Monday, April 12, 2010

RPDR: Golden Gals

Last time on Reading Rainbow: the girls had to come up with a concept behind their autobiographies. Along with a title and a cover, they had to do a satellite interview where they dropped in the title of their work and the newest flavor of vodka from a certain sponsor. Raven was awesome from cover to cover, but Tatianna and Jessica found themselves in the discount bin. Tatianna’s confidence was thrown into question while Santino called Pandora’s style “coke whore”. Raven won the challenge, but Jessica got shelved.

We’re down to the fabulous five. Who will sashay away?

The girls enter the workroom and for some reason Juju is carrying Raven on her back while wheezing like a grandmother. Tyra interviews that everyone is sad that Jessica left because everyone liked her. We see her goodbye message: “I love you girls Viva P.R.!” Yay, Project Runway! Or is that Public Relations? Juju reads the message and says “Puerto Rico”. She interviews that she is okay with Tatianna still hanging around, but acknowledges that the others probably don’t agree with that position.

Everyone thought that Jessica was going to make it to the Top 3. Raven asks Tatianna why she did a double take when Ru told her to stay. Tatianna says that she thought that she was going to be sent home. Raven twists this into Tatianna believing that she shouldn’t be here. Man, Raven is really into turning that screw. Tatianna says flat out that she is tired of having to defend her confidence every single week.

Tyra asks what everyone thinks of the judges. Pandora flatly says she loves the judges, but I think she is being sarcastic. She interviews that the judges like her humor but hate her style. Pandora doesn’t know how to impress the judges if they can’t get around her fashion choices.

Before we get an answer to that quandary, we get some SheMail. Ru starts with a quote about women over the age of forty having to choose between her face and her ass. Ru speculates that that quote’s author did not consult drag queens. Ru warns the girls that their future will be staring at them right in the face. Juju immediately guesses that they will have to wear fat suits. I think we may be seeing that challenge next season. Pandora supposes something involving babies and old people. Juju takes another stab at it and proposes ovary removal surgeries for the queens.

If you think things aren’t already weird, you have to see what Ru is wearing when he enters the workroom. Black slacks, a beige coat, a white shirt with red stripes, and a blue engineer's cap. It’s amazing in that each individual article is a complete mismatch with every other piece in the ensemble. Good lord. Anyway, Ru says the mini challenge involves matching baby photos with all twelve contestants from this season. The winner will be the queen who makes the most matches in the least amount of time. The challenge is called “Ladyboy Baby Boy”.

Raven goes first and we see all the photos, which range from toddlers to maybe first grade. The only oddball photo is Mystique’s, because it is Mystique’s current head superimposed on a baby’s body. Yeah, that’s gonna be in my nightmares tonight. After the girls finish, we get a rundown of the correct answers. Ru explains that Mystique’s photos were lost in a fire, which is why they have the doctored photo. Juju only got eleven but Tyra got all twelve in 57 seconds. Pandora got all of them right as well, but it took her a minute and 24 seconds. Raven took a minute and six to get all twelve. Tatianna also got all the matches, but she did it in 51 seconds so she won the challenge.

Before we hear Tatianna’s prize, we get a description of today’s challenge. Ru tells the girls they will have the chance to grow old gracefully. He then invites in some guests, which are five older gentlemen. Tatianna interviews that she has no clue what is about to happen. Ru goes on to explain that the openness and relative freedom of expression that we have today is available in large part because of the work accomplished by the previous generation. Today’s challenge is for the queens to show their gratitude by transforming one of the guests into a drag mother version of their persona – a Golden Girl Makeover. Oh. My. God.

As the winner of the mini challenge, Tatianna gets first pick and she gets to match up the contestants with the other guests. Tatianna goes with Michael, a writer. She gives Don, a retired teacher, to Juju. Edward, a displaced mortgage accountant, goes to Pandora. The former ballroom dancer Dustin goes to Tyra. Steven, the bearded real estate broker, goes with Raven. Raven knows what Tatianna is trying to do but is not intimidated. RuPaul tells the girls to show that Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent run in the family.

The girls get some one-on-one time with their new mamas. Juju takes Don through a walking tutorial while Raven and Steven talk about their drag experiences. Meanwhile, Michael looks at Tatianna’s heels and explains that they are far too high for her to walk in without trouble. Michael has a limp, which Tatianna didn’t seem to notice when he walked into the room. Whoops.

When we get back from commercials, Steven is showing off his belly button piercings. EWWWWWW. He’s got all sorts of stuff skewered in there. I’m half expecting to see his house keys hanging from there. He has a safety pin in there that he ADJUSTS while he shows it off to Raven. No no no, no no, no. Raven is much more diplomatic but says flat out that the piercings will not be making their runway debut in this challenge. Thank you. Raven interviews that she thinks the point of the challenge is to respect your predecessors while encouraging them to reach a higher level of fierceness. I can get behind that philosophy.

Over at Pandora’s workstation, it looks like Miss Boxx has a smitten kitten on her hands. Pandora is aware of this. Meanwhile, Juju and Don have a disagreement over how to make Don’s face appear thinner. There really is an art to that. My face is not really fat or thin, but playing on the Dragulator I managed to make a look that made it seem like I was at least 100 pounds heavier. Not hot. Anyway, Juju and her mom start to bicker, but in a somewhat playful way.

We rejoin Michael as he enunciates that he is “a challenge.” Tatianna interviews that he can be “theatrical.” That’s a polite way of saying that Michael wants to be Frasier Crane. Tatianna goes on to list the challenges, such as not working with a tighter body and perhaps a little less flexibility, both physical and mental.

Ru enters for the walkaround and starts with Juju and Don. Or should I say “Contessa Touche”? The plan is to go for elegance. Juju interviews that the biggest issue right now is Contessa’s confidence. Raven and Steven (“Golda Lamé”) fully acknowledge that the challenge here is the full beard. Raven knows that Tatianna’s move was cocky (which got bleeped for some reason), but Raven is ready to turn this out.

Tyra’s concern with Dustin is that she has never done anyone else’s makeup before. Tyra doesn’t like doing her own makeup, so she is not really jazzed about working on another person’s face. Ru moves over to Tatianna and asks her why she picked Michael. Tatianna says she went with the face and eyes. Ru asks what Tatianna’s strategy was with the other pairings and she claims she didn’t have one. I call no waysies, and sure enough Tatianna interviews that there was a bit but she didn’t want to broadcast it to the room. Just own it, girl.

Ru greets Pandora and Mama Boxx, who will go by the name “Litter”. Litter steps behind Pandora and says that the umbilical cord is still attached. This is the first time I’ve noticed Pandora look uncomfortable this entire season. Litter offers a demo of her walk.

With the walkaround done, Ru gathers everyone to share some announcements. First, the guest judges will be the CEO of NYX cosmetics, Cloris Leachman, and Debbie Reynolds. Oh awesome! Also awesome: The queens will need to perform a lip sync duet with their moms to RuPaul’s song “Main Event”. Pandora is less than thrilled with this news.

The drag mamas are practicing walking and dancing in heels while the contestants work on costumes. Tatianna recaps the challenge as we see clips of the moms and daughters strategizing. Michael runs through the requirements and offers suggestions on how to proceed. That doesn’t jibe with Tatianna’s strategy of performing without a plan. Huh. Interesting. Juju comments that Michael looks pissed.

The girls get some time to practice on the mainstage. Juju and Contessa practice walking and posing. Juju tells Don to pretend he’s Celine Dion, but he only half-heartedly complies. “Do you feel sexy?” Juju asks. Don shakes his head. “Confidence! Without confidence we’re Tatianna.” Boosh.

Tatianna and Michael practice their choreography. Apparently Michael used to work at a disco, so Tatianna believes he’ll be more connected with the music.

Back in the workroom, Pandora and Litter discuss wardrobe. Pandora is concerned because the judges haven’t liked her style and she sees her options as limited. We then see her browsing through some rather garish prints. Pandora interviews that if her style is “bad fashion” then mama is getting bad fashion.

Tyra and Dustin are working on choreography. Remember, Dustin is a former ballroom instructor and Tyra doesn’t do choreography lessons. This should be interesting. Actually, it looks like Tyra is a bit more receptive this time around because she wants to show the judges that learning and teaching are being reciprocated between drag mother and daughter. However, Dustin keeps changing the choreography, so Tyra is growing concerned.

Raven asks Golda if he has ever worn panty hose. She says no. Then Raven asks if he can do a running back handspring. Hehe. Raven interviews that Golda has really bad eyes and that situation won’t improve when the lights are shining on them. Golda is very slow walking in heels and seems to have a Mr. Magoo approach to the presentation. Raven is just hoping that Golda can make it through the runway show.

The Boxx girls practice their dance on stage. Pandora interviews that neither of them really know the song, so the lip sync is going to be a bit of a mess. At least the choreography is looking okay.

We rejoin Raven and Magoo, the latter of which will be receiving an extreme makeover from the former. Ick, it’s a full-body job with the clippers. Raven is just as squicked out by having to shave her mother. We jump ahead and see that there is still some stubble, but that was a major transformation.

The drag mamas chat with each other about their concerns. Magoo is overwhelmed by memorizing the lyrics while Michael is exhausted by all the activity involved. Juju says to Raven “none of these bitches better die overnight.” I believe Tim Gunn would call that a “Make it Work Challenge.”

The next day everyone is getting ready for the mainstage. Litter Boxx is wearing Crocs – way to throw Pandora under the bus, mom. Raven recaps the challenge for us yet again. Raven shares that at first she thought the challenge was kind of weird, but now she is really bonding with her drag mama. Aw. The same can’t really be said for Pandora, who seems to become increasingly uncomfortable with her mama. I mean, wouldn’t you be too if your mom showed up dressed in that Sarah Palin Gun Totin’ Red White and Blue Bikini? Litter also keeps flirting with Pandora, but in that creepy Uncle Arthur sorta way.

We hop over to Tatianna and Michael while they converse about Oscar Wilde. Specifically, “who is Oscar Wilde?” Michael throws a bit of a shit fit. Both Juju and Contessa are shocked that Tatianna asked that question. Michael tells Contessa “we’re here to educate the young.” He starts to lecture Tatianna that “there is a pantheon one should learn,” but she interrupts him so that she can put some makeup under his eyes. Contessa tries to join in on the lecture, but Juju isn’t welcoming the distraction. She interviews that she wanted to tell Contessa “Mom, get your shit together.”

The girls start making final preparations. Tatianna frets about the time constraint while Tyra is concerned that her mom’s body isn’t fabulous enough. Bring on the duct tape. Yikes, it looks like Tyra is going to go through the whole roll, and Dustin is already a skinny guy.

Mainstage. It looks like Ru may have wiped out a village of purple muppets to make her dress. She welcomes Cloris, Santino, Merle, Debbie, and NYX chick. We get challenge recap number five before the runway show starts.

Raven and Golda are first. Golda still isn’t comfortable walking in heels, but she does smile throughout. Wow, Raven did a great job on the hair and makeup. The Boxx girls are next. They have kind of a Gypsy Rose Lee vibe. As they walk off the stage, Litter breaks away from Pandora to get a little more face time. Nice touch.

Juju and Contessa enter. Juju loves the look but Contessa looks a little lost and uncomfortable. Tatianna and her mom Annalisha enter. Tatianna did a pretty good transformation in that Michael is not recognizable. The limp issue doesn’t seem to be playing a factor either because it looks like Annalisha is wearing a rather tight dress. She starts to flirt with the panel. Tyra and Big Tyra are the last to go. They are wearing matching outfits, but for some reason Tyra decided to give her mom a Phyllis Diller makeover. I don’t think that was her intention, but if it was she really did a remarkable job.

Now the queens will perform the duet to “Main Event”. We get a montage of all the performances. Tatianna brings Annalisha onto the stage in a wheelchair. Pandora is overselling the lip sync a bit. The Tyras do well with the cha cha they rehearsed. Juju gets into the performance, but Contessa freezes on stage and just sort of bobs in place, not even mouthing the words. At the end of their routine, Raven carries Golda off the stage because mama is a little too tired to make it by herself.

All the queens return to the stage, the mamas sitting on stools and their daughters standing beside them. Raven introduces her mom, Golda Lamé. We see a before and after transformation. Ru comments that they have the same makeup while Santino likes that they coordinated without being too matchy matchy. Debbie liked their lip sync but Golda’s dancing was something to be desired. Oh, we see a closeup of Golda and she has fake lip studs just like Raven’s. Nice touch. Raven thanks RuPaul for the challenge because it allowed her to meet Steven who was active in the gay rights liberation movement.

Pandora introduces Litter Boxx. Pandora’s goal with the makeover was to do a more mature version of herself. Debbie says Litter looks like her and Litter agrees. Merle liked the energy and comedy, as did Santino and Cloris.

Juju shows off Contessa Touché. NYX Chick doesn’t really like Contessa’s hair, and I have to agree. It looks like a bad Midwestern highlight job. Cloris thought that Juju oversold the lip sync while Merle thought that “mama’s lip sync fell apart.” Contessa looks like she wants to cut a bitch.

Tatianna presents Annalisha. NYX Chick and Merle both hate the brown lipstick. Debbie loved the use of the wheelchair (which she calls a walker for some reason). Cloris thought they were funny.

The Tyras are last. Yikes, we get a closeup of Big Tyra’s face and it looks like an entire case of makeup was used just on the eyes. Santino likes the hair. Merle likes the wardrobe, but thought that the makeup could be toned down a bit. Debbie really liked the dancing.

Parent teacher conference time. Merle loved that this challenge brought out Raven’s sweet side. Santino thought that Litter Boxx outshined her daughter. Cloris found Juju’s lip sync exaggeration so jarring that it took her out of the performance. Everyone thought that Tatianna made some very good choices for this presentation. Cloris gives the Tyras a 10, but Merle thought the makeup was a bit much.

Only the daughters return to the stage. Ru explains that at this point it is not about weeding out the worst in the competition but finding the best of the best. Tyra Sanchez is declared safe. Tatianna also impressed the judges and is safe. Um, problem: Raven, JuJu, and Pandora are the only other queens standing. I don’t want any of them to go home! Pandora is told that she is funny, but her mom upstaged her. Pandora is up for elimination. Raven gave the most dramatic makeover and had the best mother/daughter connection and is the winner of the challenge. Both Raven and Steven win spa vacations at Palm Springs, which they can both enjoy after the Race. That means Juju is also in the bottom two.

Worst. Bottom. Two. Ever. One of my faves will be safe while one of my other faves will be going home. The time has come for my faves to Lip Sync for Ya Life. Don’t fuck it up, girls! Tonight’s song: “Shake Your Love” by Debbie Gibson. Huh, I never thought of that as being all that dragtacular. Pandora interviews that she hates having to compete against Juju. Juju finds being in the same position weird. Raven interviews that Pandora isn’t really giving off star quality. Juju and Pandora hug when the song finishes.

Okay, need to take a moment. Alright. What’s the verdict Ru? Jujubee, shantay you stay. She starts crying. Whoa, Pandora looks PISSED. As she shasays away, she takes a pratfall, smiles, dusts herself off, then scampers offstage. At least she’s being a good sport about it. That is until she gets backstage and complains that the judges are being harsher on her than on others. “What I brought here wasn’t what they were looking for. Fuck ‘em.” There was no smile after that last statement. I cannot wait for the reunion!

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