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TV @ The Movies: "Meryl Streep Realness"

TV @ The Movies is a series that came to life because we always perk up when movies or movie actors are name-checked on the small screen. Who and what fillters into pop culture? And in what form?

Are any of you watching RuPaul's Drag Race Season 3? In the latest episode The Supermodel of The World gave her competing "gurls" scripts to film a movie trailer "Drag Queens in Outer Space: Return to Uranus". The acting in the final trailers was so hideous I didn't even remotely wish the fake movie was real and given that it was called "Drag Queens in Outer Space: Return to Uranus,"  that's a fail.

Shangela & Mimi discuss their upcoming performances

Shangela and Mimi Imfurst already hate each other and have become immediate rivals. This is because they're both crafty disingenuous camera hogs and nothing drives people crazier than seeing their unflattering traits reflected in other people. They're both continually making trouble (Shangela) or breaking down (Mimi) so as to log more camera time. Essentially, this is a fail safe ploy in the reality TV format: I already know their names and faces and the other queens are still bleeding together after two regular episodes. Mimi brags about her acting experience and on the read-through of the script, they have this exchange:

Shangela: You better get that Oscar, bitch.
Mimi Imfurst: I'm bringing Meryl Streep Realness. You gotta get ugly to win the gold.

As quotes go it's no "I was giving Michelle Pfeiffer bitch" uttered magnificently in season 2 by Raven (It's all downhill from Raven. Sigh). Meryl Streep Realness and the tried and trued De-Glam Oscar trick both make sense on their own but putting them together is like talking in gibberish. Streep has never had to downplay her beauty for Oscar's attention. In fact, her Best Actress Oscar went to arguably one of her most glamorous performances in Sophie's Choice. Yes, yes, she also deglams within the same film in flashbacks. But that's Meryl; she does it all. Except for maybe camp.

Okay, okay. That's not exactly true.


Mimi ended up going for full Leigh Bowery Artifice, Meryl Streep Realness never entering the picture.

But the queens weren't done paying homage/defaming the prestige screen divas. Later Stacy Lane Matthew's performance as "Lady Tata" in the sci-fi trailers prompted comparisons to none other than Dame Judi Dench.

Stacy: Honey, I don't know who in the hell I was.
Shangela: Girl, you were some British bitch.
Mimi: You were Judi Dench giving us Shakespeare.
Shangela: Where in the hell did you get that accent Miss Back Swamp North Carolina? Next thing you turn around you're a British bitch.
Stacy: Bitch, I was thinking Julia Child.

[Ahem]. Speaking of Streep Realness/Camp.

For reasons that are still unclear Lily Tomlin was a guest judge. (Sci-fi plus Lily? Why?) Strangely, she didn't say much and only made one funny.

If you were starring in "Drag Queens From Outer Space," which legendary actress would you be using for inspiration? Would you be okay with Lily Tomlin judging you?

RuPaul's Drag Race is available to watch online. If you dare.


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Reader Comments (14)

i can't believe they didn't refer to vegas in space at all, since it's obviously where the idea came from. bow down to the queens who came before you, bitches

February 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterpar3182

par --i'm not familiar with vegas in space either.

everyone -- i guess no one is watching this show. haha. i thought it was more popular than this given how much i hear about it elsewhere.

February 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel R

Does anyone else notice that Raja is one of the makeup artists from Americas Next Top Model? "Sutan" Raja for the WIN!!!

February 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

He is. how weird. Reality TV is like it's own macroverse. there's so much inbreeding ;)

February 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel R

Haha, I enjoy this show, but I couldn't watch this week's episode. It is very entertaining (although I usually don't like drag queens). But it is a little obvious in the winner. I think Sutan/Raja is this season's winner.

February 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPedro

I think Mad Men is probably the best show on TV, but the Drag Race might be my actual favorite. Even though she's like half an actress, Bjork would for sure be my Drag in Space inspiration; Stacey Lane Matthews' costume reminded me more of the Homogenic album cover than DJD. I would probably wear an LED screen displaying my own image, "Hyperballad"-style, with a whale's tail peeking out the bottom as a nod to Drawing Restraint 9 (and for whimsy).

February 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTrey

I loved the episode for The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T-referencing twin-bot wig in the winning trailer. That and Mimi Imfurst's spot on Lee Bowery 2088 drag ensemble. As great as Delta Work is and as funny as Stacy Lane Matthews is, I think Mimi Imfurst is the only real hope for a larger queen to win this season.

As for drag inspiration, I'd be aiming for Sigourney Weaver realness by way of 1950s B-Movie. Think PVC armor and ray gun holsters.

February 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterOtherRobert

I'm a little surprised Mimi Imfurst is on the show just because i assume there's some working queens who probably feel it's beneath to compete... given that you have to view yourself as a superstar already to really make it entertainment. and i've actually heard of her before the show ;)

February 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel R

Mimi Imfurst is a stupid bitch. I hate that she was in the top 3 after that "performance."

February 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterErik Anderson

Fave show ever.

When they told Stacey Layne Matthews she was "giving us Maya Angelou" I nearly fell over laughing.

February 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJesse

yes, vegas in space is obscure but that's why i was surprised rupaul didn't acknowledge it; she's usually pretty good at respecting drag history

and what was the point of having someone from the dour caprica judging campy sci-fi?

February 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterpar3182

I was thinking something like Jane Fonda in Barbarella. Dragcamp doing spacecamp doing Euroretro futurism doing 60s sexkitten.

I love this show. Who wouldn't with a plug in the middle of the episode for

February 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

How about giving us some Zsa Zsa Gabor in "Queen of Outer Space"? Forget old school -- they could go *ancient.*

February 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSan FranCinema

Craig -- i am actually surprised that none of them referenced Barbarella... but then, maybe they don't know it. Oh the cultural illiteracy

San Fran -- zsa zsa! somewhere there is definitely a queen using that as her name.

Erik -- strong feelings. and yes that "performance" was t-e-r-r-i-b-l-e. It was even too bad to be bad-acting camp, you know?

February 4, 2011 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R
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