It's the End of the World As We Know It

What I'm Watching: RuPaul's Drag Race - Season 4

All reality shows reach a point where the formula just doesn't work anymore, despite (or in some cases, due to) the personalities and challenges getting bigger and more intense. America's Next Top Model. Project Runway. The Amazing Race. All are shows I used to follow religiously, and have now lost my interest. Even my beloved Top Chef is starting to show its age. So at some point, the cheeky charm of RuPaul's Drag Race will fade. But judging by the Season 4 premiere, it hasn't happened yet.

I'm still trying to wrap up Season 3, and was worried that I'd be queened out, but no such tragedy has befallen. This show manages to get me invested in the outcome, while still being light, and moving along at an agreeably quick pace. I don't think I like this crop of queens quite as much as the ones in Season 3, but there are already one or two standouts.

This premiere episode's theme is post-apocalyptic ferocity, and even if some of the ladies can't even pronounce that, they're able to bring some incredible end-of-days couture to the runway. Elvira graces the judges' table, bringing the wit and wisdom I love her for. Side Note: People are always talking about the actresses of Hollywood, and the lengths they'll go to retain their youth, but Elvira looks exactly the same as she did in the '80s, without being a garish mess of plastic surgery. Janice Dickinson's Death Mask, take note.

It's uncanny how much this show gets right. In most episodes of this show, I agree with the choice for both the winner and the loser, which is uncommon for most reality TV. It's sincere without being sappy. It's wacky without being whacked out. RuPaul's Drag Race could easily be an over-the-top mess, but instead, it somehow manages to be an over-the-top delight.


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