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'RuPaul's Drag Race' fan react: RuPaul's tough decision

Season 8 | Episode 9 | “The Realness” | Aired May 2, 2016

At long last: We’re down to the final three in RuPaul’s Drag Race! Like I said last week, I didn’t know who would make it to the final three, because all four of the remaining queens — Bob the Drag Queen, Chi Chi DeVayne, Kim Chi, and Naomi Smalls — each have the necessary chops to become America’s Next Drag Superstar. Also, one of the most popular sayings from RuPaul’s Drag Race is: “It’s not RuPaul’s Best Friend Race!”

But it actually did become a best friend race this time around. All four of the queens have mad love for each other (to sound completely “’90s New York” about it). Chi Chi said herself that these remaining queens are the first best friends she’s ever had in her life. In short, it was tough to see any one of these queens leave the show. But, alas — Chi Chi was the one to bite the bullet.

I know I just said that any of these queens could be the winner, but since RuPaul had to get rid of someone, I think her reasoning came down to both Chi Chi and Naomi possibly leaving. Naomi is still saying, “I don’t want to put myself in a box,” but from the viewer’s perspective (and from the perspective of all the other queens, to be honest), Naomi is a supermodel queen, cut and dried. Naomi seems to be the only person who doesn’t want to own that title, even though she’s modeled herself after the classic supermodel divas of the ‘90s. I think Naomi thinks that accepting the “supermodel” title will make people think she’s shallow and all about appearance, but that doesn’t have to be the case. If you’re great at working a runway or a camera, that talent will shine through. You can’t be a supermodel without having supermodel talent, so if you’ve got the talent, own that talent!

In any case, Naomi’s innate supermodel talent (and her long legs) is what tipped her over the edge when it came to who would round out the top three. Naomi’s got an “it” factor that’s new and fresh. That’s certainly not to say that Chi Chi can’t be a relevant queen; she most certainly is a relevant queen. But Chi Chi could also be seen as a queen that doesn’t speak to the je ne sais quoi of the times. RuPaul defined the drag queen aesthetic for years after her “Supermodel of the World” music video, and RuPaul’s redefining the drag landscape again with the type of queens that have won RuPaul’s Drag Race.

From my recollection, the show has only had one true pageant queen win, and that was in season 1 with Bebe Sahara Benet. Ever since, the winning queens have always had a quirky edge, an undiscovered something, or method of reinvention. The most recent example is Violet Chachki, who borrows from ‘40s burlesque, but reinvents it to make it modern, edgy, new, and fresh. Naomi seems to have tapped into that ability as well with her aesthetic. Yes, she’s taking cues from Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista, but she’s also reworking those cues to make them something that modern kids — who are influenced by RuPaul’s Drag Race more and more these days — haven’t seen before. Chi Chi is a fantastic queen, but I don’t think she had as much of a “reinvention factor” as Naomi did.

Kim Chi, too, is a great example of a queen who is different from the standard “drag queen” definition. Kim Chi is actually a lot like a more fully realized Naomi Smalls; Kim Chi does lip sync and perform, but she knows that her uniqueness lies in her ability to turn out superlative, never-before-seen looks. Tom and Lorenzo’s podcast isn’t the first place I’ve heard the notion that Kim Chi could easily be the feature of a coffee table book, her looks featured on every page. It’s so true, and it’s also so indicative of where the art of drag is going. It seems like it’s going to be a lot less reliant on lip sync and the “old guard” way of doing things, and more reliant on social media events (such as Phi Phi O’Hara’s 365 Days of Drag Instagram project) and an even more expansive view of what drag entails and encompasses. Drag queens like Phi Phi, Kim Chi, and Naomi show how drag can be elevated to a high-art form.

To me, this means that drag queens who are intense performers will need to step up their game in order to match this kind of art. Basic lip syncing is no longer enough, in my book. That’s how Bianca Del Rio (who can lip sync) snatched the crown last year — by being the Joan Rivers and Lisa Lampanelli in drag, and that’s also where Bob the Drag Queen comes in. Bob — and to be fair, Thorgy Thor too — embues a liveliness and intensity that I’d consider “New Way” drag (to use voguing terminology). Bob, though, takes his lip syncs to the next level by combining them with social commentary and storyline. In every one of Bob’s acts (which you can look up on YouTube), it seems like Bob’s saying, “I’m here to tell you a story and to make you look at the world in a new way, so get ready.” Bob’s “Slave 4 U” act is, to me, the best summation of Bob’s funny yet socially relevant point of view. (Do yourself a favor and watch it!) Since Bob is also an activist, it makes sense that he’d bring a sense of activism to his onstage work.

I write all of this to say that I don’t know who’s going to win the crown this year, because all three of them have that “it” factor RuPaul is looking for. It’s going to be a photo finish!

Who do you think will win it all? Write about it in the comments section below!

RuPaul’s Drag Race airs Mondays at 9/8C on Logo.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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