RuPaul’s Drag Race recap S13 E12: “Dark Roast”
Welcome back, voracious recap readers. As we enter what critics and fans alike are calling the seventy-second week of Season 13, we are proud to announce, on a personal note, that Daniel has received his first vaccination dose, while Sam has been passed over for yet another job working on a podcast! It’s a thrilling time to be a citizen of the world! Last week Utica sent the legendary Tina Burner home in a lip sync that I do not remember, and who knows what will happen!
Yes, my name is Daniel Trainor and I believe in vaccinations and the fact that Ross Mathews’ last name is missing a letter.
Yes, my name is Sam Stone, and I will not say Loni Love.
Let’s get roasting.
DT: The girls return to a Werk Room that’s a lot less orange, red and yellow after the departure of Tina Burner. Newly-minted lip sync assassin Utica starts waxing poetically about taking another life, insisting that Tina deserved to stay instead of her because she was “so awesome.”
SS: To Utica, I say this: then go.
DT: When it really comes down to it, though, Utica takes a lot of pride in sending home veteran queen Tina and seems to have an extra pep in her big ass step.
SS: Remember when Utica was almost too polite at the beginning of this season? Where is that girl? Where is Olivia’s competition for polite diva?
DT: For this week’s Mini Challenge, the queens get to star in their own makeup tutorials. Which means, in about six months, they will all be filming apology videos while sitting on the floor of their apartments.
SS: This Mini Challenge is fun because, in addition to being a competition that adult men perform in, it is also a children’s birthday party game.
DT: Most Mini Challenges are! Before the tutorials begin, we are introduced to the president of Anastasia Beverly Hills, who is somehow not named Anastasia.
SS: It’s Norvina! No last name.
DT: Norvina is serving Gaga-meets-Ashley O realness and would probably place third in this season’s competition.
SS: I always assumed Anastasia Beverly Hills was a shell company through which RuPaul shielded assets from the US government, but Norvina’s presence suggests that perhaps it is genuinely some kind of makeup emporium.
DT: Rosé does a great job in the challenge with Kandy’s hands all over her face and ends up looking like a whore who fell down a chimney. Symone and Olivia succeed because Symone is Symone and I’d watch her explain quantum physics.
SS: Utica’s Stretch Armstrong limbs appear to be trying their best to physically injure Gottmik, as Ru scream-laughs offstage. Norvina nervously looks off camera, as if to ask the producers “when do I talk?”
DT: Rosé and Kandy win the challenge and $2,500 each in Anastasia cosmetics, which likely means Kandy thinks she’s the majority shareholder, and before we know it, Norvina has scampered off to her Uber, leaving the girls to focus on this week’s Maxi Challenge: THE ROAST.
SS: What’s nice about this challenge is it’s a way for the girls to say overtly mean things to each other without consequences, which is a medical necessity for most gay people. The queens have varying levels of excitement about this challenge, but no one is more thrilled than Rosé.
DT: She responds to this week’s Roast Challenge with all the enthusiasm of a girl who has made a life out of being mean to people. As winners of the Mini Challenge, Rosé and Kandy get to assign the order of the roast. They are both in a battle of who wants to open and who wants to close. Kandy is concerned that, if she goes last, all of her jokes will have already been said, which is the mark of a great comedian.
SS: Eventually it’s decided that Kandy will open, Rosé will close, and Gottmik will be thrown somewhere in the middle, amongst the unfunny queens, to keep the energy up. Off the bat, Olivia is nervous for this challenge, and rightly so. She has proven that comedy isn’t her gig, and a second comedy challenge in as many weeks isn’t good news for our resident polite diva.
DT: Utica is also worried about Olivia because she says you need to be “savage” during a roast, which is somewhat true, but so often, these girls fall into the trap of being absolutely vicious without any perspective or sense of humor. But, what do I know? I failed comedy school and now I write recaps.
SS: The girls enter roast rehearsal with comedy mentors Loni Love and Michelle Visage who will either violently cackle or cue rattlesnake sound effects as judgement of our queens comedy prowess.
DT: Maybe it’s because she’s been locked inside a cryochamber in the basement of RuPaul Academy and hasn’t seen daylight in weeks, but Loni Love is laughing maniacally at everything coming out of Rosé’s mouth.
SS: Kandy, too, kills this rehearsal, leaving Michelle positively wheezing. But, we were never worried about our comedy girlinas.
DT: The non-comedy girlinas (what I was called the day I failed out of comedy school), Olivia and Symone struggle to find their footing, point of view and general sense of what makes something funny. And then there’s Utica. Oh my god…Utica.
SS: Utica, in this rehearsal, is determined to prove that gay people can be mean and violently unselfaware (brave). Michelle and Loni let her know her jokes are beyond the pale mean without the requisite funny, but nevertheless…she persisted.
DT: Deathly afraid of appropriation, not at all concerned about comparing the host of the show to a warthog. She also compares Loni Love and guest Nina West to whales. We love fat-shaming, animal-based humor! Move over, Jack Hanna!
SS: The mind boggles! My face is still stuck in a semi-permanent grimace from this two and a half minute scene that felt like the television equivalent of walking into hell.
DT: Utica is fully, totally, completely off the rails and it’s hard to watch. She’s doing this thing where she’s complaining that her humor is too smart and vicious to be appreciated, but baby girl, your humor is just bad and dumb and gross and bad!
SS: With Utica undeterred, and Olivia somehow confident after a less than stellar rehearsal, it’s curtains up for the season 13 roast!
DT: Kandy is up first and she gets away with saying stuff like “you make her look small with your big ass shoulders, bitch!” because of her personality. Sometimes there aren’t really jokes, but it’s classic Kandy. When you strip it back, the material isn’t always particularly funny, but she has enough charisma to make it all work. All told, Kandy does a pretty great job and her timing, unlike her makeup, is flawless. Did I do the roast thing right?
SS: Zing! Symone is up next, and, I’ll say it, Symone entered a brief flop era during this one. Her jokes didn’t hit, and she’s leaning pretty heavily into this voice affectation/society persona situation. Are we getting tired of this? Are we allowed to criticize Symone? No? I’ll show myself out.
DT: Looks like I’ll be writing these by myself! Symone is indeed bad, but she’s no match for Utica! She’s taken absolutely none of the advice from either Michelle or Loni, and decides to hurt the feelings of everybody in the entire studio.
SS: It’s not every day that a queen gets dragged during her comedy set by Loni Love, let alone gets flipped off by RuPaul, but hats off to Utica. Jester, you have done it again.
DT: Gottmik opens her set with a funny UTI joke about Utica and this train is back on its tracks, baby! As is tradition, Gottmik delivers mightily just when it feels like her house of cards is about to blow over. She nails the balance of humor, edge and earnestness perfectly.
SS: Olivia, unfortunately, digs into the “innocent charm” she’s been told could work for her set, but it reads pretty heavily as “child actor in a big budget commercial musical” which is, as you might imagine, challenging.
DT: It’s very, like, Comedy Night on “Toddlers & Tiaras.” To bring us home, Rosé takes the stage for her roast routine looking like Reba McEntire caught in a tornado and performs with all the bravado of somebody who could host a drag brunch in their sleep. It’s very polished and solid, but not exactly surprising. Kinda like Rosé herself!
SS: The roast concludes and it’s time for final judging. Kandy is declared the winner of this week’s Maxi Challenge, and everyone in the studio applauds as if they’ve all successfully launched a space shuttle.
DT: When the judges point out that Utica was, frankly, a huge bitch, she says she’s “still learning what is comedy and what is offensive,” which is just a lame excuse. It’s like when somebody says “sorry, I was just trying to be funny!” after they’ve ripped your entire life to shreds.
SS: A dangerous thing to still be learning on national television! Gottmik and Rosé receive high praise from the judges, and they’re both declared safe, along with Olivia who has somehow squeaked by this episode on sheer charisma.
DT: After their poor performances, human opposites Utica and Symone are forced to lip sync against each other. Neither of them really turn it out, but Symone is undeniably more magnetic and sends Utica packing, giving the assassin a taste of her own medicine.
SS: Utica is sent home to reconnect with her childhood cow, Clara. We hope to catch her leading a mindfulness/movement class via Zoom ASAP.
DT: What a moooooooooving journey it’s been. (cow joke)