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The workroom is alive with waaahs and woes as everyone laments Farrah’s departure while waxing poetic about how cute her whine was. I initially don’t understand the sentiment, but then Alexis and Nina start doing their decidedly un-cute whining and I realize it’s all relative. Like, Trinity is asking why the girl is green when she should be asking why the girl is still here. Her call to cut the fillers (an ironic request coming from those particular lips) is a little late: half the contestants are already gone, and everyone that’s left is here because she deserves to be. Or because her Snatch Game win made the judging panel look on her more favorably during the last lip sync. But I’m not naming names.

s9e09 01The next morning, we get no sex dream analysis, nor did anyone die in their sleep. (I’m not saying I want that, I’m just pointing out that it didn’t happen. If someone died in their sleep and I left it out, I’d be a bad recapper!) We also get no video message and no mini-challenge. Maybe Skin Wars and Girlboss and the What’s the T podcast are keeping Mama Ru too busy? She’s gotta run in, describe the week’s main task, and then dash to the recording studio so she can turn the diagrams that Lucian Piane scrawled on the wall in his own feces into an album that can be released before Season 10. By comparison, the seven remaining superstars-in-waiting have a much easier job: break into teams, come up with a concept for a new TV series, and film a pilot. Well, they keep saying it’s a pilot, but it’s very clearly a commercial.

Since they did so well in the first challenge that involved filming a TV show (for the record, this is the third… fourth, if you count the fact that RuPaul’s Drag Race is literally already a TV show), Sasha and Shea immediately Voltron themselves into a single unstoppable robotic glamazon. Peppermint is maybe trying to dig her manicure into their coattails when Trinity lurks up behind her. The two of them then absorb Alexis, leaving Nina and Valentina to make do with each other. It says a lot about the workroom dynamic that those two were picked last. I can completely imagine a scenario in which you are asked to find someone funny and quickly turn away from the two people most likely to be cast as the creepy doll in a horror movie.

s9e09 02If you’re wondering whether the girls who turned broccoli into something both sexier and funnier than the 30 Rock porn parody could make magic a second time, then wonder no more. Shea and Sasha churn out a pitch for a series that I can’t believe hasn’t gone into production yet: the hero from a blaxsploitation movie and a Russian spy team up to tear down crimes against fashion while building up a healthy sexual tension. It’s a rock-solid concept that plays to their considerable strengths, and their ability to cooperate seamlessly leads to a buttery-smooth filming process. Small Wonder was on the air for four years; I feel like with a good letter-writing campaign, we should at least be able to get Teets & Asky in as a mid-season replacement.

The three-person team does alright for themselves with Mary Mother of Gay. It’s a terrible title for a passable program about the conservative mothers of a same-sex couple and the meth-addled hobo in a nun’s habit who toys with them for his own amusement. (I realize that we’re firmly in sitcom territory here, but Trinity’s character has about as much connection to Catholic scripture as my gay ass has to… well, to Catholic scripture.) Other than a brief tiff between Alexis and Peppermint over who should do the voiceover, things coast right along and everyone walks piously under His watchful eye.

s9e09 03And then there’s Nina and Valentina. They’re unfamiliar with the concept of “concepts” and thus spend most of their writing time reassuring each other that the filming process won’t cause physical pain. Deciding to rely on improv skills that they haven’t yet developed, they flail through a series of poorly-conceived scenes that become watchable only because the audience comes to realize that these two deserve to be humiliated as punishment for putting so little effort into the project. There are people who write shows for a living that don’t make $100,000 a year. Get it together!

After a solid night’s sleep (during which everyone dreams about having frantic, animalistic sex with the Pit Crew on furniture loaned from 204 Events), the girls return to their make-up stations. Except Shea, who has chosen a new place on the other side of the room to escape the thick cloud of depressed paranoia that Nina has been cultivating. But there’s little time to dwell on that interpersonal drama because we need to give a lengthy history on what Club Kids are. Like, with a slideshow and everything. Because apparently everyone watching this show is too young to be allowed, and the runway theme wouldn’t make sense without some remedial reading. I guess I should be thankful that a whole new generation is being taught about gay nightlife icons; it just pains me that our education system can’t even prepare kids to differentiate between Leigh Bowery and Michael Alig. That should be standard in every third grade classroom across the country.

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At least the outfits look good. Unsurprisingly, Shea (with her McDonald’s-on-mescaline concoction) and Sasha (who is almost indistinguishable from a legit birthday clown) make off with a second joint win; everyone else is considered “in the bottom.” Peppermint and Trinity have created phenomenal costumes and performed their scenes well, so of course they’re safe. And there’s no reason for Alexis to worry given which team she’s on, but she can’t keep her mouth shut, and the in-fighting she instigates with her costars nearly puts her in the line of fire. But there’s no denying that Nina is a terrible actress who wore little more than a tutu to the mainstage, and her place in the bottom two was dusted off pretty much as soon as Farrah left. And Valentina’s belief that the judges like her enough to overlook her mistakes is immediately invalidated. If only there had been a grinning-like-Satan’s-graduation-photo mini-challenge to save her!

s9e09 05Speaking of the devil: the lip sync starts and all Hell breaks loose. Valentina, who is in some sort of lace Zorro mask, tries to hide the fact that she has lost the lyrics by keeping her mouth covered. But Ru, also known as the Jessica Fletcher of drag, uses her heightened intellectual capacity to see through this inconceivably clever ploy. How did she figure it out? As she stops the music, gay bars around the country erupt in a unison primal scream. And then… AND THEN… “I’d like to keep it on please.”

And in this moment, we learn the limits of the twink fandom. They will allow you to coast by on looks alone. They will allow you to tell overt lies about your past. They will allow you to speak at length with a dead-eyed insincerity that would make even members of Trump’s cabinet uncomfortable. They will allow you to wear a motherfucking beret. But they will NOT allow you to forget the words to an Ariana Grande song. And so Saint Valentina, favorite queen of every viewer with less than seven chest hairs, is yanked from the heavens and cursed to sashay among mere mortals. But don’t get too Greedy, Nina: if Ru is willing to eliminate someone that beloved, then she might not hesitate to cause you physical harm on camera for a quick ratings boost.

 

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