The superstar wrangles some of his most famous Drag Race children for his Netflix debut.
Do you like drag queens? Do you like classic buddy comedies? Have you always wished to see RuPaul as a ginger? Well, does Netflix have a show for you!
Over the last few years, RuPaul has been everywhere. In addition to his Emmy-winning RuPaul’s Drag Race (still the only reality show to win Competition Series and Host in the same year, henny), he’s popped up on other competition programs and tried out reviving his talk show. Drag has permeated the mainstream culture and everyone wants to be a part of the sensation, so it’s natural for Ru to take her message of love and acceptance to the next level by starring in his first ever series, AJ and the Queen. If you like drag queens, campy humor, and a dash of 90’s nostalgia, settle in for a road trip you’ll love.
RuPaul’s Robert has it all: a huge drag career (as the scarlet maned Ruby Red), a hot man named Hector, and a plan to finally open up her own Manhattan nightclub where he can call the shots and perform how he wants to. It’s the drag dream, right? Robert’s dreams are dashed when Hector (played by The Other Two‘s delicious Josh Segarra) runs off with all of their money, leaving Robert with nothing more than tears and a lot of red wigs. It doesn’t help that his upstairs neighbor, AJ (played by newcomer (Izzy G.) is trying to constantly steal whatever money Robert has left, and her mother is usually off taking drugs and turning tricks.
In order to secure a new life for himself, Robert has to travel across the country to play gigs, so that means we get to see RuPaul perform in drag as he evades an angry Hector and eye-patched Tia Carrere. Yes, Tia Carrere wears an eye patch. Read that again–RuPaul in drag! We are so used to seeing her deliberate behind a desk for hopeful drag queens that we haven’t had a lot of opportunities to see RuPaul lip sync on stage. RuPaul performing Sia! RuPaul performing Salt n Pepa with Latrice Royale! If you are remotely a fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race, this is a dream come true. Ru gets to also act with some of her own legendary children like Bianca Del Rio, Ongina, and Kennedy Davenport. It’s wall-to-wall queens.
The trailer may suggest that AJ and the Queen is a comedy, but it’s leans more into the dramatic than one may expect. AJ is a little hellion who won’t be tamed by anyone, so, matched with Ru, it’s a great juxtaposition. It’s like Harold and Maude if Maude was a six-foot, fabulous drag legend and Harold was a klepto. RuPaul is very collected and provides AJ with life lessons courtesy of Oprah via VHS–yes, AJ probably doesn’t know what a VCR is. There’s a lot of RuPaul in Robert and Ruby, but he exudes and a want to be loved that we have never seen before. We see how Ruby empowers Robert, and that constant difference really drive a successful portion of AJ and the Queen.
Izzy G. is a fireball of anxious, pre-teen anger. Putting that much heavy lifting on a child actor is risky, but she pulls it off with a plucky fury that you can’t help but love AJ. Michael-Leon Wooley, as Robert’s pal Louis, is a huge breakout, and his romance with Matthew Wilkas’ hunky cop is a great secondary storyline.
While the famous drag faces might get you to start watching, the relationship between these two outcasts is the real reason keeps you locked in. AJ and the Queen has a nostalgic, 90’s energy at times, so it can feel like warm comfort food. It has moments where it drives head-on into camp like a bedazzled RV speeding down the road.
AJ and the Queen is streaming on Netflix now.