RPDR Season 7, Epsiode 1 thoughts:
1. I appreciate Ru trying new things and admitting when something doesn't work and quickly doing away with it. Last season's split opening was an interesting concept but ultimately felt like it took too long for us to get to meet all the queens. So to go back to the original format was definitely the right move. However she has decided to mix it up again and do away with the crazy, silly photoshoots that have been the first challenge in every single previous season and replace it with a bog ol' runway challenge. My two thoughts on this is are:
• There should have been an added element of ridiculousness to give everyone the chance of showing more than just how good their fashion sense is. I agree with the AV Club's assessment of this challenge: the photoshoot may have been repetitive, but at least it forced the queens to think on their feet and showed them that you can't just rest on glamorous to win this thing. A multi-piece runway mini-challenge does none of that. It just feels like the entire episode was runways. So cover the runway with bacon grease. Incorporate a foam cannon. Shower them with glitter. Blast them with massive wind turbines. Something, anything more than just a simple boring re-creation of a fashion week runway.
• If they wanted to cram something like this into the first episode then Ru needed to play with the format even more. Last year she broke up the premier into two mini-premiers. This year, with the new runway extravaganza (which despite my previous point has some merits) she needed to make it a Two-Hour episode. There was just too much content here with too many queens showing too many looks that it felt really, really rushed and the humor and silliness wasn't given enough room to blossom.
2. Because of this new challenge I actually found this the very first season where I was completely unable to form any real opinions on the contestants based off this first episode. Every other season by the time the first episode was done I already had my top 5 all mapped out and generally knew who I would be rooting for. Things would change periodically over the season of course, but generally I could immediately find myself attaching to some of them. However because of the sheer scale of this episode and how much they had to get in there none of the queens were really given a single moment to form a personality. And so I can't give a list like I normally do.
3. Here is my biggest beef: UNTUCKED. Untucked is, to me, the beating HEART of this show. It is as vital to the success of RPDR as lace-front wigs are vital to the success of Ru's flawless drag looks. It is where, in previous seasons, we have had the best quotes generated, the most fun drama, and (MOST IMPORTANTLY) the ability to get to know the queens enough to truly begin to form attachments to them. And that is BEYOND NECESSARY in order to fully find oneself immersed in the show. So while I'm actually intrigued by it's new format and can see the much more raw, far less scripted format actually enhancing the experience- I am also very worried about it's apparent de-emphasis and downplay by Logotv and RPDR. The fact that it doesn't play immediately after the main episode airs, the fact that it isn't included in the iTunes season pass, the fact that it is youtube-only released a full day after the episode airs, the lack of a dedicated "Interior Illusions Lounge" or any apparent budget devoted to the show all combines to make it feel like they are trying to phase it out- and that is the worst idea this show has ever attempted. This show has become such a popular social phenomenon that bars and clubs that host RPDR nights with Drag Queen hosts are filling up to capacity. But now the only thing these events get to include in this event is the main show- but I can tell you right now that Untucked was just as much a joy to experience in these bar settings as the show itself, if not moreso and the fact that it is no longer apparently going to be an option is a really, really bad idea.
So Ru, if you are listening: DO NOT do away with Untucked. RETHINK when you are releasing it and how much emphasis it is getting. Untucked is practically more fun and entertaining than the main show itself. It's fine to play with the format- but while some of the changes are fun and intriguing some of them DO NOT WORK.
AEDAN'S HINDSIGHT ADDENDUM, #1:
Not much to mention here, I stand by my original thoughts on this episode. I promise these addendum pieces won't always be this boring. Also quick note: I will not be giving each of these rants an addendum immediately. They take a bit to parse through and mull over so they will just appear randomly when I have the time.