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Drag Race: Whatever Happened to Baby Merle? - Awards Daily TV

Drag Race: Whatever Happened to Baby Merle?

Since Merle Gingsberg is guesting this week on RuPaul’s Drag Race, I thought it only appropriate that the incomparable Megan McLachlan returns to help me read these dolls to filth. Let the bitching commence!

For newbie RuPaul’s Drag Race fans, original permanent judge Merle Ginsberg might not ring any bells. For the first two seasons, she sat beside Ru and was the Paula Abdul of the judges’ panel. Merle returns this week to remind everyone that she was the original Ru-hand man.

The maxi (with wings?) challenge is a study in subtlety. The hunky Pit Crew has expanded to about a dozen buff boys for the queens to play a game called “Monster in the Pants.” By now, all of the queens are more worked up than…well…a group of caged gay men on a reality show. They have to ask each one of the guys to pull out a number from their pants (indicative of size?), but one of the guys has a monster in the pants! If the queens don’t freeze their points before the monster reveals itself, they lose everything they’ve gained. The only one who isn’t totally hypnotized by bulging briefs is Ginger (we’re as surprised as you are), and she is the only one that acquires any points. Katya’s enthusiasm to service every man in the room briefly makes everyone forget that they are playing a game. And there are camera crews everywhere.

(Can I just say I’m proud to live in a country that puts a bunch of half-naked men on TV with hats saying “BJ,” “Dick,” and “Pete”? Louis Armstrong was right. It really is a wonderful world.)

Natch, Ginger Minj wins the challenge and gets to choose her other queens in crime for the main challenge: a RuHollywood story of what happened to Merle Ginsberg (Dun dun DUN). Ginger Minj selects Katya and Kennedy Davenport, but because she won the maxi challenge, she also gets to assign the other groups. The chips fall this way: Miss Fame, Pearl, and Jaidynn Diore Fierce; and Max, Violet Chachki, and Kandy Ho. Miss Fame and Pearl have kind of become the “dream team”. . .the same way Alissa Edwards and Coco Montrese worked together so well. While both are beautiful, Pearl appears to be gaining some brains and authenticity as a queen, while Miss Fame is still confused by the innuendo of RuPaul’s jokes.

Ross Mathews serves as the assistant during the filming of the RuHollywood stories (whose excitement gives him a “Woody Allen”), guiding the queens through each scene. There are three different RuHollywood stories that will be performed based on point of view: Merle’s, Michelle’s, and Ru’s. Ginger Minj, Katya, and Kennedy will be doing Merle’s point of view; Max, Violet, and Kandy Ho will be doing Michelle’s; and Miss Fame, Pearl, and Jaidynn Diore will be performing Ru’s point of view.

Clearly, the best POV of the night is performed by Ginger Minj’s group, the highlight being Minj’s titties hanging out following a catfight (she played Michelle Visage). In the other groups, Miss Fame has a breakdown about her acting (yes, that’s what she calls it), while Kandy Ho delivers her Ru lines as dry as Santino Rice. In fact, Kandy Ho is more Santino than Ru, sporting her trademark beard contour and horribly pinned wig. (You are playing RuPaul! You look immaculate, or GTFO!!!)

During the scenes, however, each “Ru” character gets one hilarious interjection: Which one is the best? Vote in the comments!

  1. What in the name of Victoria Jackson?
  2. What in the name of Janice Dickinson?
  3. What in the name of Fantasia Barrino?

The runway theme this week was Death Becomes Her (“Now a warning?!”). Somewhere Jinkx Monsoon is shaking her clenched fists in the air. Max slowly walks out in a glamorous old Hollywood gown (surprise!) with her own heart in a glass case (Michelle reads her from top to bottom while Ross defends her). Jaidynn Diore Fierce is an extra from Orange is the New Black who unsuccessfully tries to escape via electric, barbed wire fence, and Violet Chachki struts out with the tiniest waist line Drag Race has ever seen. Kennedy’s weird bloody chicken/horse…thing is the headscratcher of the runway. Did anyone else get a weird vibe from the hostility between Michelle and Merle during the runway presentation? Was it fake? All staged for the show?

Katya wins the main challenge (that Sharknado-inspired death look has us laughing the entire time she walked down the runway), and her fellow castmates are safe. It seems Pearl has stepped up her game, so she, Max, Violet, and Miss Fame are all safe. Jaidynn and Kandy fell into the bottom two, and they deliver the most energetic lip sync so far this season to guest judge’s Ariana Grande’s “Break Free.” We’ll say this. We may not have warmed up to Miss Grande’s music, and she still has to learn how to pronounce her consonants, but she was a charming guest judge. She tells Ru, “This is the best day of my life.” Amen, girl. Amen.

Since Kandy has been in the bottom two three times already, it was time for her to go. Damn. Right when the paint on our “Kandy Ho Has to Go!” signs dried, she is sent packing. Another doll down, but next week we are treated to the Superbowl of Drag: Snatch Game. Buckle up.

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