“Are you ready to be the baddest b—- in school? Class is in session!” That’s right, last night was the season 2 premiere of RuPaul’s Drag Race spin-off RuPaul’s Drag U, where a bevy of Drag Race queens take dumpy straight women and make them over into glamorous…drag queens! It all takes place at a school somewhere “deep in the Lake Titty-Caca Valley,” as host RuPaul says in the hilarious opening credits. I can’t help but smile every time I hear him intone the words “Lake Titty-Caca Valley.”
To be honest, the season 2 premiere of Drag U wasn’t that much different than the season 1 premiere nearly a year ago. The show is still super inspirational, as you see these sad ladies go from from frump to fab in less than a television hour; it’s still the same pair-a-lady-with-a-queen format; and it’s still got all the same folks attached to it, like RuPaul and permanent judge Lady Bunny. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a good time to watch. For me, I’ve found that it’s all about the little things with Drag U. Sure, the main makeover point of the show is wonderful and all, but it’s all about the small delights, if you will. And here are a few of those delights, in my opinion:
++ The fact that you get to see your favorite queens from Drag Race on screen again. This week we had Shannel, Manila Luzon, and Raven (see: photo), but we’ll also be treated to Ongina, Mariah, Bebe Zahara Benet, Tyra Sanchez, Carmen Carrera, Morgan McMichaels, Pandora Boxx, and Jujubee this season. (What, no Shangela? Really?!?) Raven looked amazing last night — better than she did last season on Drag Race! — and was serving up some hilarious lines. “Really quick,” she told her charge, Denise, who was an especially tragic case, after she said she needed to pluck her eyebrows. “You pluck a chicken, you tweeze your eyebrows.”
++ The new “A Word from RuPaul” segments. Did you guys catch those? I loved that it was simply just what the title promised — a word from RuPaul. “Gherkin,” he said, very seriously. Hehehe.
++ The drag tips! Another exiting segmental addition to the show. “What do you do with old hose?” Jujubee asked viewers. Then she gave a half dozen options, including using them as coffee filters. Genius.
++ This line from the opening credits: “We here at Drag U are in the business of putting drag queen heads on women’s shoulders.”
++ The word “mangina.” Courtesy of contestant Rhonda.
++ When Manila Luzon fell off that chair.
++ The therapy-session nature of the whole thing. The best parts in the show aren’t watching these straight ladies — this week, Rhonda, Denise, and eventual winner Lisa — dazzle on the runway or lipsynch beautifully. No, that’s what Drag Race is for. What Drag U is about is transformation, beginning with the therapy sessions these ladies have with their drag professors. It all eventually culminates with the fact that these ladies can even feel comfortable walking a runway and dancing to a pop tune. It comes down to the fact that someone like Rhonda, so exhausted and feeling unpretty after having two kids, can end the show with this line: “Watch out, RuPaul! There is a new blonde diva in town!” Love it.
What did you love from the Drag U season 2 premiere? Did you find any small delights of your own in the show?
Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky