RuPaul's All-Stars Drag Race Episode 2 Recap: RuPaul's Gaff-In
Nov 04 2012 09:57 pm CET

On this week's RuPaul's All Stars Drag Race, the teams star in the dragtastic sketch comedy show RuPaul's Gaff-in. However, obscure celebrity impersonations and poor characterizations cause trouble for many of the teams. Vicki Lawrence and Busy Phillips serve as guest judges.

Previously on RuPaul's All-Stars Drag Race: We got reintroduced to the 12 Queens competing for a spot in the Drag Hall of Fame. However, the girls are going to have to keep some of the shade to themselves because they will be working in teams of two throughout the season. Team Latrilla (Latrice Royale and Manila Luzon) won an opposites attract photoshoot while Teams Shad (Shannel and Chad Michaels) and Mandora (MiMi Imfurst and Pandora Boxx) were up for elimination. Chad took out MiMi in the Lip Sync for Ya Life, making Team Pandora the first castoffs of the season.

The cast arrives in the WerkRoom to dish about the previous challenge. Both members of Team Shad didn't think they deserved to be in the Bottom Two, but I think any of the remaining teams would have felt that way. To wit, Raven says MiMi shouldn't have been in the competition in the first place. The other contestants noticed Pandora had given up the moment she was paired with MiMi, completely ignoring the Synergy that has joined Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent. Chad says Team Mandora could have gone all the way had they worked together. "I love synergysm," Latrice says. Hehe.

Ooo girl, time for SheMail. "A Hall of Famer needs to be able to throw a punchline," RuPaul tells the teams. "She who laughs last probably didn't get the joke," she adds. "Sorry, Jiggly." Ha! Ru enters so the teams can play in the mini-challenge game we're calling "InDaButtRu." Basically, this is The Newlywed Game for partnered drag queens. For example, Ru asks Raven who she thinks Jujubee would say has the tighter tuck. Raven guesses Raven, and that's what Jujubee said. The next round of questions involves asking the partners about underwear choices. Pretty straightforward, until we get to Team Brown Flowers. Tammie Brown sniffs her partner Nina Flowers a couple times before answering "grass, because it's always green." This is where having Tammie as your partner becomes an extreme liability. You don't know what kind of advantage winning a challenge can provide, so doing whatever this is that Tammie does is going to hurt Nina down the road. Not cool. Oh, and the correct answer was "boxers." Anyway, we see more questions and it looks like Team Rujubee is the team most in-synch, so they win. Their prize: a creampie to the face, courtesy of the Pit Crew. Only on this show would the previous sentence be the filthiest thing I've ever published online.

As Raven and Jujubee clean up, Ru tells the teams for the main challenge they will be performing on the shelarious program RuPaul's Gaff-in!. Uh-huh. The teams will have to write and perform original jokes for a drag version of Rowan & Martin's Laugh-in! The queens will have to do celebrity drag and will work with special guest star Vicki Lawrence who will perform on the show as Mama. I don't know how optimistic I can be about this episode, folks: this sounds dreadful.

Ru leaves so the teams can start prepping for the show. Raven and Jujubee discuss which personas they will adopt. Raven goes for Bea Arthur, which I find to be an interesting choice. I think the personality is there, but Raven may have a tough time with the look. Jujubee initially goes with Nicki Minaj, but Raven isn't sure Jujubee can make the character funny. Juju's plan B: Fran Drescher. Hmmm. Over on Team Brown Flowers, Tammie will go as Tammie Faye while Nina will go with La Lupe, the Queen of Latin Soul. Don't worry, I had not heard of her prior to this episode either. I'm worried for Brown Flowers, y'all. Team Latrilla goes a bit more conventional, with Manila emulating Madonna and Latrice attempting Oprah.

What all the teams are discovering fairly quickly is that writing comedy, particularly setup/punchline jokes as celebrities, is really friggin' hard. And they have to write meditations on the setup/punchline style, specifically a cocktail party routine with Mama (so a three-person delivery), a Howdy Ru (another three-person delivery with Ru as the, for lack of a better phrase, straight man), and the Joke Wall (jokes with a hi/bye delivery). I do not envy the queens in this challenge.

Ru returns for the WalkthRu. He starts with Team Latrilla and seems to support Manila's decision to portray Madonna. Ru asks Latrice who she is doing, so Latrice offers a soundbite: "DEEP FRIED BUTTER!" Ru guesses Paula Deen, which is not what Latrice was intending but she should totally change her plan now. Instead, Latrice sticks with Oprah, though this miscommunication should give her the hint she needs to work on the character.

Ru moves on to Team Yarlexis, who Ru suspects will have the most trouble due to the language barrier. Alexis will be playing Shakira while Yara Sofia will portray Charo. Ru shares his concern about the language issue and how it may impact joke timing. Yara and Alexis plan on acting extra crazy to compensate. Hmm.

After Ru is unimpressed with a joke from Rujubee, he checks in with Team Shad. Shannel will play Lucille Ball while Chad will tap into All About Eve-era Bette Davis. Shannel says she's good with ad-libs, which Chad vouches for. Ru warns landing a written joke is different than vamping during a drag show with amateur queens experiencing stage fright.

Finally, Ru checks in with Team Brown Flowers. Nina explains who La Lupe was, including how she defected from Cuba and was "ironically" drummed out of the music industry due to drug use. Not only is that not really ironic, that doesn't exactly scream comedy. Ru turns to Tammie to find out how she's handling jokes for her character. Tammie says she isn't familiar with jokes. Cut to a talking head interview with Nina: "Girl." I need that as my text tone. I also have to wonder if Tammie is aware that RuPaul was the narrator of The Eyes of Tammy Faye – she might as well be going as RuPaul for this challenge.

Here is how each team did with the challenge. Yay video! (Some NSFW)

Team Latrilla

Team Shad

Team Brown Flowers

Team Rujubee

Team Yarlexis

…So that was a thing that was on television. Back in the Werkroom, the girls are getting ready to show off their 60's Groovy Glam drag. Everyone is worried about where they stacked up in the challenge. Nina Flowers is convinced she and Tammie will be in the Bottom 2. Raven is less than confident with her Bea Arthur drag, though Jujubee felt good about her Fran Drescher. Over on Team Latrilla, the teammates chat about the mini-challenge and realize they don't actually know that much about each other. Manila shares a story about how she dated a girl in high school and was planning on going the "play it straight" route. That obviously didn't work out and Manila contemplated suicide for a while. Fortunately, drag saved her life.

Mainstage time and RuPaul is wearing an amazing gown. I think that may be my favorite outfit she's worn on the show. She introduces the panel: Michelle Visage, Santino Rice, Vicki Lawrence (out of her Mama drag) and Cougar Town supporting player Busy Phillips (what what?!). The show 60's fashion show begins and each team has a different concept. Yarlexis features Yara in a mini-dress that looks like the Partridge Family bus before she strips down to a bathing suit; Alexis doesn't really have a 60's vibe to her outfit. Latrilla features Manila channeling Barbarella while Latrice shows off her Diana Ross look. Shad has Shannel in a flower print outfit while Chad rocks out a black and white gogo look. Rujubee is the most coordinated couple of the evening, with Raven and Jujubee showing off their Julie Newmar/That Girl aesthetics. Finally, Nina Flowers represents orange boots n her gogo outfit while Tammie Brown has decided to dress for a slumber party. I'm not feeling great about Brown Flowers.

RuPaul keeps all the teams on the runway for reading, starting with Team Yarlexis. Michelle and Vicki loved Yara's Charo, though Alexis Mateo's Shakira didn't leave much of an impression. Busy says the duo were a strong team with good jokes. I would agree with that. For Team Latrilla, Michelle enjoyed Manila's Madonna but her makeup on the runway is making the queen look crosseyed. Santino thinks the team's runway looks complement each other well, but Latrice's Oprah did not land at all.

Santino loves Chad's dress for the runway presentation while Vicki thought her impression of Bette Davis was spot on. As for Shannel, Michelle thought Lucy wasn't completely realized. Also not fully realized was Raven's Bea Arthur impersonation. However, Sanitno was impressed with Jujubee pulling off a Fran Drescher performance despite looking nothing like the actress. Busy loved Team Rujubee's coordinated runway look. Finally, Team Brown Flowers gets praise for Nina's runway look, but everything else about the challenge was a mess. Michelle didn't get La Lupe at all, but Nina tries to explain "I thought I could bring a little culture…" "…to our tacky little show," RuPaul finishes. Ouch.

The teams leave so the judges can spill the T. Yarlexis had good writing (take that, language barrier!) and Vicki thought Yara was the best of the bunch. Madonna was awesome, Oprah didn't register (much like her network), and Busy wasn't sure Team Latrilla worked. Michelle thought Team Shad's Lucille Ball fell short, but Vicki thought the team worked well together. Team Rujubee had a strong Fran but a weak Bea. However, their runway look was fantastic. Brown Flowers made everyone uncomfortable and any laughter was of the nervous variety.

The teams return to the stage. Although the judges didn't love Lucy, Chad's Bette Davis earned Team Shad safety for the week. Alexis didn't do much with Shakira, "but Charo was a real coup…a coochie coo." Team Yarlexis wins the challenge and gets a bunch of custom jewelry.

No surprise: Brown Flowers is up for elimination. As for who they will face in the Lip Sync, Manila's Madonna was "a celebration" but Latrice's Oprah "didn't OWN." Jujubee made "a flashy girl from Flushing fab," but Raven's Bea Arthur "was not golden, girl." Team Rujubee is declared safe, meaning Team Latrilla is up for elimination.

Latrice and Tammie will face-off in the Lip Sync……for Ya Life. Both teams still have access to the Shemergency Brake. At first I was expecting Nina to hit it instantly, but the song is Ethel Merman's version of "There's No Business Like Show Business" which should be right in Tammie's wheelhouse. Both queens turn it out, with Latrice shuffling across the stage and Tammie emulating the joy of the song. Either way this goes, this cut will be a rough one. RuPaul takes a moment before informing Team Latrilla "shantay, you stay." RuPaul tells the Season One queens they are the definition of All-Stars. I try not to let Untucked sneak into these recaps, but the other queens were right in thanking the Season One reps for paving the way for this awesome series.

Next week on RuPaul's All-Stars Drag Race:

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