Wednesday, February 15, 2012

RECAPTION: Ru Paul's Drag Race Season 4, Ep 3

On this episode, Ru Paul introduced the queens to transgender YouTube sensation Piyah Martell. When they showed a montage of her YouTube clips, I wondered why she was always shot from a sort of MySpace angle from above. Turns out she was born with Caudal regression syndrome that stunted development of her legs.

For the mini-challenge, the queens had to design a butterfly-themed headdresses (since Piyah calls her fans butterflies). Of course, this had to happen in a ridiculously short amount of time.


Jiggly, Phi Phi and Kenya were together in a group, and their headdress shined above the rest, exuding true drag queen flair. But I died when it was Milan and Latrice Royale’s turn to show their headdress. The camera did a close-up of a headband with a piece of ribbon sticking to it. I almost didn’t notice that they attempted to actually use their butterflies (but they’d fallen off).

“The basis of making the headdress is to make sure you can actually wear it…We failed.”

Phi Phi and Kenya were chosen as team captains, and, once again, the big girls were left for last, Phi Phi choosing Jiggly penultimately. When Madame LaQueer went for the “It’s all good, girl” high 5 with her fellow Puerto Rican queen, Kenya totally dissed her!

The task for this mini-commercial was to make an infomercial for Ru Paul’s albums, Champion and Glamazon, which had to be prepared and ready to film in an hour and a half. As usual, there was plenty of tension with said preparations. As the queens planned their looks, Sharon Needles looked truly hurt when Phi Phi snapped, “Just put some white paint on your face and look gothic. That’s all we need you to do.”

Meanwhile, Milan decided she was going to try to “help” Kenya because of some perceived language barrier. Now, I never saw Kenya ask for help from Milan, but I did see Milan cutting Kenya off while she was trying to give ideas and directions. Even when Ru asked “Kenya, are you in charge here or is Milan?” Milan was the one to answer that they were sharing the leadership.

Damn, girl! It’s not like she can’t speak English. Let the queen talk!

There was a bit of a moment when Sharon Needles explained her angle to Ru. Sharon wanted to bring an “alternative” flair to her individual segment for those who thought Ru’s music was “too dancey”. Ru gave a how-dare-you look, and left her with the I’m-watching-you side eye.

"Who you finna try!"

Michele Visage and Ru Paul directed the infomercial shoot. Kenya’s team rocked it with their AWESOME 80s looks! The Princess really struggled with her lines, and she came across pretty emotionless when she was in front of the camera. Kenya’s leopard outfit with the bones was the perfect complement to her over-the-top and outrageous presentation. The judges loved it, too! Phi Phi really went for the Mexican stereotype but came out looking like a less funny “Lita and Melina” (I used to love them on Mad TV!). Jiggly went the Asian stereotype route, just like Manila Luzon and Jujubee (and Onjina?) did before her. Stereotypes are a bit uncomfortable for me, but even less so when they’re not done particularly cleverly or well. ‘Twas the case here.

Sharon Needles really seemed to receive a lot of hard critiques in front of the camera which made me think that she should have shrugged off Phi Phi’s leadership and prepped something more inventive for her individual segment. Dida Ritz’s Stepford Wives schtick also didn’t do so well in front of the judges.

They edited out the filming of the few of the queen’s individual segments.

When Ru Paul came out for the elimination, I kept thinking about Ghostbusters with that hair! But I did love it as well as the rest of her look.

"I got your ectoplasmic residue!" 

The guest judges were the most exciting for me yet: Glee’s Amber Riley (who did that oh-so-common awkward laugh that all the guest judges do when they don’t know how to respond to Ru’s greetings) and Natalie Cole! I wish one of them could have joined Ru to direct the queens’ shoot!

One problem I’ve had with the show is that they almost never tell us what the looks for the runway are supposed to be! We always have to wait til the judges are giving their final critiques to be sure. But this week, it was gold and platinum (a nod to Ru Paul’s album sales).

Looks that stuck out to me:
• Milan’s really knows how to work that skinny bitch look. Loved the Diana Ross hair.
• Chad Michaels’s look was extremely simple with a stunning silhouette. The painted forehead was a nice touch.
• Willam looked amazing. She was showing a lot of nipple to be a gender illusionist.
• Sharon Needles looked stunning for Sharon Needles. But her look wouldn’t have stuck out for me if this were the first time I saw her and I didn’t know how radically different it was from her usual style.
• The judges had trouble finding what the hell to say about Madame LaQueer as she teetered down the runway in her tiny heels. It was an awkward look.
• The Princess rocked her shaved head with no wig. Her makeup was amazing!
• I loved Jiggly’s look, especially her shades and hair!
• Latrice’s blonde and gold was a knockout. That short dress! Those hooker boots! Watch that walk!

Finally, they showed the two infomercials.

Team Champion!

As for Phi Phi’s group, Chad Michaels and The Princess in their opening dialogue came off rather awful to me. It seemed they weren’t committing enough to the over-acting (especially Chad’s fading in and out of the Valley girl accent). And given The Princess’s personality, she was an easy target to set up to fail by having her do extra dialogue. Milan, in her solo segment, was close to conveying her character compellingly. Madame LeQueer’s go-with-the-Spanish vibe was reminiscent of Alexis Mateo’s video to the troops, but Madame’s mix of Spanish and English didn’t come off nearly as polished on camera. Now, I could barely understand Kenya, but her individual segment was the most compelling in the group. Willam’s over-acting was under-cooked. And The Princess was just painful to watch on camera.

Phi Phi and Sharon Needle’s characters didn’t mesh at all in their opening dialogue. Jiggly’s solo section was disappointing especially since her dancing didn’t shine. Dida Ritz’s section wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be from her interaction with the judges. I thought it read quite well, but its succinctness probably helped. Latrice Royale brought it. Totally! Phi Phi’s performance really just wasn’t impressive. Her stereotype Latina after editing came off exactly like it did when she was filming. Sharon Needles felt the most committed to a persona. The judges gave her shit for not being funny while they were on set, but she did her thing.

Team Glamazon! 

I usually don’t agree with Michelle Visage’s critiques, but when she told Madame LaQueer (regarding her runway look), “The green reminds me of fungus.” I was right there with her! But when Michelle said that Madame’s individual segment included “a little bit too much Spanish,” the wording came off slightly bigoted. Her whole speech could have been in Spanish with a different delivery and worked better.

Um, Santino. You thought Chad Michaels was an “amazing” actress?! Well, I guess when you’re used to working with malnourished models.

Natalie Cole, who had hepatitis C, addressed Sharon Needles’s name, commenting (with a laugh) that it went over hear head at first. Talk about an awkward moment! 

Sharon Needles and Kenya ended up being judges’ favorites, and I totally agreed with their selection of Sharon as the winner. Princess, Madame LaQueer and Dida Ritz ended up on the bottom. That wasn’t as clear for me, but I could understand. Madame LaQueer seemed to be surprised that she was safe. But not as surprised as Jiggly, whose mouth hit the floor in those shades!

. o O (I can't believe that big bitch is still here!)

When The Princess and Dida had to lipsynch for their lives, Dida really worked the stage in the lip sync. The Princess barely got any camera time! I just knew The Princess was going home.

I was sad to see The Princess go (she was such a hot boy!), but I don’t think her drag was right for this competition.

During the Untucked special, Phi Phi stated that she thought she did extremely well in the challenge. She was mighty cocky about herself in my opinion. Milan also thought she bought it during the challenge. The conversation then turned to her group’s leadership. When Milan said that she stepped up because no on else would, Willam literally called bullshit. Milan’s response: she gave a mouth full of uncharacteristic shade! And when Willam said that Milan should talk to her on her on her level, Milan responded by getting down on her knees, quipping, “because you’re so beneath me at this moment.” Wow. And she’s usually so nice!

"AND ya shoes ain't that fly!"

And through all that tension, Latrice just sat there rocking with her fan and giving reactionary “oo”s and “mm”s! She kills me!


As usual, Ru had a surprise for the safe girls in the gold room. This time, it was a video from Jiggly’s brother. PS, it was the anniversary of her mother’s death. When I saw Jiggly go past the point of ugly cry, I wondered about the ethics behind rehashing that for the show. But it turned out to be a positive experience that comforted her at a difficult time.

That Absolut cocktail must have been quite comforting, too, because Jiggly sucked the rest of it down right after she recovered from the video!

When the other girls went into the Interior Iluuuuusions Lounge, The Princess confronted Sharon on Sharon’s opinion of The Princess’s voice. Sharon later said that she wouldn’t critique another queen’s drag expression, to which The Princes retorted “You said it. There’s no right or wrong. So why does it matter what kind of voice that I have?” They really got into it, and it ended up with Sharon basically saying that her opinion was her opinion, and she should be able to state it.

But Sharon brought up a good point: we’re in a competition… I like you, but somebody’s gotta go home.

Memorable quotes:

“I’m going for the gold, baby! Jackie Joiner Kursey has nothing on me!”

“I think I see her pink Cadillac!” –Ru Paul

“She’s serving some R2D2 realness! C3P-HO!” –Ru Paul

“In space, no one can hear you, queen!” –Ru Paul

“Like a nightmare come true.” –Sharon Needles

“Take a sip! Because you need to Absolut-ly need to shut up!” –Milan

“You’re so hammy, I wanna glaze you and put pineapple chunks on you.” –Sharon Needles

Click here to check out my recaption to RPDR Ep 4.2.
Click here to check out my recaption to RPDR Ep 4.4.

Click here to check out my trip to Melbourne, Australia. 

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