Lo these many years ago, a little show called RuPaul’s Drag Race debuted. And while the show would go on to win fans all over the world, when it came time for Saturday marathons, the first season has always been conspicuously missing. Well no more. Logo is re-running the entire first season. So start your engines – here comes RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 1 episode 1!
Let’s look at how The Big Gay Sketch Show embodied it before we get started (Don’t play if you don’t like the naughty words that RuPaul has bleeped every week. They’re not bleeped here.):
The production values are super-cheap – everyone looks like they’re being filmed through a thick layer of Vaseline over the camera lens. The set looks cheap – look, it’s a sparkly tinsel curtain like you used to have for your ‘stage’ when you were a kid! The prize package is also super-cheap in comparison – only $20,000 for the winner compared to last season’s $100,000 cash prize. Pop-up Ru thought it was only $5000. Poor …
Sorry. Spoiler alert? What, you can’t use Wikipedia?
Now, if you watched season 1 back in the day, you’ll notice a new addition to this airing. Every so often a pop-up Ru shows up in the lower left corner. The running Ru commentary is fun when he doesn’t mention Twitter or Facebook. And just step off Instagram, m’kay?
The format of the show hasn’t really changed all that much since the start. We start with a simple photo challenge then moving on to a challenge meant for the mainstage. And, of course, there’s some self-analysis in there as well, which is usually the most interesting part of the show. Whereas with the last season of RuPaul, there may have been a little TOO much navel-gazing, this first season has too little. We’re focused on the crap from the dollar store & not the compelling stories the contestants bring to the race.
The exception in this episode is a moment with the experienced queen of this first season — Victoria “Porkchop” Parker. She gave the girls an education on what doing drag was like in the late 1980s. She’s been shot at just for doing drag. Victoria is contrasted by the younger queens like Rebecca Glasscock and Akashia, neither of whom seem too terribly self-aware at this stage of the race. Having seen this season before, it’s interesting to see how the girls all really liked each other in the beginning. Or at least they seemed to like each other.
Cheap set alert! The judges are smushed together at a table that looks to have been built for 3 judges on a regular reality show. And by built I mean purchased at a Big Lots. I’m sure the judges insisted on a little more breathing room in next seasons and maybe an upgrade to IKEA (if Santino puts it together).
Another difference is we’re missing the marvelous Michelle Visage & instead we’ve got Merle Ginsberg. She’s good, but she doesn’t have the chemistry with Ru that Michelle has. Or the chemistry that Ru and Sharon Needles as Michelle Visage has.
Once again, queens are sent to safety until Porkchop and Akashia have to lip synch for their lives. Ultimately experience does not help Victoria and she’s eliminated. Just because she’s off RuPaul, that doesn’t mean she’s done doing drag. Here’s an instant update on how Victoria is doing now:
If you want to hear Pandora Boxx’s take on this episode, watch this:
Who’s your favorite queen from this season? Should Victoria have gone home first?
RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 1 photos: Courtesy of the LogoTV Tumblr page & screenshots of the episode