RuPaul's Drag Race Season 4 Episode 6 Recap: Float Your Boat
Mar 09 2012 09:20 am CET

It's Pride Week on RuPaul's Drag Race as the queens make boat floats for the Mainstage Parade. Kelly Osbourne and Pauley Perrette guest judge.

Last time on RuPaul's Drag Race: Snatch Game!!! Ahem. Sharon (as Michelle Visage), Willam (as Jessica Simpson) and Chad Michaels (as Cher) rocked the challenge while many of the other queens engaged in "romper room fuckery," according to Latrice Royale. Chad won the challenge while Phi Phi O'Hara was put on notice to bring her A-game. Milan's Diana Ross and Kenya Michaels' Beyonce did not impress, sending both queens to Lip Sync for their Lives. After a hard-fought battle, Milan was asked to stay and Kenya sashayed away.

Willam calls dibs on hangers as the eight remaining queens make their way into the Werkroom. Phi Phi already misses her best friend, who left the following noteL "Phi Phi, I love you. Sisters forever." If you watch this week's Untucked, you'll know this was the last nice thing Kenya submitted in writing. As Phi Phi wipes down the mirror, the other contestants razz Milan about sending both Puerto Rican queens home. "You'll never get to do West Side Story," Willam jokes. Hehe. Milan talks about being up for elimination twice, saying her drag is often misunderstood because she teeter-totters into boy-world. The others don't seem to buy this excuse and neither do I. There have been several successful genderqueer/androgynous/ladyboy queens, but what separates them from Milan is a developed aesthetic that they own. So far the only aesthetic Milan has successfully delivered is Willona Woods from Good Times. That is not drag-tastic.

You know what is drag-tastic? SheMail! "Greetings! My name's RuPaul and I'll be your cruise director," the message begins. "Sometimes, to avoid being Stonewalled, a girl's gotta rock the boat." Everyone is sufficiently confused as Ru enters. He tells the girls that they've been working hard, so it's time for a break...Spring Break! Woo! And nothing says Spring Break (woo!) like girls with low self esteem a wet t-shirt contest. I retract my previous woos. The pit crew wheels out a cart full of those creepy fake breast plates. Using the fake boobs and a Glamazon t-shirt, the girls will be judged by a group of rowdy guys outside. The queens seem okay with this — Sharon Needles pulls Latrice's face in for some motorboarding action. The gif is fantastic.

Okay, so the queens get tarted up and one by one get doused on stage. This challenge is so gross and I have no idea who is supposed to enjoy this. The audience for RuPaul's Drag Race is primarily women and gay guys, so the sexualization makes no sense (not that it would be okay if it did make sense). However, what I find most baffling happens when Jiggly Caliente takes the stage. She bounces a little too much and pops out of her t-shirt, which gets blurred out. When the cart of fake boobs was displayed, nothing was blurred. We know these are guys wearing fake plates, which is fully demonstrated by Phi Phi's plate (and wig) coming off during her turn (which also gets blurred). What exactly is Standards and Practices protecting us from? Oh! And when Latrice does some of her self-described stripper moves, her downstairs junk gets pixelated instead of blurred. So now video obscuration has become gendered? I hate this mini-challenge.

Ru brings all the girls on stage to announce the winner in front of the applause-o-meter crowd. Ru asks for a drumroll and the queens offer one via their fake chests. And the winner is...Willam. She wins her own breast-plate, which we know from India Farrah costs 600 whole dollars.

Back in the Werkroom, Ru prefaces the explanation of this week's main challenge with a herstory lesson about the 1969 Stonewall Riots, a defining moment in the gay rights movement. Pride parades are part of the crusade, and this year's Pride theme is Hope Floats. For the challenge, the queens have to design their own fashion forward boat-shaped floats to show off their Pride. Each boat will be one of the eight colors of the original Pride flag: Pink, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Turquoise, Indigo and Purple. Willam gets first choice and takes indigo. She also gets to assign the remaining colors, but she goes down the line and randomly draws colored scarves rather than engaging in strategery.

The queens start working on their floats. Well, everyone except Jiggly, who is completely flummoxed by the color orange. It doesn't help that the boat is more of a brownish orange, making it almost impossible to avoid looking like a Thanksgiving turkey. Sharon, who as green, is tapping into the original nature-based meaning of the color in the flag. This prompts Chad to ask the room who knows their history. Willam talks about the humiliation drag performers experienced and harassment gays and lesbians dealt with in the days before Stonewall. Although things may seem bleak nowadays in the LGBT community, so much progress has been made since 1969. Yes, there's still A LOT of work to be done, but it is awesome to be able to look back a couple generations to see that things have in fact gotten better.

"It looks like a Kylie Minogue concert has exploded in here," Ru says as he returns for the WalkthRu. He starts with Jiggly, who it appears has not made much progress on her design. Ru asks for a rundown of Jiggly's concept and she responds with the vaguest answer imaginable. "Ru is not buying my bullshit," Jiggly admits in an interview. Dida Ritz, who has Red, wants to go for 70's hippie with a jumpsuit. Ru reminds Dida to think fashion forward. Willam's blue boat is covered in start stickers featuring her face. She shares an inspirational quote from one of Ru's books. Girlfriend is playing the game really well. Ru moves on to Milan's yellow boat. Milan describes her concept as a "flashback to the future." Ru doesn't get it, probably because it sounds as fully baked as what Jiggly is working with. Again, since Milan has no clear aesthetic to draw from, this challenge will be challenging for her. Phi Phi closes out the WalkthRu with a story about her abusive upbringing and rising from the ashes. I'm still not completely on-board with Phi Phi as a contender, but it's nice to know the origin of the chip on her shoulder.

Ru gathers the queens to give them the rest of the details of the challenge. The guest judges will be Kelly Osbourne (all the contestants love this news) and Pauley Perrette from NCIS (some of the queens seem to recognize her). She was at the top of last year's Q Rating list, so this is kind of a big get for the show. Ru reminds the contestants, "it ain't the size of the boat but the motion in your ocean. So don't fuck it up."

Frustration builds as the queens get back to work. Jiggly is still stymied by her color and can't get started on her project. Phi Phi interviews that she thinks Jiggly is out of her element. I don't know much about the New York drag scene but if Jiggly, Milan and MiMi Imfurst are prime examples of what to expect, the scene must be a mess. Meanwhile, Willam has started to grate on everyone's nerves. "The hardest part of this challenge is not telling everyone I'm going to win," she says in an interview. She then engages in behavior reminiscent of Tyra Sanchez in the wedding challenge way back when, including shrill warbling.

The next day features all the queens scrambling to finish their projects. Jiggly finally found some overnight inspiration and begins making some inadvertently phallic anchor cutouts. Everything she does she describes as "very Saint-Tropez." Jiggly continues to work on her boat as the other queens begin painting and dressing. "Jiggly is a hot mess," Latrice comments in an interview. "Good luck, grrr."

Mainstage. RuPaul welcomes Michelle Visage, Billy B, LA Pride Grand Marshal Kelly Osbourne and Pauley Perrette. As the show opens, we see the Pit Crew has expanded to eight guys shaking around cutouts of ocean waves, among other things.

Chad Michaels has a pink showgirl look this week which looks fine but pales in comparison to the other looks she has presented so far this season. Her boat is covered in fringe, tiger prints, and stars. Dida Ritz's Red boat is also heavy on the fringe while her outfit consists of a harem pant and a preschooler's t-shirt. I'm secretly hoping to see Dida on What Not to Wear, as this season has been her audition tape to get on that show.

Jiggly Caliente enters the stage wearing her Crayola splash wrap and her orange boat. None of the judges mention Saint-Tropez, so I'm not sure if Jiggly's supposed inspiration got through. She is followed by Milan's yellow boat named "The Milan Invasion." Milan acts the fool as she midget-walks down the runway in her Hoarders-bound wigmobile.

Sharon Needles enters with another Kate Pierson look in her green boat. The fringe on the boat gives it a swamp-like quality, but everyone's attention is focused on the snake glove Sharon has on one arm. Awesome touch. Latrice Royale enters in her turquoise boat. Her face and lips are completely and impressively bedazzled but her walk seems uncertain. My guess is the combo of her boat and boots may be causing balance issues.

Willam's indigo starship seems to be riding lower than the other girls' boats. Willam steps to the side, throws out an anchor, and disembarks. Stank attitude or not, those are awesome details to include. She works the runway in an overly-revealing Gautier swimsuit before setting sail offstage. Phi Phi closes the show with her purple sci-fi boat. Although there isn't anything special about the look in the context of this challenge, her makeup looks pretty good. Way to ease off the paint!

All the contestants stay on stage to chat with the judges. Chad describes her looks as "drag cougar" and adds she wanted to be a fashion forward showgirl. Kelly loves the ruffles in the skirt, but Billy thinks the look is more traditional than fashion forward. I agree. Dida gets praise for her hair and her overall cuteness from Pauley, but Billy cautions Ms. Ritz she may be relying on those features too much. Michelle calls Dida's boat a pinata, yet fails to make a dirty joke about candy. You're getting soft, Michelle. Jiggly talks about her look, incorporating "it gets better," Saint-Tropez (STOP SAYING THAT), and removing her wrap to reveal a swimsuit. The panel thinks she should have walked the runway without the wrap and the float is a hot mess. Speaking of hot messes, Milan describes her boat as the drag invasion of Fire Island. Michelle says Milan's concept doesn't show up at all in the final product. Billy goes farther, saying this boat showed off Milan's pride instead of Pride. "I'm a little offended," Billy says. Ouch.

Sharon describes her nature concept, explaining her use of snakes because they are feared for the wrong reasons. Pauley loves the hand snake but Billy says the boat looks more like a shipwreck covered in moss. Billy is not in a good mood this evening. Kelly Osbourne gags on Latrice's bedazzled lips. Michelle says Latrice looks like a cross between Nefertiti and Ursula from The Little Mermaid, but the boots have got to go. Billy B calls Latrice "an event."

Willam mentions the amenities in her maritime realness: WiFi, full service gym and a business center. All the judges love her look and Billy adds the boat looks like a professional project. "You give very good masthead," he says. Phi Phi gets the "Most Improved" award, with Billy praising the makeup and the guest judges making favorable Kardashian comparisons. Michelle offers some constructive criticism on body shape, but it comes from a place of love and not talking to a lost cause.

The panel deliberates. Latrice is the real deal, but the boots should be burned. Phi Phi is listening. Jiggly was an epic fail. Chad can do no wrong, but can she ever be messy? Sharon is messy but can she ever be on-point? In other words, we need a Chad/Sharon hybrid. Milan thinks she's more real than she is and is starting to read more like a dude in a dress. Willam was sick'ning. Dida needs styling help. RuPaul has made some decisions.

The girls return to the stage. RuPaul thanks the late, great Marsha P Johnson for starting the revolution at Stonewall. Honor her legacy, y'all! Chad, Latrice and Sharon are declared safe. RuPaul tells Willam "you navigated this challenge beautifully and we were swept away." Willam totally wins and gets a cruise vacation. Phi Phi is told she's safe, leaving Dida, Jiggly and Milan onstage. Jiggly's message was uplifting, but her float sank, so she's up for elimination. Dida is on the ropes, but Milan's message was lost at sea. Milan is up for elimination.

Jiggly Caliente and Milan: the time has come for you to Lip Sync..................for Ya Life! This week's track is "Born This Way" by Lady GaGa, the official Pride anthem until the next one comes along. Jiggly starts off with some lyrical subtlety while Milan cranks things to 11 immediately. As Jiggly's performance builds, she does one of those jump splits the big queens love to do. Milan immediately does a jump split of her own. Then, for the third week in a row, Milan tears off her wig and the top of her outfit. This is not the counterargument to "dude in a dress" that Milan should be using. The song ends, and so does Milan's time on RuPaul's Drag Race.

"London, Paris, Milan: the world is calling," RuPaul says. "Now sashay away." Backstage, Milan accepts that this is the end of one journey and the beginning of another. She hopes to be an ambassador of hope and love. Or faith and charity. Or bed and breakfast. She's versatile. Back on stage, RuPaul tells her lucky seven: "don't be a drag, just be a queen."

Next week on RuPaul's Drag Race: The library is open...READING IS FUNDAMENTAL.

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