Is 'RuPaul's Drag Race' too mainstream now? | The Tylt
Viacom moved 'RuPaul's Drag Race" from Logo to a bigger network—VH1—upon the success of "RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars" season two. Now fans, critics and skeptics are all questioning if the show has become too mainstream. Lots of fans are proud of what the show has become after nine seasons. Others argue that "RPDR" is facing the consequences of moving to VH1—losing some of its cultural edge and becoming too mainstream. What do you think? 👠
Is 'RuPaul's Drag Race' too mainstream now?
Buzzfeed's Scaachi Koul wrote:
Mainstream success is a double-edged sword. A larger audience means more authority, but it also means a specific kind of infighting over who really owns the scene. Is it Ru, with her very specific type of aesthetic and a notable reluctance to reward queens who don’t fit that mold? (Fishy and beautiful and thin queens tend to win, year after year. It also doesn’t seem to hurt if you’re white.) Is it the fans, who have helped make drag a serious sport, but in the process have lashed out when the show doesn’t go their way? Or is it the queens, the only way the show could exist, even though they are seemingly unable to have any autonomy outside whatever narrative is determined for them in the editing room? Whatever the case, the show has reached a peak where it’s impossible not to acknowledge, or at least notice, the rampant criticism against it, particularly by those in its inner circle.
RuPaul said the show couldn't go mainstream, but now it has. Has going mainstream become mainly a good or bad thing?
"RuPaul's Drag Race" has been moving in the direction of a mainstream audience and bigger recognition, and RuPaul ultimately believes it's a good thing that so many believe in the competition.
Adweek's Sami Main wrote:
An Emmy win and ratings success for Drag Race and its All Stars series prompted Viacom to move the show from its longtime home on Logo to VH1.
In the Adweek interview, RuPaul said:
Viacom is realizing what this franchise means to them and what they really have to offer viewers. It’s been an uphill battle for us to climb into the mainstream.
It's how "RPDR" is becoming mainstream that bothers the core audience and the drag community. Many have criticized VH1 for allowing Wendy Williams to host a live viewing party of "RPDR." Many believe Williams is part of the show simply to bring in a "straighter audience," but she has come under fire for past transphobic comments.
Indiewire's Yoselin Acevedo reported:
However, the news of Williams hosting the live viewing show has been met with criticism from some former “Drag Race” contestants and other members of the drag community. On Monday, New York–based drag performer Stephanie Stone took to social media to remind people of an incident that occurred during a taping of “The Wendy Williams Show” back in 2009.
At the time, Williams came under fire after drag queen Erick Atoure Aviance was told by producers she could not appear on camera or get up to ask Williams a question, or else she would be expelled from the audience, according to Advocate. 'All I remember is when Wendy Williams had Erick Atoure Aviance removed from her studio audience for being in drag … now she’s doing the pre-show for ‘Drag Race,’ when are folks gonna realize not everyone’s your ‘friend of the community,’ Stone wrote on her Facebook page Monday.
VH1 hired Williams to expand the show's audience even further.
Critics don't like that Williams is part of the project.
The drag community argues that "RPDR" is losing cultural pieces of what makes it great, and the water-downed version is simply to appeal to a broader audience.
Still, some fans say "RPDR" deserves the recognition and continued growth.
it's so exciting to see the growth that drag race is getting like it's getting bigger and more popular every season and it's SO COOL— andy (@allofvalentinas) March 16, 2017
Some fans would even say that season 9 is the best yet.
the season 9 cast of drag race is probably the best all around cast ever— crstn (@venusasaboy_) April 9, 2017