Squirrelfriends, if you had told me six months ago that the first episode of “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” would have me pitying Mimi Imfurst and annoyed at Pandora Boxx, I would have told you to lay off the drugs.
And yet, here we are, folks, sort of not that upset that everyone’s favorite Pandora Boxx left early.
But rewind: First things first. This season of “Drag Race” has been like the Olympics, Miss America and the release of a new iPhone all rolled into one for me and hundreds of thousands of fans. The contestants were teased at in a black-light video and voting took place for weeks on Facebook to send Ms. Boxx to the Drag Hall of Fame.
So it’s not surprising she’s first on screen, resplendent in a kicky black stripe number and hungry for redemption. She’s quickly joined by Latrice Royale, Yara Sofia, Shannel (yay!), Raven, Alexis Mateo, Chad Michaels, Manila Luzon (fiercest evah), Mimi Imfurst (uh, what?), Nina Flowers (omg love), Jujubee (still the funniest) and alien life form Tammie Brown. Instantly, Shannel reminds me of why I love her more than chocolate milk.
“I bought this from the Debbie Reynolds collection,” she says, waving at the over-the-top metallic creation she has on. “This was used in a Broadway production of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and the beast wore it.”
The kiki doesn’t last long, though, once the ladies find out they’ve got to compete in pairs for the entire competition. They find out from Ru that they’ll also be eliminated in pairs. The queens use placards to show their top pick, and if the other queen has picked them as well, they’re a team.
In the first round, Rave and Jujubee pick each other, as do Shannel and Chad, and Tammie Brown and Nina Flowers. For round two, Manila and Latrice are hooked up, and Yara and Alexis, leaving Pandora and Mimi a team.
Most of the girls seem thrilled at their partners, with the notable exception of Pandora Boxx. She immediately gets a disappointed, sour look on her face, a look that doesn’t move for the rest of the episode.
“Here’s my question,” asks a criminally clueless Mimi. “Are you unhappy that you’re my partner or feeling guilty that you didn’t pick me?”
Oh, Mimi. Here is where the germs of my negative feelings toward Pandora began. Yep, I get that being paired with Mimi Imfurst sucks. I wouldn’t want to carry the 11th-place queen on my back for an entire season, either. But the Negative Nelly attitude is the exact opposite of why people have loved Pandora Boxx so much. Boo, Pandora. Boo.
In any case, the queens get their challenge, one in which they’ll have two photo shoots with their partners. One, “half-baked,” forces them to take photos half-in and half-out of drag, no wigs allowed. The second, “opposites attract,” will feature their differences in high fashion style.
Immediately it’s clear that Pandora and Mimi are in trouble, and it’s possible that Chad and Shannel might be pushing the envelope into weirdness a bit too much with their “strangled neck” makeup.
Guys, I also want to say that Raven has had some WORK done. Those lips are out of control.
Yara and Alexis have decided to switch roles for their opposites attract shoot, and Alexis has to go goth and flat-chested.
“Without titties?” Alexis says incredulously. “But I always wear titties. That’s my favorite part of drag.”
Raven and Juju decide to do “dressed and undressed,” and Raven’s perfect body is on display, with a tan that would put Snooki to shame.
The “opposites attract” shoot also features black rain falling on the duos, which results in some uncomfortable weirdness.
“We’re going to be wet on top of this?” Latrice says. “That’s not glamorous!”
As the queens prep for the runway and twin looks, there’s more negativity from Pandora toward Mimi. When Mimi approaches Pandora again, she gets just a shrug and a half-assed statement of unity. It is so not cute.
Guest judges for the first episode Rachel Hunter and Ross Mathews join regular judges Santino Rice and Michelle Visage.