What A Drag: Why This Entertainment Writer Will No Longer Watch ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’

Warning: The following post contains spoilers regarding the outcome of the second RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars competition, which aired Thursday, October 13.

It was bound to happen eventually.

After almost eight years of sequins, scandals and lots and lots of shade, Thursday night marked the end of one of my many television-viewing habits. With the crowning of Alaska Thunderf**k as the second winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars, I have decided to officially tune out of all future seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, or at least, I know what the one main consensus of thought is when comes to this decision: why should we care? You shouldn’t, really. By all means, when Season 9 of the LOGO reality competition debuts next year, feel free to cheer on the next group of drag queen superstars in-the-making who are looking to display their “charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent” to the legendary RuPaul for a chance at stardom. I just won’t be there with you.

Also, please understand that my choice has nothing to do with Alaska garnering the win through means that many have deemed controversial. Despite the fact that it seemed from the beginning that All-Stars 2 was hers to lose, as noted by Billboard, I never really took issue with her skating on through to Drag Race glory. Not only has her aesthetic elevated from a place that was already pretty exalted during her initial Season 5 run (where she placed second), but the career that she has made for herself since participating on RuPaul’s Drag Race is nothing short of phenomenal.

Her second album, Poundcake, was released right after it was announced that she had bested her fellow All-Stars competitors, and the second single from that project, “The T,” will surely regain the followers who swore they were done with her after the events that took place on the penultimate episode of the season, when the usually humble Alaska had a meltdown of epic proportions and bribed her “Rolaskatox” sister Detox with $10,000 to keep her in the competition.

The moral of the story? Your own dirt can be forgiven by revealing more dirt, just as long as it’s really juicy.

But, I digress. Why exactly am I done with RuPaul’s Drag Race? Well, I suppose it’s mostly my own fault.

As with any career path, the best way to excel in entertainment journalism is to remain in the know of what is going on in this particular industry. As such, I tend to keep up with certain personalities and TV programs not just through social media, but on message boards — which, I suppose, is also a part of social media — entertainment news sites, and yes, even the occasional spoiler-themed posting.

In this case, it’s how I knew that Alaska had won All-Stars 2 well before the first episode even made it to air (among other reasons, which I won’t express here). Unfortunately, it’s also how, week after week, I’ve been prone to witness the drama that has come not just from fans who spew vitriol toward those who remain in the competition over fan favorites, but from RuPaul’s Drag Race judges and contestants themselves who tweet and complain about said vitriol.

I understand that all reality shows are doused in dramatics and falsehoods to provide a more interesting narrative, and by connection, maintain viewers’ interest in shows such as RuPaul’s Drag Race, but when that altered version of “reality” continuously bleeds into actual reality, it often changes how one views these programs.

rupaul's drag race
'RuPaul's Drag Race' judge Michelle Visage poses with RuPaul. [Image by Matt Winkelmeyer/Stringer/Getty Images]

Case in point: It becomes incredibly irksome to constantly see someone like judge Michelle Visage tweet that she’s going to block “trifling” fans if they post something hateful on her timeline regarding outcomes. Also, it is absolutely horrible when I see that Roxxxy Andrews (who, admittedly, is not my favorite person in RuPaul’s Drag Race “herstory”) is still being bombarded with death threats and “jokes” from former friends/Drag Race contestants regarding her mother, who, as mentioned by Queerty, abandoned her and her sister at a bus stop when they were children.

Additionally, believe who you will — or won’t — regarding talk of sketchy editing practices, such as with “villain” Phi Phi O’Hara, who shared her grievance about her time on All-Stars 2 with Vulture, or Darienne Lake, who told Drag Official that many of her seemingly crude comments toward beloved Season 7 competitor BenDeLaCreme were cropped for maximum meanness (in her defense, Ben more or less confirmed this with The Stranger, as well it partially being the reason why she didn’t sign up for another Drag Race go-around).

However, regardless of what one chooses to take into consideration, all of this deplorable back-and-forth regarding a program that supposedly promotes love and tolerance first and foremost, ultimately makes me feel no love or tolerance for it.

To get a little more personal, as a writer, I have often found that sensitivity has no real place in this field; but ironically, most writers, like all who find their life’s calling within creating some form of art, are truly sensitive people. There is already so much discord and discontent in this world, and we feel it on a daily basis. Television is meant to be a form of escapism from such harmful things, so to willingly invite more of that negativity in through something that is not supposed to be so harsh is extremely exhausting, and something’s got to give. And it looks like it’s going to be me and/or my DVR space.

I know all of this sounds way too serious for something as admittedly nonsensical as RuPaul’s Drag Race — as the hilarious Alyssa Edwards would say, “relax, it’s just drag” — but the show has become the one thing it once promised it would set out to be: reality trash. No need for eliminations here, people. I see that it’s time for me to sashay away forever, unless I want to feel as Laganja Estranja did before her eventual exit, and that is definitely something I do not want.

P.S. “Condragulations,” Alaska. Spend that $100,000 wisely.

[Featured Image by RuPaul’s Drag Race/Facebook]