode, hopefully just before that crazy queen sashays away.

J. Bryan Lowder is a Slate assistant editor. He writes and edits for Outward, Slate’s LGBTQ section, and for the culture section.

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