Follow TV Tropes


Broken Base / RuPaul's Drag Race

Go To

  • Pageant queens vs comedy queens is a frequent one, both in-universe and out. Ru lampshades this in Season 6's musical theater challenge.
  • Seasoned queens vs Ingenue queens has become more prominent in recent seasons. As drag has become more mainstream, older queens accuse younger queens of being lazy as they are granted many opportunities to boost their career. In contrast, older queens have had to find drag mothers, work in the underground and perform in clubs for many years before finding success. Also, older queens will state that younger queens don't take drag seriously or that they are all focused on aesthetics instead of performance ability. Younger queens hit back saying that the older queens are being bitter and take drag, which is meant to be fun and exciting, too seriously. Furthermore they will state the older styles are becoming outdated and are not as fresh as what a younger queen can offer. This has divided the fanbase as well, with some thinking that seasoned queens should respect newer styles of drag whilst others believe that ingenue queens do not offer as much as the older ones.
  • Advertisement:
  • In-universe, the idea of drag queens having a romantic/sexual relationship with each other ("kai-kai"). Some do it all the time and it's often argued that the queens have to be in drag during sex to call it a kai-kai. Meanwhile, others have absolutely zero interest in having sex in drag or being involved with another queen. Sharon Needles' and Jiggly Caliente's argument in Season 4 is a great example of this divide, with Jiggly saying she thinks it's nasty, which offended Sharon because she was in a long-term relationship with Alaska at the time.
  • Who was the Designated Villain of Season 2? Rude and snarky Raven? Pretty but boring Tatianna? Tyra Sanchez? While Tyra may be considered The Scrappy of Season 2, it's hard to really claim her as the "villain" (especially since she won the season). In the end, it usually comes down to whichever queen fans have a personal issue with, and not the editing for once.
  • Advertisement:
  • Milk's out-there genderfuck drag has become a hot topic among the queens, judges, and fans. In two of her runway struts (Party Box Eleganza where she wore a billy goat beard, and the RuPaul Runway in which she dressed as boy Ru) the judges say outright Milk is either absolutely brilliant or completely off the mark in delivering too much masculinity and weirdness in her look.
  • The removal of the "You've got she-mail" soundbite in the wake of the "Female or Shemale?" controversy. An appreciated gesture towards the transgender community, or Political Correctness Gone Mad? Flame wars over the loss of this two-second clip got ugly.
    • Trans contestant Monica Beverly Hillz speaking out against the term "Ladyboy", which has always been an accepted nickname for a naturally feminine queen out of drag and is a translation of "kathoey," the Thai term for a trans woman or effeminate gay man (hence why a lot of Asian queens are known as such). While "She-Male" and "Tranny" are understandably offensive, is trying to dismiss ladyboy as an acceptable term taking things too far?
  • On that topic, the question of whether or not transgender women belong on the show. Ru has explicitly addressed it and stated that the only requirement for being cast is to be fierce. Some of the queens, however, have spoken out against casting trans women, saying that this is unfair competition since they get to rely on hormones and surgery, and that it's a show about men dressing up as women, not women dressing up as women. It should be noted that transgender women have always been part of drag culture and history, and a whole of lot the queens aren't cis and identify as genderqueer (Raja, Jinkx, Courtney, Violet, to name a few) so there's no clear point to draw the line. Plus, a number of the queens (Detox, Chad, Venus, etc.) are cis and have had plastic surgery to look more feminine, so the point is moot in the end.
    • Ru made several remarks regarding trans queens and bio queens (cisgender women who perform female drag) in [1] that freshly re-opened the old rifts in the fandom and in the community at large. It was an unexpected turn for people who thought that Peppermint's inclusion and rise to 2nd place in Season 9 had put the debate squarely to rest. Long story short, Ru says he would prefer not to accept bio queens in the competition, and trans queens would need to have not surgically transitioned yet to female (basically, what it has been the entire run of the show, but just not said out loud until now).
  • The fact that since Season 4 RuPaul asks for fan input regarding who they think should win has caused a split in the fandom. Half the fans enjoy the change, believing it is important for a queen to be considered the "Next Drag Superstar" they need to be popular with the fans, and avoid a winner that will ultimately be considered The Scrappy (See: Tyra Sanchez). On the other hand, the other half of the fandom firmly believe They Changed It, Now It Sucks! applies here, and that despite Ru stating the choice is her's alone, she's influenced to pick the fan favorite as the winner which is what Miss Congeniality was supposed to be, and that the winners are, in the end, not the best choice.
  • The permanent teams twist that was shoehorned into All-Stars was unpopular with a lot of fans, since it often seemed superfluous at best, and completely unfair at worst, especially in the light of fan-favorites Latrice Royale, Nina Flowers, and especially Pandora Boxx being eliminated in the first few episodes. Tom & Lorenzo of Fabulous & Opinionated, who do one of the most popular online recaps for the show, didn't hide the fact they pretty much hated the season and considered it the weakest in the history of the show. However, this has not stopped fans from begging Ru for an All-Stars 2.
  • The trailer for Season 7 has caught some flack from fans who question why Ru decided to do something so minimalist and without an obvious theme, especially when compared to the last few seasons (Season 4 had a gold and silver robotic theme, Season 5 had the queens as Grecian Goddesses, and Season 6 was awash with purple). While some fans have decried the trailer as underwhelming and evidence that the show is running on No Budget, others defend the whole "Realness" as its theme, and that Ru is trying to bring Drag Race closer to its roots, or that the trailer was going for an American Apparel-style look.
  • The new Untucked format introduced in Season 7 has divided the fandom. While many fans like the documentary feel and see it as more real and intimate, others think it has No Budget, is far less polished, and it seems to lack the little games and video messages from previous seasons. Others have questioned the purpose of making it online-only since the swearing is still bleeped, even though being "Uncensored" was a selling point.
  • Did Trixie Mattel deserve to be the queen who returned in Season 7, in comparison to veteran queen Mrs. Kasha Davis who almost won the challenge, or Max who previously had two wins under her belt? #JusticeForTrixie or not, the fact Trixie didn't really show anything noteworthy after she came back and was re-eliminated just two episodes afterwards certainly made her return seem like a waste.
  • Season 4's "RuVealed" re-airing has irked a number of fans. Many fans assumed when the season would be re-released it would be with real commentary similar to what was done with several of the Season 7 episodes, instead it is exactly the same as how they re-released Season 1, with RuPaul pop-ups and random trivia about the queens or themes of the challenge. While there are those who enjoy the additions and love learning new bit of knowledge to be gleamed about their favorite queens, there are those who feel Ru's inserts are nothing more than in-character buzzwords that add nothing to the substance of the season, and the trivia isn't anything someone couldn't just find online. In fact, some have even gone as far to say the RuVealed cut ruins Season 4 and makes it nearly unwatchable.
    • As a side note, it was also not helped that Ru re-dubbed the "You've got she-mail" quote that was in this season with the new one made in light of criticism from the transgender community, already a hot button with fans. Add to that the fact Ru herself gets some of her facts about the Season wrong, such as saying the wrestling challenge was in episode 4, when it was in episode 2, giving the impression she doesn't really care about the re-airing.
  • The reason for Season 7's failure. Most fans agree that it wasn't the show's shining moment, but everyone has their own opinion as to why. Some felt that there were no memorable or likable queens; others felt the queens by themselves were fierce but they lacked chemistry with each other; others felt the editing didn't flatter anyone; still others felt that there were a few too many acting challenges, which didn't play to everyone's strengths. And of course plenty think it's a combination thereof.
  • With Season 7 and 8's Snatch Game, the argument of whether the acceptance of "boy drag" in the challenge after Kennedy Davenport's Little Richard and Thorgy Thor's Michael Jackson is a good thing or not. Some argue that 'drag' was never supposed to be about being a convincing woman, and 'genderfuck' and 'boy drag' have as much substance in the community as 'fishy' drag; not to mention these fans cite the only clear rule Ru has ever made on Snatch Game is the contestants just need to make her laugh (it doesn't matter who you play, but how you play them). There's also the fact that the men impersonated—Little Richie and Michael Jackson—are both known for their over-the-top aesthetics, so imitating them wasn't much different than, say, doing another drag queen. Other fans, of course, argue the show is called Drag Race so it should be featuring Drag Queens, and that since Season 4's Milan and Season 5's Alaska got read by the judges for doing boy drag, so why is it suddenly alright in Snatch Game?
  • Ever since Season 4 when Ru decided to open the Top 3 to fan input, the bickering over who should win has gotten insane. Every season, there are generally two queens who are in the running and a third who is either the Scrappy or plainly in third place. The most epic fandom battles thus far have been Sharon vs Chad, Jinkx vs Alaska, and World War 3 aka Bob vs Kim.
  • All Stars 2's cast being revealed is already causing a break in the fandom; some fans love the cast as is, and are excited to see the chosen queens return, while others are unhappy with the fact half the cast is from season 5, with only two queens prior to then (Phi Phi from Season 4 and Tatianna from Season 2), and no Season 8 queens at all! (although, some fans do understand it was unlikely the Season 8 queens would be included since their season only just wrapped up before AS2 would be filming) Some fans instead argue that Coco Montrese is the only real issue, as her inclusion is the clear tipping point of Season 5's over-representation, and that she should have been omitted for perhaps another Season 6 queen (such as Courtney Act or Bendelacreme) since Adore Delano is the only queen from that entire season to be included.
    • Of course, the fact that Phi Phi O'Hara, Roxxxy Andrews, and Ginger Minj were the villains of their seasons causes some fans to still resent them now, wishing they would have been left out of the cast. Others, however, are well aware of the fact these queens have grown a lot since their seasons, and are thrilled they are being given a chance to redeem themselves.
  • The controversy with Phi Phi O'Hara and All-Stars 2 has brought up another fan-splitting topic in regards to just how staged and forced the show is, and how much editing really plays into it. After her once-again portrayal as the major villain of AS2, Phi Phi has said the producers would ask a lot of leading questions, outright stitched together replies from different confessionals, and even at points yelled in her face to stop talking or not try and lay blame on them to the other queens when she went against what they wanted on-camera. Of course, there are many fans who feel Phi Phi is grossly exaggerating the lengths the show went to turn her into the bad guynote , and that Phi Phi is just trying to pass blame to the producers for her behavior. Others, however, say between Phi Phi's recount, as well as criticism levied against the show by previous queens like Willam, Laganja, India Ferrah, Jasmine Masters, and Darienne Lake, that they are starting to see the cracks in the show and can very well believe the producers set up Phi Phi for failure, promising her a redemption arc only to tear her down for entertainment purposes. The fact Ru herself threw shade against Phi Phi on Twitter before abruptly unfollowing her certainly makes some fans scratch their head, as it seemed strange and even immature on Rupaul's part. There are also a third league of fans who think both parties are at fault, that the show did go out of their way to give Phi Phi an unnecessarily harsh edit, but that Phi Phi still said the things she said and gave the producers the footage to use in the first place.
  • Season 9's Finale. Ru changes the game and orders the top four to lipsynch battle for the crown. On one hand, the three one-on-one lipsynchs created some of the most iconic moments of the season. On the other hand fans are outraged that the results forced both Shea Coulee and Trinity Taylor out of the running, despite having the most challenge wins of the season. The argument boils down to how much the statistics influence the show versus respecting the twist in format.
  • Another from Season 9, invoked in the reunion and discussed afterwards by fans; is the title of Drag Race Miss Congeniality supposed to be given to a queen because she was the nicest and least shady (meaning, given for actually being "congenial"), or because they are the fan favorite? Winners such as Ivy Winters and Cynthia Lee Fontaine were more part of the former, yet other queens such as BenDeLaCreme and Valentina are more the latter. Some fans also say there shouldn't be any clarification, if a queen gets the votes then they deserve the title, and some winners such as Nina Flowers and Latrice Royale fit comfortably in both categories.
    • Still another subset of the fandom says that having fans vote for Miss Congeniality by nature turns it into a Fan Favorite category, and the queens themselves should vote for Miss Congeniality, the way actual pageants do. Katya has said that if the Season 7 queens had voted for Miss Congeniality, it would have gone to Jaidynn.
  • All Star 3's Diva tribute effectively sees many of the issues present in All Star 2's "HERStory Of The World" challenge amplified: Did production really set Thorgy up to fail by giving her Stevie Nicks to play? Did the fact that the queens were given their roles well in advance of filming mean that Thorgy should have had plenty of time to figure out a way to elevate her part? Were Shangela and BenDeLaCreme handed their wins on a golden platter because of the attention their parts got in the pre-written script? (It should be noted that over half of the Mariah Carey routine was devoted to her New Year's Eve 2017 gaffe and gave Shangela plenty of time to flex her comedic chops and ham it up. Virtually none of the other parts had such overt references and gags baked in.) Is the entire fact of the script being pre-written a thinly-veiled excuse for production to throw particular queens under the bus? And on a lesser note, did BeBe really deserve to be in the Top 3 for her Diana Ross performance?
  • Really, the whole of All Stars 3 could be counted as this. On one hand, it got the highest ratings of any season to date. On the other hand, many of the fans saw the judging from episode to episode as wildly inconsistent, and popular opinion was that the nature of the season's final twist, the eliminated queens voting on the Top 2 from the Top 4, delegitimized the season as a whole. It's telling that Aja took to Twitter after the finale to say she regretted her vote. In fact, multiple queens on that jury have gone on to express their regret for their votes.
    • One major criticism of the finale episode was that because of the vote being conducted at the end of filming rather than at the airing date, not only did it render the usual #TeamX fan feedback on social media almost totally pointless, it meant that the eliminated queens largely didn't get the opportunity to base their votes on a full picture of the queens' performances throughout the season. This is assumed to be a major reason for why Kennedy was voted into the Top 2 instead of Shangela, widely considered to be the primary frontrunner of the season after BenDeLaCreme.
  • The sheer frequency new seasons are being released, between the regular seasons, the All-Stars seasons becoming a yearly event, and now as of 2019 a holiday competition one-off which lands right before the premier of All Stars 4, making it all seemed cluttered. While there are of course fans who are thrilled they get more Drag Queens, and argue the regular seasons focus on newcomers and All-Stars focus on fan-favorites, there are others who fear so much new material will cause the show to quickly grow stale, and accuse VH1 of furiously milking the Drag Race franchise just because of it's sudden mainstream popularity. These fans believe VH1 have no real interest in the good the show does for the drag/gay/trans communities and instead want to burn through its potential as quickly as possible while mainstream (heterosexual) advertisers and audiences are so enamored by it.
  • Related to the above, the move of the show from Logo, a more specialty but dedicated LGBT network, to VH1, to capitalize on the show's growing popularity with heterosexual audiences. For some, increased exposure and acceptance of gay culture in the mainstream can be seen as a good thing, not to mention a huge career booster for Drag Queens, both on the show and outside the seasons. On the other hand, there can be contention with the idea that straight audiences are only now getting on the Drag Race wagon now that A-list celebrities reference it and it has won an Emmy, queer audiences afraid turning the show fully "mainstream" will dilute what gave the show it's charm in the first place in order to provide a more palatable product for the non-LGBT masses. The fact that when the show first made it's way to VH1 the network brought on Wendy Williams (who was in the hot seat for making transphobic comments) to host the viewing party made older fans fearful that the new network just didn't get it.
  • All Stars 4's double coronation was a hotbed for this. Some people thought that Monet and Trinity both equally deserved the title in different ways, others felt that Trinity was the rightful winner of the season, and Monet's win was a token move meant to address the lack of diversity in the Hall of Fame. An Instagram post accidentally made the morning of the finale congratulating Monet as the sole winner of the season only further complicated things, indicating that Monet was supposed to win but that Ru split the win between Monet and Trinity for some reason. Others were fine with the outcome, but had criticisms of the choppy editing for the coronation segment, where Monet and Trinity's individual coronations were spliced together to appear like both had been crowned (especially considering the show had filmed actual, unused, double coronations as alternate endings in the past). Others continued the oversaturation argument that had been levied at Drag Race in the preceding years, saying that having two winners at once lessened the sanctity of being in the winner's circle. And yet another camp was still upset over Manila's elimination and were apathetic towards the double win altogether.

Example of: