This week’s episode of All Stars 6 proves Drag Race needs to abandon acting challenges
Hire new script writers or leave us alone
If you can honestly tell me you’ve laughed at the script of a Drag Race acting challenge then I will personally come round to your house and apologise for the article you’re about to read. But it MUST be said. The scripted acting challenges on RuPaul’s Drag Race are nothing short of an endurance task, and this week’s episode of All Stars 6 was absolutely no exception.
This week’s All Stars 6 main challenge cast the queens in RuMerican Horror Story: Coven Girl – and as per usual, it was a mixed bag with no laughs and a script that made my eyes roll so hard it’s a miracle that they didn’t fall out of my skull.
I do not know where RuPaul and his fleet of producers source the script writers for the acting challenges that plague every season of Drag Race at least once or twice, but I’m assuming from the depths of hell. It takes a lot of hard work to make a cohort of naturally hilarious drag queens unfunny – and yet these writers manage to do it without fail year after year. How does this keep happening?!
The production team get the challenge themes consistently correct and always keep it inventive. The themes for the rusicals (Pharma and Trump aside) are spot on, the ball challenges always hit the mark. And to be fair, even the themes for the acting challenges are good – RuMerican Horror Story is a really fun choice and as a massive fan of that franchise there’s so much to work with. But the scripts make sure that nobody, neither the queens nor the audience, are having a good time.
Every script is just a load of Drag Race quotes and references and it’s exhausting
Like… we get it. Drag Race is quotable, we all love the quotes, we all laugh about the quotes. But there’s only so many times I can endure a queen saying “BACK ROLLS!?” in the style of Alyssa Edwards no matter whether the theme is WestWorld, morning TV or American bloody Horror Story. I don’t know why the script writers think it’s essential that we have to relive every word ever spoken on the show!
Another tedious acting challenge faux pas that was on full display in this week’s All Stars 6 is Drag Race’s rule that for some reason acting has to be overacting for it to be funny. I can’t listen to the judges bark for the queens to be bigger any longer. They were doing TV acting this week, but from the direction the queens received you’d think they were doing a Blackpool pantomime. ENOUGH!
Why do we just accept Michelle and Ross as directors when they… aren’t directors?
For the love of god, get some actors or directors in to guide the queens! PLEASE! I love Michelle Visage but I don’t subscribe to the bigger-is-better school of acting. Her example that she got out of her seat to show Kylie this week was arguably worse than what Kylie was doing in the first place. And as for “the hilarious” Ross Matthews… I’m not laughing.
The smug manner in which Ross sits in his All Stars 6 directors seat and offers suggestions is simply obnoxious, and it makes watching the takes in rehearsal for the challenge a huge chore. They need to get proper acting coaches in to help, Covid permitting. It was amazing to see queen Angela Bassett show up to give advice for the All Stars 6 queens in their approach to the acting challenges, and she was clearly giving really valuable advice. It’s a shame they couldn’t have got her in to coach the girls, or even used guest judge Emma Roberts to give direction instead since she was already on set.
There has only been ONE good Drag Race acting challenge – it will never be bettered
Season four’s iconic Tuckahoe Prison acting challenge is the only time the scripted format has been a success and a hoot to watch. And I’m not talking a car crash that’s fun to watch, because we all loved the disaster of ShakesQueer. But not because the script was funny, because the queens made a mess of it and Ru got pissed off. It was good telly, but acting challenges being good shouldn’t pend on if the queens fuck it up or not.
With Queens Behind Bars in season four, everything worked. Latrice stole the show with her butch queen prison officer role. “Get those nuts away from my face!” is one of Drag Race’s funniest moments, and everyone else in the cast was on good form too. The good actors like Willam excelled, and Madame LaQueer and Kenya Michaels were so bad they were good.
But the success of this particular acting challenge was down to guest judge and director Max Mutchnick. Max is the creator of Will & Grace, and knew exactly how to direct the queens and get the best out of them. It made such a difference.
Thank GOD for Kylie Sonique Love
Kylie Sonique Love winning one of the All Stars 6 acting challenges was euphoric, and I’m so happy for her. Her win is the finest thing to come out of this episode, and I was really grateful the judges saw what I saw – an actually nuanced performance that wasn’t just a resort to overacting, that really channeled Jessica Lange and a queen excelling at something really out of her comfort zone.
After her negative critique last week and how she gets criticised for not being the loudest queen in the room, it was amazing to see her get some recognition for an impressive performance and one that was actually quite unexpected. The Sonique from season two of Drag Race is such a different person from the icon that is Kylie. She has evolved into an All Stars 6 force to be reckoned with, and it’s a testament to how much happiness she has got now living as her authentic self. It’s made her a better drag queen and the trans excellence is off the scale.
If All Stars 6 continues to insist on scripted acting challenges, GET NEW SCRIPT WRITERS
Please. We beg you. Either let the queens do improv and be their amazing, funny selves or get some writers in who can actually raise a chuckle.