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RuPaul's Drag Race: “The Snatch Game”

Illustration for article titled iRuPauls Drag Race/i: “The Snatch Game”
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There are few hours of television more entertaining than the annual Snatch Game on RuPaul’s Drag Race, and the fourth season does not disappoint, giving us hilarious celebrity impersonations followed up by a plate of serious drag drama. There’s a solid divide between the queens this season, and Snatch Game makes it explicitly clear, with the older queens—Chad, Sharon, Willam, and Latrice—handling the game with a degree of professionalism while the rest bark for attention. (Dida is the exception, but she just looks frazzled for most of it.)

After the group wipes down Madame LaQueer’s mini-essay from last week’s elimination, Latrice begins to assert some dominance now that she has a win under her belt. “America’s Next Drag Superstar will be… a big bitch,” she says, and while she might not be winning material (that makeup), she definitely has the potential to hold on until the end. She-Mail arrives to tell the girls to get ready for some games, which means its time for a mini-challenge that has nothing to do with drag (see also: the dunk tank and musical chairs competitions in previous seasons), and the girls are forced to play sexual innuendo party games in high heels.


It’s like a gay Minute To Win It, with the queens pinning rubber cocks on a poster of RuPaul, blowing feathers across the room without letting them touch the ground, throwing rings around fake roosters, and carrying raw eggs across the room between their legs. It’s very silly, but Sharon is a highlight, wandering off completely as she tries to pin the Ru poster, copping a feel of the pit crew instead. Phi Phi is a pro at holding thing between her legs, and she wins the mini-challenge, earning a phone call home that she gives to Chad Michaels, so she can call her partner on their eighth anniversary. It’s a very sweet move from the show’s resident bitch, although it will be completely negated by her unbridled obnoxiousness throughout the rest of the episode.

Chad getting Phi Phi’s phone call is the start of her good fortune this episode, and she’s come prepared for the Snatch Game with her signature Cher look. There’s a lot of pressure on any drag queen doing Cher, especially one that makes a living playing her, but Chad completely dominates the challenge, serving up celebrity realness on the Snatch panel and the runway. Michelle might say that it’s a safe choice for Chad, but if she played anyone else, the judges would have surely called her out for not doing what she does best. Chad is a professional, consistently showing up with a polished look, and with this episode, we’re starting to see more of her personality as well.

The queen closest to touching Chad’s impeccable Cher is Sharon’s wonderful caricature of Michelle Visage, a gamble that pays off excelletly. Sharon lays out her philosophy this episode, one that will probably win her the competition: “When in doubt, freak ‘em out.” The messy hair, huge tits, and harsh cackle combine to create a hilariously exaggerated portrait, and Michelle absolutely adores it.

Willam failed to impress with last week’s acting challenge, but she turns it out as Jessica Simpson, playing vapid and empty-headed to the best of her ability. Willam is an actor who knows how to use props, chucking Simpson’s brand of hair extensions to the judges, and at one point, setting up a cardboard cut-out so she could leave the game to go to Macy’s. It’s nice to see all that acting talent she’s always bragging about, and she’s able to capture Jessica Simpson’s aloofness while still keeping that lovable Willam bitchiness.


Just like every Snatch Game, there are just as many duds as diamonds, and the losers try to compensate for their lack of character by being outlandish and pulling focus. It’s a shitshow, or as Latrice says, “romper room fuckery,” and a shame to the honorable legacy of the Snatch Game. Kenya’s Beyonce is a drugged-out compulsive dancer that screams in a trying-to-be-American-but-completely-Puerto-Rican accent, while Phi Phi’s Gaga relies on a few stock phrases and the occasional horribly improvised song to make the viewing experience miserable. Milan is a burning hot mess as Diana Ross with a clown’s makeup and no sense of subtlety, trying so hard yet accomplishing so little. Jiggly is just as obnoxious as the real Snooki, but her big mistake is cutting off Ru and Latrice to smush up on Phi Phi, an action that Latrice expects her to answer for when she airs her grievances the next day.

While a lot of the queens aren’t happy with the shenanigans during the Snatch Game, Latrice is furious and makes sure the other girls know. “Completely unprofessional, completely childish, and that is NOT what I came here to do!” she yells, and everyone listens because you do not want Latrice Royale in your face. Jiggly apologizes, but Phi Phi decides she didn’t do anything wrong and continues to be a bitch. Kenya’s lack of an apology is acceptable because I honestly don’t think she knows what’s happening most of the time. In Untucked, she talks about how difficult this competition is for her with the language barrier, and between Ru’s wordplay and the intensely referential writing on this show, she must be completely lost. The fact that she’s been able to even make it this far is a testament to her fishiness.


Ru takes to the runway in a stunning dress covered in feathers, joined by Snatch Game guests Ross Matthews and Loretta Devine, along with Santino and Michelle for a solid show with one big misstep among the contestants. Jiggly continues to serve up high-school homecoming glam with a boring blue number, and Dida goes for a black Ke$ha look with a horrible wig and stuffed-animal skirt that need to never be worn again. Latrice was wearing something, but it was hard to take my eyes off her Kabuki makeup. They’re all safe, which does not make Ru very happy, but they live to see another day of the competition.

Phi Phi serves up another bland look, this time with some ill-fitting shorts that Devine compares to the kind of swimsuit she used to wear, while Kenya sports a bedazzled boxer outfit because she knows she’s in the bottom. Milan pays homage to Janelle Monae with her runway look, and while I love me some Janelle Monae, she’s just about the worst choice for a celebrity to impersonate on a drag queen competition. As the judges point out, it’s not a very good idea to model yourself after a woman that is doing male drag. This is RuPaul’s Drag Race, not Victor/Victoria. Genderfuck is one thing, but if someone doesn’t know who Janelle Monae is, Milan’s look is just a janky Bruno Mars. Michelle says it best: “I felt like I was watching Sammy Davis Jr. That is not what I want to see in my drag queen.”


Chad continues to channel Cher on the runway, wearing a giraffe-print one piece with peek-a-boo thighs and a bright yellow wig that the judges adore. While I agree with Chad’s win, Sharon has another phenomenal week, going with an extreme plastic surgery look on the runway that is both sexy and disturbing, so the judges love it. As Jiggly says in Untucked, Sharon has the gift of gab, and she’s the only queen that is creating engaging banter during critiques. Sharon apes Michelle to her face, and not only does Michelle adore it, she encourages more of it. This episode’s best bit of editing: the sequence of Michelle, Ru, and Sharon all cackling in quick succession.

After serving ’90s fetish fierceness in Bob Mackie, Willam gets the critique that she knows has been coming all season: The judges need to see vulnerability. They love her Jessica Simpson and appreciate her snarky sense of humor, but they want to know that there’s substance underneath the cattiness. Willam’s response? Cry when she’s told that she’s safe, because crying equals vulnerability. The tears make a bit more sense after watching Untucked, but it’s hard to sympathize with her when she’s name-dropping in the midst of her big humbling moment. She insists that she’s not acting, which just makes it seem all the more likely that it’s a completely fabricated moment of weakness, and she’s going to need to get her dramatic skills to the same level as her comedy if she’s going to convince the judges.


Phi Phi is safe, but Ru tells her with a certain degree of severity that she better bring her A-game next week. Ru has to be aware of the drama that goes on when she’s not around, and I get the feeling that she’s getting tired of Phi Phi’s attitude when the queen hasn’t been able to back it up. Milan and Kenya get a whopper of a lip-sync song, Madonna’s “Vogue,” and if there’s one person I don’t want to see vogue-ing, it’s Milan. Precise movements aren’t really her thing. Flailing, on the other hand, totally is, and she does a reprise of last week’s choreography but adds even more arms this time. Kenya gives a serviceable lip sync, but doesn’t have any personality. She’s a beautiful queen, but there’s not much there when she performs, and she’s asked to sashay away. Milan should definitely be the next one sent home after her string of rough, forced performances; she’s pushing too hard, and eventually, that’s going to push her onto a plane home.

Stray observations:

  • Dida needs to get her look together, because her personality is really growing on me, especially after watching her on Untucked.
  • Willam on not being considered one of Madame LaQueer’s sisters: “I don’t care; she was a mess. Sorry ‘bout it.”
  • These were brought up in comments last week, but Latrice throws down the 5 Gs this week, establishing herself as Queen of the Acronyms: Good God Get A Grip Girl.
  • Once Latrice is safe, she strips off her dress immediately, which makes Untucked hilarious.
  • Aunt Fanny is so fat, when she gets on a scale is says: “Hello Madame LaQueer.” Sharon is brilliant.
  • “I spread La Mer on my toast. I’m Cher, bitch!”
  • “I wanna take a Sweet Dream right now. (Kenya falls over, then bounces up.) I’m a Survivor!”
  • “I have a very shy gag reflex.”
  • Chad: “I’m going to wear the giraffe bodysuit you made for me today.” Chad’s partner: “Fun!”
  • Sharon on Willam’s tears: “She ordered those tears from China.”

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