RuPaul came into 2020 hot — red hot! Though we already had a calendar chock full of RuPaul's Drag Race, Ru was going back to the world of scripted television with a little Netflix show called AJ and The Queen.
If you aren't familiar, AJ and The Queen follows along a trope we have often seen in drag on screen: drag queen goes on a cross-country tour. In this version, RuPaul plays Ruby Red, a drag queen who has raised enough in tips, over the years, to open her very own club. And that's what she intends to do until her boyfriend steals all of her savings from her and runs off with it — a scammer. So Ruby embarks on a cross-country trip to compete in a drag pageant, in hopes to raise the money again and finds that a pre-teen has stowed away in her RV. Meet Ruby the Nanny.
Each episode of the series features a different stop on the road trip (and more Drag Race alum cameos) as the pair are pursued by the ex-boyfriend and his partner in crime. As you can expect, Ruby and the kid, the titular AJ, develop a bond, which is left a bit on a cliff hanger at the end of the first season. Well, now RuPaul has announced that it's the end of the line for their story.
"End of the road for AJ and The Queen," she tweeted on Friday. "Netflix has decided to not extend or road trip across America. Thank you for all the love and support. We're so very proud of the work." Truly a tragedy.
If we're just going to be completely honest with you, the show didn't have great writing. The comedy could be extremely insensitive and borderline problematic at times, seemingly pulled from someone's decade old back of the bar setlist. In addition to that, of course, Ru is no one's Meryl Streep. That said, there was a charm to AJ and the Queen that was infectious, making us bingewatch the entire thing. Raven, Curtis William, and Zaldy put Ru in some of her best drag in some time. The moments where the jokes it, they truly hit. And then there were the performances.
When you think about it, we don't really see RuPaul lip sync anymore. Though she sits at the head of the judging table for what are undoubtedly some of the most watched lip syncs ever, she's very rarely up on stage any more. So it was downright refreshing to see her, even in a highly produced Netflix series, get back up in drags, put on a track and just groove to the music. Sure, there are a few stunts and tricks, as is basically required for any lip sync these days, but in one scene where Ru is trying to encourage Chad Michaels to give it her all for a Cher performance, from just a small sway from side-to-side, that the queen has still got it.
Here's to hoping they can take the show to Showtime or something.