AJ AND THE QUEEN

As a Drag Race and RuPaul fan, the thought of a comedy-drama starring Ru and so many of her girls sounded like a dream.

Sadly Episode 1 isn’t giving me entirely what I was looking for.

Yes, Ru is fabulous, as always, and the first half of the episode was brilliant:
Ru as Ruby Red performing at the club, her reading of the owner in front of so many incredible Drag Race alumni including Bianca Del Rio. The scenes with Michael Leon Wooley who plays her fierce best friend. These were all great, with just that mixture of camp, drama and comedy you’d expect from a show like this.

The story moves along nicely: Ruby Red has been in the drag business for decades and has finally saved up enough money to start a club of her own. She dreams of making life better for her drag sisters.

This by itself would be an amazing show. The characters introduced so far work and Ruby thinking up ways to earn money to get her club after all with help from her drag friends would be a great series.

Sadly it’s when AJ arrives that the story goes off the rails. So far it is unclear why her character is needed as it takes the flow out of the story. AJ’s background story is written as very tragic, but the way Izzy G performs it does not evoke any sympathy. In fact, so far all she does is shout and annoy.

She also steals from Ruby and utters homophobic slurs. Not really clear to see why Ruby would be so caring towards her in return. Perhaps the idea is that we will see AJ grow and change as the series moves along. I hope that some of this change will be sooner rather than later as right now her scenes are difficult to watch.

Sadly, the man she thought loved her and would help her build her dream turns out to be a con who steals all her money and her dreams. This leads into a hilarious scene in the police office and a lovely scene of her best friend encouraging her to try again.

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The story ends with Ruby leaving for a road trip to earn back some of her money while the police are working on her case that may turn out bigger and more dangerous than she had imagined.

Despite the minor niggle, the story has a big heart and a clear message: RuPaul’s message – it is okay to be you, it is okay to love yourself, you matter.

There is warmth and a strange comfort that is rare in TV shows these days and with promises of big performances, more Drag Race stars and adventure I am looking forward to what happens next.