Whew, church. That was quite an episode. We have LOTS to unpack.
And of course, I’m talking specifically about “Untucked.”
But before we get to that, let’s talk about the ACTUAL episode.
First there was an adult baby mini-challenge that I did not understand, and so I will not respond to it.
The main challenge was the annual ball, this time titled the Bag Ball. Overall I thought it stacked up well against other balls from the series, particularly since they started doing this challenge early in the season with Season 10. There were some very clever looks in the first category (“Mixed Bag” — a look referencing some kind of bag), we had our typical Executive Realness category (here “Miss Money Bags”) with less exciting results, and then the DIY category in which the queens had to create those looks out of a variety of bags provided by the show.
The judging for this challenge told you a lot about which queens producers are pushing, and which queens are not being taken seriously. Consider Denali, who gave us three fashionable, interesting looks, and was paid dust by the judges. Consider Utica, who created one of the most impressive garments I’ve ever seen on this show, but was passed over for the win. And consider GottMik, who gave us two eye-popping bring-from-home looks and then a total whiff of a final look that I thought could have landed her in the bottom — she WON the challenge. (Allow me to say that I got very salty about this in Photo Finish, our video review of the episode, and I would like to walk back some of the language I used to describe GottMik’s last look. But I remain firm in my criticism that I have jockstraps with more material in them, and that pant leg of tied baggies is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen on this or any runway.)
And finally, consider Kandy Muse, who served up one great look, one bra and pantie set (in a BALL?!), and rigged a bunch of backpacks into a skirt and was not only safe, but convinced herself that she deserved to win the whole thing. And was rewarded by Production by narrating 60 percent of the episode despite being safe.
All that attention paid to Kandy came at the expense of the queen who was eliminated, Joey Jay. On the one hand I’m glad that Joey’s elimination wasn’t super obvious from the edit — with these shows, you can sometimes tell exactly who is winning and who is getting eliminated just by paying attention to who is being featured in the talking heads. But Joey was virtually invisible this episode up until the runway, unless it was Kandy talking about how much she wanted to fuck him (I mean, same), or shading his drag style. You can find Kandy at her glass house on Vanjie Drive, just off of the Silky Expressway. Make sure to avoid the stones she has a tendency to throw.
Also joining Joey in the Bottom 2, deservedly, was LaLa Ri, who created — and I use that term very loosely — what I think must be the single worst garment to ever appear on the runway in any season of Drag Race. I know I’m prone to hyperbole, but I genuinely mean that. I do think she saved herself with that lipsynch (Joey also did well), but LaLa Ri, you in danger, girl.
Now let’s get into what happened in “Untucked.” People may have different takes on what happened — and of course, that’s based strictly on what the edit SHOWED us — but here is mine:
-Kandy is sent back as part of the Safe group. She is frustrated that she is safe, as she believes she should have won the challenge (she is delusional).
-Kandy has lots to say about the girls in the bottom, including Tamisha Iman — none of it is good.
-The queens in the Top/Bottom come in. Tina Burner asks them how they feel.
-Tamisha Iman says that, while she doesn’t like some of the girls in the cast, she has to give it to them, they all did a great job.
-Kandy decides to take this personally, and asks if Tamisha was specifically referring to her.
-Tamisha confirm that Kandy was *one* of the girls she was talking about, and when pressed, explains to Kandy — who I remind you believed that she deserved to win the challenge — that she is arrogant.
-This leads to Kandy demanding each of the girls to say to her face whether they find her arrogant (Kandy claims that some of the girls tell her that she is a delight to work with).
-Things escalate, with Kandy spending literally minutes stomping around, screaming, ultimately building to a moment where Kandy implied she was going to smack Tamisha, and Tamisha made it very clear that she is not the one to try that shit with.
-It’s important to note that both Tina Burner and Gottmik inserted themselves into this fight, with Tina asking Tamisha why she would start this (Tina asked Tamisha how she was feeling, and Tamisha told her), and Gottmik specifically telling Tamisha to “stop antagonizing” Kandy and to “leave her alone” — this is going to come back to haunt Gottmik, I guarantee it.
-The whole thing ultimately cools down when Kandy, Gottmik and someone else go outside, where they were attacked by a bee (tip that bee on Venmo, y’all). And afterward, Kandy gave Elliott a lecture about needing “situational awareness,” which is the absolute height of irony.
I’m not going to bother going into why Kandy was out of line. I think that’s fairly obvious, and she has turned off a lot of viewers this episode. She was a pre-season fan favorite because Kandy is extremely gifted at self promotion. I hope she enjoyed that grace period, because I do not believe she has the — I’ll use her term — “situational awareness” to navigate this scenario on social media.
But that leads us to an issue that emerges nearly every season with this show. Since the episode aired on Friday, Kandy has been besieged by people sending her hateful messages on social media. In fact, she even says her mother has received messages from viewers harassing her via Instagram and Twitter. No matter what happens on this show, it is never OK to send hateful messages to these performers online. It is even more galling that people are harassing her family. And I think it’s important to remember that performers from this show have been tremendously impacted by that kind of behavior. Brita from Season 13 has been very open about how online bullying during her season sent her into a mental health crisis. For what? Because she was mean to another contestant while filming a television show about men wearing dresses?
You don’t have to like Kandy. I certainly don’t. And we can all armchair quarterback how she and the other queens should be handling this (months and months after this all happened — they can’t change anything that’s already been recorded). But even as I find her exhausting on the show, I feel for Kandy, as she is now in the center of the storm, and I suspect it’s only going to get worse as the season goes on. (Kandy is also not helping herself on social media — she’s doubling down on her behavior, victim blaming, and making vague allegations that other people were instigating drama that they didn’t show. This is only going to escalate.)
What did you think of the big “Untucked” fight? Did you find it enjoyable? Or do you not need that kind of messiness in your life?
And how are you doing in our pool? HERE IS A LINK TO THE CURRENT SCOREBOARD. How did we come up with those Toots & Boots? Check out Photo Finish, with this week’s special guest Curtis Creekmore! We graded all 36 looks, so it’s a bit longer than usual.
Also note that we are taking a different approach to these videos, to make them quicker to record/edit, and we are planning on doing hem LIVE on YouTube as of next weekend. So if you want to join us with questions and comments, we’ll drop a link here in the FB group page.
Here’s the poll for Episode 6! Get in those picks before Thursday for some easy points!