RuPaul's All Stars Drag Race: Handmaids to Kitty Girls
March 1, 2018 9:27 PM - Season 3, Episode 6 - Subscribe

A twist foreshadowed in the previous episodes finally comes to light and the queens must audition for RuPaul's new girl group, the Kitty Girls. Spice Girl Emma Bunton ("Baby Spice") and Adam Lambert guest judge.

Vulture kind of hated it.

AV Club kind of dug it.

Everybody else needs to get here so we can TALK ABOUT IT OMG.
posted by merriment (29 comments total)

Well. That was interesting. And kind of bullshit?

Like, I recognise Dela’s decision was kind of a whole package, and would have been less effective if she’d brought back someone else, but, seriously, that was bullshit.

And also amazing.
posted by misfish at 12:09 AM on March 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

I got this spoiled so the impact was muted. I think it was wise of Dela to surrender herself, 1) because it was BULLSHIT to have the top 5 queens become the bottom three and really none of them did deserve to go, and 2) because the emotional toll of continually sending people home was obviously getting to Dela and I can imagine in her shoes thinking, well, I've already won nearly half of the total prize money anyway, it's not worth it to have to keep doing this. She gets, as Thorgy pointed out, the congeniality points, while also genuinely having proved she is a top competitor.

As the whole thing reeks of producer meddling anyway (was Dela reealllllyyy a top performer in her group this week?) I would have liked for the winning group to have been the returning queens, making the whole thing more vicious. Although logisitically that wouldn't have worked, because obviously the winning lip-syncer of the top 2 would have picked themselves? The whole thing is just messy.

Dela picking Morgan to return as a personal reconciliation is kind of meh to me, but the whole social machination aspect of All Stars turns me off in general (can't wait for season 10 and the return to genuine competition). Morgan didn't shine in the challenge, Aja did. I am definitely biased towards Aja, but I think she was much better in the challenge and that should have been the criteria by which the returning queen was chosen.

Also the bitching next episode about Morgan being able to come back at this late stage, having missed a whole bunch of work... That's going to be intense.

More points:
- GOD BLESS Chi Chi for her self-awareness that she is not going to be winning material this time round. "I don't want to be the Roxxxy of All Stars 3" omfg. Love you girl!
- What a boring lip sync. Obviously neither of them wanted the responsibility of the bullshit decision to be made. Interested to find out Bebe's pick next week.
- I'm glad my girl Trixie is still in but I find her manner on the show so perplexing. Her stuff live and on youtube and social media shows such a different side of her, and if I didn't already love her from that I wouldn't be keen on her at all going by the episodes. She comes across as pouty and bored a lot of the time. Maybe it's because she hasn't got a good friend to bounce herself off a la Trixya? I hope she peps up a lot in the coming weeks- with fewer queens she may have more space to shine, and an acting challenge next week will hopefully play to her strengths.
posted by mymbleth at 4:46 AM on March 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

I was recently spoiled for Ben's exit as well, but knowing in advance, I did admire how the decision was set up in the editing throughout the episode. I'm sad about the result, though, (and not just because it tanks my previously very successful fantasy league standings) because it's been a joy to watch her nail it again and again this season. I hate to see her go.

Did anyone else think that lip sync was kind of bullshit all the way around, though? And that Aja deserved to come back, if anyone did? I also thought that seeing the eliminated queens pretty much failing to shine against the remaining queens (except for Aja) just proved that the season's whole Ruvenge twist was somewhat ill conceived.

God, Thorgy is the everloving worst. But Chi Chi is an angel on earth. And Milk is still awful, but I want to learn to cry that picturesquely.
posted by merriment at 5:04 AM on March 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

Holy shit, I fell off the couch, gay-gasped, clutched at my wife's hand, and shouted "what is happening!!" to an unreaponding universe.

When she said "this is the easiest decision I've made all season" it rocked me back, because who on earth would be that cold? And then it was herself and I felt like I'd ducked a punch only to be kicked in the ass. I just can't. I get the whole ethic of it, but Lordy there was a lot of cash on the line.

Other non-holy-shit thoughts:
1, RuPaul surely does hate a wig coming off with nothing underneath. Watch her face fall as Bebe seals her fate.
2. Aja deserved to come back. Sending a Queen home from the winning group was weird bullshit, but I could have made peace with swapping Kennedy for Aja.
3. My love for ChiChi grows every time I see her.
4. Shut up, Thorgy. Really. Just shut up.
posted by donnagirl at 5:06 AM on March 2, 2018 [4 favorites]

The first thing I have to say is that Amazon sucks. We cut our cords and had subscribed to this season via Amazon video. Somehow this episode managed to have the final lipsync cut out, but still included the preview for next week. I had to find the actual lipsync on a react vid. *Still seething*

Anyway, I'd like to offer a thousand praise hands to Ben DelaCreme. I watch way too much competitive reality television and I've seen many, many people change into versions of themselves that they didn't like over the course of a season. They seem to forget that there's always a choice; they can walk away.

You have to remember, DeLa said that her experience left her with some major post-show depression and sucked the joy out of drag .(episode 1. ) She'd basically removed herself from the top tier drag scene for five years. If she could walk away from her drag career, walking away from this show is no big. Also, DeLa didn't sound eager to join inter/national circuit post Drag Race. She'd create a life apart from drag for herself in teaching drama (according to her tweets). I think the decision was hers. After all, if the show was against obvious frontrunners they would have brought back Peppermint or put Willam in Alaska's Season.

As for Miss. Thorgy, bitter Betties never prosper. Ask Phi Phi O'Hara how all the televised ungraciousness usually shakes out.

Aja you lost because you're a drag queen who can't tell the hair '60s from the hair '70s. Bebe didn't owe you anything.

Also, I'm fine with Morgan coming back because she had more to show. We hadn't seen Morgan since season 2; we just saw Aja LAST SEASON. In terms of exposure for gigs, I think this decision was kind, even if it wasn't the fairest. And let's be real, Aja was never going to win.
posted by CatastropheWaitress at 7:40 AM on March 2, 2018 [4 favorites]

The always-insightful and delightful CatastropheWaitress (reader, I'm married to her) has managed, somehow, to bring me around on this episode. Some of my gripes remain (I was bored to tears during the way-too-long gripe sessions in the first half, and also MORGAN, WTF BEN?!?) but my initial outrage at BenDeLa for walking away from all of this was unjustified and really more about my personal desire to see her win. So yeah, you're right and I was wrong.

But I'm still disappointed about choosing Morgan over Aja. I agree Aja's chances at taking it all this season are sliiiiiiiim, but she earned the top spot on her team this week. Actually, the most surprising thing about this season for me is how much I enjoyed Aja's drag. You made a believer out of me, girl! (A close runner-up for "most surprising" is the repeatedly poor showing by ChiChi, but I love her to death regardless.)

Also: Milk is still a lukewarm mess, which is like a hot mess but a whole lot less interesting to watch. Ditto for Thorgy.
posted by duffell at 8:39 AM on March 2, 2018 [3 favorites]

I totally knew that if Ben won he would bring back Morgan but I did NOT see him sending himself home. I agree that the setup for him choosing himself was pretty clever, what with the "I can't send __" home for every queen he chatted with.

Also agree that the gripe session/airing of the grievances at the beginning was tiiiiiiiiiiresome. I wanted to skip it.

I thought for sure Bebe was going to win the lip sync and then she pulled off her wig. Girl, no. You've had a lot of seasons to view that will help you remember that Ru hates that. Aja's commentary about there being nothing under there was perfect. And Aja during the challenge was also perfect. She should have been brought back. Can't wait to see who Bebe chose next week - I'm guessing Aja in, Trixie out.

I don't even know who I'm rooting for anymore. Shangie or Trixie, I guess. Probably Shangela more, though. Team NOT BEBE OR KENNEDY. I'm here for Morgan's hilarious evil eyebrows, though.
posted by urbanlenny at 8:56 AM on March 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

Also: this episode was a clear time that a Spice Girls song should have been used as the LSFYL song. Come on.
posted by urbanlenny at 9:00 AM on March 2, 2018 [7 favorites]

Okay sorry also, also: what's included in each episode in terms of the standard episode setup has varied so widely this season. We haven't had much of the post-elimination "let the music play" dance party. This week there was no runway to speak of. I feel like a couple of times they didn't do the gag with the judges doing something kooky during the backstage elimination discussions. Many of the episodes are wildly uneven in the breakdown of the pre-challenge, prep time, challenge and runway elements of the show, despite most of the episodes going over time. I like the queens in this season but the production choices are kind of wrecking it?
posted by urbanlenny at 9:05 AM on March 2, 2018

Ugh Milk is the *worst*.
posted by sixswitch at 9:36 AM on March 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

No, gotta say Thorgy is the worst. Bitter bitter bitter. She is just coming off as the most unpleasant person.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 3:11 PM on March 2, 2018 [8 favorites]

from /r/rpdr: the report from BenDela's viewing party last night
Someone in the audience asked why she didn’t choose Aja, considering her superior performance. Ben pretty much reiterated what she said on the show about why she brought Morgan back. She felt like Morgan didn’t get the chance to showcase a lot of her drag because she was out first. She talked about how Drag race is one of the sole platforms in drag and felt like Morgan had the most to gain. Apparently she is one of the few queens from the season Ben texts regularly.
posted by roger ackroyd at 4:54 PM on March 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

I just...have...a lot of thoughts? They are all over the place.

Like. Milk. Honey. It’s really not anyone else’s responsibility but yours to be aware enough to know when you’re being a douchebag? God bless. Also when she talks I keep hearing Gretchen Weiners from Mean Girls.

Thorgy is just bitter forever. When I first saw her entrance video I was kind of excited because she seemed so fun and quirky but man, she has got to learn to let stuff go!

I wanted to shake Shangela on BenDeLa’s behalf when she kept saying that BenDeLa needed to pull herself together and get on with things. NEUROTYPICALS. I swear. IT ISN’T THAT EASY FOR EVERYONE, SHANGELA. I may also be super projecting. Music major flashbacks, you see.

Chi Chi is just the sweetest, so funny and charming, and it was nice to have her talking head back for an episode, she’s such a little oasis for me. And she’s so, Milk, if you want some lessons on self awareness, maybe hit Chi Chi up?

Aja killed everything. I get why BenDeLa didn’t pick her to come back - she is absolutely going to skyrocket outside of the Drag Race hothouse. She’s shown us that she has a ton to offer and isn’t going to rest on her laurels. She is so fun and sparky and she’ll just keep getting better and better.

Bebe. Beautiful. Sometimes a little haughty and rude (LET AJA SPEAK 2kGAYTEEN!!!). But beautiful! Though why she did a wig reveal to nothing, I can’t figure out. Is she the sort to throw a lip sync? Like did she not want to choose any more than BenDeLa did? We may never know.

Morgan is sharp and pointy and spiky but I can totally see how she’s one of those I Am Your Angry Loyal Friend For Life Now kind of people. And she’s funny! I’m glad we’ll get to see some more of her.

Trixie is Trixie, I like her, I like her talking heads a LOT. I figure it’ll come down between her and Shangela, if she keeps staying out of her own head. She looked adorable in her cotton-candy Baby Spice drag, and I’ll always be a sucker for sarcasm. Maybe don’t call Bebe old again though.

Kennedy, like Bebe, sometimes strikes me as haughty and rude. But she’s a killer performer! When she’s ON HER STUFF, you can’t take your eyes off of her. She makes some questionable decisions sometimes (the wig? with the bangs? noooooo...) but she’s undeniably fierce, and I like how she didn’t babysit Milk.

And...oh, DeLa. What a lovely moment. She knew what was best for her. And she is walking into a bright, bright future. She’s a capital-Q Queen for life and a true legend. Knowing when to walk away for your own sake is not an easy skill to learn.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m heartbroken and totally think she could have gone all the way but also, she absolutely gagged RuPaul and that’s the best thing I’ve ever seen (despite being new to RPDR, I’m familiar with the T-word controversy and I have never been thrilled with Ru’s handling of it, so...sorry, but this was very satisfying for me). Ru looked like she wanted to set DeLa on fire with her brain. And then DeLa walks out with, “Thanks for letting me be my own kind of winner!”

God. Effing. Bless. I will be Team DeLa for the rest of my natural life.
posted by angeline at 7:27 PM on March 2, 2018 [9 favorites]

I like the idea of the queens eliminating each other, but this season shows how that plan is flawed when there’s a clear front runner. It’s boring to watch Ben figure out who to eliminate every damn week, and obviously she didn’t enjoy it, either.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:34 PM on March 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

I just realised that this is totally the AS of 1981:

Bebe Zahara Benet - March 20, 1981 (age 36)
Morgan McMichaels - May 28, 1981 (age 36)
Kennedy Davenport - September 11, 1981 (age 36)
Shangela - November 22, 1981 (age 36)

The only one left not born in 1981 is Trixie, who is born in 1989.

And of course:

BdlC - September 24, 1981 (age 36)

Naturally, there's nothing to this, but whoa.

(the rest:
Thorgy Thor - May 25, 1984
Chi Chi Devayne - September 24, 1985
Milk - June 23, 1988
Aja - January 4, 1994)
posted by urbanlenny at 7:40 PM on March 2, 2018

urbanlenny: I don't even know who I'm rooting for anymore. Shangie or Trixie, I guess. Probably Shangela more, though. Team NOT BEBE OR KENNEDY. I'm here for Morgan's hilarious evil eyebrows, though.

I know! I was going to say it was Ben's season to lose, though my wife pointed out that Ru loves Bebe, so I thought it was going to be the two of them 'til the end ... but now? Kennedy, Shangela and Bebe. Sorry, Trixie, you're not in a place to compete this season. And Morgan is lacking ... something, I'm not sure what. All that said, I'm rooting for Trixie, because she's like the most at this point.

I realized that a lot of these queens have trouble facing reality show drama and criticism, and their defenses become how they're characterized, and defeated. And I can understand it - it seems grueling and exhausting, between creating a look or two (or more) and then performing once (or twice) per episode, and on top of that the background drama.

urbanlenny: this episode was a clear time that a Spice Girls song should have been used as the LSFYL song.

My wife pointed out that Spice Girls songs are probably pretty expensive to get the rights to use.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:33 PM on March 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

Like. Milk. Honey. It’s really not anyone else’s responsibility but yours to be aware enough to know when you’re being a douchebag?

When he said, "It's just like when Alexis Michelle wore that blue dress on stage and no one warned her how basic it was!" I was like... Can not tell if a self-aware joke or not? Because it seemed like it was said sincerely, but how does he not know that Alexis's meltdown about that was widely reviled and mocked? But maybe I just don't get Milk's sense of humor?
posted by merriment at 7:48 AM on March 3, 2018 [3 favorites]

Having briefly seen Milk perform live I can certainly say that he does seem to have an...offbeat? Yeah I’ll go with that...sense of humor.
posted by angeline at 5:12 PM on March 3, 2018

Am I alone in fully believing that practically everything about this season is manipulated and staged? So many things feel completely fake. I don't trust anything to be 100% real or left to chance. I think the editing supports a specific outcome and each week's "winners" are selected to specifically engineer the predetermined direction for the show.

- I also am firmly in the camp that believe the rumors that Bebe is some sort of "mole" (maybe not a true mole, but definitely not simply just another contestant). She is coasting like crazy and I am not seeing anything in her presentation that merits the level of praise she gets.

- I believe that during "The Bitchelor," Michelle was not actually present on set- I think all her bits were edited in later, especially the line about "don't talk over each other", specifically to call attention to how Milk's actions affected Trixie's performance. It's just such a random thing to say... it just did not ring true.

- I don't believe for one second that Shangela was planning to do Miss Cleo for Snatch Game. She worked for Jenifer Lewis, she lived (maybe still lives) in her effing basement! He has her castoff clothes! He channels her like nobody's business. But for some reason they thought it would be good TV to set up this whole Miss Cleo switch and make it seem like Shangela changed her mind. I call so much BS to that. It was always going to be Jenifer Lewis.

- I think Ben's whole exit was known ahead of time and planned for. I think there was collusion to ensure Ben would win the lip sync, and that's why Bebe pulled her wig off. Something had to happen to ensure beyond a doubt that Ru could not/would not pick Bebe- so as part of whatever "insider" role Bebe is playing, they pre-set that she would do something everyone knows that Ru hates (a wig pull with nothing underneath but bare head/wig cap). Otherwise WHY did Bebe do that? It added nothing to her performance and is just unlike her. They knew what Ben was going to do and they needed to ensure that would be the outcome.

Something about the whole All Stars format just feels like a colossal mindfuck. Ru barely registers; it's like he just sits back and watches them all wallow in their insecurity. I've read several articles that share the mindset of that Vulture article and feel it's jumped the shark.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 8:19 PM on March 3, 2018 [4 favorites]

girl I don't know but I am here for Saturday night conspiracy klatch
posted by roger ackroyd at 8:50 PM on March 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

I concur that there's something fishy (and not that kind of fishy) about this season. I've been re-watching All Stars 2 semi simultaneously and in that season there was still an emphasis on the queen's actual performances in the challenges (well, apart from the whole Rolaskatox shenanigans). This season the challenges seem almost incidental, and definitely not as consequential as they should be- I agree that there is something very weird about the way Bebe is coasting through.

Not quite on board with full-on conspiracies of rigging/staging beyond the expected for reality TV, but I do think the editing is extremely heavy handed to make the interpersonal conflicts the core of the programme, rather than the skills of the competitors. It couldn't be any other way once you give the power of elimination to the competitors, really.

The All Stars format just isn't the same beast as RPDR proper and I don't like it half as much- I don't know if that means it's jumped the shark or just that it can't be considered by the same criteria as the main seasons. Like, for a lot of viewers what they want from the show is all the drama and backstabbing and overblown personalities and big shocks and twists, and RPDR Season 9 was criticised by that crowd for being too polite and therefore boring. But to my taste, Season 9 is my favourite season because all the competitors were high calibre and no-one was there just for the gifable moments or to get a villain edit- so it actually was a competition based on skills and performances in the challenges. So by having the two shows they can cater to everyone? Maybe?

Well anyway, roll on season 10, I say, because I'm fairly over AS3. Team Miz Cracker!
posted by mymbleth at 3:09 AM on March 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

Y'all need to hit up your dealer for some weed that's a little less paranoia-inducing.
posted by duffell at 5:22 AM on March 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

I_Love_Bananas: I think Ben's whole exit was known ahead of time and planned for. I think there was collusion to ensure Ben would win the lip sync, and that's why Bebe pulled her wig off. Something had to happen to ensure beyond a doubt that Ru could not/would not pick Bebe- so as part of whatever "insider" role Bebe is playing, they pre-set that she would do something everyone knows that Ru hates (a wig pull with nothing underneath but bare head/wig cap). Otherwise WHY did Bebe do that? It added nothing to her performance and is just unlike her. They knew what Ben was going to do and they needed to ensure that would be the outcome.

If there's truth in this or not, I think Ben's constant winning (which she deserved) was taking a toll on her. And my wife mentioned that there was speculation (or direct evidence?) that Ben didn't want the pressure of being the Face of Drag Race All Stars and all that comes with it (do they still participate in the Drag Race Tour? The last season I see that mentioned was for Drag Race Season 5, per Wikipedia), and decided to bow out a three-time winner. I'll always love Ben, and moreso now that I learned her "devastating power of well-aimed niceness" is a drastic change in drag persona, from when she was Tina Angst in Chicago -- an angry punk-rock drag girl with pink and black dreadlocks and a crazy temper.

Bebe, on the other hand ... meh. Ru treats her like drag royalty already, so I'm considering this season's winner a foregone conclusion. But bringing Morgan McMichaels back might make things interesting, but not solely for the drama. She's fierce, and she might get the other queens to do more (or at least be more real?) -- TBD.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:48 AM on March 5, 2018

Tbh I'm sort of glad to get two back-to-back reasons to stop watching.

Sasha Velour nails it.
posted by supercres at 2:15 PM on March 5, 2018 [7 favorites]

I was super confused by RuPaul's comments particularly because of Peppermint, as I had understood that she had transitioned before the show (maybe I don't quite have the timing right, but she identified as a trans woman on her season, so). It seems to me that RuPaul is equating being a woman with having body parts associated with being a woman. Such a strange (and disappointing) understanding of something he should know better about, though he is also the guy who had "You've got she-mail" on the show for five seasons, so... not so surprised. Ugh.
posted by urbanlenny at 3:57 PM on March 5, 2018 [2 favorites]

Definitely time for someone to Ru-tire.

Other queens chiming in -

BenDeLaCreme: My partner of almost three years is trans, and #bendelachrist help anyone who tries to tell him what he can and can’t do. Just sayin’.

Courtney Act: The revolution is intersectional and so is drag.

And Willam, who owns up to having made transphobic remarks in the past (and got roundly called out by Courtney on them) is currently going off in multiple Instagram posts.
posted by angeline at 4:02 PM on March 5, 2018 [4 favorites]

Rupaulogized... but didn’t take down the PED tweet. He’s not THAT old, is he?

Agreed that some rules make sense, IF he really wants to limit to the cis male gay contestant pool (which would be shitty), but there’s no line that one can draw relative to past contestants and any sort of decency.

Disqualified by being female identified? Peppermint. Disqualified by having implants? No one’s buying “I had my pecs done”, Detox. (Plus, what’s the difference between that and butt/hips?)

So if it comes down to hormones (as the PED tweet implies), that’s medical. No one is taking them for a competitive edge. They’re gender-affirming. To say otherwise is more transphobic than a throwaway tweet or two can get you away from.
posted by supercres at 8:03 PM on March 5, 2018 [5 favorites]

The Shangela tweet replying to Ben's is... interesting in the context of this episode.

Watch the use of the name #BenDelaChrist. They might buy the hype but u know I know the truth. And I will Air the building. I won’t engage in disagreement w/ fans as everyone is allowed their opinion on a situation. But u & I know the facts, and it’s not anything close to Christ.
posted by urbanlenny at 5:31 AM on March 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

Shangela walked that whole thing back almost immediately on her own feed. Followed by Ben's response. And peace was achieved in our time.
posted by merriment at 6:58 AM on March 6, 2018

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