TV

‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Recap: Lesbian Bert And Ernie Say Anyone Can Be A “Superfan”

We are officially pro Crystal, whatever your Methy'd.

RuPaul's Drag Race s12e10 recap

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This week’s Drag Race drama wasn’t on the show: it didn’t even involve any of the queens. The superfan makeover challenge was controversial, after a couple of gay men complained online that it was ‘interesting’ that the six ‘superfans’ on the show were all cis-women.

“Do you think Drag Race‘s target audience has changed at all since the show started?,” a now-deleted viral-ish Tweet thread read.

“I dunno, I just think this would’ve really made a bunch of young queer kids’ lives, but I guess Karen needs to bring out her inner FIERCE BITCH for her son Laughklyn’s parent-teacher conference.”

Before long, Aquaria stepped in (and if any of you doubt that she deserves the crown, you haven’t paid attention to her post S10).

“Feeling unenthusiastic *already* to be reading some cis gays’ hot takes on why they hate women so much and how they shouldn’t be apart of tomorrow’s makeover episode of Drag Race because they’re… women(?) and fans of the show… like stfu and post your hole pic and move on,” she wrote

Let’s be clear: Aquaria is right (evergreen statement). Gay men’s possessiveness over queer culture is unfair and exclusionary to the rest of the LGBTIQ umbrella — we dominate queer spaces and culture, even though we didn’t create most of it (or start queer liberation/die at Stonewall).

Into these spaces, we also invite in straight women, who have long been allies, heroes, and inspiration for queer men. And to be fair, we actually don’t know if the six superfans in this episode are straight, but let’s just, for argument’s sake, say they are.

RuPaul waiting for COVID-19 to end so his workers can resume fracking on his ranch.

Underneath the dismissiveness of that tweet — where a (white, by the name choice) woman’s suburbian femininity means she’s worth disregarding — there is a real frustration at where straight women sit within queer spaces. Ask any queer man, and they’ll tell you stories of being tokenised by well-meaning women, or a bachelorette party taking over a gay club and ruining the night. It’s far from the worst experience, but it is demeaning to be treated purely as a novelty.

But it’s unfair to put that across onto all women, considering it’s by far a minority. And especially when drag has such a complicated relationship to gender — it’s a fine line between homage and mockery, and of expressing your own femininity while not punching down at someone else’s as less-advanced or critical.

When clubs finally open and I [redacted] [redacted] all night but miss my nose because it’s been a while, before getting McDonald’s on the way home — a tradition I’m so excited about I dress as Ronald McDonald on the night out, are you following this, it’s quite simple real-

Ideally, there’s mutual respect between gay men and straight women, but occasionally, the freedom within queer spaces can make both groups act poorly (and, to be clear, gay male misogyny is more toxic, as it’s subtle and all-pervading, from jokes about ‘platinum gays’ to treating women as props). In short, don’t trust a gay man who only hangs out with gay men: to quote Billy Eichner, “name a woman!”.

Drag, to borrow a RuPaul neologism, can open up a person to who they are, regardless of gender. It’s not surprising Drag Race has a huge straight female audience — it’s one of the few reality shows where femininity (not just appearance) is both deconstructed and idealised at the same time. Janet The Planet expressed that so well this episode: drag belongs to her as it much as it does to me.

This episode was a joy to watch because these fans find the makeover so liberating — their back-and-forths on the runway and witty lines show how comfortable they feel, even when they’ve been put centre stage ‘by surprise’ (for boring logistical reasons/how great ‘talent’ all six were, I don’t think this was a surprise at all).

At risk of swimming against the tide, this episode also really dragged its feet. Maybe it was the lack-of actual challenge in the challenge, as the queens bought their makeover outfits from home, and essentially just had to paint a face and train the girls for the runway and lip-sync.

There’s something lacklustre about knowing these queens bought these ‘makeover’ looks from home. The challenge loses its heart a little and feels a bit one-size-fits-all — well, except for Heidi, who seemingly needed to borrow one of Sherry’s dresses and so ended up in the bottom.

We’re Simply Not Talking About Secret Celebrity

No mini-challenge this week: we’re straight into the makeovers. Jaida gets to pick the pairs, and, serendipitously, matches everyone up with someone perfect for their personality.

Not wanting to disrespect Janet The Planet, this episode featured far more Sherry Pie than we’re used to. It was a bit of an insight into what S12 of Drag Race would’ve looked like, save for SP’s actions, and the queen is talented. She also had one of the best runways this week, as the makeover was capital ‘D’ drag — where Gigi’s girl just looked very pretty, Janet was transformed.

Petition to replace [redacted] with Janet The Planet! Motion carried, with an amendment that if you are reading this, you’re legally obligated to stream Arca’s ‘Nonbinary’. Democracy works, once again…

As was Crystal’s partner — and while we simply must stan Jaida Essence Hall, miss Methy’d really was robbed this episode. She’s really come into her own in the tail-end of the season but keeps just missing challenge wins.

Between this, the Ruscial and the commercial, Crystal could easily have two-three wins under her belt, but the show’s clearly decided she’s not a front-runner and has instead given them to queens with more storyline (not to say Jadia, Gigi or Heidi were undeserved winners, but more that the coin-toss was weighted towards them).

There’s still a chance Crystal could be in the top four, as that final spot is her or Heidi’s for the taking. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter — Crystal has proven she really does have CUNT, and is so charming and sweet that she’s found a legion of fans.

Wearing the shirt from last week’s runway in the werkroom? That’s nerve.

The win goes to Jaida, though, which ties her with Gigi at three wins. Where earlier the crown seemed to be the fashion queen’s, the last few weeks have seen the Goode stock slide, as her performances have been a little too pre-prepared.

Gigi grew up watching Drag Race, and it’s clear she’s come in knowing what will work for her and what won’t — but towards the end, she seems to be repeating her past successes/character types to limited success. There’s a lot of precision, but not necessarily the ‘spark’ that makes an exciting winner.

Stunning, but does it excite you?

It’s been a long time since a pagent-esque queen has won (excluding Trinity, but uh, AS4‘s end was a mess), and Jaida has so much to offer: her own designs, polish and a quick wit.

But hell, Crystal could maybe, maybe take it by surprise. We hardly expected Sasha to win S9, and the alumni caucus do seem to be saying her name.

Her name is Roxxxy Andrews, and she’s here to make it clear! Crystal Methy’d deserved to win this week’s challenge, and that’s why you can’t sleep at night, dear.

Family Resemblance? But There Aren’t Any Awkward Silences Or Alcoholics Present

The more I think about it, the more silly it seems that Crystal didn’t win. Her runway look was so clever: it gender-flips two ‘not gay’ Sesame Street characters, makes them the sickest lesbians out with garish fashion, and is the exact kind of risk that no-one else did this challenge.

This is the future we would have had in the alternate Bernie/Minogue 2020 universe (Dannii, duh, Kylie is busy and she would redecorate the White House with her Target range).

Whatever it’s fine. It doesn’t matter, we love Jaida!

The two candles that burnt down Britney Spears’ gym.

My inner saboteur realising that even it went too far this time…

This was not Heidi’s week, and it showed, as much as I love her, that her time is running out on the show. On the runway, the judges pointed out the things she could’ve done to make the looks more cohesive — sewing a whole outfit is a big ask, but painting a gap tooth isn’t. Her genuine “oh yeah!” moment on the runway showed that, for all her charisma, she hasn’t quite switched into gear to perform yet.

Similar to Gigi, she’s relying on repetitive jokes (“softtt and supple” and other one-liners she’s been throwing around since the beginning) and characters. Unlike Gigi, it’s not obviously planned before the competition and is much more endearing, so it doesn’t really matter.

Watching Heidi’s partner lip-sync and strut was so wonderful. What a gem.

Heidi ends up in the bottom alongside Jackie Cox — call it curse of the disco makeover. It was Miss Cox’s time to go this week, but she and Heidi both stick around due to a killer lip sync. Still, it all feels a little ‘eh’, since she’s (almost definitely) going home in the next two episodes. Like the rest of the challenge, there just wasn’t much tension.

Jackie’s drag daughter had a lot more charisma this episode, which was surprising. Maybe she’s just a little run-down.

Hate to give it to her, but SP had Drag Race’s most cutting read this week of Jackie, who was mighty confident in the werkroom. After a few cocky comments, SP said “oh, Jackie’s full on performing for our guests today!”, as if she was a little kid eager to impress the new kids at school. It’s truly the best come-down you can give a person.

The lip-sync, to be fair, was great from both queens, but it feels like they’ve previously sent others home for more. Next week, the queens have to put on a one-woman show — a real test.


RuPaul’s Drag Race streams on Stan, with new episodes available 1pm Saturday AEST, with Secret Celebrity following at 2pm.

Jared Richards is Junkee’s Night Editor, and is on Twitter.