10 Reasons RuPaul's Drag Race is the Best Show on Television
I have been in a very serious relationship since 2009. And that relationship has not only crossed the lines of age, gender and sexuality, it’s untucked itself and pissed all over that line. And that relationship is with RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Six seasons in, with what seems like all of social media invested in its outcome, I still find myself greeted with incredulous laughter when I say I love RuPaul’s Drag Race. And not even just from, as you might expect, the more traditional midwestern straights who still need to be told the difference between transgender, transvestites and drag. Totally progressive, tolerant individuals have been known to eyeroll giggle at my utter adoration for this program.
In an interview with The Guardian, RuPaul said, “We’re dealing with people who have been shunned by society and have made a life regardless of what anyone else thinks of them have decided. It shows the tenacity of the human spirit, which each of us watching relates to. And we root for them. I think that’s what’s so captivating about it, seeing how these beautiful creatures have managed to prevail.”
We may fall on different spectrums of gender identity or sexual preference, but I promise you—there is something for you in this show. It speaks to all of us. And if that’s not enough, here are 10 more reasons why you need to give in already and accept this show as your personal lord and savio-Ru.
10. The talent level is off the charts.
This is more than the skill to make someone who lives as a man appear to be a stunning woman. Not to ignore those skills, however; I’d sell my house for a single makeup lesson with Courtney Act.
This is more than just looking like a woman. These queens are performers. This is about working the runway, lipsycing for your life and standing out as a fun, enjoyable performer. And, for the most part, RPDR contestants are the best at it.
9. It’s a social media groundbreaker.
Not only did the show all-but create and dominate hashtagging itself for livetweeting, but the winner is essentially determined by fans through social media. It’s our show and we get a say.
8. Unlike other competition shows, every contestant experiences success.
Hell, one of the contestants this year actually appeared on American Idol. And while I only vaguely recall Danny Noriega, I will never forget Adore Delano.
And I think the difference between RPDR and other competition-based shows is that, in addition to seeing the skill, we see the person. It’s the only show of its kind I’ve ever watched and actively rooted for everyone—even when that person’s sewing skill isn’t great, or can’t blend makeup properly.
7. The shade of it all.
The library is always open here, hunties.
6. It’s a veritable quote factory.
RPDR is basically a a combination of Project Runway, America’s Next Top Model and Last Comic Standing. They are funny, they are quick, they are phenomenal.
5. Bianca del Rio.
Possibly my favorite contestant ever. Bianca is not only obscenely talented (here she is making a dress onstage in three minutes) but the funniest queen to appear on the show, and that’s saying something. Plus she will win tonight. She will. Oh, you think she might not?
4. The underdogs come out on top.
Sometimes the queen “dripping with the most charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent” (I’m so embarrassed that it took me four seasons to get that) is the one none of the other queens expect to be a legitimate threat. In season four, Sharon Needles, part Sid Vicious, part Elvira, wasn’t taken seriously by the other contestants. In season five, Jinx Monsoon, with a soft voice and non-confrontational spirit, was routinely mocked and criticized by the others. Both took home the crowns, giving me the excuse to post my favorite Snatch Game performance, Jinx as Little Edie Beale.
3. Despite recent controversies, the show is hugely supportive of the trans community.
In addition to contestants Sonique, Monica Beverly Hillz and most famously Carmen Carrera, all of whom are trans women, the show also routinely features trans activists and performers like Our Lady J, Candis Cayne and Chaz Bono. Years before Orange is the New Black, RPDR was one of the few mainstream television programs to feature trans people—and, perhaps more importantly, to not even discuss that label. Cayne was simply a famous dancer; Our Lady J simply a talented pianist.
2. It’s got more heart than any other show on TV—reality or otherwise.
A big part of this show, almost as big as the competition itself, is the personal stories of each contestant. Each year, conversationally and frankly, the queens discuss coming out, family reactions, past tragedies and their journeys, each littered with hardships. Season five “villain” Roxxy Andrews broke down discussing how, as a child, he and his sister were abandoned by their mother at a bus stop. Trinity K. Bonet this season came out as HIV-positive. And, rather than defining them, these and other admissions become just one more thing they all support each other through.
And not just each other. All of us. The show is about being yourself and loving yourself no matter what anyone else says or thinks about it.
Because, as Mama Ru says…
And, because nothing and no one else could be number one…
If Ru ever decides to get out of the public eye and become a life coach, sign me up.
The season six finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race airs tonight on Logo. Watch with me, get invested and feel feelings.