Amidst all the insufferable narcissism and vapidity of our current cultural zeitgeist, the reality that RuPaul’s Drag Race has been a massive hit eleven seasons running is of not insignificant consolation. And now he/she (as he/she prefers to be called) is having a go at scripted television, with a new Netflix series appropriately titled AJ and the Queen.
In it, he/she plays drag performer Ruby Red, who has saved up enough money to open a new club, and “it is going to be MAY-jor.” Alas, someone close absconds with the dosh, and Ruby is left penniless and in need of a plan. Taking to the road is the only financial solution, and she brings 10-year-old neighbor AJ–played by Izzy G.—along for the wild ride, after the latter’s mother proves incapable of taking care of him (and the kid sort of blackmails him into doing it.)
Ruby subsequently snaps at AJ, “You’re like a Chucky doll, but not as nice,” further insisting, “I’m a drag queen on a cross-country tour. So unless you’re a pair of fake boobs, you really don’t belong in the back of my RV.”
Curiously enough, the story is loosely based on the cult 1941 Preston Sturges film Sullivan’s Travels. But it’s given just the right dose of postmodern meta, with guest appearances by Drag Race regulars like Bianca Del Rio and Latrice Royale. It’s also surely the freakiest, most outré cinematic road trip since Pee-wee’s Big Adventure.
Best of all, it’s likely to send Mike Pence and his perpetually clenched ilk into ideological cardiac arrest. Bless!
N.B. – For more RuPaul, his annual Drag Con will be taking place in London this January 18 + 19, and in Los Angeles in May.