Tag Archives: television

Serving up some blog realness

As I’ve intimated before, I have a thing for drag queens.  Aside from the fact that there are so many fricken amazing performers in the scene, I think some of it stems from the fact that I have some insecurity about my own femininity.  In high school, I was told that I walked like a guy and that when I wore a skirt, I walked like a guy in a kilt.  I actually was really proud of that (which might partly have been due to my obsession with Braveheart at the time).  I’ve been told that I could be more “refined.”  I don’t really know how to put on make-up.  I certainly can’t dress myself — pretty much everything I own is in a solid color because I can’t be trusted with patterns.  I have a mouth like a sailor.  I just played Snoopy in “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” for God’s sakes.

(Which was awesome, by the way.)

After years of internalizing and being washed in all these messages, I developed this brassy, kiss-my-ass persona that I’m not entirely sure is my true nature.  But it became a character that I could pull out when the party got too quiet or boring, or when a dramatic retelling of what happened at the taqueria was needed.  I’m kinda known and loved for that.

I guess you could argue that since I have been living as this person, then that person is probably who I am.  Nature vs. nurture and all that.  Sometimes I wonder if the softer, more delicate parts of my personality are completely unbelievable because of this.

So anyway, because of all that crap, I am totally fascinated by drag queens — men who are able to embody what it means to be a woman.  The process of becoming the essence of woman, however that queen defines it, entrances me.  Maybe because it’s something I don’t feel I could ever be.

Last year when I went to see Hedwig and the Angry Inch live, I was in the second row.  During the final song, Hedwig (played by Jerick Hoffer) came off stage and started touching the hands of audience members.  I reached out my hands over the front row of people, but she passed me.  I felt such shame and embarrassment that I had even wanted to be a part of that moment.  I still get a sick feeling in my stomach just thinking about it.  I’ve actually never been to a drag show — I’m too shy.  I’d feel like an impostor.

But that night, just as my throat clenched, Hedwig noticed she had missed me.  She returned and clasped my hands and our eyes met and I wish I were a better writer so I could explain how much it meant to me — me, this unglamorous, awkward-in-her-own-skin dork who could never be half the woman this man in drag is — to be validated.  Understood.  Just for a moment.

So needless to say when I found out that Jerick Hoffer as Seattle’s drag superstar chanteuse Jinkx Monsoon was competing in RuPaul’s Drag Race, I immediately became obsessed with the show.  To perhaps an unhealthy level, I admit ;)  In between episodes of the current season, I have watched seasons 2, 3, and 4 in their entirety (including the behind-the-scenes Untucked episodes).  The only reason why I haven’t watched season 1 is because it is apparently unavailable on all of the internet.

I don’t really watch reality TV.  Even my short-lived interest in Honey Boo Boo faded after about five minutes.  But I love Drag Race.  Basically, I wish I were a man (not for the first time) so that I could be a drag queen.

All the episodes from this season are streaming free on Logotv.com (link above) and I highly recommend it.  They do a really good job of picking a wide variety of contestants and the challenges are usually pretty interesting.  The editing has concocted plenty of juicy gossip and cats fights, which is all very entertaining.  I can see how some queens are edited to be this or that, but for the most part I think that you really see who these people are, whether you (or they) like it or not.  RuPaul is a wonderful hostess — out of drag, he acts as a fairy dragmother, giving hints and kind, but firm suggestions in the workroom.  At the judges table, Ru, always glammed to perfection, is a little more sassy, but still classy.  It’s a nice yin and yang, actually.  The other judges, Michelle Visage and Santino Rice, can be overly harsh, but I don’t really have a problem with that.  That’s obviously what they were brought in to do.
Okay, so now I wanna dish, so if you haven’t caught up, hurry up and do so and then come back and chat!  Also, check out Chad Sell’s awesome cartoons of the contestants, you can buy prints, too!

***Spoilers below!!***

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Honey Boo Boo don’t care

Alright.  So here’s the thing. I don’t watch reality TV shows.  There was this one time when I watched an entire season of “Hell’s Kitchen,” but the charm of Gordon Ramsey screaming at a bunch of poor idiots wore off.  When I think of reality TV, I think of the worst stereotypes of humankind starved for attention and thrown into a room with a camera.  I know there are the “Amazing Races” of the world, which are cool, but I’m not a “ZOMG IT’S BACHELORETTE NIGHT EEEEE” person.
(You’ve been waiting for it. . . here it is. . .)


Then came the show “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.”

Now, now, now.

At first, I was horrified.  “Toddlers and Tiaras” is one step above evil in my book.  Don’t even make me get on my gender normativity soapbox, because I’ll do it, damn it.  A SPIN OFF of T&T sounds like it not only made the step up to insidious, but then pooped on it.

But here’s the thing.

Alana, age 6, Miss Boo Boo herself, is fricken incredible.  This.  Girl.  Is.  AWESOME.  She is Honey Badger Boo Boo.  She doesn’t give a shit.  She is so stoked to be Alana and, you know what, GOOD FOR HER.  Honestly, I wish *I* were that stoked to be me. ::sad violins::

Now, granted, most of its viewers are probably in it to make fun of them rednecks, hyuk.  And, granted, my middle class, full seta teeth, college-educated ass was intrigued by this cultural train wreck, thinking that perhaps I could feel assured that I am not a total disaster as I sometimes feel I am.  Hooray!  I watched the trailer and the clips of Alana being a sassy little tushie, rubbing her belly and shakin’ her thang without shame and without apology.  I was charmed.  And I was bored.  And a little frightened.  So I watched an episode, which streams free on TLC’s site.

It’s like reality TV got its Christmas present early, y’all.  Alana’s coupon-obsessed mother is over 300 pounds and farts maybe 3-4 times an episode, the father is constantly chewing cud and I’m pretty sure has maybe one chomper left in his head, her sisters are depicted as ignorant savages, the oldest of which is pregnant with nary a dad in sight, and they have a “teacup piggie” that lives in the house, squeals constantly and actually shit on the table.  Most of the show is in *subtitles* because their accents are so thick you can barely understand them (at first I thought this was just Alana being too little to enunciate. . . nope).

And you know what?  They’re comfortable and, dare I say, proud of who they are.  And they love each other.  I mean, really, actually love each other.  The daughters talk back to their parents, but their parents kinda give it back to them and it’s one of those “all’s equal in love and family” sort of vibes.  One of my favorite family moments is where one daughter says, “We’re not rednecks,” the father nods calmly and says, “Yes we are,” to which the daughter responds “We have all our teeth, don’t we?”  All in all, they seem to be damn decent people.   Not even the editing can hide that (although boy they do try).  I can forgive that one of the daughters bobs for raw pigs’ feet in the first episode.

So here is the jist, a practical list of why while I may not RUN to catch the next episode every week, I may keep tabs on Miss Boo.

1) The entire family’s irrepressible self-assurance, Alana’s especially, made me a champion for these people.  Obviously her parents are doing something right.  The women decide to do a weight loss competition and weigh themselves on TV.  I lie about my weight to pretty much anyone, myself included.  That takes some serious ovaries, my friends.  The mother is hilarious — I think that the editing is supposed to make her look stupid and slovenly, but honestly, you get the feeling that she is well aware of how this all looks.  And you know, so what?

2) Alana wanted Glitzy, her pet pig, to be a female pig, but, alas, he is not a female pig.  Regardless, she says she will dress him up like a girl pig and he can be a gay pig, an announcement met with derision by one of her older sisters.  Without skipping a beat, Alana snaps back, “It can [be gay] if it wants to, you can’t tell that pig what to do.”  Sing it, sister!

3) The coup de grace.  Following a pageant defeat, Alana is crushed (momentarily) and cries.  To make her feel better, not only does her daddy buy her a pig, but during one of his very very few confessionals, he says with the most earnest and heartfelt face a man can have, “I know that if she works very heard, she could be Miss America.”  He didn’t smile, he didn’t say it with hubris.  It was the quiet conviction of a father who loves his Honey Boo Boo.  And because I’m a notorious Daddy’s Girl, I wept.  Yes, dear readers, I actually whimpered, I was so moved by this father’s love for his youngest and his unshakable belief that this sassy little tushie could go all the way.

So go ahead and judge.  Honey badger don’t care.

Sidenote: And whiiiiile I’m on a rampage here — what is with the obsession of the mom’s sneezing?  Whenever the mother sneezes, the cameras are there.  Zoomed in. SOME OF US sneeze a lot.  Some of us have friends who count.  Some of us have an average.  (6.)  Some of us have friends cheer me on when I’m going to break my last record. (Which is 11.)  Ain’t nothin’ wrong wit sneezin’ a lot.