RuPaul’s Drag Race season 11 episode 4: The p***y is political

Charlie Jones March 22, 2019
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RuPaul's Drag Race queen Yvie Oddly.

Yvie Oddly slays on Drag Race. (Netflix)

RuPaul’s Drag Race knows how to make us feel Grease-y—by mentioning the T word. Was Trump: The Rusical the one that you wanted?

RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 11 Episode 4: Trump the Rusical, the verdict

How much Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent was episode four packing?

Overall: C.U.N.

If ever there was a week to sack the Season 7 syndrome slowly enveloping Season 11, this was it.

Yes, it may have been another acting challenge—but these aren’t normal times, and this wasn’t the usual Pharma-f-u-to-the-viewers-Rusical.

Drag Race deserves its dues for setting up camp in the middle of a minefield, but let’s not pretend it didn’t get maimed. It also, however, produced some of the most inspiring, and horrifying, personal narratives seen on reality TV.

Season 11 queen Yvie Oddly.
Yvie Oddly screams ‘orange alert’ on Drag Race. (Netflix)

Lewks: C.u.

Category is: Orange alert. 

Both Yvie Oddly’s Kellyanne Conway and her runway look were serving my Fanta-sea. She won this episode—all other opinions are fake news.

Shuga Cain’s concept was cool, but not that orange-inal. We’ve seen boy drag on the main stage, and a blue suit doesn’t scream orange alert. Maybe if she was in a giant Cheeto costume, or something..?

The rest were even less a-peel-ing.

Shuga Cain serves Trump on Drag Race season 11.
Three guesses who Shuga Cain is channelling. (Netflix)

Challenge: C.U.n.

Clearly there are many, many, many (repeat as necessary) issues with the Trump White House. But one of them is that it is almost impossible to parody.

I think it’s because he’s not an interesting type of evil, he’s not some House of Cards­-style Machiavellian genius we’re all dying to figure out. He hides in plain sight as a repulsive, incomprehensible mess.

There’s not much you can do with someone who is both uninteresting and unpleasant. Especially when hyperbole doesn’t touch reality.

So you can’t really parody—though Ginger Minj gives it a great go—only copy.

Ginger Minj plays Trump in Drag Race season 11.
Ginger Minj returns to steal the show in Trump: the Rusical. (Netflix)

Look, I love that Drag Race went there, I really do. As we saw, the personal, the p***y, the poof, is all political. And I can forgive the messiness, the lack of clarity, overcrowding and disparity of roles (Miss Vanjie didn’t have a chance as Rosie O’Donnell). But the script needed to offer either:

  • A clever, pointed critique of Trump from a drag viewpoint


  • Some sort of campy, inspiring counter-narrative

And it didn’t. Trump marks his territory over way too much of our lives, and we let him p*ss all over the safe space of Drag Race without adding anything new to the conversation.

Frankly, Aquaria’s Snatch Game was a wittier parody than this whole episode.

The challenge may have offered more false hope than Ra’Jah’s dancing ability or that Brexit petition, but it did come through on one thing.

Drag Race Trump the Rusical: the p***y is political

The best thing about this episode was that it woke us up to the queens’ past political experiences.

Nina West

“I ran for student government… I came home and there was ‘fag’ carved on my door, paper shoved underneath my door threatening me, the next night there was this voice distortion on my phone saying, ‘Dirty faggot we’re coming to kill you.'”

Nina’s harrowing story of abuse was a direct rebuke to anyone who says Drag Race shouldn’t try and cover political issues. It is a political act just to exist as a drag queen, and however successful—or otherwise—the challenge was, it’s fantastic that this show doesn’t pretend to be neutral or apathetic to that reality.

Also, if you’re not that familiar with the Matthew Shepard murder please watch The Laramie Project.

Mercedes Iman Diamond

“Muslim is not a terrorist.” 

Argh. Jesus. What a world we live in where a queen’s closing remarks have to be that. Gross. And while it was uncomfortable watching the first Muslim queen sashay away on a Trump challenge after losing a lip sync to “Living in America,” I was glad she felt comfortable enough to tell her story.

I wish she hadn’t felt the need to apologise for not sharing last week—and that Yvie hadn’t told her she was ‘robbing children of the chance to get to know Muslim drag queens.’ She’s not obligated to educate the world; she can just exist if she wants to.

But she left her mark on the show, which isn’t easy leaving this early. Opulence excellence.

Silky Nutmeg Ganache

“Re-movement of the districts… Get smarter than them, register as a Republican.”

In 2012, the Democratic candidates for the House of Representatives won 1.4 million more votes than Republicans, but got 33 less seats—largely because of gerrymandering.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Silky may have just started a movement to undo the damage caused by one of the most harmful practices in US politics. Stan.

Michelle Visage vs. Joel McHale

“Are you mad at me, Michelle?”

Michelle Visage and Joe McHale spar during Drag Race.
Michelle Visage is over Joe McHale’s buffoonery. (Netflix)

Michelle being over the college-bro-invading-a-gay-club was a politi-cool mood.

Drag Race season 11 episode 4: we still need a cull

Yvie and Vanjie have been Mueller’ing the main challenges, and Silky has been eating up the mini ones. I’m legit rooting for them all.

I’m also a bit interested in Brook Lynn and Plastique—but I doubt I’ll ever root for them, and neither give decent talking head.

Shuga, Nina or A’keria could pull a Naomi and emerge as a late threat.

But the rest? I have no room for you. Please just go.

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