‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ recap S13 E11: “Soda-Lightful”
Hello, friends and family (everyone who reads our recaps is our family)! Fresh off Makeover Week, our queens are ready to inhabit their own personas again to sell you some cheap carbonated shit!
After Denali’s relatively controversial elimination last week, tensions are high! Alliances are at their wit’s end! Utica can’t stop licking things! God, reality television is electric.
My name is Daniel Trainor and I used to fold microwave popcorn bags inside out and lick the inside when I was done. I see you, Utica!
Whereas my name is Sam Stone and I would never dream of using a microwave, let alone licking the inside of a bag!
Let’s get branding!
DT: In the aftermath of our figure skating goddess Denali being told to get the hell out of here, the girls return to the Werk Room to an absolute novel written on the mirror. I ain’t reading all that. I’m happy for u tho. Or sorry that happened.
SS: It quickly becomes clear that Olivia does not know how, or simply is unable to, clean this mirror off. It’s a minor plot point, but I think it’s important to acknowledge that it happened.
DT: Normalize undomesticated drag queens!!!!!
SS: Not to be outdone, Kandy quickly reveals she does not know the difference between $2,500 and $25,000. She’s not a numbers queen, and that’s okay!
DT: I actually find that relatable, as a gay man who still doesn’t buy into Geometry culture.
SS: Geometry is cancel!
DT: The revelation that these girls struggle with simple things like cleaning and commas is not good news because this week’s Mini Challenge is called “Are You Smarter Than The Pit Crew?” and I think it’s already been established that the answer is no.
SS: It’s Drag Race Jeopardy!, and it has a shockingly similar vibe to, like, every Bushwick house party where you don’t know anyone, and seven twinks are spitting out increasingly obscure “Drag Race” history tidbits. Anyways, I miss parties :(.
DT: As RuPaul asks the queens asinine questions about Alyssa Edwards and catchphrases from past seasons, we learn that, while Kandy can’t do math, she can give you an oral history of “Untucked,” so that has to count for something!
SS: Miss Girl has an MFA in Drag History from the University of Phoenix, and that is a bankable degree.
DT: Miraculously, Kandy is able to execute the incredibly difficult algebraic equation 12 – 8 = 4 and wins the challenge. We love redemption! Angels are singing! The Pope is actually COOL now and invited to the barbeque!
SS: The Pope is cancel 🙁
DT: For this week’s Maxi Challenge, our queens are tasked with creating and branding their own soft drink. It’s official, RuPaul is in the pocket of Big Pepsi!!!!!!!
SS: These queens talk about branding every episode, and at a certain point I’m forced to ask myself, “Am I watching a bunch of marketing gays wearing wigs?!” Capitalism is a curse that seeps into everything good and beautiful in this world.
DT: In a big swerve, Tina is doing something cool and thinking outside of the box with her design. Just kidding, it’s orange and red and I wish I was dead. Hey, Tina. Michael Jackson already did the thing where he catches on fire during a soda commercial!!!!! Not original, babe!
SS: Tina’s soda concept is “Viagra in a can” which, in my day, we called sugar-free Red Bull, and somehow her commercial culminates in her fucking a priest? I’m concerned.
DT: Gottmik has fully made her life a living hell by color-coding her storyboard and grossly overthinking every single step of the process, but it’s better to be over prepared than under, which is why I never leave the house without a condom and bubble wrap!
SS: Soda commercial concepts vary wildly from queen to queen, but my favorite is unequivocally Kandy’s “The K Special” (K is for Kandy, obviously), which transports the drinker into a certain…uh kind of….wormhole in the spacetime continuum. It’s ketamine. It’s perfect.
DT: Kandy literally sprints into the taping of her commercial like a bat out of hell, bossing around the Pit Crew and screaming orders. I’m…aroused?
SS: Kandy screaming “MOVE!” and pushing crew members out of the way while sprinting across set, is strikingly similar to every experience I’ve had on an NYU student film set.
DT: Symone struts in with a high-concept idea and knocks the entire thing out of the park. Symone could convince me to buy a beach house in Idaho, baby, and I don’t even like to swim.
SS: Daniel with the incredibly subtle Frank Ocean allusion. THIS is what we get paid the big bucks for, babes. Utica appears on set in something akin to a Greek goddess costume, and immediately starts suckling at the teat of a fake cow. I don’t know what the hell or heaven her soda is about, but I do love television.
DT: A couple of weeks removed from licking spray paint during Snatch Game, Utica is now licking a soda can. That tongue has stories.
SS: Rosé comes into this challenge determined to create a commercial parodying herself, and poking fun at her insane, perfectionist tendencies, and, predictably, she is perfect at it. Her concept is as tight as her body stocking, and her performance is as large as one of Tina’s scalp swallowing red monstrosities.
DT: Meanwhile, Gottmik’s overpreparation dooms the entire thing. She does her whole purring “gorg” thing and finishes her first scene by screaming “I think we got the farts!,” which is what I said the last time I had dairy.
SS: Olivia, in the trademark enormous wig/tiny purse combo that we know and love, bases her commercial around…happiness. It’s mostly an opportunity for her to showcase her smile, but Ross and Carson are disappointed when all she can do is smile. We need contrasts! We need levels!
DT: For better or worse these commercials are wrapped and we move on to this week’s runway, which is Beast Couture.
SS: There have been a lot of shocking runway categories in the herstory of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” but this week’s Beast Couture category, in which most queens essentially wore a fur suit, will haunt my dreams until I can find a hypnotist to erase this memory from my brain.
DT: Utica is up first and, while her look is cool and elegant, it’s not giving me much BEAST. But the real shock and awe of the runway is saved for Kandy, who looks like Dr. Seuss’s imagination of a gay space alien.
SS: Tina appears in a truly enormous Build-A-Bear, patchwork haunted teddy bear comes to life moment. It’s not red, yellow, or orange! So…that’s a victory.
DT: Here comes Symone and…OH NO, DON’T LET THE FURRIES WATCH ‘DRAG RACE’ THIS WEEK.
SS: Symone’s fursuit read very Lola Bunny from “Space Jam” to me, but I think I may be alone in that assessment, and that’s okay. Gottmik, on the other hand, had one of the better looks this week: a creepy crawly moment featuring two giant eyeballs as shoulder pads.
DT: Olivia Lux is serving “Monsters, Inc.” realness in her blue-and-green ensemble. If they had put the monsters in heels for “Monsters University,” maybe it wouldn’t have been so boring! Is this still a hot take? I’ve been sitting on it since 2013!
SS: Zing! Got ‘em!
DT: Rosé’s runway look evoked the gay devil which is, let’s say it together, what I was called in middle school by my classmates and probably one or two of my family members! She looks great. In 2021, the devil can be gay and that’s something the Catholic Church is afraid to address, but, again, the Pope is cancel, so this point is moot.
SS: When we watch the completed commercials, it quickly becomes clear that there are a few standouts. Namely: Symone, Rosé, and Kandy. Their concepts are clean, their jingles memorable, and most importantly, their comic timing is impeccable.
DT: On the flip side, Utica’s commercial is just Utica being “silly” and “kooky” and “cRazY” for no reason at all. It’s not interesting, it’s just uncomfortable.
SS: Tina’s comedy is forced, and her catchphrases don’t quite have the hook she was hoping for, while Olivia’s commercial is 90% smiles and not much else.
DT: I absolutely zoned out in the middle of Olivia’s commercial and, sorry, I’ve never been to advertising school, but I have watched a lot of Don Draper yelling at women. Let me tell you, I don’t think that’s supposed to happen. Ultimately, she manages to squeak by, leaving Utica and a clearly-annoyed Tina to lip sync against each other.
SS: This week we’re treated to a double win, which goes to Symone and Rosé, stymying some of the momentum that Gottmik seemed to have been building in the past few weeks.
DT: When it comes time for the lip sync, unfortunately “Drag Race” is determined to bring “My Humps” back into the cultural lexicon and I frankly will not stand for it! Tina stomping around to Fergie rapping about “lady lumps” in this furry catastrophe of an outfit is absolute nightmare fuel and should be shown as part of Scared Straight programs.
SS: Utica once again utilizes her incredibly long limbs and dynamic, emotive, face to snatch this one from Tina’s grips. Is Utica now a lip sync assassin? I never thought I’d see the day, reader.
DT: To be brought down by “My Humps” is not a fate to which any drag queen wants to succumb, but unfortunately Tina Burner is that girl, and we must say goodbye to our red/yellow/orange queen this week.
SS: We can’t wait to see what Utica licks next week.
DT: Tina Burner…..is cancel.