RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 6: Episode 5on March 26, 2014 at 10:20 am
Hello, and welcome to the SNATCH GAME! We’ve got special guest Oliver Sava from the AV Club for an exciting discussion about drag queens, jokes, and superheroes! I’ve been reading his work about RuPaul’s Drag Race for years, and when I saw that he’s also one of their top writers about comic books, I knew this was a guy I had to meet.
Chad: First of all, EVERYONE is excited about the Snatch Game each season. But pretty much anyone would agree that the actual event is usually a shit show. Any ideas why it grabs our imagination so much?
Oliver: It’s usually the moment that we really see which queens are going to cut it each season. Because it’s an all-around test. They need to be able to capture the celebrity’s look, their behavior, and show some semblance of wit in their responses and interactions.
Chad: I agree with that, but here’s what I think the real hook is: It’s all about the build-up, the guessing and anticipation: which character will each queen pick? Will it be a total trainwreck? Oh god, WHY would she choose HER? And the pay-off is the TRANSFORMATION, the one queen who totally blindsides you with her brilliance.
Oliver: Yeah I think that’s why each Snatch Game is such a thrill.
I loved Bianca on the Snatch Game. The look was flawless. The puppet was genius. And Judge Judy gave her free reign to interrupt and read a bitch because that’s just who Judge Judy is.
Chad: See, I love Bianca, she’s totally Top 3 material. Girl should get her own damn show. But frankly, I’m surprised she DIDN’T dominate the Snatch Game. She had the character down, the aggressive, in-your-face attitude. But it mostly felt like an insertion of catchphrases rather than the sheer improv genius that other queens like BenDelacreme came up with.
Oliver: Dela was just so clever and so graceful. There was something so smooth about her and Adore’s performance. While Bianca is harsh and abrasive, but so entertaining.
Chad: I think the other element missing from Bianca’s performance was the sense of transformation–Judge Judy was almost TOO perfect a fit for her, so it didn’t bring with it the sense of wonder.
Oliver: Same with Adore–A little TOO perfect of a fit.
Chad: See, I actually was really surprised by that performance. Did you think she had it in her?
Oliver: No. It was the night’s biggest surprise. Her body language alone had me cackling. And the inflection. Gillian was right when she said it was performance art.
Chad: Agreed! Because Adore hadn’t demonstrated that level of character acting before, it was stunning and the most successful transformation of the night.
Chad: It seemed like we barely saw Courtney and Darienne this week–were their performances lacking, or didn’t they fit the narrative?
Oliver: Everyone that was safe was barely featured, except for Joslyn, who is surprising me more and more each week. I would love it if Joslyn beat Courtney, considering how much of a Courtney superfan she is.
Chad: HA! Joslyn is so wonderful. I hope she’s a breakout star of the season. I LOVED her deadpan “Cummin” delivery.
Oliver: I loved all of Joslyn’s answers.
Chad: “Can I have a Pinot Grigio?”
Oliver: Joslyn’s “Mr. Sheffield” killed me. Chills down my spine.
Chad: She’s so unabashedly goofy and good-natured.
Oliver: Miss Congeniality, personified.
Chad: Like, the world is not pure and good enough for Joslyn.
Chad: So, Darienne: I LOVED her deranged facial expressions and outrageous wig.
Oliver: I don’t know if this was filmed before the whole race scandal, but if it wasn’t, Darienne dropped a ball there.
Chad: On one hand, I TOTALLY agree, but on the other, I don’t blame her for staying far, far away from any racially tinged humor.
Oliver: Dela was so so smart: The cursive writing, the “woman out of time” conceit, those facial expressions…
Chad: Here’s what I especially loved about Ben’s performance: The wild, magical interactions that spring up from her wit and devotion to the character.
Oliver: She had the best interactions with RuPaul and the celebrity guests, made everything seem effortless.
Chad: I love that she took an outrageous character, and all her interactions just spun out the premise further. When a clueless queen tries to clock you, you MOP THE FLOOR with them.
Oliver: And Trinity was so clueless—Can’t believe she didn’t write an answer for a shitty wig change.
Chad: Well, that’s the thing–for the past 2 or 3 years, this show has focused on queens with a quick wit and fierce performance skills. It leaves queens like Gia Gunn and Trinity in the dust. And frankly, I think the show’s focus makes for FABULOUS television, but I feel a little bad for the more traditional queens who are great at what they do, but not viable contestants.
Oliver: If you’re not a viable contender, then you just don’t win. If you get on this show, that is a victory in itself. Being gorgeous and cunty might get you in the door, but you’re going to need to do way more than that to succeed.
Chad: Were you sad to see Gia go?
Oliver: Hell fucking no. Her horrible attitude during her exit made me ashamed that I ever rooted for her at any point.
Chad: “You guys are all still dudes!”
Oliver: Way to demean the art form you’ve dedicated your life to! Gia actually showed some talent when it came to female impersonation, so it’s really disgusting to see her completely shed all her dignity when things don’t work out the way she wants.
Chad: I look at it this way: Gia made for good TV. I NEVER root for the “bad girl,” but I did enjoy the cattiness of her commentary. I think she’s fairly close-minded about drag, and she stayed true to character during her departure.
Chad: So, we covered almost everything I wanted to. Except: Milk.
Oliver: I liked that we saw where Milk’s reluctance to go glam comes from. Shocker: it’s insecurity. He’s probably the most traditionally masculine contestant on the show out of drag and is afraid that if he tries to go for an ultra feminine look, he’ll get called out for things that aren’t intentional.
Yeah, bitch. It’s called learning.
Chad: Milk wore some STUNNING looks to the opening events–that elaborate lacy number, the monstrous black gown…
I’m curious whether he came to embrace that side of his style during the show, or only after he left.
Oliver: Well yeah, after getting critiqued on the show, I hope he would take those criticisms to heart. If Einstein corrects your equation, you better be listening.
Chad: Ha! I would have LOVED seeing Milk outdo Ru on that stage, in some ridiculously huge wig and heels.
Oliver: Thats the thing: you go out there and risk ridicule, but hopefully learn something in the process.
Oliver: My favorite moments are when we see how their drag personas are reflected out of drag. I loved Ben’s moment about how there are qualities of Dela that he’s applied to himself in order to become a stronger person. These people become the heroes they need in their lives.
And, in turn, make themselves the hero of their stories.
Chad: You and I both love superhero comics, and I suspect that’s part of the reason we’re also such fans of drag culture.
Chad: The idea that you can transform yourself into something greater, beyond your own limitations.
Oliver: And then how that transformation relates to the person you used to be.
As I mentioned, he also writes about comics, cartoons, and more! His “author page” is a good place to find all that fabulous stuff.
(To the right: Oliver Sava, serving up “genderfuck shitshow.”)
Thanks for reading, everyone! Time for my own plugs: