Ah, Rupaul! The main reason I set up a Netflix subscription was because they had a run of seasons of Drag Race which had been shown only sporadically on UK main platform TV. (Okay, I’ll included two other reasons, “The Crown” and “Riverdale“). This gave me a chance to glut one one of the best TV competitions ever- the search for “America’s Next Drag Superstar.”
We really had to ration this as it is such addictive viewing but have now caught up. It has a large US audience and wins awards. In the UK it has a smaller devoted audience, devoted to finding it in the schedules, There are countless blogs and fansites which concentrate on this show. For those without Netflix I understand that Season 10 has begun tucked away on Comedy Central, a channel I can’t say I’d ever watched.
I also discovered that Comedy Central had shown Season 3 of the All-Star spin-off show where a selection of those who did not quite make it to become “America’s Next Drag Superstar” are given another chance. I had been looking out for this, had thought it would be shown on VH1 or Netflix or Amazon Prime and was really disappointed not to discover who had shown it until after it had finished.
Rupaul with guest judge Lady GaGa,
However, the other day I stumbled on it listed as a Sky Box Set. My Sky Variety package did not allow me to watch Box Sets but after one of those inexplicable phone conversations with the company I ended up with their Entertainment package and Sky Box Sets for considerably less than I had been paying. Looking at the Box Set listings (life’s too short for most of them and a lot end up with you having to fork out more money at the Sky Store) this may well be one of the only series I will be watching in this way. So, “KEEP IT ON THERE, SKY, UNTIL I’VE FINISHED!”
The All Star Season 3 contestants before they had all been revealed
It actually won’t take long because although I’m trying to ration myself to one episode a day (I’ve watched two so far) with the summer weather taking a break I might find myself sneaking the odd extra in to an evening’s viewing.
The warm heart of this programme is Rupaul, with a 30+ year career in which he does not seem to have aged one iota. Perhaps best known over here for his pairing with Elton John in the revamp of “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” which made #7 in 1994 he is the judge, mentor, support, inspiration, mother hen (I can go on..) Some of the contestants have faced much conflict in their lives and their encounters with Rupaul can only strengthen them. All contestants are welcomed into the ever-expanding family (in the way that the UK version of “Strictly Come Dancing” does this to some extent but here this is far more pronounced with real pride of being an alumni of the show). I do not think it is possible to overestimate the role of Rupaul in the development of LGBT+ issues and attitudes on American television. He is as important as Oprah is for the way she has represented African-American women on TV. Last year Time Magazine had Rupaul listed as one of the most influential people in the world. And much of this has been achieved through this long-running entertainment reality show which goes from strength to strength.
Season 9 contestants
This is a show rooted in both reality (and sheer likeability of its participants) and illusion. There are often extraordinary transformations – American drag being more rooted in illusion than British drag where the focus tends to be more on character) or as Rupaul has it, “Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent.” This is going to be a late summer treat. I haven’t been able to bring myself to do much online research for this in case I inadvertently things I do not yet wish to know so no season spoilers please. I’m hunkering down to really enjoy this drag race’s ride.
I’m watching Rupaul’s Drag Race All Stars as part of Sky Box Sets.