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RECAP: RuPaul's Drag Race Episode 3


Are the girls ready for prime time?

Group challenges on RuPaul's Drag Race are always a mixed bag (as are the puns that spill from Ru's mouth every episode). When they play to the various strengths of the group members, they can be fabulous; lady wrestling, anyone? But as this week's sitcom challenge proved, the results are more often flat when the groups don't have strong leaders and everyone focuses on their own work and not the big picture.

After splitting into pairs and beating each other's mugs for mug shots, Willam (and don't you dare add an extra "i"!) and Madame LaQueer are pronounced the winners and group leaders. This week's challenge is to perform a scene straight out of TVLand (if TV stood for transvestite). Reminiscent of the Golden Girls episode when the ladies are hauled into jail because they're caught up in a hooker raid, the two groups must perform scenes that revolved heavily around double entendres involving nuts and beavers. Both scenes are performed in front of Max Mutchnik, the comic genius known for creating Good Morning Miami.

Mutchnik is notably acerbic, even for a Drag Race judge, but the queens give as good as they get. "Why don't you correct RuPaul when he mispronounces your name?" Mutchnik snaps after Willam throws shade. "Because she's holding a $100,000 check," Willam answers back. The only ones who impress the dour man behind NBC's Four Kings are Latrice Royale (who is awesome) and DiDa Ritz, who takes on the Bea Arthur role and nails it. Sharon Needles ("Hate the name," sniffs the man who gave America Shit My Dad Says) boldly does a daffy voice; Kenya Michaels and Madam LaQueer struggle with their accents, both real and, in Madame's case, put on.
(Sidenote to the editors: When the Pit Crew are dressed in their usual tiny briefs and cop accessories, please give us more of them than the big girls' titties. I love me some Latrice, but I love me some hunky, half-dressed men more. And I'm guessing the majority of Logo's viewership does, too.)


There's some serious dressing room drama when Sharon Needles reveals herself to be an innately insecure, good person, and approaches last week's team leader Phi Phi O'Hara to apologize for throwing her under the bus during judging. It doesn't go well, of course, and among other choice screams were Phi Phi's "Go back to Party City!" and Sharon's "Tired-ass showgirl!" Doesn't Phi Phi know that Sharon Needles is America's alt-sweetheart?

The queens wear their red carpet couture for guest judges Nicole Sullivan, Mutchnik and Billy B. (yay!). As usual, this is interpreted as widely as possible. "Brooklyn prom!" Michelle Visage shrieks when Jiggly takes the runway. Sharon Needles gives you Elaine Stritch as Carol Burnett; Chad Michaels looks like Cher on her way to Florence Welch's harem slumber party; DiDa heads out with some seriously ashy knees; and Milan looks fabulous in head to toe gold.

The sitcoms are... leaden, I guess is the word. The judges cackle good-naturedly, but they're mostly only impressed with Latrice and DiDa. In Sharon's case, Mutchnik employs all of the skills he honed while writing for Boston Common to rip her apart. Sharon gives him some much-unappreciated backtalk, and he retires in a huff. Mostly, however, the editing keeps everyone's critiques to a bare minimum. But Willam's team beats out Madame LaQueer's, and Latrice is announced the winner, thrilling everyone. And despite her prickliness, Sharon Needles is safe, leaving Milan and Madame LaQueer to lip sync for their lives to Pink's "Trouble."

"Pointer Sister," Jiggly snips in confession about Madame, and it's hard to argue: This is a queen who does nothing but point during her performance. Milan, however, is doing all of the most boring tropes she can, from doing the splits to ripping off first her dress and then her wig. "This isn't a wig off," Willam calmly points out. And I don't get why anyone does that when they just got a lesson last week from DiDa in how to serve lip sync, but Milan stays and Madame sashays away. She doesn't get why she's in the bottom two, to which I can only say what we say in the South: "Bless her heart."

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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Mark Peikert