If only Monica Beverley Hillz was here…
1. Cynthia’s second Drag Race funeral was a little more…mercenary than her last one. Whereas last time everyone agreed that Cynthia was a sweetheart who’d give you the clothes off her back and the lipstick off her teeth to help you get a look together, the girls of Series 9 were more interested in scavenging the corpse for what titles they could give themselves. Shea proclaimed Peppermint to be the Lip-Sync Assassin of the season due to the brutality of how she dispatched with Cynthia, complete with feigned shotgun blast to the head. Which seems fair enough. The only real contender to the crown so far that I can see is Trinity, and she was too busy proclaiming herself to be the New Cucu to care. I’m not really feeling this leading to Cynthia being crowned the first ever two time Miss Congeniality to be honest, but stranger things have happened. In other news, Nina had decided that her triumph as Jasmine Masters at Snatch Game was the beginning of a brand new day, and that she was going to proceed into the rest of the competition with confidence (oops). Or maybe that was Shea Coulee going into another lengthy rousing speech on her behalf again. I know that Shea is in the lead at this point, but not even Usain Bolt ever took his eyes off his own lane to this degree
2. Oh also
Trinity almost pulled Valentina’s boy-tits off. The agony and the ecstacy.
3. Yet AGAIN there was no Mini Challenge this week, as Peppermint got granted the plum role in the challenge just for having put Cynthia out of her misery post Snatch Game. I mean, I know it was a favour but could they not have got her the position via a rigged photoshoot or a wordgame played out on the Pit Crews’ dicks? Whatever got her there, it was put on Peppermint’s shoulders to assign roles for this week’s challenge, a scripted comedy (NO WAIT, COME BACK, IT ACTUALLY TURNS OUT TO BE ALRIGHT) skit based around a drag version of Beverly Hills 90210. The queens swiftly divided into the younger queens, led by Farrah, preening that they were far too young to understand any of the references (everyone acting appalled that Farrah was born in 1993 was hilarious as well because if anything I would have placed her as younger), and the Alexis Michelle queens, led by Alexis Michelle, who wanted to make damn well sure you knew that Beverly Hills 90210 was their LIFE. So it was incumbent on Peppermint to get the goddamn roles right. Which for the most part she did, except for Aja, and I couldn’t really blame her for that, given that the first words out of her mouth were “I like all the parts”. Still, apparently, “I like all the parts” actually means “if I don’t get to play one of the one note bitches I will pull
this face until you change it for me, and then pout even harder that you’ve made me feel like I was being annoying and awkward when I TOTALLY WASN’T”. But other than that minor hiccup, yes, smooth sailing. Peppermint gave herself the bland lead, Nina and Aja were to play the bitches, Valentina and Farrah the popular kids, Sasha the drunk lunchlady, Shea the 50 year pregnant old abstinence club captain (? I didn’t watch 90210 ever so I have no idea if that’s analogous to anything but I repeat ?), Trinity was the mom, and Alexis…was some sort of ghost/evil twin/mirror spirit or something idk. Mostly she was just Alexis.
4. Speaking of Alexis, here is Sasha’s face when Alexis decided to tell her that she had had an intense sex dream about her.
The agony and the ecstacy.
5. Mostly my write up of the challenge is going to be a love-letter to Jennie Garth and Tori Spelling (recovering nicely from her bout of mild AIDS from way back in Season 1), who were the special guest directors for this challenge, and were adorable the entire goddamn time. Whether it was this amazing attempt to show the girls how to do stage violence
or them whispering in a corner because they were worried that Nina Bo’Nina Brown Fernandez Versini was going to kill them in their sleep or them talking about mass dance scenes like the very thought was brining back long buried PTSD or them peer-pressuring Peppermint and Aja into going the whole hog and
snogging with tongues for their climactic lesbian makeout scene or just them high schoolishly and snottily declaring their everlasting enmity for Tiffani Amber Thiessen (aka “That Which We Do Not Speak About”) they were a delight. There wasn’t really a lot of drama in the filming (Nina doesn’t enunciate, Sasha overthinks things, and Farrah isn’t too bright apparently, I know, I’m shocked) so thank God they were there to give the episode a little juice before we got to the business end.
6. The high school setting of Beverly Hills 90210 stirred up a lot of memories from the queens, specifically of prom. Valentina, you will be unsurprised to hear, was Prom King (I’m sure nobody voted for anybody else how could they SHE’S LINDA EVANGELISTA). Alexis, you will be even more unsurprised to hear went in
full drag including a massive wig and too much blusher. Trinity on the other hand didn’t go to prom because her mother had did of AIDS which she caught as a result of being an intavenous drug user to numb the pain of being a stripper, and as a result there was nobody to look after Trinity’s grandmother throughout Trinity’s last two years of high school, when she was suffering from cancer. So yeah, Trinity’s lived. Of course, instead of letting this substantial moment of backstory breathe, the show then crammed in familial cancer stories for both Shea and Sasha, including the revelation that Sasha is a bald queen in tribute to her mother’s chemo related hair loss. I’m not saying I DIDN’T want to know this, but it, like so many other things, could have fit into Untucked instad of plinky plonky black and white piano crap, and given us all more room to breathe.
7. When it came time for the challenge, it was obvious that the contestants were in a series of head to head (to head) battles for who best filled their particular niche.
Battle Of The Bad Bitches : Nina was playing the OG bitch, the Shannon Doherty, who quit midway through the run to do “some show about witches” whereas Aja was playing the replacement bitch who swans in for the last few seasons and everybody forgets. So it’s possibly more due to the scaffolding they were working with than any innate acting talent that Nina came off marginally better than Aja. Marginally. By a hair’s breadth. They were both pretty terrible though, Nina putting her emphesiseseisises in all the wrong places, and Aja just relying on a hairtoss and a snide tone. Honestly you’d think drag queens would excel in the bitchy roles, but no.
Pitfight Of The Protagonists : Peppermint and Farrah were arguably the leads of the script, in that they had a lot of screentime but barely any jokes (or at least not jokes that couldn’t immediately be one-upped by somebody else) which meant they had to carry a lot of the narrative and rely on natural charisma. Which is why it’s a surprise and a little disappointing to me that Farrah came out marginally ahead, as Peppermint continues to bobble along not really delivering on the insane charisma she shows in talking heads. Admittedly Farrah came out marginally ahead via the medium of
smoosh-smoosh sad faces, which she’ll show you every 5 seconds around the workroom for free, but I guess you have to work with what nature’s given you.
War Of The Wacky Side Characters :
Shea, Sasha and Trinity all drifted in and out of the narrative playing old and creaky, old and tipsy, and old and desperate, and I’m sure anybody who’s been reading this blog for more than 5 minutes knows which of those is my favourite flavour. I’m not sure she deserved to win, but Trinity was a scene-stealer par excellence, sleazing up the walls, spilling pills everywhere and pulling
fantastically ugly faces. By contrast for me Shea was pushing it a bit too hard and Sasha was…well I don’t know what Sasha was doing but she missed the blatant comedy cue of drunkenly skidding in Shea’s waters when they burst all over the cafeteria floor.
Bonfire Of The Valentinas : The clear highlight for me of the whole episode though was Valentina. Both as an hilarious physical comedy presence in and as of herself, switching from
dazed and dreamy doe-eyed innocent to
libidinous one pot screamer in the blink of an eye, and also as an hilarious counterpoint in the scene where Alexis was supposed to be playing an evil mirror image of her
I mean, that’s just cruel isn’t it? I actually think Alexis did enough this week to deserve top 3 but that Valentina didn’t win is an absolute crime.
The Stylists vs The Pit Crew
Nobody won this one. Nobody.
8. And time for another runway rating! The theme this week was Big Hair.
Valentina : It’s a Diana Ross reference, so it’s an automatic good score. Really is pretty inexcusable that she didn’t win this week.
Trinity Taylor : Particularly when her strongest competition turned up wearing this. This…thing makes Valentina officially the last queen standing in terms of not having really misstepped once on the runway, well done. The outfit looks like a melted Lisa Frank Bob Mackie fed through a shredder, and that old lady’s muff on her head…
Aja : Aja on the other hand finally turned it out for her final runway. Her make-up was right, the dress was right, the hair was right. It was *right*
Nina Bo’Nina Brown : I can’t blieve we’ve so suddenly reached a point in the series where I’ve started dreading Nina’s avant garde looks rather than eagerly anticipating them but…girl, a lion or a leopard. Pick one. And either way leave Mel B’s tatty cast-offs at home.
Shea Coulee : A strong showing here for Shea’s neon-trash aesthetic. It looks like ice-cream candy floss suds just spilling out of the top of her head. And the ATTITUDE.
Sasha Velour : I cannot think of anything more Sasha than her stomping around in this outfit saying she was doing a really good job of being unpredictable and providing a counterpoint to all the glamour. Like Sasha wearing THIS theme is unprediictable, and like she isn’t counterpointing glamour by coming out she found rummaging through Kimora Blac’s bins.
9. Although the judges toyed with the idea of dropping Sasha’s uninspired nit nurse into the botttom 2, she managed to show them she’d got the point before the hammer dropped, so it was a battle between the busted bitches, as Aja and Nina faced off in a fairly lacklustre lip-sync to “Finally” by CeCe Penistown. Really you could have cut either of them but Nina was marginally more appropriate in terms of her vibe and Aja got a little flaily at points and ALSO Aja has now been circling the drain for longer than Nina has. After Charlie’s churlish capitulation, Eureka’s high-drama departure, and Cynthia’s…collapse, it was at any rate nice to see a queen take her defeat in good humour and accept that she’d just about reached her natural limit in terms of who she could realistically beat in the competition (I guess she could have taken out Farrah but that’s about it). Hopefully she goes back to Instagram and starts to plan a suitably spectacular look for the reunion. I think she has it within her.
10. This week’s greatest Untucked Moment : Alexis referring to the script of Beverly Hills : 9021HO as “the text”. What a drama school goddess.