The Drag Race RuCap: Serena Chihuahua
Yes, it's time for another Drag Race RuCap, as this week's episode of RuPaul's Drag Race goes all meta with an episode that features the queens reenacting famous scenes from Untucked. Let's take a look at the shit that worked and the shat that Inceptioned.
We start off this episode with . . . something different. A cold open! Yes, instead of the queens returning to the workroom the day after the elimination to find the queen's mirror message, they for some reason return right after Penny Tration pulls out (I just realized I'm missing out on tons of fuck jokes here. Shit!) still decked out in last week's runway outfits. It's somewhat discombobulating, but it does set up two of this week's major themes: Monica Beverly Hillz is holding on to a secret, and everyone hates Serena Chihuahua.
No, that's not a typo. Allow me to explain: if you've ever owned a chihuahua, you know that they're cute little things, but all they do is bark and bark and yip and bark. Chihuahuas know full well that if they ever got into a scrap, they'd have their ass handed to them, so they run their mouths as a means of intimidation. This is the best way to describe Serena's presence on the show: while the rest of the girls have actually made friends and alliances (my money is on Ro-Laska-Tox), Serena has segregated herself from the others by being a tiny little brat who talks shit to mask a complete dearth of talent. Hey, just because you went to art school doesn't mean you actually know what the fuck you're talking about.
But enough about how much Serena Chihuahua sucks ass, because oooo girl, you got SheMail! RuPaul drops a bunch of hints about herstory and lip-synching before she gives the queens their mini-challenge: they have to get on their knees behind a bunch of RuPaul gloryholes and lip-sync a RuPaul number, and the winners get RuPaul's lollipop stuffed in their mouths. That is not a RuPaul euphemism. While all the queens do a servicable-to-decent job, the queens who get a mouthful of RuPaul's hot, sticky lollipop are Detox, Ivy Winters and (ugh) Serena Chihuahua. I guess she's more likeable when 99 percent of her body is hidden from view and she stays quiet.
As the winners of the competition, they get to be team leaders for the main challenge: the queens have to recreate famous Untucked scenes by lip-synching the dialogue. Now, I know this doesn't sound terribly hard, but lip-synching spoken word is actually WAY harder than lip-synching a song. Dialogue lacks the structure and rhythm of song, so having to lip-sync it requires precision timing and a photographic memory. Needless to say, they have their work cut out for them. Ivy, Honey Mahogany, Lineysha Sparx and Vivienne Pinay have to recreate Season 2's feuds; Serena, Jade Jolie, Alyssa Edwards, Jinkx Monsoon and Roxxxy Andrews get Season 3; and Detox, Alaska, Monica and Coco Montrese get Season 4.
For the most part, all the queens manage to work together pretty efficiently without any major friction, but each one has a major weak link in the chain: Lineysha Sparx's tenuous grasp of the English language is making it hard for her to get her lines down, and Monica's secret is keeping her from becoming fully invested in the scene. But it's Serena Chihuahua who has the biggest target on her back: she lacks any sort of leadership experience, her performance is hokey, and she's so far up her own art-school ass to realize she's a fucking moron. (For the record, she went to Florida State. Art school, my ass.)
When it comes time to perform the scene, the Season 2 group has to do fights between Morgan McMichaels (Ivy) and Mystique Summers (Honey), and Tyra Sanchez (Lineysha) and Tatianna (Vivienne.) Yeah, I know, it's weird to explain, but just think of it as a super-self-referential Snatch Game. There are no major flaws in their performance, with Lineysha pulling out a pitch-perfect impersonation of Tyra.
The Season 4 group ends up doing my favourite scene, as Detox and Alaska's reenactment of the Sharon Needles/Phi Phi O'Hara ends with a hilarious, bloody make-out scene, but the group is somewhat hampered by a weak second half, as Monica's Jiggly Caliente impression deflates (although props to Coco for doing a fantastic Lazzzauwn Beyond).
The Season 3 group, however, manages to do slightly less well. While the primary feud between Shangela (Alyssa), Mariah (Roxxxy) and Mimi Imfurst (Jinkx) is delightfully over-the-top, the secondary scene ends up dragging the whole thing down, since Serena's Raja impression falls flat, while Jade as Delta Work does the bulk of the heavy lifting. Whether the other queens in her group meant to or not, Serena's complete lack of talent is only highlighted by the far more skilled queens around her. Serena's teammates basically stand back and allow her to dig her own grave.
Before we move on to the runway, we get one more reminder of Monica's big secret, which, of course, means we're going to see a big confession in front of Ru and the judges, including special guests drunk Juliette Lewis and the absolute treasure that is Kristen Johnston, who is clearly a massive Drag Race fan and provides some of the best critiques I've ever seen on the show. Anyway, on to the looks: Lineysha does a Beyoncé-inspired swimsuit, Honey does a beautiful, grapefruit caftan, Vivienne dons a golden feather cocktail dress; but it's Ivy Winters who steals the show, in a beautiful butterfly ensemble that reaches new heights thanks to Ivy's stilt-walking. As the only group without a weak link, they're the defacto winner, with Lineysha taking top honours.
Alyssa, wearing a Shannel-style pantsuit complete with dog-and-leash-style purse, gets high marks for her Shangela, as does Jinkx Monsoon's Mimi impression, although she's read for bad hair and makeup and a confusing silver dress. Jade earns kudos for her circus ringleader outfit and her fully realized performance, and Roxxxy's nude, tassled bikini and icy Mariah impression pulls in a passing grade. But it's Serena Chihuahua who gets torn apart by the judges, with Kristen Johnston in particular absolutely murdering her for an uninspired performance and a sad arts and crafts carnival look that she decided to top off with a rinky-dink flag of Panama.
Over on the Season 4 group, Detox and Alaska earn praise for their gothic runway looks and their incredible Sharon/Phi Phi feud, and the judges adore Coco's Rihanna rated-R look and lip-synching skills. But when the judges ask Monica what's on her mind, she finally reveals her secret: she's not just a drag queen; she's also a trans woman. Now, the subject of trans women on Drag Race has always been kind of in the dark, as there's never been an openly trans contestant on the show. But when Monica comes out, RuPaul reassures her that she belongs on the show, and the rest of the queens rally around her for support. That being said, despite a heartfelt confession and a killer SM-inspired suit, nothing can save her stiff Jiggly impression.
Not too surprisingly, Serena Chihuahua and Monica end up having to lip-sync for their lives. The newly liberated Monica ends up turning it, with a performance of Rihanna's "Only Girl in the World" that gains a new layer of appropriateness given Monica's coming out. Serena tries really, really hard to keep up, but between her weirdly huge mouth and rehashed splits, RuPaul thankfully steps in and has little Serena Chihuahua put down for good. But in case you were worried Serena might redeem herself on the way out, she uses her final words to tell the other queens to read a book.
So long, Serena Chihuahua! I hope Florida State (*snicker*) treats you well!