RuPaul’s Drag U – “Mothers and Daughters”
This week, Ru shakes things up and pits a mother against her two daughters to see who reigns supreme. This challenge, which Ru said could prove interesting, Ru selects one of the most interesting trios of the season – Morgan McMichaels, Ongina and…OMG, Miss Tammie Brown (making her only appearance this season!) It’s time to meet the ladies who are soon to be transformed through the magic of drag – Tasha, 35, grew up as the “fat sister”, and, if that wasn’t enough, she was also saddled with braces and acne and didn’t go to her prom (if it was anything like mine, she didn’t miss much!) She’s maintained a negative self-image into adulthood and yearns to be regarded as “the pretty sister”. Brandy is 33, and as she dragged her bag into Drag U, it was hard to picture her as the pretty sister, as she and Tasha looked about the same (not bad, mind you, just the same.) In her 20s, she was in a “killer” band and did some modeling…then she had kids (doesn’t that seem to be a theme of this whole season? This would be the shortest season ever if Ru just told the women of the world “having kids will ruin your figure!”) Brandy’s goal from her Drag U experience is to have the spotlight shine on her once again. 56-year-old Connie, Tasha and Brandy’s Mom, has “fallen into a rut”. She was a crazy biker girl, a party animal, and a young mother. At the age of 50, she had to start waling with a cane, and you can just tell how much she hates that. She just wants to feel good about herself again.
Don’t flunk it up! There’s more Drag U after the jump!
Ru greets the ladies (and I just realized who Tasha reminds me of – Anna from Mad Men! Anyone else?) and challenges them to do whatever it takes to “make peace with the past and sashay into the future.” The ladies all “walk this way” (it’s back!) to the Drag Lab (this week, with “more sequins and feathers than a sleepover at Adam Lambert’s house!”), where they’re paired with their professors – Tasha with Ongina, Brandy with Tammie (looking so cute rocking a retro, Valley of the Dolls-esque vibe) and Connie with Morgan (who, for some reason, thought Connie reminded her of Edith Massey, the “egg lady” from Pink Flamingos – the infamous John Waters flick. Not a compliment. To reference another Waters flick (Female Trouble), I think Morgan’s been doing a little too much eyeliner!) During the entrance exam, Ongina learned that Tasha’s childhood nickname was “Osh Kosh Big Tash” – which was bestowed on her by her sister. Ouch. Tasha said her family “put the fun in dysfunctional”. Tammie asked Brandy what she felt was the first impression she gave to people and she replied that people either loved or hated her, most likely because of her confidence. Connie told Morgan that if she could look like anyone, she’d want to look like Pamela Anderson (presumably in her Baywatch days. Girl looks like a train wreck these days.) Tammie asks Brandy to describe herself in three words and she chooses “one bad beezie” (?) Tammie’s reaction mirrored my own. Ongina feels she can turn Tasha’s negative self-image around and keep her from being such a “Debbie Downer”. Morgan learned that Connie stopped feeling good about herself when she turned 50, got the cane and had to wear glasses. Morgan said that women over 50 are the fiercest – and she’s right. I know my Mom is! Ok, enough talking – bring on the Dragulator! Tasha becomes Thunderella (not sure if I like that name, as the poor girl has body image issues and thinks she’s fat. Couldn’t you have left “thunder” out of it?) That being said, the look is pretty fierce with a red wig and gown combo. And didn’t Tasha immediately pick up on the “thunder”? She also loves the look, but has a hard time believing it’s actually her in the picture. Brandy becomes Jennasequa (pronounced like the French “Je ne sais quoi”. I didn’t get it by looking at it, I had to wait for Ru to say it.) The dress is very Madonna in her “Express Yourself” phase (all black with pointy boobs), but the hair’s odd, topped off with yellow and orange balls. Brandy’s confident she can rock the dominatrix look. Last but not least is Connie, whose drag alter ego is Beverly Hills. And now she kind of looks like a character from a John Waters movie, Divine from Hairspray (post makeover)! Connie took one look at the photo and said “Aw, hell no!”, claiming she didn’t “do” heels anymore. Say what? What woman doesn’t love heels? Morgan has definitely got her work cut out for her!This week, the gals get a lesson in “beating”. While you get your minds out of the gutter, Ru explains that “beating” in drag slang is the art of applying makeup. He adds that “if you’ve ever seen some queens without makeup, you know they need to beat their faces into submission!” (cue accusatory glances among the queens). The face the gals are going to beat is a head-shaped pinata filled with cosmetics (dang! Can I get one of those for my next birthday party? Oh, and Jon Hamm.) Symbolically, the gals can take their aggressions out on the things that keep them from embracing their true beauty. With each whack at the pinata, the ladies had to yell out something they were mad about. Connie dismissed this activity as stupid before she took her first strike, and Morgan felt she wasn’t taking the activity seriously. Tasha whacked away with aggression and abandon, yelling “I hate being the ugly sister” and “I hate my thighs”. Ru helpfully offers “I hate my butt”. Ru, we love you, but don’t help. Brandy is equally enthusiastic, yelling about her wide forehead (her “fivehead”) and her baby weight. Connie once again gets a turn and yells that she wants to be a “sexy grandma”, but she can’t seem to connect her stick with the pinata. Tasha gets another go, giving it everything she had, and succeeded in bursting the pinata. Fortunately, Tasha knows she’s past the “ugly duckling” stage, she’s just got to embrace it. The gals don their awful dance attire (which I can’t imagine does anything for anyone’s self-esteem) and meet with Frank to work on their choreography. Connie’s terrified to perform in front of an audience – she suffers from stage fright. Yikes. Frank has chosen “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child as this week’s performance tune. Brandy says she knows the song, but only the chorus. Tasha says she doesn’t know the song at all (and you can just imagine that Mama Connie has no clue either.) Frank has to devise choreography to work around Connie’s cane and suggests that Connie sit on a throne during the number. Morgan isn’t happy. At. All. Frank tries to polish the turd by saying it’s all about “gesture-ography”. You’re not fooling anyone, Frank. Brandy was really into it but Tasha confessed that grace was never her strong suit. As she watched Tasha attempt the routine, Ongina wanted to “scream at her…positively” (I’d love to hear that) because she’s “in it to win it”. Morgan’s getting increasingly frustrated with Connie and has the worst poker face ever about it (I wouldn’t want to cross her!) Back to the Drag Lab for wardrobe! According to Ongina, Tasha’s worst feature is her attitude. The two talk about the look selected by the Dragulator. Tasha likes it from the neck up but hates the muumuu-esque gown. Ongina suggests an empire waist. Tasha’s “Debbie Downer” attitude was even bringing Ongina down (and that’s a hard thing to do.) Brandy loves her exotic look and Tammie thinks it fits her. They’re sticking with the look down to the platinum blond hair and the balls/balloons. Connie doesn’t like anything – and it’s pissing Morgan off. She does appear to breakthrough a bit when she mentions that contouring clothing makes one appear thinner. You go, Morgan! Brandy tells Tammie that ultimately, she’d like to get the band back together and maybe even do some modeling again. Since Tammie and Brandy are both performers and have similar facial structures, Tammie shows her some helpful facial expressions, including the infamous “orangutan” that we discussed in her interview. Brandy confessed that at first, she thought Tammie was off her rocker, but discovered that Tammie was all about having fun in the moment and not being embarrassed. They looked like they were really having a fun time together. Color me jealous. Morgan orders Connie not to let her daughters beat her, it’s “Mama Time”. Despite being tired, Connie finally likes something, the Cher-like mane of hair Morgan has cooked up for her. Morgan’s victory is short-lived though – when she suggests Connie wear a bodysuit, her idea gets shot down in a flash. Morgan is on the verge of quitting and tells Connie she has to open her mind – at least a little. Connie says Morgan’s being “bossy” and holds her ground against the body suit (can’t say I blame her – very few people look good in one!)The girls compare notes while the queens are away. Tasha tells her mom to quit her bitching about the performance as Mama’s only got two lines and Tasha’s got “like 19 verses” and she’s not sitting down. At least Connie has decided to trust Morgan’s decisions and work on her attitude (although it doesn’t feel like she’s being 100% sincere, I think she just wants to get this whole thing over with as soon as possible.) Over at Team Tasha, ol’ Debbie Downer is complaining about her wig – it’s not the red she wanted, but more of a mousy brown (it’s actually a nice shade of auburn.) Ongina tells Tasha she’s got to get a more positive attitude, said “take it or leave it” and stomped out of the room. Tasha’s “furious” and continues to complain to anyone around. Back on the “fun team” (Tammie and Brandy), Tammie works with Brandy on her walk and encourages her to work her caboose. At least one queen is happy here. Brandy has her private meeting with Ru. She told Ru that she loves being on stage but that motherhood caused her career to take a back seat – but now she’s ready to “turn it inside out”. Ru believed her and said he loved her vibrancy. Brandy was delighted that Ru saw the performer in her. Ongina came back into the Drag Lab and apologized to Tasha and gave her a peace offering of a red wig. Awww. Tasha met with Ru and said she needed to quit worrying about what others thought. Ru told her she needed to harness the power of Thunderella and use it to improve her attitude. Connie had a breakdown and wouldn’t talk to anyone but Morgan about it. Through her tears, she told Morgan that she was sad that she felt she wasn’t the girl she used to be. Morgan told her that just because her hip hurt that she couldn’t be a diva. (It was really weird to see Morgan in boy clothes and queen makeup!) Morgan also told Connie that, despite what she thought, that she was an entertainer, as entertaining children was ten times harder than entertaining adults (that’s true. I was in children’s theater.) Connie’s still petrified about performing. Connie met with Ru and shared her fears. Ru thinks Connie gives up easily and Connie agreed, but said it was only recently that she did this (with the weight gain/cane/etc). Connie said she was not going to use the cane on stage and Ru was impressed, adding these words of wisdom: “free your mind and your ass will follow.” Words of wisdom. As the crowds file in (they never look happy) and the gals get their makeup done (Tammie and Brandy are still having way too much fun!), the divas are starting to come out, and it’s starting to look like anyone’s game. Ready or not, it’s time to Draguate, bitches! In addition to Lady Bunny (looking cute as a button) and Frank, this week’s visiting professor is “America’s Favorite TV Mom” (what Ru neglected to add was “when Florence Henderson isn’t available”), Meredith Baxter from Family Ties. First to walk the runway is Brandy/Jennasequa – a/k/a Mini-Tammie. She looked just like her, but with balloons in her hair! Tasha/Thunderella is next and, as much as I hate to admit it, the redder wig was better. She looked fabulous and I can agree with her assessment that that night, she was the pretty sister. Last up, Miss Beverly Hills and, even though she made a slight stumble, she moved like a pro without the cane (and she did kind of look like Divine.) During the oral exam, Tasha said she felt an immediate transformation as Thunderella and told her sister to “step aside”. Brandy took her time on stage as a chance to remind Tasha how beautiful she was and thank her Mom for going through the Drag U experience with her. How sweet. Connie was applauded for pushing herself. The gals get their first set of grades. Tasha/ThunderellaBunny: BFrank: BMeredith: B+D.P.A.: 3.11Brandy/JennasequaBunny: BFrank: A-Meredith: BD.P.A.: 3.22Connie/Beverly HillsBunny: B+Frank: B-Meredith: B-D.P.A.: 2.88Who will be the “Survivor” after the final drag-xamination? Well, as expected, Brandy nailed it – a combination of her own experience and Tammie’s expert coaching (I’m not mentioning Frank’s “gesture-ography”). Tasha looked a little stiff and Connie actually looked like she might even be having a little bit of fun. The judges reveal the final grades.Connie/Beverly HillsBunny: BFrank: C+Meredith: ATasha/ThunderellaBunny: B-Frank: BMeredith: ABrandy/JennasequaBunny: AFrank: A-Meredith: AAnd so the winner, in the least surprising victory in the brief history of Drag U, with a 3.55 D.P.A. is Brandy! Tammie gets to leave the season undefeated! Until next week (the season finale – can you believe it?) everybody say love!